1000 Castaways: Fundamentals of Economics takes us on a whirlwind journey 10,000 years in the making in just five chapters. The author, Clint Ballinger, sets the scene on a deserted island where a thousand castaways find themselves shipwrecked together and spins a tale of how a structured community forms. The primary focus of the story is the economy and the eventual creation of money within this new social order. The transition from trading fish and coconuts to using recognizable modern currency happens quickly, but don’t despair if you’re feeling macroeconomically challenged! This book is written for regular folks who are interested in learning how an economy with a sovereign fiat currency works without having to attend a university program to get there.
As someone relatively new to the lens of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) myself, I am rightfully skeptical of anything claiming to make the explanation of this topic simple and easy to understand. There are hundreds of texts available explaining the ins and outs and mysteries of MMT, but most of these are fairly technical and use language more suited to a debate among professionals at some invite-only academic cocktail party than to regular everyday people. However, Clint Ballinger really throws the door to the party wide open with this book. As a layperson, I finally feel like I have a clear understanding of the economic framework that MMT was developed to explain. It has given me a more universal language and growing confidence with which to discuss the topic with others inside and outside the field and reframe our conversations around public policy.
I would encourage anyone with even a vague curiosity about MMT and our modern economy to take the time to read 1000 Castaways: Fundamentals of Economics. Be warned though, once you grasp the truth, there’s no going back… Happy reading!
For links to buy this book and more, visit Clint Ballinger’s websites here: