Last week, the shadow British Chancellor, John McDonnell confirmed that the British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn will not be part of a progressive realignment of the public debate regarding fiscal policy. By that I mean, they have chosen, probably for misplaced ‘political’ concerns (leaving aside total ignorance), to reinforce in the public mind the neo-liberal myths relating to the capacities of a currency-issuing government to spend and advance prosperity. I have no doubt that John McDonnell desires, genuinely, to advance the material well-being of the working class in Britain. His public career to date would suggest that. But like many on the Left, he has been seduced by the neo-liberal snake oil into believing that fiscal rules that bind a currency-issuing government to balance, in total or in part, the fiscal situation and that such a government should submit itself to the dictates of a technocracy full of mainstream economists, is a necessary requirement of responsible fiscal management. His most recent statements really amount to surrender. The British Labour Party is staying faithful to its Monetarist roots, which were established in 1974 under Harold Wilson’s second tilt at the top job. The distractions of New Labour and now Jeremy Corbyn has not really changed anything. This is a neo-liberal party no matter what they claim and their advice and underpinnings are firmly neo-liberal.
I have written about this in the recent past but there are some things that need repeating and further amplification.
Please read the following blogs for previous statements on this topic:
There was an article in the Australian Fairfax press this morning (March 14, 2016) – Budget reform likely to be just tinkering – that also bears on this topic.
It was written by the Fairfax senior economics editor, one Ross Gittins, who is held in high regard by his Australian readership, which just goes to show how ingrained these myths are in the public space.
I will return to that article in a moment.
Consider a household or a business firm. The first thing they have to work out in terms of their ‘economies’ is how to generate spending capacity.
Without spending capacity, these private entities can have no command over any real resources that they may desire to advance their specific interests.
Spending capacity can come from labour income (household) or revenue from product sales (firms), running down past savings, asset sales (that is, reducing the wealth position of the entity), or by borrowing.
The fact that this spending capacity is not innate for these entities allows us to depict them as ‘financially constrained’.
In this context, the concept of a ‘budget’ becomes one of managing the financial sustainability of the entity.
A household will soon have repossession agencies knocking on their door or demands to appear in court to repay debts if it consistently spends more than its spending capacity (defined by the sources noted above).
A business firm will soon be filing for bankruptcy if its revenue (spending capacity) is less than its costs (spending).
So while the underlying motive for developing spending capacity for a household or a business firm is to advance the specific interests of the entity, and additional, and overriding consideration or target, has to always be the maintenance of financial sustainability.
A moment’s reflection will tell you that these concerns are not applicable to a currency-issuing government, which spends that currency into existence as part of a process whereby it accesses the real resources owned by the non-government sector and deploys them to advance public interest.
Please read the following introductory suite of blogs – Deficit spending 101 – Part 1 – Deficit spending 101 – Part 2 – Deficit spending 101 – Part 3 – for basic Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) concepts.
First, there is no analogy for such a government in terms of household or business firm bankruptcy. Such a government can never run out of money (‘go broke’).
Second, such a government can use its innate spending capacity (innate because it issues the currency) to purchase what ever is for sale in that currency whenever it desires. It has no necessity to engage in prior ‘revenue’ raising activities, such as taxation and/or borrowing, in order to facilitate those purchases (spending).
By way of qualification to that previous remark, we recognise that, given the real resources that the government deploys are ‘owned’ by the non-government sector, which may prefer to use them to their own ‘private’ advantage (as opposed to the broader social good), the government has to seek a way to deprive the non-government sector of that usage.
In other words, one of the activities of a currency-issuing government is to create idle real resources in the non-government sector there can be subsequently deployed by that government in pursuit of its electoral mandate.
Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) shows that this is one of the major roles of taxation – to create unemployed real resources that can then be used by the public sector.
The public sector then deploys these resources through spending. We should note that the need to deprive the non-government sector of spending capacity via taxation is to ensure that total spending is commensurate with the available real resources in the economy.
If the growth in nominal spending outstrips the productive capacity of the economy then inflation becomes the problem.
Third, following the previous insight, it also becomes clear that if the non-government sector does not desire to use all of its available income after taxation – that is, it desires to save overall – then there will a gap between income generated and total spending, other things equal.
The economy generates income from deploying available resources in production in response to expected spending. Should the actual spending be less than the spending that firms expected, then the current level of production will be ‘too high’.
