LPE of Money Reading Group

Joel Michaels & David Herman

The goal of this reading group is to consider the constitutive role of law in the value, production, and circulation of money, as well as its attendant impacts on inequality and economic injustice.

In the first part of the course, participants will grapple with theoretical building-blocks for understanding the mechanics of the money supply and the government’s role in managing it. We will focus on developing a deep understanding of Post-Keynesian economics, as well as interrelated sociological, historical and legal scholarship. We will also discuss the practical significance of these theories for understanding central banking and contemporary finance, including questions such as why the Federal Reserve uses private banks to mediate the money supply, and what role controlling fiscal balances should play in management of the economy.

In the latter half of the course, participants will use the frameworks developed thus far to explore critiques of the modern financial system and novel institutional designs. We will discuss the impact of monetary policy, banking regulation, international capital flows, and populist protectionism on economic, racial, and international inequality. We will also examine proposed alternatives to the contemporary architecture, including the decentralization of money creation, a national investment agency, a federal jobs guarantee, and the use of monetary policy to promote sustainable development (including a “Green New Deal”).

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