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The Public Wealth of Nations: How Management of Public Assets Can Boost or Bust Economic Growth

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When you look around the world it's almost as if Thatcher/Reagan economic revolution never happened. The largest pool of wealth in the world – a global total that is twice the world's total pension savings, and ten times the total of all the sovereign wealth funds on the planet – is still comprised of commercial assets that are held in public ownership. And yet, while this When you look around the world it's almost as if Thatcher/Reagan economic revolution never happened. The largest pool of wealth in the world – a global total that is twice the world's total pension savings, and ten times the total of all the sovereign wealth funds on the planet – is still comprised of commercial assets that are held in public ownership. And yet, while this is the largest pool of assets in the world, is also one of the murkiest – what goes on inside them is often not even properly known by the governments who own them. In most countries this vast portfolio is both a fiscal and political burden on society. If professionally managed it could generate an annual yield of 2.7 trillion dollars, more than current global spending on infrastructure: transport, power, water and communications. While traditional state control of assets has often proved inefficient, privatization is not always a panacea, as it offers opportunities for quick enrichment, crony capitalism, outright corruption, or dysfunctional regulation. To privatise or nationalise is simply the wrong argument. What matters is whether those assets are managed effectively – in a way that can generate a return that can fund the much needed investments in infrastructure that will boost overall economic growth. Based on both economic research and hands-on experience from many countries, the authors argue that publicly owned commercial assets need to be taken out of the direct and distorting control of politicians and placed under professional management in a 'National Wealth Fund'. Such a move would trigger much needed structural reforms in national economies, thus resurrect strained government finances, bolster ailing economic growth and improve the fabric of democratic institutions.


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When you look around the world it's almost as if Thatcher/Reagan economic revolution never happened. The largest pool of wealth in the world – a global total that is twice the world's total pension savings, and ten times the total of all the sovereign wealth funds on the planet – is still comprised of commercial assets that are held in public ownership. And yet, while this When you look around the world it's almost as if Thatcher/Reagan economic revolution never happened. The largest pool of wealth in the world – a global total that is twice the world's total pension savings, and ten times the total of all the sovereign wealth funds on the planet – is still comprised of commercial assets that are held in public ownership. And yet, while this is the largest pool of assets in the world, is also one of the murkiest – what goes on inside them is often not even properly known by the governments who own them. In most countries this vast portfolio is both a fiscal and political burden on society. If professionally managed it could generate an annual yield of 2.7 trillion dollars, more than current global spending on infrastructure: transport, power, water and communications. While traditional state control of assets has often proved inefficient, privatization is not always a panacea, as it offers opportunities for quick enrichment, crony capitalism, outright corruption, or dysfunctional regulation. To privatise or nationalise is simply the wrong argument. What matters is whether those assets are managed effectively – in a way that can generate a return that can fund the much needed investments in infrastructure that will boost overall economic growth. Based on both economic research and hands-on experience from many countries, the authors argue that publicly owned commercial assets need to be taken out of the direct and distorting control of politicians and placed under professional management in a 'National Wealth Fund'. Such a move would trigger much needed structural reforms in national economies, thus resurrect strained government finances, bolster ailing economic growth and improve the fabric of democratic institutions.

30 review for The Public Wealth of Nations: How Management of Public Assets Can Boost or Bust Economic Growth

