I finally got around to reading the late David Graeber’s masterful book Bullshit Jobs: A Theory. Graeber brilliantly explores the hidden underworld of “bullshit jobs,” which he defines as “a form of paid employment that is so completely pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious that even the employee cannot justify its existence even though, as part of the conditions of employment, the employee feels obliged to pretend that this is not the case.” …


There is a massive amount of confusion, both in popular discourse and in actual academic economics, around the concepts of saving and investment. Much of this trouble hails from a very deep misconception of what “finance” is.

Finance refers, in the most basic sense, to your ability to pay for stuff. In an economic context we’re often talking specifically about paying for investment goods (eg. factory machines and inventories), and this is because a basic dilemma in capitalism revolves around the fact that production takes place before sales — that is, businesses have to pay to produce a good, that…


Warren Mosler and other MMTers have emphasized for decades that “the currency is a public monopoly,” which means that, just as the monopolist sets the price of its product, the government has pricing power over the currency. For MMT this doesn’t come from setting the quantity of money or something like that, but rather by specifying what you have to do to get the money from the government — that is, the prices government pays when it spends money into the economy (or the collateral demanded when it lends). …


In the face of the Coronavirus crisis, the immediate focus of economic attention is, quite rightly, on relief. But after relief, we will face a vexing question that we must answer: who will take the economic losses wrought by this pandemic?

Every individual, corporation, city government, etc. has bills to pay — these are its cash commitments, or cash outflows. To make these payments, they require financing of some kind — cash inflows. A significant fraction of our economic activities revolve around balancing our pledged cash outflows with our expected cash inflows.

But the virus and our response to it…

Sam Levey

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