Fourth Branch - Money Trail

No More Financial Corruption

Non-Fiction - Business/Finance
106 Pages
Reviewed on 03/28/2012
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite

Author Daniel Kim has long been pondering the problems facing the United States and other countries. In discussing the economic woes of the United States, Dr. Kim states emphatically that the three branches of government, the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial have not watched over each other enough, and none of the three has kept the other two branches from going out of control with corruption. Hence, Dr. Kim proposed in this slim but thoughtful book that a fourth branch of government be initiated that will receive all monies from all governmental transactions and corporations, deposit those monies and then report on them daily to the media world so years will not pass before people are aware of what transpired. Dr. Kim does admit that this fourth branch would require an existing government that is not totally corrupt. He does feel that governments should be run by experts and not elected politicians and states that governments of the world should communicate knowledge with each other to bridge differences, screening out the bad parts of individual governments traditions, cultures, and rules. Dr.Kim acknowledges that the United States is not assimilating well the new groups of immigrants entering our country and offers his thoughts on Medicare costs and educational reforms.

"Fourth Branch-Money Trail" is well-written and edited and is filled with Dr. Kim's thoughts on a variety of economic woes and their potential solutions. Dr. Kim is learned in his knowledge of all world cultures and his views will stimulate the reader to think, to oppose or to agree with Dr. Kim's position.This book is not for the reader who doesn't want to be challenged intellectually but for those who do, "Fourth Branch-Money Trail" will be a treat to read.

Stephen B

Mr. Kim's book seeks to introduce a new concept in financial transactions, that of one of transparency. Given the term 'fourth branch-money trail', this idea proposes to publicly, through email and the Internet disclose every financial transaction to and from governments, corporations, or citizens. By doing so, the goal is to reduce corruption, reduce the number of bureaucracies in government, level the playing field in investments, and better the standard of living for all. Kim discusses the problems in social security/retirement plans, education, taxes, and health care not only in America, but uses examples from his home country of Korea. He then provides possible solutions to these problems and affirms how this new fourth branch-money trail could help with the solutions. He also discusses future technology (artificial intelligence) as it relates to this financial transaction idea and also discusses possible problems with the concept.

The book states the concept at the beginning, then delves into societal problems and solutions, most of which make common sense. He deals mostly with government, corporations and investment entities such as Wall Street but doesn't deal with the private citizen's transactions too much. The statements regarding the different problems are well thought out and discussed in easy to understand language. The concept of the fourth branch-money trail is clear and would be an interesting discussion for people. There is a little anomaly in one particular area where he is against competition in health care, but then as part of the solution, proposes a minor point in favor of competition.

Stephanie D.

We need to start with definitions. In the author’s words: “Fourth branch money trail is a system-orientated structure that makes innovative use of the internet and requires a reasonably non-corrupt society in order for it to work.” But what exactly is ‘fourth branch’? It’s the media. The other three branches of government are the executive, the legislative and the judicial. Media qualifies as the fourth because in theory it ensures full, honest and intellectual debate and reveals corruption to the world. The author begins by fully explaining his concept. He shows how his scheme could have prevented the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, amongst other famous frauds, principally by keeping transactions out in the open. We then see how democracy itself could benefit. It is currently threatened by financial corruption and crises. The book goes on to consider forms of government, health care, social safety net systems, taxation, education amongst other areas that would benefit from the fourth branch money trail. The author discusses how it could be implemented and assisted by Artificial Intelligence.

This ground breaking book is very clearly laid out and explained and never sinks into dry intellectuality. There are wide ranging, reasoned discussions but the author never preaches. Early on he admits to the usual self-doubts that many writers have. But he’s driven by his idea and wants to share it. In fact, he’s so confident he offers a list of possible flaws in his system that critics might pick up and suggests solutions to them. At the moment, sadly, Daniel Shine Kim is a lone voice crying in the wilderness. But we should all listen. Do read this book. It will really make you think.

Paul J.

What if there was a fourth branch-money trail concept? What is this, you ask. Well, the author Daniel Kim lays it all out. First of all he discusses the fourth branch, the media. He then goes on to explain that the fourth branch-money trail is a system to watch the way money moves, and help show possible or actual corruption to the world. This could be done by reporting all transactions on the Internet, including email and social media, making sure to include all abnormal transactions and then follow up all abnormal transactions on the Internet.

The system ramifications could be widespread. Those who pay taxes would know exactly where all of their tax money was going. Politicians would fear the exposure of every detail of their financial conduct. They would also have to be vigilant about the collection of taxes. Right now there is no such system in effect.

As a counter point to his idea, Kim closes the narrative with twelve possible objections that someone might have to this course of action.

While I won’t express an opinion on the actual content of the story, I did find his project well thought out, well written, and quite interesting. Kim has outlined his idea and thoughts in a sensible manner. However, I did find reading it akin to working on an assignment for sociology class, but since it wasn’t a long read it went by very quickly. I think that readers who like the study of sociology, politics, and economics would find it very interesting as well.

Anne B.

Daniel Shine Kim offers readers what he believes will solve the current financial crisis. Kim defines the function of the Fourth-Branch Money Trail as to “monitor how money moves and help show corruption to the world…but will not actively root out corruption.” In Part 1 of this book Kim offers scenarios that will help the readers to comprehend the fourth-branch model. My first thought after reading the scenarios was what if the fourth-branch is crooked? Also what about capitalism and democracy? Kim answers these and other questions as the book progresses.

He believes democracy is in grave trouble. I agree with him but perhaps for different reasons. For Kim’s model to be successful democracy must be healthy. The model keeps everyone informed. That should scare some politicians.Kim discusses financial balance, even the poorest in the US can afford luxuries that many in other cultures could not imagine. His discussion on the social net is interesting. He purports keeping things simple such as social security and health care, taxes, and retirement plans. It seems to me it all just keeps getting more complicated. I’ve long been for the flat tax, but some bureaucrat will find a way of making that complicated. Part 2 of this book looks at how to implement this model. I admired the author for looking at possible flaws in his model.

The reader needs to be aware that I did not attempt to discuss every aspect of Mr. Kim’s book. There is much information and I found it well organized and presented. I was a little concerned when I picked up this book, unsure if I would comprehend what the author was proposing however, Mr. Kim broke his model down in to simple and easy to understand terms. This book is well worth reading.