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Video of my public lecture in Helsinki, February 27, 2018

Thursday is my last day in Helsinki and I have a lot of travelling to do later in the afternoon after I finish teaching. So I am posting this in the early hours of Thursday (Oz time), even though I am still in Helsinki. The new Post Graduate program in Global Political Economy, which we have launched at the University of Helsinki is a great development. I have been conducting lectures in a subject – From Modern Money Theory to Global Political Economy and Revival of Classical Political Economy. The class is largely made up of non-economics students and so the challenge has been to develop a set of conceptual and analytical tools fairly quickly and apply them to the major debates of the day. I think the time I have spent working out how to do that will be of great use when we launch programs under the MMT University banner later in the year. After my trip to Barcelona last weekend, we are hoping to introduce a similar type of course into the University there as part of an expanding network where students will be able to learn the principles of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and apply them to real world problems. More later on other developments.

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Snowbound in the North

I am now in Europe (just) and will be here for the next two weeks. Next weekend, I will be speaking at some events in Barcelona and I will circulate details when I know more. This week I am giving three lectures at the University of Helsinki as part of a new postgraduate course they are offering. Tomorrow through Thursday, I will publish a three-part blog post series on The New Keynesian fiscal rules that mislead British Labour. I am examining the input from the academy that has clearly influenced decisions taken by the British Labour Party leadership in recent years. It is influence that they should have ignored. The fundamental principles that underpin the New Keynesian approach to macroeconomics do not form a suitable basis for a progressive socio-economic policy agenda. While that approach concedes that in the short-run fiscal policy can be used to ‘stabilise’ a recessionary situation, the overall advice is that austerity then has to be imposed to ‘smooth’ tax burdens on future generations and minimise public debt. The tax burdens arise because they claim taxes fund government spending and the public debt oscillations arise because they claim the government relies on debt issuance to fund the deficits that are required to meet short-term emergencies (war, recession etc). It is a jumble of gobbledygook hiding behind the precision of some simple mathematics. The latter, though, while held out as a rigourous ‘authority’ to back up the policy claims, is, in fact, incapable of providing definitive determinations of what is best for Society. It is an elaborate sham my profession inflicts on the debate. Anyway, a three-part series is coming up.

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Writing, listening but not blogging (much) today

Today is Wednesday (my newly declared blog free (almost) day this year) and I am writing up material relating to the neoliberal trend to replace jobs with volunteers and then extol the virtues of the same. Hideous. I am also listening to some post-minimalist orchestral music. Fun day even if the subject matter is rather bleak.

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Wednesday becomes an almost blog free day!

AS I noted yesterday, I am no longer going to publish a detailed blog each Wednesday. I will cover the major Wednesday data releases (for example, Australian National Accounts) when they come out or if I have a surfeit of research material that I want to put out (like a multi-part blog series that needs daily exposure for continuity). I am going to spend the time that I would have used to write the Wednesday blog on developing the MMT University from concept into reality as well as other writing projects I want to advance. This is what I am listening to as I work today ….

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Blog is absent (mostly) again today …

I am travelling for a fair part of today and am reading a John le Carré novel – tracing the George Smiley series. I am also working on my next book. But it is a new year so all the best for 2018, although the dark clouds that are cast over the world do not make for very optimistic forecasting. I will be back tomorrow as usual. Some music that I have been listening to while flying is overleaf including an interesting story about the motivation of the composer.

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Travelling all day today – up hill and down dale

I am travelling a lot today and do not have enough time write a blog other than to tell you that. Last Thursday, work took me to remote destinations where the wind blows strong and rain is always expected. This Thursday, I am pursuing my craft and spreading the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) word up hill and down dale. I have also been reading various new ‘reform’ proposals for the Eurozone – they seem to be coming out at a rate of one a day or so it seems. They all fail to get to the nub of the problem – it is essentially so flawed with so many historical and cultural constraints that it needs to be abandoned. One lame idea tells us to ‘fix the roof while the sun shines’. I will comment on that next week. The problem – as my recent tweet notes – is that the ‘roof’ is the least of the problems. It is falling in for sure but only because the foundations are rotten to the core. I also wouldn’t actually characterise the current situation in the monetary union as being ‘sunny’. If it is, then spare the thought of what ‘cloudy’ much less ‘rainy’ might be. The quiz will be back tomorrow as usual. For the moment I am listening to …

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Travelling all day today to where the wind blows and it rains a lot

I am travelling a lot today and do not have enough time to think much less write a blog. I am travelling where the wind blows strong and rain is always expected. A perfect place to write once I land and have some other things to complete. On Monday, I will post Part 3 in the series I have been working on this week on EMU reform proposals. The quiz will be back tomorrow as usual. For the moment I am listening to …

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