The right-wing counter attack – 1971

The early 1970s brought into relief the internal contradictions of the capitalist system of production and distribution. This was never more evident than in Britain at the time. The trade unions, previously illegal had become more powerful and integrated as they defended the rights of their members. The very existence of the union movement exposed the conflictual nature of capitalism. The trade unions caused havoc in Britain in the early 1970s. But before we consider the role of the trade unions, it is important to understand what was happening on the capital side at the time. After the Monetarist ideas of Milton Friedman and his colleagues at the University of Chicago and beyond had seeped out of the academy into the policy and lobbying circles, it became obvious that capital would mount a major action against the unions and governments that gave them succour. Corporations and big money were far from passive. They didn’t buy the line that the Left has been lured into believing that the state had become increasingly powerless as capitalism became more global. Far from it. They got more organised than ever! The British Labour Party became lambs for the …

The Powell Manifesto – 1971 – a major turning point

On August 23, 1971, a US lawyer Lewis F. Powell, Jr published the now famous Attack on American Free Enterprise System, which he had prepared for the US Chamber of Commerce.

He published the ‘Powell Memo’ (or Powell Manifesto) just two months before he assumed a position as US Supreme Court Judge, courtesy of the corrupt Richard Nixon. The contents of the ‘Memo’ were not made public prior to his elevation.

The Memo was a major turning point in the way the corporate sector approached the political system.

Prior to assuming that position, Powell had represented the Tobacco industry in many cases.

The story of Powell and the Tobacco industry was an early example of what would become the large-scale abuse of corporate power in the modern era of capitalism.

What we now see in the form of the various concessions granted under so-called free trade agreements and the apparent immunity of the financial sector from prosecution despite the corrupt behaviour that led to the GFC, was all on show in the Powell era during the 1960s.

Before his rise to the Supreme Court, Powell had been a director of the Phillip Morris tobacco company. He was appointed to that position in 1964.

Earlier in that year (January 11, 1964), the US Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health released its first report – Smoking and Health – on the dangers of smoking.

The report was an exhaustive study of the subject and catalogued the extensive evidence that had been accumulated to that date.

It used the accepted statistical methods (which remain robust today) concluded categorically that cigarette smoking was a cause of various forms of cancer in both men and women and other chronic diseases (such as, bronchitis).

The evidence produced was sensational and “the report furnished newspaper headlines across the country and lead stories on television newscasts. Later it was ranked among the top news stories of 1964” (Source).

So what is the relevance of that? In their excellent examination of corporate abuse, Jeffrey Clements and Bill Moyers (2012) trace the link between Powell and the tobacco companies and how the sector’s lobbying organisation, the Tobacco Institute had for decades deployed “phony science and false statements to create a fraudulent ‘debate’ about smoking and health.”

They argue that “ideas expressed by Powell in his 1971 memorandum to the Chamber of Commerce came out of his personal involvement in the aggressive resistance of the cigarette corporations to efforts to address the devastating social and public costs of its lethal products” (Source).

They write that:

Powell shared responsibility for the fraudulent attack on the conclusions of scientists and the surgeon general by the cigarette industry and for its false insistence for years that ‘no proof’ showed cigarettes to be unhealthy.

[Reference: Clements, J. and Moyers, B. (2012) Corporations Are Not People: Why They Have More Rights Than You Do and What You Can Do About It, San Francisco, Berret-Koehler Publishers.]

In his memo, Powell wrote that:

No thoughtful person can question that the American economic system is under broad attack … what now concerns us is quite new in the history of America. We are not dealing with sporadic or isolated attacks from a relatively few extremists or even from the minority socialist cadre. Rather, the assault on the enterprise system is broadly based and consistently pursued. It is gaining momentum and converts …

The day is long past when the chief executive officer of a major corporation discharges his responsibility by maintaining a satisfactory growth of profits, with due regard to the corporation’s public and social responsibilities. If our system is to survive, top management must be equally concerned with protecting and preserving the system itself. This involves far more than an increased emphasis on “public relations” or “governmental affairs” — two areas in which corporations long have invested substantial sums.

