Home > Uncategorized > The truth about the minimum wage

The truth about the minimum wage

from Lars Syll

low-wage-snapshot-updated-05-07-2015_1It has been more than eight years since many of the United States’ cashiers, dishwashers, janitors, lifeguards, baggage handlers, baristas, manicurists, retail employees, housekeepers, construction laborers, home health aides, security guards, and other minimum-wage workers last got a raise. The federal minimum wage now stands at just $7.25. In real terms, these workers’ earnings have declined by nearly 13 percent since the last hike, in 2009—and have fallen by over one-third since 1968, when the real federal minimum wage was at its peak of $11.38 in today’s money (although only $1.60 then) …

Opponents of the minimum wage have long invoked economic theory to claim that the measure destroys jobs. “Just as no physicist would claim that ‘water runs uphill,’ no self-respecting economist would claim that increases in the minimum wage increase employment,” the Nobel Prize–winning economist James Buchanan wrote in The Wall Street Journal in 1996. “Such a claim, if seriously advanced, becomes equivalent to a denial that there is even minimal scientific content in economics, and that, in consequence, economists can do nothing but write as advocates for ideological interests.”

Strong stuff, but wrong stuff. That view is rooted in either ignorance or dishonesty …

It is important not to mistake the labor market on planet Econ 101 for the labor market on planet Earth. The predictions of this model are not akin to the laws of physics, and alarm bells should go off anytime an economist, even a Nobel laureate, claims that they are.

The predictions of any economic model are only as good as the assumptions behind it. And the assumption of perfect competition is a bad approximation for real-world labor markets …

Alan Manning

There are, obviously, a lot of policymakers, presidents and economists still arguing in the Buchanan-Econ-101-style. Intimating that one could solve economic problems by low (minimum) wages, in these dire times, should really be taken more as a sign of how low the confidence in our economic system has sunk. Low wages don’t save neither competitiveness nor jobs.

What is needed more than anything else in these times is stimulus and economic policies that increase effective demand.

On a societal level, low minimum wages and general wage cuts only increase the risk of more people getting unemployed. To think that one can solve economic crises in this way is a turning back to those faulty economic theories and policies that John Maynard Keynes conclusively showed to be wrong already in the 1930s. It was theories and policies that made millions of people all over the world unemployed.

It’s an atomistic fallacy to think that a policy of keeping wages low would strengthen the economy. On the contrary. The aggregate effects would, as shown by Keynes, be catastrophic. They would start a cumulative spiral of lower prices that would make the real debts of individuals and firms increase since the nominal debts wouldn’t be affected by the general price and wage decrease. In an economy that more and more has come to rest on increased debt and borrowing this would be the entrance-gate to a debt deflation crises with decreasing investments and higher unemployment. In short, it would make depression knock on the door.

The impending danger for today’s economies is that they won’t get consumption and investments going. Confidence and effective demand have to be reestablished. The problem of our economies is not on the supply side. Overwhelming evidence shows that the problem today is on the demand side. Demand is – to put it bluntly – simply not sufficient to keep the wheels of the economies turning. To suggest that the solution is low (minimum) wages and unemployment compensations is just to write out a prescription for even worse catastrophes.

 

  1. January 7, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    A quarter-century ago — 1992 — a county commissioner former boss, persuaded his colleagues to order a study, unique in the country then (at least concerning land use regulatory authority) that would show the wage level necessary to support a one-wage family of four, no public support, living in his urban/suburban county in the Pacific Northwest.
    The result was striking at the time, absurd now: $20 per hour (($35 now)!
    This county then used the study to require developers who were building in the fast-growing part of the county to pay their employees this level of wage.
    Interesting note for economists: the rapid growth was entirely spurred by a new freeway and bridge, paid for by one of the largest subsidy systems in history, the Interstate Trust Fund. This also was used for legal justification of the requirement.

    • January 8, 2018 at 4:16 pm

      Thank you for this Econoclast. As a youngster earning $1.00 per hour I could buy twenty 5¢ candy bars per hour.

      It would take 20 to 35 $/hour to match my childhood income — at a time when I had zero expenses.

      “Wall Street and Washington designed the macro-economy that has eliminated decent jobs, cut wages and slashed benefits. As a result millions of marginalized workers and the unemployed are under tremendous tension and resort to pharmacologic solutions to endure their pain because they are not organized. The historical leading role of trade union and community organizations has been eliminated. Instead, redundant workers are ‘charged by Big Pharma’ to dig their own graves and class leaders are nowhere to be found.”

      http://www.defenddemocracy.press/genocide-by-prescription-the-natural-history-of-the-declining-white-working-class-in-america/

      US representative democracy has proven itself the enemy of life and increased demand will only increase consumption and hasten the end of life on Earth.

      • January 8, 2018 at 5:46 pm

        Your “genocide by prescription” makes pretty grim heading, Garrett. We’ve certainly not immune to it in the UK, though it takes forms such as mass miscarriages of justice, illegal wars, crowd deaths by crushing and the London tower block fire sparking nothing but prolongued investigations with cynically irrelevant terms of reference.

      • Rob Reno
        January 8, 2018 at 10:28 pm

        Garrett, I think it is not democracy that is the problem but blind secular materialism wedded to superficial consumerism and cultural rot.

  2. January 7, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    And, about Buchanan, I recommend Nancy McLean’s Democracy in Chains.

    • charlie
      January 7, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      Amen … the lacky of the rich and powerful. McLean’s book is a well written investigation of careful undermining of economics. Buchanan one of the architects, who promoted trickle down thinking …

  3. January 7, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    As a practical matter we must offer something to both the working poor and the middle class. Perhaps a hybrid of Steve Keen’s debt Jubilee and minimum wage could work. The Fed prints and Treasury distributes new money to tax id holders under condition they first pay down debt, and then only, receive tax credits to their employers equal to any wage increases the employer grants back under the program. Gains support from employers, middle class indebted workers, the working poor, and the poor by creating new jobs.

    • January 8, 2018 at 5:57 pm

      I entirely agree with what you say here about Steve Keen. The problem is to motivate those able to bring it about. Steve’s hopeful conclusion about the influence of central bankers at the end of the recent IIPP conference (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUEWLqY9DEQ) seems to be close to my argument for converting the shepherds: the sheep will follow them.

