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A short video to keep things humming

There will be no detailed blog today as I am travelling to Finland for the best part of today. I have posted a short video (23 minutes) of a talk I gave in July to a political group in the Blue Mountains. I have only just received it. The main blog will be back on Thursday.

Presentation to the Blue Mountains Union Council, July 4, 2015

This is a talk I gave to the Politics in the Pub function organised by the Blue Mountains Union Council (in Katoomba, NSW). The topic was Modern Monetary Theory and full employment.

It was a relaxed meeting of local activists on a Saturday afternoon in an old pub in the historic Blue Mountains town of Katoomba (120 kms west of Sydney).


Until late Wednesday (European Time) I will be largely unable to respond to comments. So if they are in the moderation queue, please do not fret. I will get to them in time.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2015 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

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    This Post Has 9 Comments
    1. Sorry Bill but increasing employment in the Anglo economies most especially in the UK proves that it deceases wealth.

      They are not working but seeking the purchasing power of the Industrial surplus….in a sense these wage earners. are no different then the holders of capital.
      Add in Industrial sabotage policies ( refer to the most recent UK energy trends publication this September – its special feature ,trade in wood pellets)
      UK imports has increased 15 fold of which 79% came from North America.
      This destruction of forests has been used to fill the “carbon neutral” gap and has done the heavy lifting within the sector ( refer to the final graph in this section which proves this beyond doubt)
      However electricity production has collapsed in the UK for obvious thermodynamic reasons.

      I am sure this contrived enterprise has increased work in North America but at a huge cost given the industrial surplus remaining to distribute is now certainly tiny if any (possibly negative)

      The numbers in this energy trends publication is not small.
      Essentially the forest of Fangorn is being stripped to feed into the boilers of Drax (until recently the largest coal station in Europe)
      This is possibly one of the UKs greatest economic scandals and illustrates the superiority of finance capitalism over industrial capitalism.
      For example UK deep coal extraction is far greener but fails the ultimate test , it propels at least some distribution at the local British rather then London level.
      This can simply not be allowed as England is London’s green belt now.

    2. I liked that, Sadly I missed it. Pity the Q&A isn’t available I’d like to have seen what questions were asked to understand what framing issues came up.

    3. I thought the talk was mostly clear and understandable to the average person though I think a few concepts could benefit from more explanation:

      1. The concept of the currency issuer could be elaborated as some may think “so what?” and fail to comprehend that it implies the government is not financially limited as households etc are limited.

      2. Private saving as the cause of the economy running at a level well below full employment. The full implication of that may be missed unless explained with a few simple examples.

      I make these remarks as someone who has only recently emerged from the fog of neo-liberal thinking.

    4. Let’s talk of net national income.
      The money remaining after depreciation (of over produced capital goods) and the income remaining after the money monopolists get their share. ( subtraction of net national taxes)
      In Ireland this equates to 23+ billion and 19billion + respectively.
      A large section of the first flows to mercantile Germany while the bulk of the later flows to London (the center of euro and world usury)
      178 billion GDP ( 2013)
      107 billion net national product.
      The above is the Gap……..

      The UK subsequently can waste money / energy burning US trees in the fires of Mordor.
      The consequences of usury feed into the dynamics of the physical supply chain.
      This production , distribution and consumption system is breaking down as a result of finance capitalism and its sick dynamics.

    5. My biggest question missing from the talk was what was inflation like during the 5% GDP growth period? If it was 3 or 4% or more then it would cancel out the extra growth so that’s my biggest question. I know inflation was a big part of the reason we got neo-liberalism after the high inflation and stag flatiron of the nod 70s due to the oil crisis.

    6. Great point taken about the need to erase the term “budget” when discussing federal fiscal balances; that term is pure Margaret Thatcher. We have to limit the use of that word to just the point were people make the connection when you start talking about fiscal policy, which they don’t understand. If only we could get national broadcasters to stop using “budget” in their commentary.

      Another phrase that seems to have entered the vernacular of media and politicians is ” we’re in deficit”. It comes off sounding like we’re in s#!t, even when we’re not.

      Excellent talk overall. These first introductory points are the most important lessons. People want to learn more about MMT once they are awakened to the basic realities about fiat money. There is an almost instant understanding that they really have been conned “by the machine”, as many have suspected all along. It’s ironic that workers without the (benefit?) of a university course or two in economics seem to have an easier time getting it than those who don’t.

      Perhaps some of the job guarantee workers could be employed by truth verifying “think tanks” to counter the elite funded propaganda machines, seeing how national broadcasters no longer perform that role.

    7. The problem is the lie about the monetary constrains of government is so big and touted as an absolute truth by all media and pundits. It’s not a small lie, it’s easier to accept that the leaders are liars on petty stuff.
      To object such a big all compassing lie it’s easy to be seen as some conspiracy theorist.

      And as the ever present notorious 20th century dictator said:
      If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.

      And as the more palatable Carl Sagan did say:
      One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.

      As here in Sweden we did have one elite economist – Sven Grassman – that was then mainstream in the 70s. Then he discovered that the national economic statistics was faulty and probably deliberately manipulated. He was balance of payments specialist. The current account deficit was greatly exaggerated with 300 %, foreign debt with 400 %, export companies probability and position on the market downplayed. Not a popular thing to correct, nevertheless he did forced through the biggest correction of any modern nations national economic statistics at the beginning of the 80s. But it didn’t make any great headlines in Sweden and he was “expelled” from the Parnassus, and not well seen by the Social democratic elite that have by then adopted the neoliberal groupthink.
      From one of the elite to go round try to lecture Social Democratic and leftist grassroots about the falsehood of the mainstream economic propaganda. Not least the idiocy of austerity and deficit obsessions and manipulated images of the nation’s decline in export ability.
      He also had the gift of writing and express economics in a way that could be understood by everyone. Expressing alien economic concepts in a simplified understandable way.
      He used to repeatedly express the hope that it must come to a turning just people understood what a folly neoliberal economy was. Unfortunately he did die way too early in cancer 1992.

    8. ISnt there always some sort of global crisis when the ALP is in government ?

      Anyhow so dont vote Labor and dont vote Liberal is that right ?

    9. Mark, not sure what you mean by a global crisis occurring when ALP is in power. It’s not their fault if that’s what you’re inferring. Although far from perfect they are the best of a bad bunch who usually have to clean up the mess. Growth is always higher under labor governments and much more progressive for workers and low income earners.

      Look at the text book Keynesian response labor did to save Australia from recession when the GFC hit. Magnificent work yet we somehow ended up with the Murdoch media telling us it was bad. School halls built for decades of service. Mass insulation in millions of homes for lower electricity prices for decades. Framing is the key. Those projects got called pink batts waste and school halls disaster instead of the way I just described the reality.

      Wayne Swan (accidentally kinda) became one of our best treasurers ever. Yet he quickly succumbed to the neo-liberal narrative and stupidly promised surpluses straight after saving us from the GFC! I’m so angry at him. I’m told on good authority he’s a changed man but wow if only he would have said he’ll reduce the deficit when appropriate instead. How efferent would our political situation be. We would likely be in such a better place. Oh well. Life is for learning. Politics is a hard field.

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