That is, firms will have produced more than would be justified by the current level of sales and as a consequence they will be forced to accumulate unintended inventory (unsold production).
As a result, if firms revise their expected sales downwards, then they will cut back production and increase the stock of idle resources, including labour, in the economy. That is, unemployment will rise.
Note, I said ‘other things equal’, by which I was referring to the alternative source of spending – government spending.
We should be clear on the temporal causality that operates in a monetary economy.
Government spending provides revenue (income) to the non-government sector, which then allows the latter to extinguish its taxation liabilities. So the funds necessary to pay the tax liabilities are provided to the non-government sector by government spending.
It follows that the imposition of the taxation liability creates a demand for the government currency in the non-government sector, which allows the government to pursue its economic and social policy program.
While real resources are transferred from the non-government sector in the form of goods and services that are purchased by government, the motivation to supply these resources is sourced back to the need to acquire fiat currency to extinguish the tax liabilities.
Further, while real resources are transferred, the taxation provides no additional financial capacity to the government of issue.
Conceptualising the relationship between the government and non-government sectors in this way makes it clear that it is government spending that provides the paid work, which eliminates the unemployment created by the taxes.
So it is the introduction of State Money (which we define as government taxing and spending) into a non-monetary economics that raises the spectre of involuntary unemployment.
For all the goods and services produced in any period to be sold, total spending must equal total income (whether actual income generated in production is fully spent or not each period).
Involuntary unemployment is idle labour offered for sale with no buyers at current prices (wages). This unemployment thus occurs when the private sector, in aggregate, desires to earn the currency through the offer of labour but doesn’t desire to spend all it earns, other things equal.
As a result, involuntary inventory accumulation among sellers of goods and services translates into decreased output and employment.
In this situation, nominal (or real) wage cuts per se do not clear the labour market, unless those cuts somehow eliminate the private sector desire to net save, and thereby increase total spending.
Thus we understand that the purpose of the currency of the government and the fiscal policy choices that bring that currency into existence is to facilitate the movement of real goods and services from the non-government (largely private) sector to the government (public) domain.
Government achieves this transfer by first levying a tax, which creates a notional demand for its currency of issue. To obtain funds needed to pay taxes and net save, non-government agents offer real goods and services for sale in exchange for the needed units of the currency.
This includes, of-course, the offer of labour by the unemployed.
The obvious conclusion is that unemployment occurs when net government spending is too low to accommodate the need to pay taxes and the desire to net save. Either government spending is too low relative to the current tax receipts or taxes are too high relative to the level of government spending.
This makes the purpose of fiscal policy clear. It is not to balance any financial accounts. Rather, it is to generate full employment.
This analysis also sets the limits on government spending. It is clear that government spending has to be sufficient to allow taxes to be paid.
In addition, net government spending is required to meet the private desire to save (accumulate net financial assets). From the previous paragraph it is also clear that if the Government doesn’t spend enough to cover taxes and the non-government sector’s desire to save the manifestation of this deficiency will be unemployment.
Keynesians have used the term demand-deficient unemployment. In our conception, the basis of this deficiency is at all times inadequate net government spending, given the private spending (saving) decisions in force at any particular time.
For a time, what may appear to be inadequate levels of net government spending can continue without rising unemployment. In these situations, as is evidenced in many countries in the pre-GFC period, GDP growth can be driven by an expansion in private debt.
The problem with this strategy is that when the debt service levels reach some threshold percentage of income, the private sector will ‘run out of borrowing capacity’ as incomes limit debt service and banks become risk-adverse.
Typically, this will then provoke efforts to reduce the debt exposure (so-called ‘balance sheet restructuring’) and rmake the household and/or firm finances less precarious.
As a consequence, total spending from private debt expansion slows and the economy falters.
In this case, any fiscal drag (inadequate levels of net government spending) begins to manifest as unemployment.
Which brings me to the Fairfax article I referred to above.
Ross Gittins writes:
Which brings us back to the budget’s primary macro-economic purpose, achieving “fiscal sustainability”. We’ve been assured – as usual, by leak – that any improvement in revenue estimates arising from the seeming recovery in iron ore prices will be allowed to reduce the budget deficit, not used to fatten the tax cuts or otherwise buy votes.