      • Craig
        January 9, 2018 at 1:12 am

        Keen has cognited on a systemic macro-economic truth, i.e. modern economies do not tend toward equilibrium, and has been trying to craft a theory regarding it. The problem is a theory is not up to resolving what is necessary. Keen talks about Copernican paradigm change, but he’s an iconoclast, a reductionistic mindset. You have to have the correct mindset skills to discover and fully perceive the effects of a new paradigm, i.e. an integrative mindset because a paradigm is a single concept…that fits into, saturates and effects every factor in the area in which it is applied. In other words It’s the definition of a paradox itself in that it is a single concept that describes, defines and effects an entire PATTERN, and of course a new paradigm is a new one of these. Its Agriculture. It’s Helio-Centrism. It’s Direct and Reciprocal Monetary Gifting. It’s Banking/Financial Inclusion Within the Economic Cycle That Terminally Ends at Retail Sale.

      • Craig
        January 9, 2018 at 4:30 am

        The advantage of being consciously aware of a paradigm is that policies aligned with it are incredibly powerful because they all work together within the new pattern, and if you have a policy that is actually the expression of the new paradigm itself it’s an utterly key and powerful one and contains within it a key new discovery that resolves one of the deep and major problems that the old paradigm couldn’t.

        Keen often criticizes DSGE because their models do not include money, debt or banks, and he’s absolutely correct in doing so. However, not being aware of what the new monetary paradigm is and taking a macro perspective only because he has written off the micro-economy as a place for insight he misses the aggregative and integrative point in the micro economy that is the point of retail sale. Here is what I posted to him regarding this on his Patreon page:

        “For instance, macro-economics is about aggregates. The point of retail sale is the terminal end of the entire micro-foundational economic process and also the aggregative total of all costs and prices for any item or service. Hence it’s an integrative point for both macro and micro economics, and for the pivotal monetary and economic policy of a 50% discount/rebate at the point of retail sale. Unfortunately none of neo-classical, Austrian or heterodox macro economists see this because the first two are deluded by DSGE and thus do not see that the economic system is demand constrained and the heterodox have written off microfoundations altogether as an area for insight. However, simply looking at the point and effect of such a policy enables one to see that a 50% discount/rebate doubles everyone’s purchasing power, completely eliminates any possibility of consumer price inflation and almost magically integrates the Austrian dream of price deflation painlessly and beneficially into profit making systems….and by the way breaks up Finance’s monopolistic paradigm of Debt Only as a kicker. This would stabilize the consumer economy like no other policy suggested by pols or econs on the left and right since forever, and if we made Banking/Finance a retail business model instead of the monstrously dominating money creating one it has been for the last 5000 years…humanity might get somewhere other than the muddle of the paradigm of Debt Only, and the failed and belittling experiment of homo economicus.”

        You can read about the new paradigms and policies of same soon in my book Wisdomics-Giftonomics and see some of the thinking behind it on my blog wisdomicsblog.com

    • January 9, 2018 at 10:02 am

      Craig, just because Steve Keen has become justifiably famous for his “Debunking Economics” doesn’t mean he is a mere iconoclast. You have a point about his not having producted an alternative economics paradigm, but he has grasped the more fundamental and Copernican one of not mistaking appearances and lies for truth. Had you watched the video I provided the link to, towards the end you would have heard him rephrasing Plato’s cave story in terms of fishes not recognising they are swimming in murky water and being unable to imagine an air-breathing alternative. The Aristotelian linguistic paradigm we are living in insists on going by appearances, using language transparently as meaning literally what it seems to say, leaving no room for mistakes, lies, analogies and jokes. Honest inquirers like Steve have to debunk lies in order to draw attention to the need for truth.

      Your remarks on aggregation reveal you to be, like Frank Salter, still swimming around short-sightedly in the murky waters of literalism. Likewise, the imagination of James Kroeger below is that of a fish trying to breathe out of water: all he can think of is the word ‘markets’ with which fraudsters have been deceiving us for hundreds of years.

      The point of aggregation is that mathematics does not justify you adding apples and bananas, for it operates on the arabic (or binary digital) number formats of prices, only supposedly representing their different kinds of value. The fish out of water needs to become accustomed to the rarer air of logic, where the concepts of quantification can legitimately distinguish the concept of ‘all’ from those of ‘some’, ‘one’ and ‘none’. Economics, like the internet, is a complex system in which the power transmitted must merely be ‘enough’ to be reliably detected, but the information down it can only be decoded if one understands analog and digital techniques of power modulation and the methods of encoding and addressing actually being used.

      When I go along with Steve Keen on getting away from the present chaos with debt jubilees and minimum wages (echoing Jesus Christ and John Ruskin, against whom the neoliberal theory of marginal market pricing seems to have been a reaction), I am seeing that with James Kroeger as a “band-aid” response. We need to take hope from the Berlin wall coming down overnight, but teachers need to relate economic theory to the findings of information science if we are to discredit the lies and convey the real meanings of the words ‘money’ and ‘debt’, so that giving credit and becoming creditworthy by earning one’s can be distinguished despite all the fishy noise and deliberately interfering signals.

      • January 9, 2018 at 1:14 pm

        Hey Dave :)

        Likewise…James Kroeger…all he can think of is the word ‘markets’ with which fraudsters have been deceiving us for hundreds of years.

        I suppose I should point out that while I don’t have a problem with the existence and proliferation of markets, I do have a problem with those who manipulate or otherwise “rig” markets to serve their own selfish ends at the expense of others.

        The solution to such malevolence, in my mind, is not to attack the existence of markets, or blame the existence of markets for the economic sins that bad people commit within them, but rather to regulate markets in a way that furthers the cause of economic justice.

        I believe that markets can be “made good” by the determined collective efforts of educated individuals who prize economic justice as their supreme objective.

        I understand the frustration of those who struggle against the formidable power of The Manipulators, but I just don’t see how a rejection of markets overall can lead us to alternative reality that we would find superior.

        The reason I can’t muster up an antipathy toward markets is because I believe the very existence of markets arises from one of the most fundamental aspects of our essential human nature:

        People are always going to be willing to trade some of what they have (e.g., time) for something that they don’t have.

        That is essentially what a market transaction is.

        I argue that markets are the moral alternative to violence that humans came up with, one which leaves each party walking away from a trade believing he had gotten something of value from another person without having to kill him for it.

        In the absence of such an alternative, human beings in their natural state would have no choice but to either “steal” the things they need/desire or take them by force.

        Markets thrive because it beats the alternative. I see nothing odious, or immoral, or corrupting about this essential willingness to trade some of what you have for something you don’t have.

        I do, however, have severe criticism to express for those rich and powerful individuals who manipulate markets, especially those within the “finance industry”, where evil intent has actually become institutionalized.

        Replacing markets—our instinct to trade some of what we have for something we don’t have—with something else is quite beyond my comprehension.

      • Craig
        January 9, 2018 at 4:50 pm

        Dave,

        As I have repeatedly said Keen is brilliant, but you have to have, if even by the luck of the draw or some extraneous early life decision, the right mindset tools to ACTUALLY look at and BE WILLING to see a new paradigm…or even fully recognize the current/old one.

        One needs a fundamental curiosity or intention, a willingness to (momentarily) suspend logic, to be comfortable with ambiguity/uncertainty, to prize integration over opinion…and solutions over problems, to build and visualize as opposed to merely pull apart, to recognize that real progress is both transcendence of and yet inclusion of the old, to see that obsessive duality is not ultimate reality, but rather completely integrated duality within an integrative trinity-unity-greater oneness.

        And then be willing and able to consolidate all of that mental complexity and mental virtuousness by deciphering a key concept and/or concepts that apply to everything and resolve the old paradigm’s apparently unresolvable problem(s).

        So it’s an elegant and yet simple concept/realization.

      • January 9, 2018 at 5:44 pm

        James, you say “quite beyond my comprehension … “? That was my point! Outside the exchange market paradigm you seem like Steve’s “fish out of water”. Not that that would be any fault of the fish, but with mankind on the rocks it is going to have to learn to breath air. So I’m not CHALLENGING your comprehension. My own position is more like Guy Dauncey’s at https://rwer.wordpress.com/2017/12/30/resources-for-study-of-polanyis-great-transformation/#comments.

        I’m not against exchange markets as such, but classically they are about exchanging one’s surplus production for valuables one needs, not about second hand sales bid up by auctioneers to raise their percentages. Variations in the price of gold depending on its availability caused chaos in genuine market trading which has not been resolved by allowing bankers with insider knowledge to create surpluses or shortages of “fools gold” equivalent almost at will. There was some justification in an individual with cash flow problems pawning luxuries but none at all in their being forced to pawn homes and businesses so a market could be created in shares of mortgages. A genuine labour market does not sell work for empty promises third parties must honour but is what we used to call a labour exchange, where one could exchange one form of job for another. Etc etc. One exchanges inputs and outputs but the vast majority of an economic system is concerned with getting from the one to the other and works by organisation and trust, not monetarised contracts. Remaining silent about all this, Neoliberal market economics is economical only with the truth.

      • January 9, 2018 at 8:58 pm

        I’m trying, Dave, :) …trying, that is, to fully grasp your perspective and reconcile it with my own…

        A genuine labour market does not sell work for empty promises third parties must honour but is what we used to call a labour exchange, where one could exchange one form of job for another.

        This tells me that many of your misgivings re: the labour market—and most other markets—can be traced to your alarm over the discovery that the “money” labourers are paid—not only largely devoid of any inherent worth—cannot be ultimately traced to something of real tangible value (for it may have been originally generated into existence as a bank loan).

        In light of this, your proposal seems to be an attempt to eliminate the problems that arise when people use an “intermediate good”—like paper money, gold specie, etc.—as a way to compare the value of what they are trading.

        Indeed, the mere use of gold as an intermediate good (money) led immediately to one of the worst kinds of economic behavior that we see in the modern world: the hoarding of and stockpiling of these ‘claims” (gold coins) on the productive efforts of others.

        Now I don’t have any philosophical problem with an effort to largely bypass the “intermediate good” function of money in order to eliminate the bad practices that have ultimately arisen from its common usage,

        It does strike me as a rather problematic proposal (since it would be likely to happen only after a complete annihilation of the private banking system had occurred), but I would not object to it being pursued.

        Short of that, however, I would hope that banking practices reform could be effected that would eliminate many of the injustices that largely define our current private banking system. In particular, the outrageous ability private bankers now have to create out of nothing the money they will be receiving from borrowers in the future.

      • January 10, 2018 at 8:20 am

        Good discussion, this, James. Thanks for the rejoinder. As an air breathing animal I do have misgivings about the big fish leaving the little ones short of life-giving water, but I’m seeing not the water but the air dissolved in it giving life, and the fish not seeing that. I’m seeing the word ‘market’ being understood as tangible water where I see it as an intangible concept directing my perception. Fish have evolved to recognise species which predate on them, but children have to learn there are predators among their own kind, who hide not themselves but the the untruth of what they say.

        Nor is this restricted to lies about the purpose and value of money. At the very time the Bank of England was being set up for trade in credit notes rather than our reserve of gold, John Locke, whose “Two Treatises of Government” were instrumental in justifying the settlement of America, argued very reasonably for an equivalent of the territoriality we see in birds: an individual’s right to own as much as he could cultivate, subject to there being as much left for others to move into. What happened was that the credit notes financed expeditions to stake claims to other people’s countries much as gold miners stake a claim: by planting a flag in it. Ownership of land was then not recognised unless one had the previously non-existent title deeds being given to individuals who served or financed the government as representatives of railroad builders or estates as large as could be worked by ownership of slaves.

        A much simplified version of this may be found in the Genesis story at the beginning of the Bible. God gave us a garden supplying all our needs, but the Devil poisoned us by persuading us to believe his lies and eat the forbidden (because poisonous) apple.

  4. January 8, 2018 at 8:02 am

    Ah yes…Econ 101…the imagined shape of the demand curve in the labour market…and that of the supply curve in most other markets…

    I was never able to present these concepts to students without criticizing the extraordinarily dubious premises upon which they were commonly justified. The very idea…of employers of labour sitting around, always having a casual interest in hiring people to work for them, but only if the price is low enough…has always drawn my scorn.

    Simple logic tells us that employers in competitive markets are not in the habit of employing people that they do not actually NEED to produce the service they are selling. Those employers who claim that they would reduce their staffing if the government were to force them to pay higher wages are not credible at all.

    And yet, if in spite of this reality, an employer were to reduce staffing to make a political statement, she would soon change her mind upon noticing that she had put her business at a competitive disadvantage since she would not be able to provide the same level of service as those firms that decided to simply absorb the higher cost.

    Since it is simply not believable that an employer would have employees on the payroll that were not helping her to make a profit (an occasional exception?…sure), it is simply not plausible that employers of minimum wage earners would reduce their labour costs in a radically desperate and painful way simply to avoid a fractional cost increase that can rather easily be handled.

    And then there is the imagined upward slope of the supply curve in most other markets…

    One thoroughly laughable rationale given for this proposition is the notion that lowering the costs of suppliers (e.g., cutting their tax obligations) will give them an incentive to produce more and bring it to market.

    The actual truth is that, as long as suppliers are able to obtain ANY profit on a per-unit basis, they have an incentive to produce and sell as many of their widgets as they possibly can, no matter how tiny the profit margin.

    If anything, increasing the profit margins that all firms experience gives them a reduced incentive to produce more and more and more.

    (Head shaking)

  5. January 8, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    While I have argued elsewhere against the specious reasoning neoclassical apologists invoke to justify their opposition to a higher minimum wage, I am not someone who favors minimum wage legislation as the most desirable course of action a government could pursue to increase the wages of those on the bottom of the economic ladder.

    I view the Minimum Wage as little more than a “band-aid” response from government to do something about low wages. From my POV, it is a rather clumsy way to try to address a fundamental problem. From a brief review of its history, we can see that it has not proven to be the answer that many had once hoped it might be.

    From my perspective, a far more desirable outcome would result if governments were to rely on a market-based solution to the problem instead of relying on laws which instruct employers to pay a certain price for labour.

    The only thing governments really need to do to solve the problem of low wages is continually increase their spending on real economic investments—like infrastructure & human capital—until the government’s demand for labour has not only eliminated all unemployment, but has actually created a sustained labour shortage.

    In such a labour market, we would then reasonably expect that “natural market forces” would force up the wages earned by those on the bottom of the economic ladder, consequently eliminating over time most of the “social problems” (crime, etc.) that are created by unemployment within the underclass.

    No heavy hand from the government telling business owners/managers what to do…they would simply be forced by the marketplace + competition to do that which they would not otherwise feel inspired to do.

    Of course, a familiar list of concerns (e.g., inflation) would be voiced by corporate interests in opposition to such a plan, but under scrutiny, none of them is justified.

    • January 20, 2018 at 7:58 pm

      Yes. And add in Ann Pettifor’s suggestion that rates be set low combined with tough scrutiny of borrowers to ensure new bank credit goes toward profitable projects in contrast to high rates on easy (often govt guaranteed) loans to consumers and speculators as we have now.

  6. January 9, 2018 at 9:59 am

    Economists get it wrong again. Minimum wage is not chiefly an economic concern. It is political through and through. Consider this from Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.” “The thirties and forties showed more clearly than before the dilemma of working people in the United States. The system responded to workers’ rebellions by finding new forms of control—internal control by their own organizations as well as outside control by law and force. But along with the new controls came new concessions. These concessions didn’t solve basic problems; for many people they solved nothing. But they helped enough people to create an atmosphere of progress and improvement, to restore some faith in the system. The minimum wage of 1938, which established the forty-hour week and outlawed child labor, left many people out of its provisions and set very low minimum wages (twenty-five cents an hour the first year). But it was enough to dull the edge of resentment. Housing was built for only a small percentage of the people who needed it. “A modest, even parsimonious, beginning,” Paul Conkin says (F.D.R. and the Origins of the Welfare State), but the sight of federally subsidized housing projects, playgrounds, vermin-free apartments, replacing dilapidated tenements, was refreshing.”

    The minimum wage was one of a group of “concessions” and “compromises” haphazardly put in place to save both the nation and capitalism. Unfortunately, they saved capitalism but not the nation. American capitalism today is as oppressive and anti-democratic as it was in 1940. The US has regressed from the tighter control and focused benefits of capitalism during 1945-1975. Economists get most of the relationships wrong. The shape of the economics is the result of political processes, not the reverse.

    • Rob Reno
      January 9, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      I think Ken is correct, with one tiny adjustment: “Economists get it wrong again,” and, again and again and again ;-) Why is that? I am growing weary of the old canard of “market-based solutions” when in reality there is no “invisible hand” out there making markets work or fail. Only special interests with power and money to influence the rules and/or lack thereof through political and social manipulation. Ken it on spot, “It is political through and through.” And the good news is we can teach our children to wake up to this and pay attention to the BS being pushed by the economic peddlers of bunkum stories.

      When corporations layoff — per David Weil’s “shedding employment” — workers and then rehire them through “third party vendors” that extract their benefits packages and leave them precarious “contingent” family wage earners its not by accident or some force of nature, it is by design.

      The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy (MIT Press)
      by Peter Temin
      Link: http://a.co/geIWCN0

      The Fissured Workplace
      by David Weil
      Link: http://a.co/4PgLpWV

      Reference List

      1. Nelson, Robert H. Economics as Religion [From Samuelson to Chicago and Beyond]. University Park: Pen State Press; 2014; p. 97.

      Notes: Twentieth-century American government, a new generation of social scientists would conclude, was still a product of the individual actions of the particular people (and interest groups) who typically acted in self-seeking–“rent-seeking,” as some economists later described it–ways. Indeed, as explained by political scientist Theodore Lowi in the late 1960s, the theories of “interest-group liberalism” had come to be accepted by much of the American political science profession. These theories suggested not only that American government was dominated in practice by the interactions of interest groups but also that this was the only realistic governing outcome in any democratic political system. (Nelson 2014, 97-98)

      Yet, as the “public choice” school of economics would soon demonstrate, any such conclusion raised profound problems for American democracy. It was not difficult to show that the interaction of interest groups in the political arena would result in violation of the basic American ideals of fairness and equality. As had happened often before in American history, the powers of government could easily be used to benefit narrow groups. (Nelson 2014, 98)

  7. January 9, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Craig,, Jan 9 at 4.50. You say “obsessive duality is not ultimate reality, but rather completely integrated duality within an integrative trinity-unity-greater oneness.”

    I take it you mean the ultimate reality is a trinity-unity into which duality is integrated. I don’t know about Steve Keen’s good luck, only that he is an open-minded looker, but in my own case the luck I had (after years playing with what flows in an economy around the triangle of input-process-reentrance of output) was to see a diagram with a point outside the triangle as, e.g. humans with four ways of relating to the Trinity, or a household economy comprising the kids consuming what the father produces and the mother distributes, but the old folk having time to develop better ways of doing things: something that I earned my living at but economic theory seemed to have entirely overlooked.

    So I agree with you on the Trinity, if it is a living trinity with life-blood circulating round it, but think about the extension of it.

  8. Rob Reno
    January 9, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    “The reason I can’t muster up an antipathy toward markets is because I believe the very existence of markets arises from one of the most fundamental aspects of our essential human nature:… Replacing markets—our instinct to trade some of what we have for something we don’t have—with something else is quite beyond my comprehension.”
    ~ James Kroeger

    I don’t believe that there is one form of capitalism any more than I believe their is one form of market. It seems there are different types of capitalisms/markets ranging from the extreme laissez-faire market fundamentalism preached here in the US to the state run capitalism of the former USSR and now Kleptocracy-capitalism of today (perhaps now even here in the US). Chinese capitalism is hardly the same as capitalism in the US. And I’m sure some bright economist can think one up (toy economy perhaps?) I don’t even know about.

    After reading Sedlacek’s Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street (Link: http://a.co/0DaC8D1) which traces the idea of a ‘market’ back to the Sumerians I pulled my Sumer literature off the shelf and gave it a read in this new light (Black, Jeremy et. al. 2004) and came across an interesting story of the conflict between the shepherd and the farmer. They eventually became and resolved their differences becoming friends by trading. I am also reminded of Adam Smith’s statement on the natural human “propensity to truck, barter, and exchange.”

    I agree, James, there a natural human “social” tendency to be willing to share, trade, etc. material things. I also hold out the hope that the “markets” can be made good (better?) by “determined collective efforts of educated individuals who prize economic justice as their supreme objective.” But then, that is a socio-political issue and we are right back to Adam Smith’s other – and some would argue more important – book The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Alas, we’re inevitably thrown back into the unavoidable fact we are then doing philosophy to one degree or another, consciously or unconsciously.

    Perhaps I have failed to be clear; it is not a desire to “muster up an antipathy toward markers” per se, but the propensity to reify the concept as though all “markets” are the same and can be substituted one for another. That is a subtle but insidious error I believe, yet a very populist interpretation of economist’s loose talk of markets and market solutions. Few live in little village towns where small family owned butchers, brewers, and/or bakers trade with one another. And few live off the land as self-sufficient farmers and shepherds trading their woven garments, beer, bread, or beans for meat, milk, curds, cheeses and butter respectively.

    The problem I see with such loose talk of markets and market solutions is that it hides important distinctions that have serious societal consequences. I can not count the number of times I have seen on social media market fundamentalists ignore predatory behavior whilst slinging out a caricature of the market with the retort, “Haven’t you read Adam Smith’s story of the butchers, brewers, and bakers!” as though that somehow ends the conversation. You cannot reason with those inside Plato’s cave unless you can tear down the wall of myth surrounding ‘markets’ to let in some light of how markets really behave in various contexts. It is this kind of loose talk of market solutions (not aimed at you James) that I am becoming so weary of for I see it as a real threat to our colletive wellbeing.

    Reference List

    1. Black, Jeremy et. al., eds. The Literature of Ancient Sumer. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2004.
    Notes: Dumuzid and Enkimdu

    (….) This is a debate between Dumuzid, the shepherd, and Enkimdu, a minor deity associated with cultivation and here representing the interests of the farmer…. Shepherds and farmers coexisted in the Mesopotamian economy and, while they may have had their differences, in many ways their interests were complementary.

    Here the debate is out in a dramatic context, since Inana’s brother the sun-god Utu is urging her to marry Dumuzid the shepherd (11-19), whereas Inana is more inclined to marry Enkimdu the farmer (7-10, 20-34). The shepherd insists that nothing which the farmer can offer–woven garments, beer, bread, or beans–is superior to the sheep, milk, curds, cheeses or butter that he, the shepherd, can produce (40-64).

    But just at the point when the debate might have become heated, following provocation from the shepherd, the farmer declines to argue, and good-naturedly allows the shepherd to graze his sheep on the stubble of the fields, and to water his flocks in the farmer’s canal. The two end up friends, and the farmer will provide the shepherd with wheat, beans, and barley. He will also continue to bring presents for Inana, even when she is married to Dumuzid.

    Translation

    (….) 20-34 ‘The shepherd shall not marry me! He shall not make me carry his garments of new wool. His brand new wool will not influence me. Let the farmer marry me, the maiden. With the farmer who grows colourful flax, with the farmer who grows dappled grain ….’
    35-9 These words … the shepherd, Dumuzid … to say …:
    40-54 ‘In what is the farmer superior to me …? Enkimdu, the man of the dykes and canals–in what is that farmer superior to me? Let him give me his black garment, and I will give the farmer my black ewe for it. Let him give me his white garment, and I will give the farmer my white ewe for it. Let him pour me his best beer, and I will pour the farmer my yellow milk for it. Let him pour me his fine beer, and I will pour the farmer my soured (?) milk for it. Let him pour me his brewed bear, and I will pour the farmer my whipped milk for it. Let him pour me his beer shandy, and I will pour the farmer my … milk for it.
    55-64 ‘Let him give me his best filtered beer, and I will give the farmer my curds (?). Let him give me his best bread, and I will give the farmer my … milk for it. Let him give me his little beans, and I will give the farmer my small cheeses for them. After letting him eat and letting him drink, I will even leave extra butter for him, and I will leave extra milk for him. In what is the farmer superior to me?
    65-73 He was cheerful, he was cheerful, at the edge of the river bank, he was cheerful. On the riverbank, the shepherd on the riverbank, now the shepherd was even pasturing the sheep on the riverbank. The farmer approached the shepherd there, the shepherd pasturing the sheep on the riverbank; the farmer Enkimdu approached him there, Dumuzid … the farmer, the king of dyke and canal. From the plain where he was, the shepherd from the plain where he was provoked a quarrel with him; the shepherd Dumuzid from the plain where he was provoked a quarrel with him.
    74-9 ‘Why should I compete against you, shepherd, I against you, shepherd, I against you? Let your sheep eat the grass of the riverbank, let your sheep graze on my stubble. Let them eat grain in the jeweled (?) fields of Unug, let you kids and lambs drink water from my Surungal canal.’
    80-3 ‘As for me, the shepherd: when I am married, farmer, you are going to be counted as my friend. Farmer Enkimdu, you are going to be counted as my friend, farmer, as my friend.’
    84-7 ‘I will bring you wheat, and I will bring you beans; I will bring you two-row barley from the threshing-floor. And you, maiden, I will bring you whatever you please, maiden Inana, … barley or … beans.’
    88-9 The debate between the shepherd and the farmer: maiden Inana, it is sweet to praise you!

