direct finance, basic income, UBI

The Case for People’s Quantitative Easing by Frances Coppola – 2019 reviews

blurb:”In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, central banks created trillions of dollars of new money, and poured it into financial markets. ‘Quantitative Easing’ (QE) was supposed to prevent deflation and restore economic growth. But the money didn’t go to ordinary people: it went to the rich, who didn’t need it. It went to big corporations and banks – the same banks whose reckless lending caused the crash. This led to a decade of stagnation, not recovery. QE failed. In this book, Frances Coppola makes the case for a ‘people’s QE’, in which the money goes directly to ordinary people and small businesses. She argues that it is the fairest and most effective way of restoring crisis-hit economies and helping to solve the long-term challenges of ageing populations, automation and climate change”

‘Irresponsible bank lending caused the crisis of 2008, and increased inequality dramatically. Bernanke’s Quantitative Easing rewarded banks, and increased inequality further. I agree with Coppola that the next QE should be for the people. Read this book to learn how it would work.’ Steve Keen

‘Frances Coppola is a world expert on commercial and central banking. Her defence of “People’s QE” is a must-read for all those engaged in the debate. No one else could approach this subject more authoritatively.’ Ann Pettifor

Give People Money: The Simple Idea to Solve Inequality and Revolutionise Our Lives by Annie Lowrey – 2018 reviews

“A brilliantly reported, global look at universal basic income–a stipend given to every citizen–and why it might be necessary for our age of rising inequality, persistent poverty, and dazzling technology

Imagine if every month the government deposited $1,000 into your checking account, with nothing expected in return. It sounds crazy, but it has become one of the most influential and hotly debated policy ideas of our time. Futurists, radicals, libertarians, socialists, union representatives, feminists, conservatives, Bernie supporters, development economists, child-care workers, welfare recipients, and politicians from India to Finland to Canada to Mexico–all are talking about UBI.

In this sparkling and provocative book, economics writer Annie Lowrey looks at the global UBI movement. She travels to Kenya to see how a UBI is lifting the poorest people on earth out of destitution, India to see how inefficient government programs are failing the poor, South Korea to interrogate UBI’s intellectual pedigree, and Silicon Valley to meet the tech titans financing UBI pilots in expectation of a world with advanced artificial intelligence and little need for human labor.

Lowrey examines the potential of such a sweeping policy and the challenges the movement faces, among them contradictory aims, uncomfortable costs, and, most powerfully, the entrenched belief that no one should get something for nothing. She shows how this arcane policy offers not only a potential answer for our most intractable economic and social problems, but also a better foundation for our society in this age of turbulence and marvels.”

Give People Money is extraordinary, and the world has never needed it more. Annie Lowrey has a talent for making radical ideas feel not just possible―but necessary. This is a book that could change everything. ― Jessica Valenti, Guardian columnist

Give People Money is about Universal Basic Income in the way that Moby Dick is about a whale. If you want to learn about UBI, read this book. If you don’t care about UBI, but you’re interested in how technology is changing our economy, how the character of work is transforming, what poverty looks like globally, and how governments might more ably aid their citizens, then you really must read this book. ― Shamus Khan, Professor of Sociology at Columbia and author of PRIVILEGE

Send everyone a monthly check? Eliminate all welfare bureaucracies? Even if you don’t believe that technology reduces the total number of jobs, the idea of a universal basic income is worth analyzing. In this provocative book, Annie Lowrey explores the history, practicality, and philosophical basis of an idea now drawing attention from all points on the political spectrum ― Walter Isaacson

Like it or hate it, the UBI is the biggest social policy idea of the 21st century so far. Annie Lowrey’s book is the best study yet of the world’s experiences with UBI. It deserves acclaim and, more important, the close attention of policy makers ― Lawrence H. Summers, former Treasury Secretary of the United States

A fantastic introduction to UBI that’s both thorough and accessible. ― Albert Wenger, Union Square Ventures –This text refers to the paperback edition.

Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen by Guy Standing – 2017 reviews

blurb: Shouldn’t everyone receive a stake in society’s wealth? Could we create a fairer world by granting a guaranteed income to all? What would this mean for our health, wealth and happiness? Basic Income is a regular cash transfer from the state, received by all individual citizens. It is an acknowledgement that everyone plays a part in generating the wealth currently enjoyed only by a few. Political parties across the world are now adopting it as official policy and the idea generates headlines every day. Guy Standing has been at the forefront of thought about Basic Income for the past thirty years, and in this book he covers in authoritative detail its effects on the economy, poverty, work and labour; dissects and disproves the standard arguments against Basic Income; explains what we can learn from pilots across the world and illustrates exactly why a Basic Income has now become such an urgent necessity.

‘Basic Income is an idea whose time has come, and Guy Standing has pioneered our understanding of it… Standing’s analysis is vital’ Paul Mason

‘Guy Standing has been at the forefront of the movement for nearly 4 decades, and in this superb and thorough survey he explains how it works and why it has the potential to revitalise life and democracy in our societies. This is an essential book.’ Brian Eno 2021 Why a basic income, and why is now the time? Field-notes from Ireland during the Covid-19 pandemic – by Kevin Ryan

Picture this: June 1832, and one Mr. Majendie is giving evidence to a Royal Commissioninto the Operation of the Poor Laws, which employed twenty-six Assistant Commissioners tocollect evidence from some three-thousand parishes in England and Wales

…”…In the thick of this discussion … was an age-old distinction between ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor…”…

caw/gm on QE, direct finance, UBI 2019 “The Board Memebers’ Memo”

…”…Much of this weekend’s research has led me back to old yields from heterodox pastures I was grazing ten years ago. The take-away then was this: The most important means of production under capitalism are the means of producing money.