Which would lead his readers to conclude that the fiscal balance (the ‘budget’ outcome) is an legitimate policy target in its own right, which would be at odds with the observation that government must use its fiscal policy to offset non-government spending gaps.
The same readers would be excused for thinking that ‘fiscal sustainability’ is something to do with reducing the “budget deficit” independent of other considerations.
The problem is that Gittins is just channelling the mindless nonsense that parades as mainstream economics these days that the “budget’s primary macro-economic purpose” is to be in balance or surplus either always or, in the case, of the so-called progressive New Keynesians (advising Corbyn and McDonnell) over some economic cycle.
In this misguided interpretation of what constitutes responsible fiscal policy – fiscal sustainability is reduced to a self-contained balance between revenue and spending – that is, it is defined within the confines of financial accounting.
However, as I have argued often, fiscal sustainability is a ‘real’, not a financial concept.
To repeat the relevant first principles, which many of you will know well by now.
In a fiat monetary system where the national government issues its own currency and floats it on international markets:
- A sovereign government is not revenue-constrained which means that fiscal space cannot be defined in financial terms.
- The capacity of the sovereign government to mobilise resources depends only on the real resources available to the nation.
- A currency-issuing government can always meet the liabilities it issues in its own currency.
- Nations that have ceded their sovereignty by entering currency zones (such as the Eurozone); by dollarising their currencies; by running currency boards; and similar arrangements clearly are not sovereign and face the same constraints that a country suffered during the gold standard era.
In the real world, rather than in the mainstream macroeconomics textbooks, the concept of fiscal space and fiscal sustainability is real, not financial.
Please read the following introductory suite of blogs – Fiscal sustainability 101 – Part 1 – Fiscal sustainability 101 – Part 2 – Fiscal sustainability 101 – Part 3 – to learn how Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) constructs the concept of fiscal sustainability.
What these blogs will teach you is that the purpose of fiscal policy is to ensure there is full employment and price stability – which is quite a different concept to what Gittins is suggesting.
Another way of thinking about this is to reflect on Abba Lerner’s ‘steering wheel’ metaphor, which he introduced in his 1941 article – The Economic Steering Wheel: the Story of the People’s New Clothes – (reproduced with minor editorial changes as Chapter 1 in his 1951 book – The Economics of Employment).[Reference: Lerner, A. (1951) The Economics of Employment, New York, McGraw Hill.].
Lerner saw the economy as a vehicle that we (through the government) can control to achieve our collective well-being. This is in contrast to the neo-liberal concept of the economy as a self-regulating mechanism, which demands us to act as sacrificial lambs to maintain its ‘health’.
It is contrast to notions the government ‘budgets’ need ‘repairing’ if they are in deficit (another claim that Ross Gittins often repeats – see below).
The ‘steering wheel’ metaphor is used by Lerner to juxtapose the laissez-faire approach where the car zig-zags across the road, often out of control and producing multiple wrecks, with the alternative, where judicious use of the steering wheel can ensure the car travels safely and smoothly along the road.
Lerner considered fiscal and monetary policy to be ways in which government can ‘steer’ the economy to avoid the crises that the free market approach creates.
In relating the metaphor to the economy, Lerner (1951: 4-5) noted that in the main, people accept the need to use the steering wheel for orderly driving:
But are they as reasonable about other things as they are about the desirability of steering their automobiles? … Do they not allow their economic automobiles to bounce from depression to inflation in wide and uncontrolled arcs? Through their failure to steer away from unemployment and idle factories are they not just as guilty of public injury and insecurity as the mad motorists …
Abba Lerner distinguished between what he called Functional Finance and Sound finance, the latter being the orthodoxy he confronted.
‘Sound finance’, which also dominates the public debate in the current period is usually expressed in terms of some defined fiscal and monetary policy rules – for example, governments should aim for a fiscal balance or the central bank should only allow the money supply to increase in line with the rate of real output growth.
These rules, which are rarely challenged, usually disguise an underlying conservaitve morality about the role of government (for example, deficits are characterised as ‘living beyond the means’ etc).
By way of departure, Lerner considered a government should always use its policy capacity to achieve full employment and price stability and thought that fiscal or monetary policy rules based on conservative morality were not likely to help in that regard.