He appreciated that “In the final analysis, the payoff — short-of revolution — is what government does”. The Left might have bought the line that the State is now powerless in the face of globalisation, but the Right certainly understood that to get things done they had to work through the political process – “short-of revolution” that is.

He thus advocated aggressive action to influence the political process:

Business must learn the lesson, long ago learned by labor and other self-interest groups. This is the lesson that political power is necessary; that such power must be assidously (sic) cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination.

In addition to urging business leaders to become explicitly political, he also urged the Chamber of Commerce to “address the campus origin of hostility”, a reference to his claim that universities had become hotbeds of dissident, left-wing activism deeply opposed to the free market system. He claimed that universities were increasingly pumping out “bright young men” who wanted to “change a system which they have been taught to distrust — if not, indeed ‘despise'” and who were infiltrating “the centers of the real power and influence in our country”.

He wanted the Chamber to vet appointments, promote the public recognition of known supporters of free enterprise, “evaluate” textbook use, and build influence in the “graduate schools of business” by demanding “specific courses in such schools” which will provide “essential training for the executives of the future”.

He also wanted to establish “scholarly journals” explicitly to give access to publication of free market literature – parading as academic research.

He wanted similar influence exerted in the secondary school system.

In the public sphere he outlined a plan to use monitor “national television networks” and the “radio and press” harass the relevant organisation that dared to deviate from the free market message he sought to promote.

He claimed that:

The news stands — at airports, drugstores, and elsewhere — are filled with paperbacks and pamphlets advocating everything from revolution to erotic free love.

He wanted an organised effort to produce material on “our side” to counter what he considered to be a socialist insurgency via the popular media.

Finally, Powell also understood that the US courts influenced the terrain the the corporate sector had to operate within.

In that context he said:

Under our constitutional system, especially with an activist-minded Supreme Court, the judiciary may be the most important instrument for social, economic and political change.

He was advocating an “activist-minded Supreme Court” to ensure corporate interests were prioritised and embodied within the law just two months before he was to become a Supreme Court judge.

History tells us that he (ab)used his position as a Supreme Court judge to put that ideological belief into practice (the so-called concept of “corporate speech” in the First Amendment – see Clements and Moyers).

The upshot of the Powell Memo combined with the increasingly hostile messages coming from the academy about the evils of government intervention into the econmomy motivated the US Chamber of Commerce and increasingly organised corporate donors to create (Source):

… a powerful array of institutions designed to shift public attitudes and beliefs over the course of years and decades. The memo influenced or inspired the creation of the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Accuracy in Academe, and other powerful organizations. Their long-term focus began paying off handsomely in the 1980s, in coordination with the Reagan Administration’s ‘hands-off business’ philosophy.

See also the – Archive – at Washington and Lee University of the “significant follow-up communications to the Powell Memo”. It gives you an idea of how this stategy unfolded.

Bill Moyers’ article (September 14, 2012) – The Powell Memo: A Call-to-Arms for Corporations – traces some of the background to the Powell intervention. Above all, the memo “was just one of many who pushed to reinvigorate the political clout of employers”.

He documents that:

The number of corporations with public affairs offices in Washington grew from 100 in 1968 to over 500 in 1978. In 1971, only 175 firms had registered lobbyists in Washington, but by 1982, nearly 2,500 did. The number of corporate PACs increased from under 300 in 1976 to over 1,200 by the middle of 1980.

This was a concerted movement to retain and enlarge the hegemony of capital. There was no hints that globalisation was eroding the relevance of the state.

The state and its legislative and judicial machinery became the focus of intensified right-wing efforts to push the free market agenda.

The movement became international in nature. Right-wing ‘think tanks’ and lobbying organisations multiplied in the 1970s.

