The On-Going Price of Perceiving Money as a Veil

  •  Emir Phillips    


Until macroeconomic theory rebuffs the nature of finance, which is leverage (debt claims and credit instruments above current GDP output), shadow-banking will continue to lure capital into the financial sector, lower institutional banking interest rates, and de-incentivize commercial lending from the real sector, even at competitive risk-adjusted rates. This institutionalized misallocation of credit undermines the tidy neoclassical “circular flow” apparatus where savings and earnings are allegedly pooled and then recycled through financial intermediaries into dynamic investment.

Despite the mathematical complexity of DSGE models, the last financial crisis and its aftermath exposed the models’ inadequacy for forecasting or even fully capturing economic reality. With no dynamic function for money, incorporating credit into the theoretical mindset of mainstream economics, including both neoliberal and (Post)-Keynesian traditions, has proven as yet unattainable. Holding fast to a (barter-like) Walrasian worldview, wherein the neutrality of money in the long-run, has meant debt does not exist and credit aggregates are not considered due to an a-historical mis-conceptualization of money/credit. As long as money, credit and debt are not accorded special roles, a bloated financial sector may well contribute to the suboptimal allocation of talents. This Article shows how by design, DSGE models do not recognize either credit’s beneficent growth properties, or credit’s aptitude to precipitate crisis by augmenting, largely non-GDP financial income, while in the long-run simultaneously reducing earned income (GDP recognized).

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