I am travelling for most of today to New Zealand (Wellington) to honour some engagements promoting a new political movement that is keen to use Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) as a basis for a progressive political agenda in a nation that has been in the throes of a neo-liberal infestation for several decades now. In fact, New Zealand was one of the first to sink into neo-liberal oblivion. I wrote about the devastating consequences of this policy shift in this blog – The comeback of conservative ideology. It was a very sorry tale indeed. The sociopaths took over. You can see a rich portrayal of how the neo-liberals set about wrecking the social fabric of this wonderful nation by watching the documentary film – In a Land of Plenty – which runs for 1 hour and 44 minutes. It is compelling and worth the investment of your time. You will get angry. But maybe getting angry is the first step towards getting active and joining collective movements to do something about this nonsense. Indeed, that is what I am up to over the next few days – helping a new political movement develop narratives to counter the insidious dominance of the neo-liberals. Building a true oppositional Left is the imperative now for all activists.
I have been invited to discuss how an understanding of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) could assist New Zealand navigate these significant challenges and help build a prosperous future for our society.
The challenges identified are climate change, technological disruption of our primary industries, and mass unemployment arising from artificial intelligence.
I found the detailing of the challenges interesting given that the broad labour underutilisation rate is already at 12.7 per cent. So they have not required any robots to start marching to generate massive labour wastage.
Once you exclude the dysfunctional Eurozone, New Zealand has one of the highest labour underutilisation rates within the OECD.
And its neo-liberal government celebrates running fiscal surpluses. Go figure. Well you know the story.
The event – Do we need a money revolution? – will be held at the Old Government Buildings, Wellington, Lecture Theatre 1 starting at 12:30 (Friday).
You can watch the event live via the – LIVE STREAM – which begins at the following times:
NZ: 12:30 (Friday)
Australia (East Coast): 10:30 (Friday morning)
US (Pacific) 17:30 (Thursday afternoon)
US (New York) 20:30 (Thursday evening)
London 01:30 (Friday morning)
Rome 02:30 (Friday morning)
Helsinki 03:30 (Friday morning)
Tokyo 09:30 (Friday morning)
Apparently the stream will start 15 minutes or so before the actual presentation. It will go for an hour.
Apart from that I have agreed to do several interviews and meet politicians etc.
The visit is being hosted by Strategy 2040.
Some music – make that some Afrobeat
Here is some great Brazilian Afrobeat from Newen Afrobeat playing with Seun Kuti at the Womad Festival in Chile in February 2016.
This song is – Opposite People – and features Seun Kuti (vocals) and Cheick Tidiane (the older guy on keyboards) who played in Fela Kuti’s band Egypt 80.
Sean Kuti is the son of the great afrobeat and highlife pioneer Fela Kuti who died in 1997 at the age of 58.
Fela Kuti was a musician, human rights activist and left-wing politician.
He left behind a huge library of brilliant sounds.
Seun is taking the music further.
Here is the original from Fela Kuti – Opposite People – from his 1977 Album of the same name, with his band at the time Africa 70.
I have a series of his albums queued on my iPhone playlist for the flights today! At least that part of the journey will rock.
And don’t forget the Crowdfunding Request – Economics for a progressive agenda
I received a request to promote this Crowdfunding effort. I note that I will receive a portion of the funds raised in the form of reimbursement of some travel expenses. I have waived my usual speaking fees and some other expenses to help this group out.
The Crowdfunding Site is for an – Economics for a progressive agenda.
As the site notes:
Professor Bill Mitchell, a leading proponent of Modern Monetary Theory, has agreed to be our speaker at a fringe meeting to be held during Labour Conference Week in Brighton in September 2017.
The meeting is being organised independently by a small group of Labour members whose goal is to start a conversation about reframing our understanding of economics to match a progressive political agenda. Our funds are limited and so we are seeking to raise money to cover the travel and other costs associated with the event. Your donations and support would be really appreciated.
For those interested in joining us the meeting will be held on Monday 25th September between 2 and 5pm and the venue is The Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD. All are welcome and you don’t have to be a member of the Labour party to attend.
It will be great to see as many people in Brighton as possible.
Please give generously to ensure the organisers are not out of pocket.