In the UK, the Centre for Policy Studies was founded by Tory MPs Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher to develop material that would “limit the role of the state, to encourage enterprise and to enable the institutions of society – such as families and voluntary organizations – to flourish”. In other words, as long as the state was promoting and nurturing corporations then all was well.

Similarly, the influential Adam Smith Institute was formed in the 1970s as part of this global movement to advance the interests of the corporate sector.

As these organisations infiltrated the major political parties through the promotion of free market thinking, government, itself, started to fund them to advance the neo-liberal agenda.

The way the British Labour Party under Tony Blair embraced the neo-liberal agenda exemplifies how deeply these lobby groups had penetrated the political process.

On June 19, 2002, the then Secretary of State for International Development in the British government, Clare Short, was responding to issues in a – Debate on International Trade – in the House of Commons.

She responded to a statement from a Liberal Democrat MP advancing the proposition that water in poor nations “could be cheaper under a privatised system”

The Minister responded:

Privatisation is the only way to get the investment that those countries need in things like banking, tourism, telecommunications and services such as water under good regulatory arrangements. I agree that the campaign saying that there should not be a voluntary scheme to open up services in that way is misguided.

Her own Department for International Development was funding the Adam Smith Institute through a consultancy arm it established – Adam Smith International – to push their radical free-market ideas in developing nations.

It quickly became a major supplier of services to facilitate the privatisation of water, electricity etc in thse nations.

The company was embroiled in scandal in 2005 when a water privatisation scheme failed in Tanzania.

The UK Guardian article (May 25, 2005) – Flagship water privatisation fails in Tanzania – reported at the time that:

The $140m (£76.5m) World Bank-funded privatisation scheme – which was supported by the UK government – was one of the most ambitious in Africa and was intended to be a model for how the world’s poorest communities could be lifted out of poverty and countries could meet their millennium development goal targets.

We learn that:

The Department for International Development paid Adam Smith International, sister organisation of the free market UK thinktank Adam Smith Institute, more than £500,000 to provide advice to the Tanzanian government.

More than £250,000 of that sum was spent by Adam Smith International on a video which included the words: “Our old industries are dry like crops and privatisation brings the rain.”

The British goverment “paid more than £36m” between 1998-2005 “Adam Smith International and PricewaterhouseCoopers to advise countries on privatising utilities.”

The Tanzanian government was coerced into accepting the privatisation scheme by – you guessed it – the IMF – as part of a debt deal:

The International Monetary Fund forced water privatisation on one of the poorest countries in the world in order to benefit western water companies

The Tanzanian government “cancelled its deal with” the company supplying the services because, as the spokesperson said at the time “no new domestic pipework has been installed, the company has not spent the money it had promised, water quality has declined, and that revenue has decreased.”

The series so far

This is a further part of a series I am writing as background to my next book on globalisation and the capacities of the nation-state. More instalments will come as the research process unfolds.

The series so far:

1. Friday lay day – The Stability Pact didn’t mean much anyway, did it?

2. European Left face a Dystopia of their own making

3. The Eurozone Groupthink and Denial continues …

4. Mitterrand’s turn to austerity was an ideological choice not an inevitability

5. The origins of the ‘leftist’ failure to oppose austerity

6. The European Project is dead

7. The Italian left should hang their heads in shame

8. On the trail of inflation and the fears of the same ….

9. Globalisation and currency arrangements

10. The co-option of government by transnational organisations

11. The Modigliani controversy – the break with Keynesian thinking

12. The capacity of the state and the open economy – Part 1

13. Is exchange rate depreciation inflationary?

14. Balance of payments constraints

15. Ultimately, real resource availability constrains prosperity

16. The impossibility theorem that beguiles the Left.

17. The British Monetarist infestation.

18. The Monetarism Trap snares the second Wilson Labour Government.

19. The Heath government was not Monetarist – that was left to the Labour Party.

20. Britain and the 1970s oil shocks – the failure of Monetarism

21. The right-wing counter attack – 1971

The blogs in these series should be considered working notes rather than self-contained topics. Ultimately, they will be edited into the final manuscript of my next book due later in 2016.

