Posted by: Dirk | September 8, 2016

James May (formerly Top Gear) understands modern money!

James May was suggested to be the governor of the Bank of England by an elderly gentleman sitting on a British racing green sofa (h/t to S. Angrick):

James May suggests to sort out the deficit: “I’d find out how much it was, and then I’d write a check for that amount from the Bank of England”. [Laughter in the audience]

People laugh because they don’t understand the mechanics of modern money creation and the answer sounds kind of plausible but also probably too clever, I assume. Actually, the British government could finance its deficit exactly the way James May describes it. The Bank of England “writes a check” to the government, which means marking up its account at the Bank of England. In return, the Bank of England gets treasury bonds of the same value. Problem solved! The government cannot go bankrupt because it is supported by the Bank of England. In reality, the Bank of England is not allowed to buy treasury bonds (gilts) directly from the government or the institution running the sale on its behalf (UK Debt Management Office). However, it can and does buy it when existing gilts are on the market. So, James May has said something funny that is also very clever…

For those who are interested in understanding modern money in the context of the eurozone (crisis) I can recommend my new book published last month at Routledge.



  1. Spot on
    It’s absolutely depressing the amount of people who have no knowledge how money works. They sit back and agree with the govt that their own services and conditions should be cut for no reason.

    Go learn modern money theory and you will see how badly the govt and mainstream economists are deliberately leading you astray.

  2. You don’t even have to go that far. The government has a Ways and Means account at the Bank of England. So the cheque and the deficit are actually all in the same place anyway and all HM Treasury has to do is stop issuing Gilts, and that automatically writes a cheque from the Bank of England to the Treasury in the form of the Ways and Means overdraft.

    And ‘maintaining’ the ways and means overdraft is completely legal even while still within the EU. (Protocol No. 15, point 10, TFEU).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: