Resources (books and videos mostly)


Debt: The First 5,000 Yearsby David Graeber

This the video that helped me to realize that what I thought I knew about how nations finance themselves was not only wrong, but so far wrong that I previously had no frame of reference for how wrong I was.

At some point in the video he describes the invention of state issued money during the early bronze age, and I suddenly realized what the phrases “currency issuer” and “currency user” mean.


Debt: The First 5,000 Yearsby David Graeber

Later I bought and read the book. It’s a bit dry at times as it’s very “scholarly”, but it contains more information than the above video does.


The Deficit Mythby Stephanie Kelton

After reading this book I realized MMT is just the analysis of macroeconomic activities/behaviors through the “magic” of double entry bookkeeping.

It’s quite literally just analyzing economics taking into account the realities that money, banking, and accounting exist, and shape economies. 

YouTube channel

Cowboy Economistby John T Harvey

I wish this dude was better known. 

He has a way of explaining complex economic ideas in simple terms using the persona of the Cowboy Economist complete with cowboy hat and an “aw shucks” demeaner.

Be forewarned, as Covid pushed him into remote teaching, he filled this channel with lecture videos for his students, but you can just skip those.

YouTube channel

Money & Macro, by Joeri Schasfoort

He is an economist who apparently gave up working in academia to make his living with this YouTube channel, which I appreciate, as he explains things well.

YouTube channel

He is a finance guy not an economist per se, but his explanations of finance, banking, etc, are very good.


This is a GREAT book.

John T Harvey is an economics professor who was looking for a book summarizing and comparing various schools of economic thought, and when he couldn’t find one, he wrote one.


Goliathby Matt Stoller

This book documents about 100 years of legal changes in the US which have led to increased corporate consolidation and documents various ways this increased concentration of corporate power has been economically harmful for most American.


The Myth of Capitalismby Jonathan Tepper

This book is similar in focus to Goliath (above) but comes across as a more brutal description of how we say “free markets” when we actually mean “markets managed for the benefit of corporate political donors”.

To be fair, that is the thesis of Goliath, but Matt Stoller’s writing style is a little less “in your face” than Jonathan Tepper’s is.


Money Changes Everythingby William N Goetzmann

This book is not about money per se, but finance, and how the discovery or invention of finance enabled human civilization.

It’s a very interesting book.


Soft Currency Economics, by Warren Mosler

This is straight up an MMT book by the guy who is credited with starting the field of MMT economics. Before the name Modern Monetary Theory was coined, it was known as Mosler Economics.

This is a VERY short and terse book that explains VERY BRIEFLY, and in my opinion, too briefly, the main ideas of MMT.

To me, what is most interesting here is that Mosler was not really an economist when he first wrote down the ideas that would become MMT. He was a bond trader looking to make money, and he saw things that made him question some aspects of conventional economic thinking.


Modern Monetary Theory, by L Randall Wray

This is also straight up an MMT book as the title gives away.

It is a fairly detailed description of MMT focusing on the concepts of stocks, flows, and the use of double-entry bookkeeping as an analysis tool.


Why Minsky Matters, by L Randall Wray

Minksy was an economist who studied and wrote about “business cycle analysis” and is credited with the Financially Instability Hypothesis which I think does a really good job of explaining why capitalism has booms and busts and what causes recessions.


Angrynomics, by Eric Longergan and Mark Blyth

I read this book because I’ve learned to respect Mark Blyth’s opinion on things and he co-wrote it. And while I do think their analysis of WHY what they call Angrynomics exists, I was surprised to find myself thinking that while some of the policy suggestions do in fact make sense, there is zero chance the US will do them any time soon, due to the polarized political climate, which is one of the big reasons Angrynomics is a thing in the first place.


While the subject matter in this book is very interesting, how our banking system, including the central bank, has been designed by and for the benefit of bankers, and the close ties between numerous leaders of our largest banks and US Presidents have enabled this, it’s a tough read. It’s kind of dry and academic.

I read it because Nomi Prins interviews well and I think her perspective of things is interesting, but start this book with the expectation that it’s a bit of a slog.


The Mystery of Capital, by Hernando De Soto

This is a very interesting book. The thesis is that Capitalism thrives in what we call “the West” and nowhere else because of well-defined and implemented property laws.

However, it wasn’t always that way in the West, and over the last few centuries, extralegal (as in illegal) ways of holding title to property were BROUGHT INTO the legal property systems, whereas that has not (yet) occurred outside of what we call “the west”.


The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith

If you’re on this page you know this book.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I made it about 2/3rds through it on my 2nd try.

But it is SUPER boring.

But it did introduce me to the ideas of the division of labour, the labour theory of value, etc.

One of his ideas is now outdated. While in the 18th century the division of labour was that which allowed production at scale, today it’s cheap energy.

And we now know that Book I Chapter 4 (the origin of money) is wrong, but we did not know that in the 18th century.


The Casino-Chip Society, by Brett Scot

This is a great article published by Brett Scott to his substack that, in my humble opinion, does a great job of illustrating the differences between central bank created money and commercial bank created money.