Conclusion

The next instalment in the series will consider the rise of trade union power and their role in the inflation in Britain in the 1970s. I expect some criticism of the view I take from those on the Left!

But like always I have a very reliable flame suit and usually the Left-sourced criticisms come from those who think I am a Tory in disguise (laughing a lot). They also seem to not have understood what has happened to the Left anyway and certainly do not fully grasp the underpinning macroeconomics.

FINALLY – Introductory Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) Textbook

I will write a separate blog about this presently, but today we finally published the first version of our MMT textbook – Modern Monetary Theory and Practice: an Introductory Text – today (March 10, 2016).

The long-awaited book is authored by myself, Randy Wray and Martin Watts.

It is available for purchase at:

1. Amazon.com (60 US dollars)

2. Amazon.co.uk (£42.00)

3. Amazon Europe Portal (€58.85)

4. Create Space Portal (60 US 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.

Spread the word ...
    This entry was posted in Britain, Demise of the Left, IMF, UK Economy. Bookmark the permalink.

    22 Responses to The right-wing counter attack – 1971

    1. Daniel D says:

      The ruling elite do not like people to have public access to such things as water.

      Gaddafi and the pour souls of Libya found out the hard way.

      His Great Manmade River project was state funded, (no IMF, no World Bank) and by all accounts a remarkable success in delivering water to over 70% of the population. Worse, it was state owned and subsidized.

      Of course NATO during it’s humanitarian bombing campaign to oust Gaddafi targeted this Public asset — a war crime for non – exceptionalists.

      “At first, we had to rely on foreign-owned companies to do the work. But now it’s government policy to involve Libyans in the project. Libyans are gaining experience and know-how, and now more than 70% of the manufacturing is done by Libyans. With time, we hope we can decrease the foreign percentage from 30% to 10%.”
      …..
      “As a result, Libya is now a world leader in hydrological engineering and it wants to export its expertise to other African and Middle-Eastern countries facing similar problems with their water.”

      Gaddafi and the Libyans had unequivocally demonstrated that Privatization was not the panacea it was claimed to be.

    2. Jerry Brown says:

      “The next installment in the series will consider the rise of trade union power and their role in the inflation in Britain in the 1970s. I expect some criticism of the view I take from those on the Left!”

      What is this? Some kind of cruel Neoliberal cliffhanging marketing scheme? Have to wait till Monday to find out apparently. I am very tempted to try some ‘pre-criticism’ of that post- as ridiculous as that would be. And is it possible that you are ‘poisoning the well’ with they “certainly do not fully grasp the underpinning macroeconomics”?

      I trust that even a Tory such as you will not succumb to the bias of the intellectual class and blame trade unions and their parochial interests in representing their members for macroeconomic issues like inflation that are more truly the responsibility of the currency issuing democratic government.

    3. Derek Henry says:

      Yes.

      David Harvey wrote about all of this in the book Brief History Of Neoliberalism.

      Next they hijacked the Republican party and the Christian vote by using the freedom movements in the 60’s and framing and propaganda. Their blue print was first tried in New York when the bankrupted the state to bring in the reforms they wanted. Privatisation etc,etc basically what they are doing in Greece now.

      When New York was a success they wanted to know if it could work in a country and used the upper classes and education system in Chile to find out. Economic students from Chile who were trained in the U.S. were used to carry out the blue print. In effect they were exporting these ideas abroad to take over countries and steal their resources.

      When they invaded Iraq they went further than they ever did before and even introduced a flat tax. Bremer broke every law ever written in the Hague. They circumvented the laws by bringing in a puppet sovereign to sign the deal.

      As they say the rest is history.

    4. Derek Henry says:

      I’m sure New York was the first time debts had to be paid and creditors became God. They removed the risk of giving out dodgy loans.

      It was the blue print to be used to get South American countries into $ debt. Then asset strip them when they could not pay. The rise of the hedge funds as a political tool it was a lot easier than sending the military in.

      Argentina today is a great example what happens when they get the neoliberal puppet they want in charge.

    5. Simonsky says:

      jerry Brown- I anticipate (wrongly perhaps) that Bill will talk about the Unions pushing wage bargaining to excessive degrees during the ‘cost push’ of oil prices and thereby exacerbating inflation in the contest with capital – both sides wanting more of the cake than was possible without producing inflation. We’ll have to wait till Monday!

      Bill makes an important point about not understanding its own failure which is why his research is so important. I look forward to the book coming out, though if it is published by ‘Edward Elgar’ I doubt I will be able to afford it (given the price of ‘Eurozone Dystopia’) . I suppose these books are published with a view to University Libraries buying them rather than those in the general public of an autodidactic bent.

    6. Gogs says:

      There are some interesting appetisers on the web for Bill’s next instalment, providing a variety of interpretations on the madcap 1970’s – flared trousers weren’t the only outrage.

      Even in retrospect that era of societal adventure and economic upheaval cannot, it seems, be reduced to straightforward factual conclusions.

      Even if Bill manages to evaluate it intellectually, for those who experienced the unfolding drama let’s hope he incorporates a bit of excitement.

    7. Allan says:

      In his book – Never let a serious crisis go to waste, How neoliberalism survived the financial meltdown author Philip Mirowski relates how the tobacco industry at the time also funded quality medical research, not to find cures for diseases, but to find other causes of diseases not attributable to smoking, which they could then insert into the debate to create doubt and confusion. Mirowski refers to this process as being part of the “agnotological project” of neo-liberalism which he describes as:

      … the manufacture of doubt as rooted in the professions of advertising and public relations, with close connections to the organization of think tanks and lobbying firms. Its essence is a series of techniques and technologies to both use and influence independently existing academic disciplines for the purposes of fostering impressions of implacable controversy where actual disputes are marginal, wreaking havoc with outsider perceptions of the configuration of orthodox doctrines, and creating a parallel set of spokespersons and outlets for ideas that are convenient for the behind-the-scenes funding interests, combined with the inflation of disputes in the name of “balance” in order to infuse the impression in outsiders that nothing has been settled within the core research community.

      This is beyond simple propaganda, as he points out:

      … its hallmark techniques thrive off a hermeneutics of suspicion, with the result that the populace can maintain the comfortable fiction that it is not being manipulated by the obscure interests funding the initiatives. In this it is similar to advertising that makes use of the general conviction of the target populace that they are immune to the blandishments of advertising.

      Which he then describes in broad terms as a procedure involving two steps:

      … one is the effort to pump excess noise into the public discussion of appropriate frames within which to approach the controversy; the second is to provide the echoic preffered target narrative as coming from many different sanctioned sources at once; ubiquity helps pave the way for inevitability … [put simply] … Doubt is their product, but eventual manufactured consensus is their profit.

      The author uses the tobacco industry campaign and global warming denialism as examples of how these agnotological techniques are deployed and then examines how similar techniques were applied by neo-liberals in the response to the fallout from the GFC. And as readers of this blog are well aware, nothing much was done to address the root causes of the GFC – as was the intention.

    8. Sandra Crawford says:

      We have a new wave of privatisation in the UK in school property. I work on the Audit and Accounts committee in my local community, and in 2014, 120 million disappeared from the local authority balance sheet which I questioned. The conclusion that it was the forced removal of title deeds of schools to private “trusts.” Further research has shown that they are now privately controlled, and CEOs are coining in vast rents for “running” the schools.
      The result has been a downgrading of teaching staff, fewer staff, larger class sizes, and failing schools. http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2016/mar/22/schools-are-relying-on-inexperienced-staff-and-supply-teachers-survey-reveals The costs have been cut clearly to cover the rents. Even local government Tories are getting angry. http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/mar/24/conservative-councillors-angry-academy-plans-nicky-morgan

      The evidence proves Michael Hudsons analysis as correct. The aim is to introduce toll booth charges for rent seekers, as this skimming worsens the service and removes democratic control with all of it checks and balances.

