Our debt crisis explained by Bezemer

Debt: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is an explanation of the monetary system by Dutch economist Dirk Bezemer (University Groningen). A must see for anyone who wants to understand the current crisis. It consists of four parts. Dirk explains the history of money, bubbles, crises and gives some solutions.

Main message: we are in a debt crisis because banks created too much money (in the form of loans) for speculative assets. In other words, most bank credit is not used for the real economy (productivity), but for price speculation. Unfortunately most of our politicians propose measures that do not address this private debt problem. They extend the crisis by ignoring the cause.

Dirk states we can solve the crisis if we restructure debt, regulate banks and  increase credit for productive activities. These are good ideas. My main criticism of Bezemer is that he doesn’t question the privilege of banks to create money. He wants to regulate and to shrink current banks in stead of changing the system. But his analysis is strong. His final remark is even brilliant:

“But we can only do this, when we first start thinking again about how our economy is shaped by credit and debt.”

Where does money come from?

Quite often I give talks about money creation and quite often people do not believe that banks create money out of nothing. In this video of less than two minutes two economists, Dirk Bezemer (Associate Professor, University of Groningen) and Michael Kumhof (IMF Economist), give a short and clear explanation of the process of money creation. It’s s so simple that most people can hardly believe it. The American economist John Kenneth Galbraith (1908- 2006) once famously wrote:

“The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it. The process by which banks create money is so simple the mind is repelled. With something so important, a deeper mystery seems only decent.” 

In my opinion we can’t solve the economic crisis without understanding the proces of money creation. Every citizen of a democracy should be able to answer the question “Where does money come from?” If you don’t know the answer, watch this video.