    • Rob Reno
      January 9, 2018 at 6:53 pm

      As always, all fat-finger errors are mine alone, how I wish there was an “edit” button ;-)

    • Rob Reno
      January 9, 2018 at 6:55 pm

      BTW, I include myself in the category of those who sometimes engage in loose talk of markets and market solutions.

    • January 10, 2018 at 1:09 am

      …it is not a desire to “muster up an antipathy toward markers” per se, but the propensity to reify the concept as though all “markets” are the same and can be substituted one for another. That is a subtle but insidious error I believe, yet a very populist interpretation of economist’s loose talk of markets and market solutions.

      Absolutely. While I do not feel antipathy toward markets in the most general sense, I do feel antipathy toward certain markets in particular: the banking and finance industries, for example, stand out as morally bankrupt institutions that should be essentially legislated out of existence.

      Yes, I hate the financial services sector of the economy (we only hate that which we fear) but I view financial markets as grotesque cancers which developed and thrived on top of our economy’s basic market structure and not as the defining essence of what the marketplace overall has to offer us.

      It’s a bit ironic, I suppose, that the “market-based solution” I am advocating would be probably be regarded with horror (at first glance, anyway) by those Wall Street denizens who proudly identify themselves as “market enthusiasts.”

      • Rob Reno
        January 10, 2018 at 3:01 am

        Thanks James, will be reading your link.

      • Craig
        January 10, 2018 at 4:07 am

        “While I do not feel antipathy toward markets in the most general sense, I do feel antipathy toward certain markets in particular: the banking and finance industries, for example, stand out as morally bankrupt institutions that should be essentially legislated out of existence.

        Yes, I hate the financial services sector of the economy (we only hate that which we fear) but I view financial markets as grotesque cancers which developed and thrived on top of our economy’s basic market structure and not as the defining essence of what the marketplace overall has to offer us.”

        I completely agree with you about banking and finance, and your moral compass in this area is spot on. Finance has been the problematic business model for the last 5000 years as David Graeber has shown us. The biggest reason for this is that for large assets like homes, autos and speculative leveraged stock purchases private Finance is parasitic, destabilizing, dominating and extremely expensive additional cost that is post retail sale which (retail sale) is the terminal end of the entire ACTUALLY productive/economic system.

        We’re fooling ourselves if we do not see that the business model of Finance/Financial Services must therefore become merely another mark up retail type business model. And that is why the new economic paradigm is Integral Inclusion of All Business Models Within the Process That Ends At Retail Sale. Combine this with the new monetary paradigm of Direct and Reciprocal Monetary Gifting and it becomes apparent that Finance as it is now must surrender its money creating power to a national monetary authority with the sole ability to create all new credit and that also has the specific mandated policies that express the new paradigm of Gifting.

      • January 11, 2018 at 2:35 am

        “Thanks James, will be reading your link.”

        Prepare for an unexpected journey, Rob…

        You’ll find I’m a bit of a Hegelian synthesizer in that I am often able to take (political/economic) positions which appear on the surface to be diametrically opposed to each other and show that a unity of purpose can often be arrived at, once certain fundamental misunderstandings of fact are corrected…

  9. Rob Reno
    January 9, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    Some brand minimum wags laws as “socialism.” I weary of the level of ignorance in popular American society too.

  10. January 10, 2018 at 12:29 am

    YES, Ken, ” “It is political through and through.”
    Simply proven by “How we can correct or as others have stated…’SEVENTY percent of the people believe the American economy is rigged. And they’re right.
    EIGHTY percent of the people desire a change, a revolution. And they’re right.
    History has allowed an opportunity for “AMERICA TO MAKE ITSELF GREAT AGAIN.”
    We must mandate a reversal of “… an economic recovery program that has… fueled the increase in wealth inequality…”
    Reverse that program, make the money FLOW to “…help form a more perfect Union,
    establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote
    the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,…”
    “Yes, We Can Lower Taxes, Pay Off The Debt, And At The Same Time Increase Revenue.”
    IMMEDIATE STEP:

    “INEQUALITY and POVERTY REDUCTION ADJUSTMENT PROGRAM”
    ( I.P.R.A.P. )

    Capitalism demands inequality as a just proportional reward.
    It is the size of the “Gaps” where the administration of inequality becomes distorted.
    The size of the ‘Gaps’ are a demand of the administration of the quality and quantity of these ‘gaps’.
    Taxation is a ways and means by which a government controls the quality and quantity of its currency already in circulation. Currency that it can redistribute without changing the quality or quantity of the entire currency.
    American Capitalism should allow everyone to achieve
    ‘The American Dream’ and to retain that “Fair Share”.
    But that dream should not impede the poor and elderly from achieving their FAIR SHARE.
    Nor should it impede the risk and reward which will ultimately lead to a betterment for all.
    A federal taxation of personal income must recognize the sanctity of “The fruits of mankind’s labor”
    A federal taxation of personal income should be used to control the distribution of income to obtain a fair and just sharing of the American Dream, a just and fair sharing of the worlds riches while maintaining the greatest standard of living. Federal taxation is a control function.
    “Inequality and Poverty Reduction Adjustment Program” ( I.P.R.A.P. )’
    The only reason for a democratic republic to tax INDIVIDUAL INCOME should be for redistribution “for the General Welfare.”
    “Follow The Money-
    ALL income is taxable and must be reported.
    All income is to be taxed at the same rate-10%.
    NO exemptions. NO loopholes.Period.
    Only Deductions:
    This plan will increase the standard deduction for joint filers to $80,000,
    and the standard deduction for single filers will be $40,000.
    Tax must be paid, any claim of injustice may be filed for a proportional refund, if approved, it shall become a tax credit in the next year.

    What Congress does with the revenue received from this taxation becomes the issue.

    How Congress decides as the result of conscious decisions by those in power; how this revenue is to be redistributed will determine the change in the “gaps” of inequality, either an increase or a decrease.

    When 100% of this revenue is redistributed to the lower 80%:
    Why not an 8% reimbursement of local taxes for all filers whose income is less than the standard of living, an Increase in Social Security, a $3000 veteran benefit, a $2000 education benefit ? How can you count the ways that will make the money FLOW to “…help form a more perfect Union, establish Justice,
    insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure
    the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,…”
    “INEQUALITY and POVERTY REDUCTION ADJUSTMENT PROGRAM” ( I.P.R.A.P. )”

    • January 10, 2018 at 2:06 pm

      Carmen,

      Let me be specific for a few moments. First, capitalism may “demand” inequality. But democracy demands equality – one person, one vote; before the law; in opportunity. Second, it is by taxation that civilizations support themselves and take care of their citizens, democratically speaking. Third, humans invented civilization and communities to ensure humanity survived, with as much benefit to each member of the civilization as possible. Each member had duties and obligations to the civilization, up to and including their life. This includes children and the elderly. Individuals only exist in the context of a civilization. “Individual-human” is oxymoronic. Fourth, risk and adventurism may be useful for society’s welfare. But they also present very real dangers that must be guarded against. Finally, rather than retaining capitalism, with more of less elaborate tax plans, I suggest switching over to democratic socialism so that economic decisions are once against political decisions made by voting, rather than markets.

      • January 10, 2018 at 4:34 pm

        Ken,”Let me be specific for a few moments. First, capitalism may “demand” inequality. But democracy demands equality…”
        Yes, both statements may be correct but not the same.
        Capitalism is a type of economy; democracy is a type of government. A capitalistic economy can be controlled by a democratic gov. and provide all with the “equality demands” of both governing and economics. Allowing for ‘inequality’ in economics while guarding against abuse of ‘ rights for the General Welfare’. The inequality is in within the economic rights of participants;however, they must not hinder the rights of the entire group. We have legislated present American Capitalism, “… an economic recovery program that has… fueled the increase in wealth inequality…”
        Reverse that program, make the money FLOW to “…help form a more perfect Union,
        establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote
        the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,…”
        A complex solution- repeal multiple legislation that favors the inequality of economics…
        or
        A simple solution-make the money flow properly.

      • January 11, 2018 at 10:37 am

        Carmen,

        Guarding the rights of all Americans in the face of economic inequality (or enormous inequality) which can easily be turned into inequality in political power and access, and thus into inequality in food, shelter, salaries, etc. Thus far, humans have evolved biologically through within group selection. That is, groups determine which humans survive and which do not. Humans have not evolved via individual selection. The problems humanity faces today are in large part the result of a cultural focus on individual achievement which conflicts with humans’ biological history. This is not easily resolved. In fact, may be at this point irresolvable. I’m afraid to say that its resolution may cause the deaths of many humans before/if it can be resolved.

        Edward,

        What Meutzelfeltd describes is typical of human evolution (biological). Unlike animal societies, human societies are reverse dominance (pro social) and have been for 2 million years. In our distant ancestors, members of groups found ways to collectively suppress disruptive self-serving behaviors, which provides a more hospitable social environment for cooperation. Pro-sociality was the path favoring human survival. Suppression removes the possibility that one individual succeeds at the expense of others within the same group, the only alternative is to cooperate within your group in competition with other groups, which might take the form of direct competition such as warfare, or indirect competition such as surviving during hard times as other groups perish. In terms of this history, there is conflict between two primary groups today in America. One group is the wealthy; the other is the non-wealthy. Demarcating the groups is sometimes fuzzy and there is cross over. Even traitors. But the basics are simple. Homo Sapiens as a species—cooperating within their groups in a way that is rigorously policed and behaving as a corporate unit toward other groups in a way that was adapted to the ecological context. As noted in my response to Carmen, the problems humanity faces today are in large part the result of a cultural focus on individual achievement which conflicts with humans’ biological history. If allowed to continue these conflicts can destroy not just our current civilizations, but bring on the end of our species. Since it’s impossible to quickly (within 100 years) change human biological evolution, the changes to fix current failures must be cultural. Based on what I see happening right now, this will be hard to accomplish.

      • January 18, 2018 at 12:36 am

        Ken, ” Thus far, humans have evolved biologically through within group selection. That is, groups determine which humans survive and which do not. ” Yet, you have stated “Let me be specific for a few moments. First, capitalism may “demand” inequality. But democracy demands equality…” NOT SO IF 51% were to determine that the 49% shall not have the right to live, (,as Soddy stated, “…money now is a license to live.”) It is ‘what is legislated’ by whatever form of government that will demand What equality shall be.

      • January 20, 2018 at 6:56 am

        Justaluckyfool, money has corrupted democracy as far back as ancient Athens. But still the goal of democracy is for all citizens to have an equal voice in decision making. Of course, the struggle always is to negotiate what equal voice and citizens are.

  11. January 10, 2018 at 10:47 am

    The comments here concerning markets are all interesting and mostly well-taken. Markets operate, in fact only exist because they frame away all the connections, relations, and effects which agents do not consider in their calculations when entering into a market transaction. But the framing always overflows in unpredictable ways and for many different reasons. In this way markets can be plagued with all sorts of relationships, desires, and agents involved in much more that buying-selling. In my mind there is no greater justification for political regulation of markets. When markets maintain the participants as strangers, with no interest but buying-selling with unknown other participants, markets can thus provide useful, sometimes even essential services to all members of societies. When they do not maintain such, they are major threats to the good and continuing functioning of the societies they’re supposed to serve. Industrial markets in America should have created a minimum wage for industrial employees in late 19th and early 20th century of America. After all, a solid minimum wage that compensates workers fairly would strengthen America’s industries and make all of America richer. But personal and family rivalries, yearnings for control of the nation by the richest Americans, and racial, ethnic, and class hatreds attacked the markets and made that impossible. These also made impossible outside oversight and regulation of markets to ensure they operated as disinterested platforms for buying and selling. When America’s industrial markets failed, it wasn’t these factors that were blamed, however. It was communism/socialism, striking workers, and inept legislators who could not or would not keep workers “in-their-place.”