      It also shows up the deceit in the obsession with the deficit, as money is diverted, not saved.

    9. roger erickson says:

      Is this as blatant as it now seems in retrospect?

      First, the knee-jerk reaction to undo the New Deal.
      then the knee-jerk reaction to undo the Square Deal (Trust-Busting).

      Does corporate America truly know the broader impact of it’s narrow actions? No. That’s been proven time & again. No segment of society knows what the aggregate knows. The best sanity check, to avoid stupid mistakes, is to talk to everyone, and LISTEN to feedback from everyone. The bigger our population becomes, the more cultural instrumentation we need, just to monitor required feedback soon enough to matter.

      Does our nation lack the cultural instrumentation to remain aware of aggregate outcomes? Obviously!

      Have we as a people lost the Aggregate Desired Outcome, to “make a more perfect union?”
      It seems so, since we no longer respect the intent of the very reforms we once made, and lack the perspective to keep them and tune them. Instead, we’ve reverted to throwing out the baby with the bath water.

      I wouldn’t even call this merely a right-wing counter attack. I’d call it evidence of social unraveling, where incredibly narrow minded Institutional Momentum shoots it’s own country in the foot. It’s aggregate stupidity.

      We’re square back to 90 years ago.

      “It is utterly impossible, as this country has demonstrated again and again, for the rich to save as much as they have been trying to save, and save anything that is worth saving. They can save idle factories and useless railroad coaches; they can save empty office buildings and closed banks; they can save paper evidences of foreign loans; but as a class they can not save anything that is worth saving, above and beyond the amount that is made profitable by the increase of consumer buying. It is for the interests of the well to do – to protect them from the results of their own folly—that we should take from them a sufficient amount of their surplus to enable consumers to consume and business to operate at a profit.”
      Business Without a Buyer, William Foster & Waddill Catchings, 1927
      http://www.amazon.com/Business-Without-William-Trufant-Catchings/dp/B0071IQ6Y8/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458823266&sr=1-7&keywords=Waddill+Catchings

      It’s not technology that’s hurting us. It’s the fundamentals of organization. We’re neglecting the fundamentals.

      We do NOT need so-called “progressives” and “conservatives” to wage civil war. That’s like urging the left & right hands to war over control of the body. There’s no point in either winning. What would that entail? Seizing the neck & choking off the other hand’s connection to the brain? Utter nonsense.

      What we need is to return to a broad enough education for all, so that all citizens retain the focus of “making a more perfect union.”

      None of is as smart – nor adaptive – as all of us. Why fight the team? Only the miseducated do that.

    10. Jerry Brown says:

      Dear Simonsky,
      I want to thank you for not being overly critical of my pre-criticism of the Professor’s future post. I would note that the professor was himself somewhat pre-critical of the forthcoming criticisms to the forthcoming post when he describes them as coming from people who do not grasp the underpinnings of macroeconomics. (He is undoubtedly correct if he is referring to my future criticisms.)

      Had you been critical of my pre-criticism of the critical work in question, I am afraid that we might have become entangled in a whirlpool time loop of future possible critical events and never actually have been able to read the future post! Luckily, your good natured, reasonable reply to me has averted that disastrously catastrophic scenario. I thank you truly.

      Now I just have to figure out what to do with my time until Monday. It is all too apparent that I have far too much time on my hands.

    11. Dave Jobson says:

      Bill, why must you charge so much from your books. As a retired academic I no longer have a book buying sush fund.
      My mind however has not yet completely gone to seed. If you want to spread the MMT philosophy a lower price may stimulate book sales and MMT knowledge.

    12. bill says:

      Dear Dave Jobson (and others) (at 2016/03/25 at 7:55)

      why must you charge so much from your books.

