By William K. Black
(Cross posted at Benzinga.com)
I’m back from my annual purifying rite – participating in Kilkenomics IV in Kilkenny, Ireland. It was a big success again this year, with dozens of sold out events in which economists (and the odd criminologist) are paired with superb professional comedians who serve to keep things lively, understandable, and blunt. Regular folks stop you on the street and talk to you for hours in the bars about economics. This year, the organizers (Richard Cook and David McWilliams) added “young economist” awards for the equivalent of high school and junior high school awards. The brilliant Dan Ariely and I had the privilege to help judge the final round of the competition. Should you ever find yourself near Ireland in early November during the festival I encourage you to join us in Kilkenny.
By J.D. Alt
(This is the working draft of a short, targeted eBOOK directed specifically at the millennials—the huge generation of energetic, creative, and cooperatively inclined young people who might, just maybe, rise up and demand a new understanding of the American economy. The eBOOK has three goals: (1) explain the basics of MMT to those who’ve never heard of it (2) unveil, at least partially, the misinformation network of the status-quo, and (3) suggest the scale of very real collective benefits a new understanding actually makes possible. Any suggestions about fine-tuning—or fundamentally altering, if necessary—the basic message of the essay are welcomed. (I’ve divided the draft into two parts to better fit the blogosphere.)
How is it the 1% exerts such complete and dominant control over our national agenda? And by what means can the 99% claim the collective power that, by democratic rights, should be firmly in their hands? The answers obviously have something to do with money—after all, the 1% are defined by various monetary measurements: the top 1% own 42% of the total financial wealth in the U.S. economy; the top 1% own 35% of all privately held stock, 64% of all financial securities, and 62% of all business equity. If all those percentages have a numbing affect, here’s another way to frame it: The top 400 families in America own more financial wealth than the bottom 150 MILLION families combined!