Economics: “A social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.”
Finance: “The science or study of the management of funds.”
Since every step in the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services involves the management of funds, the two sciences have become inseparably intertwined. This is unfortunate because the conflation of economics and finance only serves to obscure the ways in which the management of funds has taken precedence over the actual production and distribution of goods and services, to devastating effect. It would be useful to maintain a distinction between the two sciences. Call those students of the production and distribution of goods and services economists, and call those focused on the management of funds financialists. If you do, what becomes immediately evident is that the financialists are in control. People are losing their jobs and their homes, but the national conversation is about the management of funds. The actual economy is sputtering, but the focus is on the budget deficit and the national debt. There is work that needs to be done, and workers who are ready, willing, and able to do the work, but the two cannot meet because something about the management of funds stands in the way. The result is the spectacle of the financialists trying to explain how we got into this situation and how we’re going to get out, a process that includes assigning blame and choosing a way forward with the result that the country is once again divided down the middle, the debate morphs into gridlock, and the economy, the actual economy, begins to decelerate. Meanwhile, the jobless are still looking for work, the homeless are still looking for shelter, and the financialists are still looking for a way to keep this capitalist contraption from collapsing into a junk heap.
The Ink Spots imagine what they could do “With Plenty of Money and You.”