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Tag Archives: the money view

Finance, Money and Cow Clicking

Finance and its derivatives like financialization, are like many political economy categories: they’re a widely used term but lack an agreed-upon definition. One often encounters formulations like “financialization means the increasing role of financial motives, financial markets, financial actors and financial institutions.” That isn’t very helpful! Let me offer a simple definition of finance, which I think corresponds to its sense both for Marx and in everyday business settings....

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“Has Finance Capitalism Destroyed Industrial Capitalism?”

(At the big economics conference earlier in January, I spoke on a virtual panel in response to Michael Hudon’s talk on the this topic. HIs paper isn’t yet available, but he has made similar arguments here and here. My comments were in part addressed to his specific paper, but were also a response to the broader discussion around financialization. A version of this post will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Review of Radical Political Economics.) Michael Hudson argues that the...

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On Negative Rates

Negative interest rates – weird, right? In the five thousand years that interest rates have been recorded, they’ve never hit zero before.  Today, there’s some $15 trillion in negative-yielding bonds — admittedly down from $17 trillion last year, but still a very substantial fraction of the global bond market outside the US. At first it was only shorter bonds that were negative, but today German bunds are negative all the way out to 30 years. What’s going on? Does this mean it would be...

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On Cryptocurrencies

(This is an edited and expanded version of a talk I gave in Trento, Italy in June 2018, on a panel with Sheila Dow.) The topic today is “Digital currencies: threat or opportunity?” I’d like to offer a third alternative: New digital currencies like bitcoin are neither a threat or an opportunity. They do not raise any interesting economic questions and do not pose any significant policy problems. They do not represent any kind of technological advance on existing payment systems, which...

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“Monetary Policy in a Changing World”

While looking for something else, I came across this 1956 article on monetary policy by Erwin Miller. It’s a fascinating read, especially in light of current discussions about, well, monetary policy in a changing world. Reading the article was yet another reminder that, in many ways, debates about central banking were more sophisticated and far-reaching in the 1950s than they are today. The recent discussions have been focused mainly on what the goals or targets of monetary policy...

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Utz-Pieter Reich on the Nominal and the Real

What oft was thought, but ne’er so well expressed: The lack of realism in microeconomic value theory has been overcompensated by an unquenched desire for `real’ figures. Idealism in the concepts of theory has resulted in a plethora of empirical concepts for real value, and the development of index number theory is thus characterised by an inventive sequence of euphemistic terms. We have an `ideal’ index, a `true’ (cost of living) index, an `exact’ index, a `superlative’ index and, last but...

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Are We Mismeasurng Productivity?

(I am an occasional contributor to roundtables of economists in the magazine The International Economy. This month’s topic was: “What are the policy implications if productivity growth is being under-measured in the official data?” My answer is below.) How many hamburgers equal one haircut?  In itself, the question doesn’t make sense. They’re just different things. What we can compare, is how much they cost. This is true across the board: The only way we can convert all the endlessly...

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Video: Monetary Policy since the Crisis

On May 30, I did a “webinar” with INET’s Young Scholar’s Intiative. The subject was central banking since the financial crisis of a decade ago, and how it forces us to rethink some long-held ideas about money and the real economy — the dstinction between a demand-determined short run and a supply-determined long run; the neutrality of money in the long run; the absence of tradeoffs between unemployment, inflation and other macroeconomic goals; the reduction of monetary policy choices to...

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“On money, debt, trust and central banking”

The central point of my Jacobin piece on the state of economics was meant to be: Whatever you think about mainstream macroeconomic theory, there is a lot of mainstream empirical and policy work that people on the left can learn from and engage with — much more than there was a decade ago. 1  Some of the most interesting of that new work is from, and about, central banks. As an example, here is a remarkable speech by BIS economist Claudio Borio. I am not sure...

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Decarbonization: A Keynesian View

The International Economy has asked me to take part in a couple of their recent roundtables on economic policy. My first contribution, on productivity growth, is here (scroll down). My second one, on green investment, is below. But first, I want to explain a little more what I was trying to do with it. I am not trying to minimize that challenge of dealing with the climate change. But I do want to reject one common way of thinking about those challenges — as a “cost”, as some quantity of...

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