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Michael Marking


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tatanka.com home > economics



Economics

     I'm not an economist, but I enjoy the field. When I studied it in school, it was presented without a lot of background: this is national income accounting, this is how banking works, this is how the input-output method is used, and so on. There wasn't much history, ethics, or discussion about alternative ways of doing things or looking at them.

     Since then, I've learned the field is much more complex — and much more interesting — than we were taught. It has deep connections to anthropology, philosophy, history, religion, and more. I'm now exploring these connections.

     If you took the same basic macro- and micro- courses I did, you might get an entirely new perspective by reading some books I've found interesting. For example, Debt: The First 5,000 Years, by David Graeber, explores the connections among debt, money, and anthropology. I'm currently reading Michael Hudson's Killing the Host, which explains how the existing financial system destroys society.

     I'm rather angry, in fact, that my economics education completely omitted so many topics which were, and still are, fundamental to understanding the field. (I majored in mathematics, but was only one course short of a second major, in economics.) It's also disturbing that these things, although they've been studied for generations, are pretty much ignored in the popular press. Even when a magazine, supposedly covering business and finance, reviews a book like those two mentioned, they usually miss the main points, or have a distorted impression of what those books say. As for the economics and finance reporting in the news, you might as well be listening to sports or soap operas: they don't come close to what's really going on.

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