David Graeber’s economics

There are other factors. The UK has a huge trade deficit (blue), and that means the government (yellow) also has to run a deficit (print money, or more accurately, get banks to do it) to inject into the economy to pay for all those Chinese trainers, American iPads, and German cars.


No, a trade deficit doesn’t mean the government has to run a deficit. Dear God no.

It means the capital account must be in surplus, foreigners must be buying UK assets.

Note that Lawson got the government deficit into surplus in 88 and 89, while the trade deficit soared….

Note also that Ritchie praised this article.

19 thoughts on “David Graeber’s economics”

  1. A professor of anthropology and anarchist activist?

    Certainly not a student of economics… wouldn’t even pass GCSE with that.

  2. https://tradingeconomics.com/japan/balance-of-trade

    Japan running huge trade surplus 1990-, whilst at the same time


    Running a huge government deficit.

    China running a trade surplus

    and a decent sized government deficit

    Spain pre crisis ran big trade deficits

    and ran a budget surplus


  3. As if that wasn’t bad enough, have I misread “run a deficit (print money, or more accurately, get banks to do it)”? Or is that as daft as it sounds?

  4. DK used to come up with some good solutions for useless c**ts. Feeding them feet first into the propellor of an idling Cesna was one that sticks in the mind.

  5. @ken


    I’d quite like to be a big-name, media go-to-man type of academic. Sounds like there should be some decent money in it too, if you get a good book deal or your own telly series. But no idea how it is done. Used to think it involved having serious amounts of brainpower, but I’m becoming ever more sceptical on that front.

  6. Good god, that article is stupid.

    Right from the opening sentence- a call for a public enquiry (denunciation, I suspect he means) through the ‘economics’, right through to his call to arms conclusion.

    I’m not so much bothered by all that, though (obviously, there’s lots of idiots out there who want to write this stuff), but the fact that the Staggers published it.

    I mean, we know it’s no Spectator, but don’t the editors actually read what they commission? Or did Dickless hand it in seven seconds before deadline and the editor just crossed his fingers and hoped it was a histrionic, error-riddled piece of shitwitted care in the community-enabled pamphleteering?

  7. Er, Tim – it doesn’t even need to do that. The USA just hands pieces of paper to Russians or Zimbabweans who prefer it to their own currency.

  8. What a spectacularly stupid idiot David Graeber is. Can’t see a stick without grabbing the wrong end of it. How appropriate that he appears in the Staggers. Staggers belief!

    Jus’ wundrin’ how an anarchist can cross the Atlantic in an anarchistic sort of way?

  9. I seem to recall Frances Coppola landing here and girlsplaining something very similar to Mr Graeber a couple of years ago

  10. Surely, if anything, and in particularly the current situation in the US, the causation is the other way around. American consumers can continue buying cheap goods from China and elsewhere as the Chinese are only too happy to accept US dollars in return for their exports to invest in US treasury debt which keeps the dollar stronger than it otherwise would be allowing US consumers to buy more goods from abroad than they produce at home sustaining the trade deficit.Although it’s not a stable situation as the dollars aren’t invested in machines and factories by the Chinese and others but in unproductive government debt.

  11. @MBE
    No, that’s what happens in the so-called real world.There is a money tree and the banks were given it years ago.The bwankers get to create our money and still manage to make losses.We are not out of the Crash of 07-08 yet despite epic money creation efforts.
    @ JP Of course during the banks’ finest moment 07/8, there is the strong likelihood that the Chinese institutions were pumping up the mother of all house- price bubbles in the US with their earnings in dollars.

  12. So, an “anthropologist and anarchist activist” turns out to be a chateau-bottled fucking moron.

    Well I never…

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