Money From Nothing

Or, Why We Should Stop Worrying About Debt and Learn to Love the Federal Reserve

A major work of financial theory and practice with immediate relevance to the rebuilding of the economy, and restoring the promise of equality

When the government decides to spend money, it simply creates the necessary funds for itself–as if out of thin air. That’s how we pay for interstate highways, post offices, wars, social services, and economic stimulus packages. If it’s that easy to make money . . . can’t we all get more of it? Absolutely. And we should.

So argue financial regulation expert Robert Hockett and bestselling philosopher Aaron James in this eye-opening, irreverent, and inspiring exploration of what the dollar really is. And better still, they show how we can build an economy that works for everybody without unwanted taxes and added regulations.

In the process, we learn how disingenuous the political rhetoric surrounding inflation can be, how the demonized concept of the deficit is really just another way of tallying our collective national wealth, and how a strong central bank could free us from the abuses of private banking.

With broad historical background and ambitious yet practical institutional proposals, Hockett and James offer a new vision of public finance–people’s banking for a people’s economy. Armed with this new outlook, we can even stop worrying debt and learn to love a strong, accountable, and transparent Federal Reserve as a cornerstone of our democracy.

Robert Hockett has first-hand experience working at the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and continues to consult for a number of US federal, state and local legislators and regulators. He drafted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” resolution for the House of Representatives and officially advises her on economic policy. He is the Edward Cornell Professor of Law and a Professor of Public Policy at Cornell University, Senior Counsel at Westwood Capital (a socially responsible investment bank), and a Fellow of The Century Foundation (a think tank). He’s a regular contributor to Forbes magazine, where he covers finance, economics, law and justice. He lives in Ithaca, NY.

Aaron James holds a PhD from Harvard and is professor of philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Fairness in Practice: A Social Contract for a Global Economy, the bestselling Assholes: A TheoryAssholes: A Theory of Donald TrumpSurfing with Sartre and numerous academic articles. He lives in Irvine, CA.

”[An] illuminating and accessible guide to how the Federal Reserve could act to improve the economy and the lives of everyday Americans . . . a lucid and persuasive call for financial reform.”Publishers Weekly 

”Timely . . . a heady proposal for a new social compact, with every point well worth debating . . . A wildly contrarian argument that contains many provocations—and some sensible solutions to big fiscal problems, too.”Kirkus Reviews

”Breezy and entertaining, Money From Nothing brings history, philosophy and institutional common sense to show that our economic problems are not, for the most part, mysterious matters intrinsic to money, banking, deficits and public debt.  One only wishes that the real difficulties—energy, environment, financial fraud, racism, globalization and the coronavirus—were so easy to resolve.”
James K. Galbraith, author of Inequality: What Everyone Needs to Know 

“Climate Change and other global disasters do not care about your pet economic theory. They’re coming. Ready or Not. Hockett and James reimagine how we should think about money, finally giving us the fiscal space to act decisively. If we do not listen to the call of this book, nature, not fiscal probity, will bat last.”—Mark Blyth, co-author of Angrynomics
”Grasping the meaning of money ain’t easy. Luckily, in Money From Nothing we have two amazing teachers, who laugh at themselves while seducing you into a deeper understanding of money as a social contract. Hockett and James are masters at their intellectual crafts, and damn fine wordsmiths. Read this book:  a tour de force of candy for the brain!” —Paul McCulley, Retired Managing Director and Chief Economist, PIMCO; Senior Fellow, Cornell Law School; Adjunct Professor, Georgetown McDonough School of Business  

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