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Debt, the first 5,000 years

Old 07-16-21, 05:25 AM
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Debt, the first 5,000 years

I'm still in chapter one. It's great, and I am going to talk about it in P&R eventually. Reminds me of Jane Jacobs, doesn't get much better than that.

https://www.amazon.com/Debt-Updated-...s%2C180&sr=8-1
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Old 07-17-21, 01:32 AM
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Sounds interesting, I'll put it on my reading list.

It'll be interesting to see whether contemporary economic philosophy agrees with my hunch that the economic development and generally positive strides humanity has made over the past few centuries are due to using economic leverage such as debt and the value of human capital -- rather than gold, etc. -- as the basis for currency. I'm rarely able to get any of my libertarian friends to agree with any of that proposition.

So far the most pragmatic review of economics I've read remains Heilbroner's "The Worldly Philosophers," which I don't think has been updated since publication in the 1950s.
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Old 07-18-21, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post

Sounds interesting, I'll put it on my reading list.

It'll be interesting to see whether contemporary economic philosophy agrees with my hunch that the economic development and generally positive strides humanity has made over the past few centuries are due to using economic leverage such as debt and the value of human capital -- rather than gold, etc. -- as the basis for currency.
Absolutely.

You're talking about the Renaissance. That was when the development of sophisticated financial schemes to do things like manage risk appeared.

Here's another:

Cities and the Wealth of Nations by Jane Jacobs. This used to be common as the first book in Econ 101 classes. It's still great, there are no numbers, and you can read it in a couple of days, it's not long.

Any library can get you a copy, you don't even need to buy it.
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Old 07-18-21, 06:14 PM
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I watched a couple of Graeber's talks on YouTube, based on his book. Interesting perspectives.

I'll check Jacobs' book as well.

I doubt it would persuade most people who, consciously or unconsciously, embrace contemporary capitalism (which isn't true free market capitalism) and can't imagine any other economic philosophy.

Although one of my longtime online acquaintances has gradually modified his formerly hardline libertarian (or perhaps ancap) stance to something closer to anarcho-syndicalism... to borrow a Monty Python joke. I think he probably still prefers anarcho-capitalism but realizes it's impractical in the real world, and recognizes that he has the luxury of espousing ancap or libertarian philosophy while enjoying the benefits of government-directed infrastructure and policies.
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Old 07-23-21, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
So far the most pragmatic review of economics I've read remains Heilbroner's "The Worldly Philosophers," which I don't think has been updated since publication in the 1950s.
Oh, this takes me back to my undergrad days. I believe it has gone through several updates since the 1950s and is still very readable. From memory though, not so much about economics per se as the great economic thinkers. One thing I vaguely remember about the book is that Adam Smith is considered the forefather of neo-classical economics and is quoted ad nauseum by students' and professors' alike, yet very little is known about his personal life.

One of my favourite 'economic' books and popular among left-leaning academics' was The Affluent Society (1958) by John Kenneth Galbraith. A jeremiad about modern capitalism.

Given the topic of the OP's original book, he/she might like to move on to Money: Whence it came, whence it went, by John Kenneth Galbraith next.
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