While to currency issues they look the same, in terms of how they’re created and later destroyed, they’re not.


Progress and Poverty, by Henry George

First published in 1879, Henry George attempts to answer the question of why we see the greatest poverty amongst the greatest wealth (which is encompassed in his use of the word “Progress”.

His thesis is that monopoly ownership of land ties up a disproportionate amount of surplus value into the hands of whoever got “there” early and stake out ownership of property, and therefore an excess of surplus value is paid out as rent and not available for either wages or profit.

His arguments are well constructed.


Not an economics or finance book, but an interesting look at the world of commercial maritime shipping, which is how 90% of the stuff we buy comes to us.


Peltries Or Plantations, by Van Cleaf Bachman

I found this book at a local (to where I live) antique shop (they have old books in the back) for $2.

Published in 1969, it is writings from the Dutch East India Company and their ideas and plans for the colony of New Amsterdam which they founded in 1624.

It’s an ongoing (and in my mind interesting) discussion about whether they should trade in furs or crops. As the plantation was not profitable after 4 years, they focused on furs.

While I found their analysis interesting, the most interesting thing (in my opinion) happened after the book ends.

In 1664, 40 years after the colony was founded, a bunch of English guys with guns showed up and kicked the Dutch out, rendering all their plans naught.

For some reason, they didn’t factor that into their analysis, even though it was a common enough practice among European powers.

However, it’s an interesting insight into how the Dutch viewed how colonies should be managed.


Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, by Douglas Rushkoff

Someone recommended this book, so I bought it, and believing it must be about inequality, gentrification, etc, it sat unread for over a year.

But it’s actually about how the legal structures of what is and is not money CREATE this inequality.

It introduced me to the idea that non-government private money (think cryptocurrency but without fraud) has existed in various forms in various societies since around 800 AD.

The thesis of the book is that as Europeans rediscovered Roman laws and norms, they re-invented money tokens in a bottom-up way that allowed non-land owners to prosper.

This was threatening to monarchs and landed aristocrats, so they outlawed private non-government money, created “royal charters” allowing commerce, and required payments in exchange for the granting of said charters.

Today, we call them “corporations” which pay “dividends”.


Life, Inc, by Douglas Rushkoff

I was so intrigued by the ideas in Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, I emailed the author asking where I can learn more.

He recommended this book (which he also wrote) and Rethinking Money by Lietaer & Dunne).

This book is a more detailed discussion about the invention of the corporation as thing which allows owners to receive unearned income (rents) for ownership of things that aren’t land.


Rethinking Money, by Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne

This book is so interesting (to me) that I now buy copies to give away to people whom I think may be interested. 

If you want it, Thriftbooks so far has had the best prices.

It discusses the 1,200-ish year history of non-government private money, then spends a lot of time discussing where they’ve existed in recent history and where they exist now.

Where and when they’ve worked, where they’ve failed, what’s common to them working or not.

This is a FASCINATING read.


If you think crypto was a wild ride, you should read this.

It documents the stock market bubbles of two companies in the early 18th century.

The Mississippi Company in France and the South Sea Company in England.

The latter was pure fraud by the way.


Forex Made Easy, by James Dicks

Someone recommended this took when I asked how currency exchange rates are determined.

While the book is focused on how to become a Forex trader, it does explain what I wanted to know.


The Entrepreneurial State, by Mariana Mazzucato

This is a super interesting book. In it the author addresses the idea of innovation being a free market thing and governments being obstacles.

It turns out nothing could be further from the truth.

Many things were funded by the military for reasons of national defense, that later became embedded in innovative consumer products.

The link further in this sentence contains a chart showing all the DoD funding that went into creating the various core technologies of the iPod, iPad, iPhone products.


The Value of Everything, by Mariana Mazzucato

This is also a super interesting book.

In it, the author describes how the concept of “economic value” has changed over time, how in recent times we conflate value creation with value extraction, how classical economists (Smith, Ricardo, Marx) viewed “rent-seeking” as extracting value, and how today rent-seeking is promoted as creating value.


The Production of Money, by Ann Pettifor

This book is a primer, or short (160 pages) description of our money system highlight the role of licensed commercial banks, whose role, for some reason, is simply not mentioned in many (perhaps most) descriptions of how money works.

Excellent book.

YouTube Video

Is This The End of Sky High Inflation?, by Money & Macro (Joeri Schasfoort)

This is the first time I mentioned a specific YouTube video rather than a YouTube channel. For what it’s worth, this YouTube channel is listed above.

However, this video specifically addresses questions around inflation, and it’s the most nuanced discussion I’ve seen to date.

Is inflation supply constraints? Demand drive? Profit seeking driven?

Interestingly, the answer to all three is “yes”.


Value(s), by Mark Carney

The title and the subtitle (Building a Better World for All) should have clued me in, but as Mark Carney was the governor of two G7 central banks (Canada and the UK), I was expecting to learn technical aspects of how central banks work.

That is not what this book is about.

Instead, the book is a high level perspective on how that which we value influences how we measure value, and how those idea affect how we address big projects and big problems.

Having said the above, it was an interesting book, just not what I expected when I started reading it.