How Credit-Money Shapes the Economy: The United States in a Global System

By Robert Guttmann | Go to book overview

Notes

Chapter 1
1.
When that debt comes due, it can under normal conditions simply be rolled over. Old debt is thus replaced by new debt. Provided such refinancing continues, our foreign debt may thus never be repaid. But we do have to service that debt in the form of interest payments to foreign bondholders. These amount to a resource transfer from the United States to the rest of the world, one which already absorbs nearly 1 percent of our annual gross national product. In other words, the U.S. economy has to generate an additional 1 percent per year just to stay even. If we want to avoid squeezing domestic activity (i.e., consumption, investment, government spending), that percentage point is best created by improving our foreign trade balance.
2.
The term "megaeconomics" was coined by Walter Russell Mead ( 1989, p. 429).
3.
The origins of neoclassical economics date from the 1870s, most notably William Stanley Jevons ( 1871), Carl Menger ( 1871), and Leon Walras ( 1874). Another early contribution of great importance was that of Alfred Marshall ( 1890).
4.
Modern followers of Walras, such as Gerard Debreu ( 1959), have recognized how unrealistic this auction process is. Instead, they only specify the conditions necessary to ensure that at least one position of general equilibrium exists.
5.
In these neoclassical growth models, such as those of Robert Solow ( 1956) and Timothy Swan ( 1956), the burden of adjustment falls entirely on the capital-output ratio.
6.
For an excellent discussion of uncertainty and risk in economic theory, see Chapman Findlay and Edward Williams ( 1985).
7.
See in particular William Stanley Jevons ( 1871), whose proclamation on the very first page of his book that "value depends entirely upon utility" was almost diametrically opposed to the then-dominant classical tradition. It should be noted that utility is a metaphysical concept which cannot be measured objectively and has to be defined in terms of itself. It is the characteristic of commodities that makes individuals want to buy them, and individuals buy commodities to enjoy utility in consuming them.
8.
See, for example, Karl Marx ( 1867), Thorstein Veblen ( 1942), Joseph Schumpeter ( 1942), or John Kenneth Galbraith ( 1967). Despite criticizing capitalism from very different angles, these authors all acknowledged the profound dynamism of this system as a continuous source of broad societal transformations.
9.
Some of the more thoughtful neoclassical economists, such as Richard Clower ( 1967) or Frank Hahn ( 1973), have recognized that there exists a clear contradiction

-489-

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