As to the fact that most money is not produced by central but private banks we apparently still live in a world where 80% of the UK population, and 84% (!) of MP’s do not know this. One can only speculate on the percentage of either who would refuse to believe it even if confronted with mountains of evidence.

Not surprising perhaps, given that prior to the Fed hinting and the BoE officially confirming this fact (and other CB’s feeling obliged to follow suit) anyone whispering it was typically stigmatized as stupid, subversive, or insane by mainstream dogma, let alone banks.

So why did central banks suddenly decide to risk the revolutionary wrath of the masses with this piece of enlightenment?

Probably because central bankers could see the poisoned buck being pointed at them by both politicians and private bankers. So best to remind everyone that, actually, they are not really in control of the production of new money. All they can really do is a bit of largely ineffectual smoke signalling?

For those willing and able to reconsider their own cognitive biases a collection of relevant readings below.  None of them are about defending real existing QE. Then or now. Rather they are about the wider historical and theoretical context in general and about the particular alternative of People’s QE, “helicopter money” and basic income.

For a very comprehensive paper referencing all of the issues raised below and more go straight to Richard A.Werner’s “A lost century in economics: Three theories of banking and the conclusive evidence”

My research starts from his conclusion that “…economics seems to have made no progress in the 20th century concerning a pivotal issue, namely the role of banks …”, or, as I put it earlier, the control of the means of the production of money.

Annie Lowrey Give People Money

Currently I am puzzled debates do not seem to link peoples’ QE with UBI?

But for now let’s stick with QE and restart with Positive Money’s summary: 

“A decade ago, the ECB’s monetary policy made a significant contribution to overcoming the severe recession and consolidating growth thereafter. However … the longer the ultra-low or negative interest rate policy and liquidity flooding of markets continue, the greater the potential for a setback. …

(These) policies are making the rich richer and doing little for anyone else. … (They) have pushed up the value of those assets, delivering a knock-on boost to property prices. The idea is that because the people who own assets will feel wealthier, they’ll be encouraged to spend more. This is a just one particular form of the “trickle-down effect”. But it doesn’t work. …

And yet the Bank of England has alternative powerful policy tools with the potential to support a stronger and fairer economy. Instead of pumping money into financial markets, it could be spent via the government into infrastructure, green technology, or as a direct boost to household finances….”

And money reformer Joseph Huber “concludes that … monetary financing … in lieu of conventional … QE … would immediately benefit real investment and purchasing power.”

More mainstream a new book was recently launched by Frances Coppola.

Frances Coppola The case for Peoples' QE

No relation to Francis. Still, John Authers can’t resist “the Smell of Monetary Napalm in the Morning” and recommends Coppola’s The Case for People’s Quantitative Easing.

“Why?” (Because it) … is well and clearly written (and) gives a clear narrative explaining the evolution of …QE. … It also goes through the largely disappointing history of the last decade and makes a clear prescription for the future.”

Mathew D. Rose suggests that “… the absurdity is …” not the idea of helicopter money but “… that, after ten years of failure, current central bank policies are still being taken seriously.”

And “… the Resolution Foundation hosted a debate to launch (the) book, … a great panel consisting of Jagjit Chadha, Director of NIESR; Fran Boait, Executive Director of Positive Money; and James Smith, Research Director of the Resolution Foundation, debat(ing) … with immense verve, ably moderated by Torsten Bell, Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation.

Elsewhere Lucrezia Reichlin, Adair Turner and Michael Woodford “… recount a policy debate on helicopter money that was held at LBS in April 2013.”

Global Investment Strategist Patrick Schotanus has “… highlight(ed) some of the more recent interpretations … of ‘helicopter money’ (and) consider(ed) the conditions for its effectiveness …

Kevin Dowd has collated arguments Against Helicopter Money and the Spectator’s Ross Clark thinks that if “QE had ended up in the pockets of ordinary people , surely it would have created inflationary pressures (?)”

Pertinant to the last point tandfonline present a “… a survey among Dutch households … (to) examine whether respondents would spend the money received via such a (helicopter type) transfer. Our results show that respondents expect to spend about 30% of the transfer and that helicopter money would hardly affect inflation expectations.”

And  Josh Ryan-Collins and Frank van Lerven address “(h)istorical examples of fiscal-monetary policy coordination (that) have been largely neglected, along with alternative theoretical views, such as post-Keynesian perspectives that emphasise uncertainty … (and) develop a new typology of forms of fiscal-monetary coordination that includes both direct and less direct forms of monetary financing …”

So there is lots to try and get one’s head around.

Meanwhile I remain puzzled why debates do not mix helicopter QE with Basic Income ideas and why dual or differential savings rates remain off limits? Never mind the abolition of mono (fiat) currency regimes and the replacement of income tax by universal transaction tax?

I guess it’s all a bit too heterodox? …”