In contrast to ‘Sound finance’, Lerner said that (1943: 39-40):
The central idea is that government fiscal policy, its spending and taxing, its borrowing and repayment of loans, its issue of new money and its withdrawal of money, shall all be undertaken with an eye only to the results of these actions on the economy and not to any established traditional doctrine about what is sound and what is unsound … The principle of judging fiscal measures by the way they work or function in the economy we may call Functional Finance.
The first responsibility of the government (since nobody else can undertake the responsibility) is to keep the total rate of spending in the country on goods and services neither greater nor less than that rate which at the current prices would buy all the goods that it is possible to produce. If total spending is allowed to go above this there will be inflation, and if it is allowed to go below this there will be unemployment. The government can increase total spending by spending more itself or by reducing taxes so that taxpayers have more money left to spend. The government can increase total spending by spending more itself or by reducing taxes so that the taxpayers have more money left to spend. It can reduce total spending by spending less itself or by raising taxes so that taxpayers have less money left to spend. By these means total spending can be kept at the required level, where it will be enough to buy the goods that can be produced by all who want to work, and yet not enough to bring inflation by demanding (at current prices) more than can be produced.
As almost an afterthought, as he has already pushed the readers into thinking fiscal sustainability is about getting the fiscal balance back into surplus, Ross Gittins says that:
With forward-looking trend growth now reduced to 2.75 per cent a year and the economy growing by 3 per cent in 2015, we should be getting on with budget repair.
In other words, a rather weak attempt to relate the state of the fiscal balance to the real economy.
But the bridge between the fiscal position of government and the real situation in the economy is hardly made concrete by appealing to some reduced trend rate of real GDP growth.
Is 2.75 per cent real GDP growth acceptable?
Well, to answer that question, consider the following:
1. At present the Australian unemployment rate is hovering around 6 per cent.
2. Underemployment is around 8.4 per cent (when last measured – November 2015).
3. The participation rate is well below the November 2010 peak – which when you account for changing composition of the labour force (ageing) still means that some 120 thousand workers have become hidden unemployed as a result of the weak and often negative employment growth over the last several years.
4. When we adjust for the slack participation rate and add those discouraged workers back into the labour force the unemployment rate would be around 7 per cent in January 2016 rather than 6 per cent.
5. In other words, the broad labour wastage is around 15.5 per cent – a long way from any reasonable interpretation of what a full employment position would be.
6. And all that is being sustained by trend real GDP growth of 2.75 per cent.
7. Further, inflation is well below the RBA’s official targetting range and has shown no signs of accelerating for some years despite the rather large exchange rate depreciation in recent times.
At some times, it is necessary for the government to engage in a discretionary reduction in its net spending to stop the economy moving beyond the full employment (full capacity) level.
Now is definitely not the time to be contemplating that. Rather, the Australian government should be introducing a significant new fiscal stimulus equivalent at least to 1 to 1.5 per cent of GDP.
That is the only way the massive and persistent level of labour underutilisation (wastage of human potential) will be reduced in any coherent way.
Further, the concept of ‘budget repair’ assumes that the fiscal balance is akin to a car or a bad heart in a medical patient. That is, it is sick or in disrepair and needs to be fixed.
It is one of those neo-liberal metaphors that are designed to mislead us and to lead us into a construction of the fiscal balance that is inapplicable to a modern monetary system.
It biases our thinking into believing that deficits are bad and surpluses are good and that there is something irresponsible or wanton about a government that is running a continuous fiscal deficit.
Please read my blog – Framing Modern Monetary Theory – for more discussion on this point.
It also begs the question what a healthy ‘budget’ would look like.
Lerner’s statement of purpose – his ‘first law of Functional Finance’ – recognises the basic rule of macroeconomics – that spending equals income and output, which drives the demand for labour.
As noted above, mass unemployment results from insufficient spending – it is a macroeconomic problem. The neo-liberal claims that unemployment arises because, for various reasons, individuals do not seek work hard enough, totally misses the point. An individual cannot search for jobs that are not there!
In other words, the government responsibility should be to adjust its spending and taxation to ensure that all production is purchased and that this level of production generates jobs for all, such that the society cannot produce any more goods and services with its current available inputs.
What are the financial implications of this? Lerner noted that if in fulfilling its responsibilities, the government records a fiscal deficit, then it “would have to provide the difference by borrowing or printing money. In neither case should the government feel that there is anything especially good or bad about this result” (p.40).