      I don’t! The publishers or distributors do. As you are a retired academic you should appreciate the publishing component of our profession. I have no control over the prices that are charged by companies such as Elgar. Which isn’t entirely true. The control I have is to get a small reduction in the price that is finally offered if I basically surrender all royalties.

      In the case of the Eurozone Dystopia – that is what I did to try to keep the price down. I make zero from the sales.

      In the case of the MMT textbook we have just released – we decided to avoid conventional publishers and publish it via Amazon’s own publishing platform. In that instance, we have kept the price to a minimum, after Amazon tells us what the minimum price has to be to cover their distribution, administrative, printing and other overheads. We put a very small margin on that minimum price to partially cover labour costs within my research centre. My assistant worked tirelessly to produce the book (as she does on all our output) and I have to pay her a wage! But a full-colour book of more than 300 pages for $US60 is not bad in a relative sense.

      I could sell through my own blog basic word copies of my books (that is, unpublished manuscripts) but that would be too much of a hassle.

      In the case of both the Eurozone book and the MMT text, I produced a fair amount of the text anyway for free via my blog over the course of writing the manuscripts.

      I appreciate your point but there is little I can do about it other than to solicit sponsorship from the public or put advertising on my blog – with that income I could probably offer my books for free! But then we get into other issues.

      I also want to produce several films etc to promote MMT. But money is always the issue. People want to be paid for their services. Unlike the right-wing think tanks, I get no financial support from anywhere and actually personally outlay funds to keep the blog going.

      best wishes
      bill

    13. larry says:

      gogs, what was so wrong with flared trousers? Other than perhaps the part for one’s knees? What about tapestry pants?

      Jerry Brown, when you write “I trust that even a Tory such as you”, referring seemingly to BM, I presume you are surely joking.

    14. Gogs says:

      larry, I am sure you will recognise the paradox in the reference; anyone who was a true member of that decade wore flares with contemporary distinction a la Sonny & Cher.

      More to the point, they would have maintained a cheery and optimistic disposition throughout that tumultuous period; unlike much of the retrospective analysis, which is characterised by gloom and despondency.

      This acute search for conspiracies in politico/economic matters would do justice to a threat of cataclysm like the one that occurred a 100 years ago; the first world war. And both sides in that conflict thought they were right to use heaps of propaganda to support their case.

      Let’s stop wallowing and view a futuristic upland that contains more than Guaranteed jobs (or Bell Bottomed attire for that matter).

      As Bill surely knows, Globalisation means intense competition; so let’s hear how everyone succeeds, which is surely the humanitarian (MMT) solution.

    15. Jerry Brown says:

      Larry, yes, I was joking. I am sorry if that wasn’t clear. I am sure the Tories would have disowned Professor Mitchell long ago even had he, for some reason, joined their party. And I have nothing but the utmost respect for the professor. If I found out he was a Tory, I would figure I was doing something wrong myself, and probably join that party too. That would be difficult here in the U.S. though.

    16. Kevin Harding says:

      Roger Erickson thank you for the 90 yr old quote.Greed unlearns so much.
      They indulge their insatiable desire to save despite undermining total aggregate savings by
      using their wealth to lobby against government sector deficits.
      They fear empowered democracy but I wonder if smart capital will grasp their fundamental
      dilemma and support fiscal stimulus whilst still trying to use all their power to ensure they
      end up with the lions share of savings and hence future claims on land and its and labours fruits.

    17. roger erickson says:

      Kevin Hurding,
      how many of your day to day friends would even grasp what’s being discussed, without weeks of discussion to orient to actual context?

      I didn’t, 15 years ago. Never even considered such things, all the way through college & grad school.

      All of us are educated far too narrowly. Until we once again teach elementary & secondary students that data is meaningless without FULL context, we’ll be slogging hopelessly behind receding reality … no matter how heroic the re-education efforts of people like Bill Mitchell & Warren Mosler.