  1. 4 out of 5

    Skut333

    Книга яка має бути на робочому столі кожного урядовця який має хоч якесь відношення до держслужби. Написана трохи важкувато і тому потребує перечитування окремих розділів. Проте, головна її ідея, що більшість держав не знають чим вони володіють і як отримати з цього кошти є вкрай важливою. Крім того друга головна теза в тому, що усі без виключення державні підприємства потребують незалежного урядування, незалежно чи вони в держаній чи частково в приватній власності. Важливою особливістю книги є Книга яка має бути на робочому столі кожного урядовця який має хоч якесь відношення до держслужби. Написана трохи важкувато і тому потребує перечитування окремих розділів. Проте, головна її ідея, що більшість держав не знають чим вони володіють і як отримати з цього кошти є вкрай важливою. Крім того друга головна теза в тому, що усі без виключення державні підприємства потребують незалежного урядування, незалежно чи вони в держаній чи частково в приватній власності. Важливою особливістю книги є те, що вона не є теоретичними розумуваннями, а наводить цифри та живі приклади при чому як компаній вприватній власності так і державній. Та найголовніше автори демонструють на прикладах де йспішно вдалося впровадити ефективне урядування державним багатством наскільки позитивно це впливає на економіку. Прикро одне, що Україна згадується тут лише як приклад як робити не потрібно.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carlos

    The main point of the book is that public assets should be better managed. In many countries, public assets are larger than public debt but usually transparency only applies to liabilities. The authors propose a "national wealth fund" as a middle point between state management (with all the known problems) and privatisation. The book explains some good ideas, such public owned land catalog, that could be implemented immediately in many countries to improve governance. Nonetheless, the main gap i The main point of the book is that public assets should be better managed. In many countries, public assets are larger than public debt but usually transparency only applies to liabilities. The authors propose a "national wealth fund" as a middle point between state management (with all the known problems) and privatisation. The book explains some good ideas, such public owned land catalog, that could be implemented immediately in many countries to improve governance. Nonetheless, the main gap in the argument is the political economy to achieve such an outcome.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Neil Bradford

    Great topic, unreadably bad book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Good, but their second book on Cities is better!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Frank af Petersens

    Brilliant and convincing argument for better management of neglected assets that elegantly sidesteps the divisive issue of privatisation vs. public ownership.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Warren

    The authors make an interesting argument that state owned enterprises should be consolidated into one commercial entity to ensure that governments (and politicians) focus on governing and not trying to be capitalists. This, the authors argue, will ensure that public assets are run for the benefit of, and in the interest of, citizens. The authors cite some interesting examples but overall it feels like the book is light on theory. Indeed, the theory behind state owned enterprises and public asset The authors make an interesting argument that state owned enterprises should be consolidated into one commercial entity to ensure that governments (and politicians) focus on governing and not trying to be capitalists. This, the authors argue, will ensure that public assets are run for the benefit of, and in the interest of, citizens. The authors cite some interesting examples but overall it feels like the book is light on theory. Indeed, the theory behind state owned enterprises and public assets is dealt with in a cursory manner with a focus more on examples of the authors' arguments in action. This approach was probably adopted to avoid the size of the book spiralling out of control. However, it does beg the question: it appears to work in practice, but does it work in theory?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mike Bloomberg

    I haven't read a proposal for public policy / fiscal management more transforming since Henry George and Progress and Poverty. Very much looking forward to "The Public Wealth of Cities" and would wager that we will see Detter's proposal for wealth-fund managed assets in the United States in the coming years. I haven't read a proposal for public policy / fiscal management more transforming since Henry George and Progress and Poverty. Very much looking forward to "The Public Wealth of Cities" and would wager that we will see Detter's proposal for wealth-fund managed assets in the United States in the coming years.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Myles

    Succinct advocacy for better management of public wealth. Not exactly beach reading, though.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mauricio Santoro

  10. 4 out of 5

    Federowski

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alex MacMillan

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ed Benozatti

  13. 4 out of 5

    Roshana

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marc Andrew

  15. 5 out of 5

    Moses Victor

  16. 4 out of 5

    Javier

  17. 4 out of 5

    NinaCD

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bruno T Lopes

  19. 4 out of 5

    Girish Shivakumar

  20. 4 out of 5

    Scoutaccount

  21. 5 out of 5

    wedmid

  22. 4 out of 5

    Babkov Danil

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ina Cawl

  24. 5 out of 5

    Taras Doroniuk

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marta

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paul Vittay

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cedric Vandamme

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ivan Lukerya

  29. 5 out of 5

    Artem Kutsolabskiy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shaleane Gee

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