The goal is to “concentrate on keeping the total rate of spending neither too small nor too great, in this way preventing both unemployment and inflation” (p. 40).
Importantly, assessments of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ are defined purely in terms of whether the government is achieving its real goals.
Obviously, moral considerations enter at the stage of setting goals. It is clearly a values-based position to aim for a state where everyone can find work that desires to do so.
Once agreed that this will be the societal goal, then we should be indifferent, if in different circumstances (for example, the strength of private sector spending), a deficit of 1 per cent of GDP or a deficit of 5 per cent of GDP is required to meet that goal.
Thinking in this way flushes out where the ideology lies.
The neo-liberals obscure their disregard for mass unemployment by claiming that the 5 per cent deficit is dangerous and unsustainable. If the public truly understood that the 5 per cent deficit is as sustainable as the 1 per cent deficit, then the neo-liberals would be forced to debate their preference for mass unemployment.
Gittins thinks that a 2.75 real GDP trend growth rate is acceptable even if it associated with a broad labour underutilisation rate of in excess of 15 per cent.
His neo-liberal roots are disclosed.
Which brings me back to John McDonnell in Britain. He once again announced that the British Labour Party would constrain itsself with a so-called “fiscal credibility rule” if elected.
The BBC Report (March 11, 2016) – Labour announces ‘fiscal credibility rule’ quoted him as saying it was an attempt to regain “economic credibility”.
McDonnell was quoted as saying:
We know now from the world’s central banks that the world economy is looking at stagnation, and there needs to be a new rule … And we want people to have confidence in a Labour government. That means we are introducing a new fiscal credibility rule.
First, that a Labour government will always balance day to day expenditure.
Second, that we will only borrow for the long term, and that means for investment – investment in our infrastructure, in the homes that we need, the railways, the roads, the renewable energy.
And in new technology to grow our economy.
Third, debt will fall under a Labour government over a five year period …
And then finally all this will be supervised independently by the Office [for] Budget Responsibility, reporting directly to Parliament.
This is a new iron discipline for a Labour government …
And the path to nowhere for the well-being of the citizens.
Please read the blogs cited at the outset for my criticism of this rule.
But according to the (rude) (Paul Mason, McDonnell is channelling an academic paper – Issues in the Design of Fiscal Policy Rules – written in May 2014 by British New Keynesian economists Simon Wren-Lewis and Jonathan Portes .
As an aside, I used the term rude because Mason promised to host a panel in London last year (which I was on) and he not only didn’t bother turning up but he also didn’t have the courtesy to let the organisers know he wasn’t turning up. A large audience waited some time for him to arrive. Indulgence!
New Keynesian economists, which dominate my profession include Paul Krugman among their ranks are part of the problem not part of the solution. They failed to anticipate the financial crisis because their ‘models’ did not even include a banking sector!
In this blog – Mainstream macroeconomic fads – just a waste of time – I considered so-called New Keynesian models of the macroeconomy which dominate the mainstream of my profession.
Anyway, the “paper is about the search for” a “fiscal rule” to “guide fiscal policymakers”.
The neo-liberal credentials of the authors are immediately exposed when they say:
… one single simple rule to guide fiscal policy may never be found … basic theory suggests that fiscal policy actions should be very different when monetary policy is constrained in a fundamental way, while the reverse is not in general the case. There are two major examples of where this will be true. The first is when interest rates are at the zero lower bound …
There is no difference between a zero-rate state and a non-zero rate state for the conduct of fiscal policy.
Essentially, to think otherwise is to believe that monetary policy is the primary, effective counter-stabilising policy tool and, it is only when that effectiveness is reduced (when there is no more room for rates to fall) that fiscal policy should be more active.
This is a basic neo-liberal belief – which has been pushed into the public debate as a sort of technical claim to hide the fact neo-liberals just hate fiscal policy and want to limit government discretion as much as possible.
Monetary policy is largely ineffective as a counter-stabilising policy tool, irrespective of how much scope there is for changing interest rates up or down.
As an example, please read my blog – The ECB could stand on its head and not have much impact – for more discussion on this point.
Fiscal policy is always effective and should be the primary tool to ensure full employment. That requires a very basic set of policy positions being followed by government, which I outline in this blog – The full employment fiscal deficit condition
I won’t go into the rest of the paper that is apparently underpinning McDonnell’s position. It is GIGO – garbage in, garbage out. A typical New Keynesian piece of irrelevance.
