National Economy?

At first glance the notion of a national economy would seem to be self-evident. After all, the lion’s share of economic data comes in the form of “national accounts,” which treat the nation as a self-contained economic entity, like a business. And the talk, when it comes to the economy, is always of how the … Continue reading “National Economy?”

Capitalism and the “Modern World System”

World system analysis was first developed in the early 1970s as an alternative to the traditional nation-state-oriented analysis of the global economy. In its initial form (which has since been expanded – even, significantly, to ancient Mesopotamia[1]) the focus was put on the modern world system, as evidenced by the title of the pioneering work … Continue reading “Capitalism and the “Modern World System””

Isaac Newton and the Alchemy of Finance

Western Christendom experienced a sea change in the late 17th century. On one side of that divide was theological dogmatics, scholastic philosophy, the divine right of kings and priests, and, seemingly in their train, wars of religion; on the other side, there was theological indifference, mechanical philosophy, government by consent of the governed, latitudinarian and … Continue reading “Isaac Newton and the Alchemy of Finance”

Honest Money?

“Honest money” is a phrase bandied about as a self-evident truth. As the accompanying graph indicates, its incidence coincides with the heyday of the gold standard. As such, it is the pithy summary of a strongly-held view on the nature of money, which at the time of the gold standard had a highly political charge. … Continue reading “Honest Money?”

Weighing the Gold Standard

Seeing as how the gold standard is a “money method”[1] by which all exchange value is made dependent upon the weight of a certain substance, viz., gold, it would seem appropriate to “weigh it up” to determine whether or not, “weighed in the balance,” it is “found wanting.” Indeed, weight measurement was the standard of … Continue reading “Weighing the Gold Standard”

Fact and Fiction on Reserve Requirements

In the system we have now, we do use both a reserve restriction and an asset restriction. But, the modern reserve restriction has changed fundamentally, and has nothing to do with the monetarist understanding of reserve restrictions, except in a purely formal sense. In the day of specie convertibility, reserve restriction had a definite functionality. … Continue reading “Fact and Fiction on Reserve Requirements”

Why We Do NOT Have a Fractional-Reserve System

This blog entry is for anyone who believes, as John Tamny here puts it, that “Fractional reserve banking quite simple IS.” Among the many good points Tamny makes in his article, there is the underlying assumption that our system is, in some important sense, a fractional-reserve system. But is this a valid contention? My contention … Continue reading “Why We Do NOT Have a Fractional-Reserve System”

Private Issue of Money — the Root of Our Monetary Problem?

In a comment posted under an article by my friend Jerry Bowyer (Where’s the Hyperinflation?), “ps61penn62prin64” writes that “private currency monetary systems… are doomed to fail the interest of American citizens.” Bowyer’s article discusses the sizeable increase in the money supply generated by the Fed, and how this has — or has not — affected … Continue reading “Private Issue of Money — the Root of Our Monetary Problem?”

Jimmy Stewart Banking versus James Steuart Banking

In his excellent book The New Lombard Street, Perry Mehrling writes of “a world that never was … Jimmy Stewart banking of blessed memory” (p. 117). This is an obvious  reference to one of Jimmy Stewart’s most famous roles: George Bailey in the holiday classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life. In the movie, Bailey is … Continue reading “Jimmy Stewart Banking versus James Steuart Banking”