The book explains the basic concepts of finance - how money is created, and how decisions by banking and other financial service corporations are determining the fate of billions of people. Right from the introduction the guide sets recent events into context, indicating how the flows of money directed by an unaccountable elite increasingly shape economic, political and social activity. It traces the origins of money, as a source of exchange and a store of value, and the many weird and wonderful forms it now takes - visible and invisible. How banks, investment and retail, make money and profits, and hold countries to ransom when they make losses. How companies finance their operations through stocks, shares and bonds and complex derivatives that are becoming increasingly remote from real-world activities. It also includes chapters on global currency exchange, alternative systems of banking, including microfinance, government regulation or lack of it, international institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF, and crucially a final chapter on ways of bringing global finance under control.
Peter Stalker is a former co-editor of the New Internationalist who now works as a consultant to a number of UN agencies. He has written two books on migration for the International Labor Organization. They are The Work of Strangers: A Survey of International Labor Migration and Workers without Frontiers: The Impact of Globalization on International Migration.