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When the Left disgraces itself

In Monte Python’s Life of Brian we were introduced to the “People’s Front of Judea”, which was “one of many fractious and bickering independence movements, who spend more time fighting each other than the Romans”. The segments featuring the Front were very amusing. It was humour but redolent of the sort of historical struggles that have divided the Left over the centuries. In Australia, the history of the Communist Party, for example, is one of many factions, splintering into new parties and leaderships after disputes about Bolshevism, then the Communist International and Stalinism, then the so-called “imperialist” war by the Allies against Nazism, then Krushchev’s revelations about the crimes of Stalin, then the Soviet invasion of Hungary, then the split between the Soviet Union and China and the rise of Mao, then the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and so on. This sort of division is mirrored around the world on the Left side of politics and struggle. I have been reminded of this history in recent weeks as the ‘war’ against Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) has been ramped up from so-called progressives. However, this ‘war’ seems different to the sort of internicine struggles that have historically bedevilled the Left. We now have all manner of strategies emerging, ranging from classic Association fallacies to ridiculous claims that MMTers perpetuate ‘anti semitic tropes’, and on to plain invention, a.k.a. straight out fabrications or lying. There is no real attempt to embrace the body of work we have created over the last 25 years. Quite the opposite – the ‘critics’ haven’t an original thing to say about the substance of MMT. They have instead decided to smear us with increasingly hysterical assertions. Which raises the interesting question for me – what is driving this aberrant behaviour? Fear, a sense of irrelevance, jealousy, Brexit, spite, … what? I have conjectures but no real answers.

Before I begin, here is the People’s Front of Judea in action. Still humorous after all these years.

There have been persistent claims that Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is a cult. That the proponents are roping in mindless followers who then chant mantras like “the government can not run out of money” and relentlessly purge dissent via various social media platforms.

I always thought that line of attack was incredibly insulting to the many people who have taken the trouble to educate themselves in search of some explanation for what has been happening in their lives and the communities around them as a result of neoliberalism.

As if these people were mindless, without discretion, without purpose.

There was a less than articulated conception expressed about the way the alleged cult leaders (like yours truly) achieved this status – what was our motivation? What did we get out of it?

The usual cult story is one where the leaders get rich quick, have lots of sex with lots of partners, take a lot of drugs and drive around in fancy cars.

I can assure the readers that I do not fit that mould (-:

Twitter storms

More recently, we have started to see more attacks directed at the MMT economists – about their motivation, their strategies.

The latest attacks came with this Tweet:

Interesting to see @billy_blog explicitly linking #MMT with Trump and Johnson. bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=42783

Attached was this graphic captured from the blog post linked in the Tweet.

Of course, this segment of the text doesn’t even support the claim that I was linking MMT explicitly or in any other way to Trump and Johnson.

But if he had have offered the full section of the blog post – Voodoo economic revisionism abounds – and it is not MMT doing the voodoo (July 23, 2019) – to his readers, where I make the point about Trump and Johnson, the spuriousness of his claim would have been even more obvious:

The angst these conservatives are now going through is mirrored by the obvious fact that mainstream macroeconomics is growing in irrelevance itself.

Which is why many of the ‘big’ names are attacking MMT so relentlessly. The MMT economists are delivering the alternative paradigm in macroeconomics. No other challenge to the mainstream has succeeded and the heterodox tradition just became lost in peripheral issues. MMT is front and central macroeconomics and the mainstream cannot deal with it.

And when a character like Trump comes along who doesn’t play by the script the world of these ‘free market’ liars is blown apart.

A similar scenario is now playing out in Britain with the rise of Boris Johnson to the top job – he is also not quite the round peg for the round-hole Tory vision and is causing all sorts of dissonance.

While I prefer neither of these monsters, the dissonance they are creating is creating new opportunities for the progressive side of politics, although the leadership vacuum on that side is debilitating.

In the US, however, the fabulous ‘Squad’ is creating havoc within the largely neoliberal Democratic Party and changing the dynamic considerably for the better.

And Trump is demonstrating by his fiscal actions that the main weapon the Republicans used to kill off any progressive policy dreams is now defunct. No one believes the deficit horror stories any more.

Any reading of that discussion would never lead to the conclusion that the Tweeter decided to push onto his readership in the hope that many would accept it at face value and see MMT as some sort of crazy Republican/Tory agenda.

My point was clear enough. MMT is creating massive dissonance among mainstream economists.

And Trump and Johnson are creating dissonance within their own conservative side of politics. They are even undermining the spurious economic myths that these mainstream economists feed them.

It means there are fantastic opportunities for progressive political forces to seize this fractured state and forge a new period of social democratic ascendancy.

During the subsequent Twitter storm all sort of nonsense was rehearsed as the original Tweeter and his mates became increasingly desperate.

There was the accusation that I had shown:

‘solidarit’ with Dempsey after he praised a fascist and made racist comments.