  12. Edward Ross
    January 10, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    As a retired worker it is great to see these posts but I would like to see some more of these conversations . First capitalism may” demand” inequality, but democracy demands ‘equality’. and in one of your earlier posts you suggested they are strongly opposed to one and other .i do not have a problem with that statement. However I do believe this could be used effectively if we had a genuine form of democracy where the people were aware of their rights and obligations that included accessing government to address their concerns. Thus the way I see it is although most people assume we have a democratic government the reality is many nations are becoming governed by a dictatorial executive and the wealthy elite under the banner of main stream neoliberal economics. To me this highlights the need to educate and inform the people of their democratic right to access government to address their concerns. Now a comment on the last part of the above post one of my last forms of employment was as a worker in a coal mine where I was elected to become a mine site union leader because of my balanced attitude. In that position I found that the best way to deal with workers problems was to have meaningful discussion with management before resorting to strikes.
    Here I would like to introduce one writer some of the important changes that mainstream neoliberalism has forced on ordinary citizens. This is Michael Meutzelfeltd’s view:
    ” This chapter analyses the implications for a reduced sense of citizenship and narrower sense of democratic politics in the practice of economic liberalism in the 1990s. In several English-speaking countries , privatising formerly public authorities, implementing the purchaser- provider split in benefit delivery, and contracting out diverse services has seen advocacy groups excluded from any input into public decision-making. Community service obligations in service provision contracts rest on a much- reduced sense of what is public about public interests. In practice, ordinary citizens have borne the risk of unexpected costs and paid for the differences between a holistic sense of public interests and an individualistic and aggregative sense of public interests. This anti-democratic shift in the practical working of a welfare state has therefore entailed reducing citizens to being market- orientated customers. The chapter concludes that what is most important today is to insist that any sense of citizenship an democracy must be considered political and debateable rather than an unreflective expression of either traditional welfare state or efficiency agendas.” The Changing State and Changing Citizenship MechaeI Meutzelfeltd. cited Citizenship and Democracy in a Global Era edit Andrew Vandenberg Deakin University press (2000)
    From an ordinary old one finger typist citizen this makes a lot of sense, in response to Ken Zimmermans invitation to comment on ‘has democracy facilitated or o hindered Homo Sapiens survival because this should be a powerful argument for democracy, my concern is can I do this important subject justice.

  13. Edward Ross
    January 11, 2018 at 10:58 am

    Apologies Carmen I also think your post is worthy of more discussion

  14. Edward Ross
    January 11, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    What I should have include in the last post was I believe in a democratic society workers should have the right to negotiate with their capitalist masters for a just wage. However I also believe the unions need to reform the way they operate by allowing members to vote by secrete ballet and encourage balanced education for their leaders. Which should equip them to negotiate with management in a civil manner instead of self defeating antagonism. Here I think because of the type of education or lack of education many workers have had that to enjoy the privileges of democracy one has to accept the obligations involved in a democratic system. Here from experience I believe understanding the group social culture of people working living in close contact with one and other, without contact with other groups tends to construct closed circuit paradigms and ideologies. Here we should note that description also applies to ivory tower academics. Thus the way I see it is, the solution to the minimum wage problem lies in connecting meaningful conversations between workers, the severely disadvantaged and academics. Again from my experience in these tough times where many people are struggling to survive there is a growing number of them that are aware that the current political economic system is controlled by the extreme wealthy in the capitalist system. Therefore I suggest empowering these people with the confidence to express their concerns could be an important step in reforming economics,

  15. January 11, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    Yes, Edward Ross “Again from my experience in these tough times where many people are struggling to survive there is a growing number of them that are aware that the current political economic system is controlled by the extreme wealthy in the capitalist system. Therefore I suggest empowering these people with the confidence to express their concerns could be an important step in reforming economics,”
    “SEVENTY percent of the people believe the American economy is rigged. And they’re right.
    EIGHTY percent of the people desire a change, a revolution. And they’re right.
    History has allowed an opportunity for “AMERICA TO MAKE ITSELF GREAT AGAIN.”
    We must mandate a reversal of “… an economic recovery program that has… fueled the increase in wealth inequality…”
    Reverse that program, make the money FLOW to “…help form a more perfect Union,
    establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote
    the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,…”
    “Yes, We Can Lower Taxes, Pay Off The Debt, And At The Same Time Increase Revenue.”
    IMMEDIATE STEP: Each election replace any legislator that will not swear to Make The Money Flow for the betterment of all.(@justaluckyfool)

  16. January 14, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    Craig stated in the above: “Finance as it is now must surrender its money creating power to a national monetary authority with the sole ability to create all new credit and that also has the specific mandated policies that express the new paradigm of Gifting”. Not sure what the “new paradigm of gifting” is? But one way to reign in financial markets, the greed of the rich and their appropriation of most of the wealth created is monetary reform: taking away the right to create money from private banks and handing it back to where it belongs: the state, as representative of the general public. Not only to provide credit – which could and should be done by both private and public banks, though not by creating money through a simple accounting procedure – but especially, to create debt-free money. Money that I think should be invested in improving and financing public services – think free education and health care – and a global program for sustainable development to address the world’s environmental problems and ensure all of humanity gains access to the services essential for satisfying people’s basic needs.
    This way of spending the dividends from public money creation is a political choice: one can also use it, in line with Steve Keens proposals, for a debt jubilee – with the consequence of increased non-sustainable consumption. Or for lowering taxes. But however the money is spent: public money creation has major advantages over out present monetary system.
    For more on monetary reform see a.o. the work of Positive Money in England and the American Monetary Institute in the US.
    Of course, banks would be strongly opposed to their current privilege being taken away. But they’re not even the greatest obstacle. That’s economists, who shudder at and discard even the thought of government taking over a task which is now done so efficiently by the market, meaning private banks.
    For more information on monetary reform I’ll be happy to send you a booklet on the subject (aimed at a broad audience, so maybe too low-brow for some of you, but with references to more technical stuff). And for what to about economics visit my website http://new-economics.info/ for a free download of my book “Crisis, Economics and the Emperor’s Clothes”.

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