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1000 Castaways: Fundamentals of Economics Kindle Edition
"MMT in a nutshell!"
"This book provides an easily accessible window on a macroeconomic perspective that differs substantially from the mainstream - it differs the most in that it accurately describes the way our monetary system works and how we can take advantage of that to optimize our economy for the greatest benefit to all. While the book doesn't use the terms "endogenous money", "horizontal and vertical money", "sectoral flows and balances", or "job guarantee", it discusses all of these topics and more in easy to grasp language. Whether you are new to the topic of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) or just looking for another way to spread the word, 1000 Castaways will be a great addition to your library!" Christina S.
"Straightforward and illuminating"
"Distilling 9000 years of economic evolution into a mere 5 chapters is an incredible feat. Describing the story of this evolution in a small enough scale to actually hold it in your mind all at once is just brilliant. Kudos to Mr. Ballinger!" Jerimiah
"Excellent explanations in a relatable, accessible format. Highly recommend this work!" Tyrone Houck
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B07PWRXTF2
- Publisher : Aetiology Press (23 March 2019)
- Language : English
- File size : 3505 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 77 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 458,999 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from other countries
MMT changed my world view.
Hopefully it will change yours too.
The weak spots are some of the same criticisms lodged at MMT in general. As Cullen Roche puts it “MMT has an excessively state-centric view of the world. The entire theory can be summarized as an excuse for government spending and a government job program.” While state-centrism is reality and thus 1000 Castaways paints an accurate picture on that front, the book misses the chance to fully address the lack of fiscal and monetary policy coordination that is today’s reality.
The section on quantitative easing (QE) at the end misses the mark as well by stating that it did nothing to stimulate the economy. Even if you believe the QE artificially inflated asset prices to stimulate the economy, which it did, it’s hard to miss the irony of saying that it doesn’t work in a book about a theory that proposes artificially inflating everything else. That’s what fiscal spending does. Of course, we’d rather inflate wages and food in people’s bellies than asset prices, but the mechanism works similarly.
Overall, this is a good foundation for the MMT origin story. Ballinger’s island could become analogous with Adam Smith’s butcher, brewer, and baker who had a surplus and needed an instrument with which to trade. It’s a great work and could be important as MMT is further debated.
The book has two parts. In the first, a simple island model (the castaways) illustrates basic concepts; the second part addresses the real world. The book closes with brief notes on historical evolution of trade and national economies (Ballinger is a social scientist with a geography PhD), and references to related work.
What I liked most: Ballinger usefully distinguishes between Horizontal Money and Vertical Money. In the island, a system of debt ("promises to pay") arises spontaneously in response to the myriad problems individuals face in island survival. This system further evolves with the recognition that such promises can be transferred, and held by trusted groups (think: banks) acting as intermediaries, middlemen. A key component of economic growth and prosperity is born: credit. But the real value of "Horizontal Money" is what it permits: a system of trust, allowing individuals to profitably interact with another, create capital, maximize available resources, undertake specialized, productive endeavors.
The above private system is limited, however. It provides no easy means of accomplishing tasks or providing goods that benefit all, but for which no individual is willing (or able) to bear the burden: health, safety, education, knowledge, protection, infrastructure and other capital improvements. But production of these goods would catalyze the private system, allowing the island's aggregate prosperity to grow far more than the sum of its private parts allow. To accomplish these projects, the islanders can supply labor, for which their contribution is recorded ("tax credits", or "Vertical Money"). The two money systems are melded by denominating the "promises-to-pay" (horizontal) system of debts and credits in the same (vertical) units of "tax credits". Progress!
With the these insights in hand, Ballinger evaluates how these systems interact in our real economy. A key point: many of our current problems derive not from inherent structural limitations of our economy, but from a misunderstanding of how it really operates, a confusion that poses severe obstacles to prosperity. It's a super book. The endnotes briefly touch on trade relationships, the export of high tech goods and the positive, agglomerative effects such export induces (in contrast to unsustainable export of raw materials): these insights are spot on.
I hope this simple book reaches a wide audience: we all deserve the benefit of the insight it provides.