Modern Money Theory: A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems (英語) ペーパーバック – 2015/9/22
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This second edition explores how money 'works' in the modern economy and synthesises the key principles of Modern Money Theory, exploring macro accounting, currency regimes and exchange rates in both the USA and developing nations.
'This book paves the way for another revolution in macroeconomics. Wray shows us how an economy with modern money works and, more importantly, how it can be used to lift us to a more prosperous tomorrow.' Stephanie Kelton, University of Missouri-Kansas City
'Wray debunks so many of the destructive beliefs that have contributed to our current economic and social malaise. This is a primer that should not only become mandatory reading for students of economics, but any policy maker who truly wants to deal with the grave disasters engendered from years of 'reading from the wrong playbook'.' Marshall Auerback, Director of the Economists for Peace and Security (epsusa.org) and a research associate at the Levy Institute商品の説明をすべて表示する
The main message is that “taxes drive money”. That is, a government’s imposition of taxes and fees is what obliges its residents to work for the currency issued by the government to pay those taxes and fees. This spending (on goods and services produced from resident work) by the government thus comes before taxes, not after, so that the conventional story is incorrect (that a government must collect taxes before it can spend). And if a government, like the US, floats it foreign exchange rates, it always creates money “out of thin air” by crediting certain bank reserve accounts. The actual constraints on money come from the government’s budget and from the monetary goals, such as inflation and employment, set by the monetary authorities (the Fed and the Treasury in the US).
Thus governments do not need any “backing” of their money supply by a commodity, such as gold or oil. However, what Wray does not emphasize is that a different kind of backing is needed instead. This is simply that a government must be effective and strong enough to (1) collect the taxes and fees it imposes and (2) to provide the kind of goods and services that its citizens expect. Governmental failure on either score may lead to widespread tax evasion or resistance, undermining the government’s ability to manage the economy and thus the currency too. This is a big problem for some developing countries, who often peg their currency to another currency, like the US dollar, to maintain its credibility. However Wray points out that this pegging often prevents full employment policies, enabling local elites to import luxuries instead.
Concerning taxes, Wray emphasizes the model of sin taxes, viewing excessive income as a “sin” because the resulting economic inequality is so damaging to society. Strangely he does not extend this concept to large corporations, as their monopoly power is certainly a “sin”, both from the point of view of smaller businesses and from the resulting concentration of wealth and power. But his point is correct – that we don’t have to tax the rich to help the poor – advocating taxation and regulation to “predistribute” wealth rather “redistribute” it. Strangely he does not cite the most obvious form for predistribution: universal ownership, like the Alaska Permanent Fund (all residents get a share of the oil revenue).
But Wray’s prescription is even better: full employment, achieved by government as the employer of last resort. Such programs have been highly effective, from the US in the 1930s to Argentina more recently. These programs not only obviate the need for most forms of “welfare” but provide “automatic stabilizers” during business cycles. Of course, strong opposition comes from businesses, who want the cheap labor that comes from a “reserve army of the unemployed”, but some are realizing that the political upheaval eventually generated by economic inequality is even more of a threat.
At first the argument is strange as most of think about money only as a mean of exchange. Yet, the arguments are clear and strong. It really gets you to think, and interpret the world in a new way.