      An ounce of cheap prevention trumps a pound of pound of expensive cure … which can never catch up.

    18. Cooper says:

      Bill,

      The MMT movie idea sound interesting. Maybe you could start some sort of crowd funding campaign for that. I’m sure I would contribute.

      Regarding the book, I’m still relatively new to MMT and I’m not an economist. I’m wondering if the book could be used for self-learning or if it’s really targeted for use in a classroom setting with mentoring from an economics professor?

    19. roger erickson says:

      Bill Mitchell says: “I make zero from the sales. …. I appreciate your point but there is little I can do about it other than to solicit sponsorship from the public or put advertising on my blog – with that income I could probably offer my books for free!”

      That doesn’t make sense Bill. If you’re not making income from the books, then why not just distribute them as a free PDF? If you can send a galley proof to a publisher, you can let people download a PDF with minimal effort.

      It comes down to AdaptiveRight vs CopyRight.
      http://mikenormaneconomics.blogspot.com/2012/06/adaptiveright-and-copyright.html

      The whole argument of OpenSource publishing (or music) is about 2 choices:

      a) restricted, VERY low volume distribution, with a miniscule royalty (compared to what publishers skim)
      (your publishers are gonna hold on to that Copyright for decades; thereby putting a very effective firewall in the way of achieving an informed electorate)

      b) instant, worldwide distribution, with income from the invited lectureships (performances) that ensue from wide readership

      I’ve been urged to, but have never had any interest in publishing a book. Yet I have met several authors of multiple books who said that they made little to nothing from their first books, and a LOT more from speaking fees subsequent to publishing OpenSource books, distributed online.

      Originally, of course, all knowledge uttered by humans was freely distributed by all who learned & passed it on. Then we invented paywalls & tried to charge rent on packaged cultural knowledge. Now that’s going away again.

      “For well over 10-15 years, the battles between ‘open’ vs. ‘closed’ solutions have raged. It started with free and ‘open source’ software (FOSS) solutions, then moved on to ‘open standards’, ‘open access’, ‘open data’, ‘open architecture’, … It started in the technology sector, then spread into education, healthcare, manufacturing, government and just about every other component of the public and private sector. It became more than just about technology, it became a broad, global movement that supports the adoption of ‘open culture’ and ‘open societies’ around the world. Many individuals, corporations, and countries will continue to battle and fight against the ‘open movement’ for years to come, not recognizing that the war is over – all ‘closed’ systems will succumb to ‘open solutions’ as we move into the future.” – Peter Groen
      http://www.cositech.net/

    20. roger erickson says:

      The core issue is that as members of a social species, we have an AdaptiveRight to optimize Aggregate Adaptive Rate.

      If we don’t keep up Adaptive Rate, someone or something else will.

    21. Barri Mundee says:

      Slightly off topic but there is a pin articke on MMT in this Saturday’s “The Age”, a Melbourne newspaper, in its business section. The article seems fairly accurate except it describes deficit spending as “printing money”.

      Stephanie Melton is mentioned in her role as advisor to Bernie Sanders, and you are too Bill.

    22. Allan says:

      Barri,

      I think the article you mention is awful. As you mentioned it has the misleading “printing money” slogan which, for newcomers, invokes images of lots of cash splashing around chasing too few goods.
      Statements like this:

      They acknowledge there are limits to government spending. Resources in the real economy can be constrained and taxes are an essential tool to ensure demand for the currency and to cool the economy if it overheats.

      That is a confusing and unsatisfactory statement describing real resource constraints, and the only use of the word “resources” in the article.
      And then:

      … MMTers claim that in the modern era of floating exchange rates and deregulated financial markets, governments can, and should, run deficits whenever they are needed.

      The implication that deregulated financial markets somehow enable governments to run a defecit is both false and not consistent with any MMT writing I am familiar with.

      There are other issues, but overall the article is a liability.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    *
    To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the answer to the math equation shown in the picture.
    Anti-spam equation