Three low lights in the paper:
1. It extols the virtues of an unelected, technocratic (full of neo-liberals) “fiscal council, with a wide monitoring mandate” which “can provide a backstop against the possibility that a government may start trying to manipulate policy for political ends”.
A basis of democracy is that governments introduce policy that satisfies political ends! That is the nature of a political economy – the economy should work for us.
Having the unelected mandarins on high pay with secure jobs telling us that 15 per cent broad labour underutilisation rates signal time for governments to ‘cut deficits’ (‘repair!’) is the anathema of responsible government in a democracy.
2. There is no mention of what a government should be aiming to achieve other than to achieve either deficit or debt targets within a standard GIGO cost minimisation framework. The only mention of unemployment is to invoke (once) Milton Friedman’s concept of a natural rate of unemployment, which has been used to justify persistent mass unemployment (as above).
3. The authors deliberately conduct their ‘technical’ analysis assuming (in their words) “financing through printing money”. In other words, they set up an artificial situation, where the currency-issuing capacities of the government are suppressed and the state is treated as equivalent to a ‘household’. Ridiculous.
British Labour has until Thursday May 7, 2020 before they have to face the national electorate. More than 4 years.
They could have chosen to use that time to challenge the fundamental tenets of the macroeconomics debate by educating the public on the myths of neo-liberalism.
They could have abandoned their neo-liberal roots and engaged the public in a truly progressive process, which would have sunk the neo-liberal paradigm.
Instead, they have chosen to surrender to the neo-liberal mainstream and in using the language and metaphors of that approach have led the public to believe that deficits are always bad etc.
Then they will just say that they will cut the deficit in more equitable ways. Hopeless.
As I tweeted the other night when I read the BBC press release – “British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn back to their Monetarist roots. Healey would be proud of them. Disgraceful”.
The reference was to Denis Healey – the first real Monetarist Chancellor in Britain – long before Margaret Thatcher installed Geoffrey Howe in that role on May 4, 1979.
Modern Monetary Theory and Practice: an Introductory Text
The first version of our MMT textbook – Modern Monetary Theory and Practice: an Introductory Text – was published on March 10, 2016 and is authored by myself, Randy Wray and Martin Watts.
It is available for purchase at:
1. Amazon.com (US 60 dollars)
2. Amazon.co.uk (£42.00)
3. Amazon Europe Portal (€58.85)
4. Create Space Portal (US60 dollars)
By way of explanation, this edition contains 15 Chapters and is designed as an introductory textbook for university-level macroeconomics students.
It is based on the principles of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and includes the following detailed chapters:
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: How to Think and Do Macroeconomics
Chapter 3: A Brief Overview of the Economic History and the Rise of Capitalism
Chapter 4: The System of National Income and Product Accounts
Chapter 5: Sectoral Accounting and the Flow of Funds
Chapter 6: Introduction to Sovereign Currency: The Government and its Money
Chapter 7: The Real Expenditure Model
Chapter 8: Introduction to Aggregate Supply
Chapter 9: Labour Market Concepts and Measurement
Chapter 10: Money and Banking
Chapter 11: Unemployment and Inflation
Chapter 12: Full Employment Policy
Chapter 13: Introduction to Monetary and Fiscal Policy Operations
Chapter 14: Fiscal Policy in Sovereign nations
Chapter 15: Monetary Policy in Sovereign Nations
It is intended as an introductory course in macroeconomics and the narrative is accessible to students of all backgrounds. All mathematical and advanced material appears in separate Appendices.
A Kindle version will be available the week after next.
Note: We are soon to finalise a sister edition, which will cover both the introductory and intermediate years of university-level macroeconomics (first and second years of study).
The sister edition will contain an additional 10 Chapters and include a lot more advanced material as well as the same material presented in this Introductory text.
We expect the expanded version to be available around June or July 2016.
So when considering whether you want to purchase this book you might want to consider how much knowledge you desire. The current book, released today, covers a very detailed introductory macroeconomics course based on MMT.
It will provide a very thorough grounding for anyone who desires a comprehensive introduction to the field of study.
The next expanded edition will introduce advanced topics and more detailed analysis of the topics already presented in the introductory book.
That is enough for today!
(c) Copyright 2016 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.