How the U.S. Economy is Like a Casino

A quick explainer on monetary policy

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What's the difference between fiscal policy and monetary policy? Of the hundreds of questions submitted by readers to our Economics in Plain English video series, this one struck us as a fun challenge. What are monetary and fiscal policy? What are they for? And is it possible to explain it quickly and painlessly?

In the short video above, business editor Derek Thompson offers up a useful way to think about it. Capitalism only works if people with money are willing to take risks. So imagine the U.S. economy as a giant casino. In a recession, there aren't enough people making bets at the table. Fiscal and monetary policy use different strategies to get gamblers to gamble -- to spend their money and power the economy.

Don't miss Thompson's introduction to the project and the previous installments, which you can watch here.

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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