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BOOK REVIEW: Reputation Economics

Author: Joshua Klein
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan 

Reviewer: Xanthe Vaughan Williams, director & co-founder, Fourth Day PR

Reputation Economics is less of a handbook than an ideological manifesto. In it, Joshua Klein outlines a utopian vision in which established world orders are swept aside by alternative trading systems using global communications networks. Ultimately, he suggests: “Decentralisation of resources through gift economies, barter and trade could destroy world hunger…and unemployment.”

The book races through a myriad of different approaches to commerce, from the Tiv people of West Africa, who deliberately exchange gifts of unequal value in order to ensure a continuing relationship, to the Arabic Hawala system of financial transfer and the emergence of “virtual” currencies such as Bitcoin.