Well, I retweeted Eddie Dempsey on April 3 as below:

He was telling the world he had received a copy of our book – Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World (Pluto Books, 2017).

Nothing racist about that.

On April 2, 2019, I retweeted a message about Eddie Dempsey talking about renationalising railways inside the EU. This was tweet as part of the ‘Labour Leave’ campaign to argue for Lexit.

I support Lexit.

Nothing racist about that.

On March 27, 2019, I retweeted a message from my co-author Thomas Fazi which was about Eddie Dempsey being attacked by Pro-EU neoliberal left.

And this message is about the way the Left Remainers have fallen into a mindset where they think a nation such as Britain should remain as part of an organisation such as the EU, despite that organisation being at the forefront of neoliberal attacks on workers and prosperity.

As far as I know, that is the extent to my Tweeting or Retweeting about these names etc.

And then we get the ‘Soros’ factor entering the fray and the more insidious attacks.

Joining the attack on us, was this ridiculous claim:

as a rule, I dont get involved in heated disagreements about theoretical validity of #MMT. But when key MMT figures are starting to use anti-semitic tropes, and defend ‘Tommy Robinson and Nigel Farage are not that bad’ takes from Lexiters, that’s a worrying sign.

I have never provided any succour to Tommy Robinson or Nigel Farage and as far as I know no MMT economist has.

The Soros issue is interesting.

I have been very critical of George Soros and Robert Johnson as financial market speculators. As most will recall, they were key players in the events that led to Black Wednesday (September 16, 1992), when their investment fund reportedly made $US1 billion in profits by attacking (shorting) the British pound.

My view has always been that this was a crude example of a financial market player putting greed and profits ahead of the well-being of a nation of people. That is the extent of my criticism of Soros.

In that sense, their speculative behaviour is akin to all the Wall Street greed merchants that are prepared to compromise the prosperity of a nation for their own ends.

My criticism has nothing at all to do with the personal characteristics of the players. I have never made statements that could be interpreted in any other way other than to attack the banksters and their behaviour.

I have never invoked any conspiracy theories (for example, the Rothschild paranoia) about Jewish people.

So the allegations that MMT economists are somehow promoting “anti-semitic tropes” is scurrilous at best.

The idea of anti-semitism is powerful in western cultures. As a consequence, accusing someone of such a horrendous stance should be used with great care and be fully documented.

It just goes to show the desperation that these MMT critics feel that they contravene that level of decency and Tweet wild and unfounded accusations.

It seems that in this current era, the anti-semitism card is thrown around readily (because it is powerful) just for political purposes rather than any attempt to establish civil dialogue.

In the British situation, I see it as a nasty tactic to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. It actually demeans the accuser when they pull this card out for political purposes when there is no evidence available to establish a record of such prejudice.

Then the attacks moved on via this sort of ridiculous Tweet:

MMT also has a growing following among the nationalist right in Europe. That’s just a fact I’m afraid. The extent to which some MMT authors appear extremely relaxed about this is problematic to say the least.

This is the association fallacy.

As I have been at pains to emphasise in public presentations and in my writing – MMT is neither Left or Right – it is a lens to achieve a superior understanding of how the monetary system operates and the capacities of the currency-issuing government within that system.

It breaks through the veil of ideology and as the MMT understanding spreads, politicians will be forced to account for their decisions in more transparent ways.

The questions we ask our politicians and the answers we will deem to be acceptable will change. It will enhance the quality of our democracies.

The Right have as much capacity to achieve this understanding as the Left. It isn’t rocket science after all.

And as an educator, I am pleased that people in society are achieving better understandings of phenomena that are central to our lives – such as the way the macro economy works.

The fact that the Right activists have become cognisant of MMT and are seeing its potential is a good thing. Education has the effect of dominating prejudices. I have seen many young students change their ideological position as they mature through my classes and become more erudite.

These transitions are typically from Right to Progressive Left.

I have never observed the opposite transition although in general society there have been widely known examples.

Further, the point is that a MMTer on the Right will take that understanding, impose their Right-inspired ideology and values onto it, and come up with policies that are vastly different to how I will apply my MMT understanding (being on the Left).

The fact that people on the Right are expressing an MMT understanding doesn’t mean that MMT is somehow a Right wing motivation.

And it just means that while the Left are fighting among themselves, the Right might organise within that understanding more effectively and seize political advantage.

The accusation that MMT economists are somehow supportive of nationalist Right agendas is far fetched and scurrilous. I am close to all the key MMT economists and none of them exhibit that sort of leaning.

I also touched on that theme in this blog post – Being anti-European Union and pro-Brexit does not make one a nationalist (May 23, 2019).

At some point in this Twitter storm, some bright spark, straining every cell in his/her head came up with this conclusion during the interchange:

Bill Bitchell is full of schitt.

Of course, while the holier than thou set were bashing us for being Nazis, Anti-Semites, xenophobic nationalists, fascists, etc, they failed to call out this character, who was supporting their attacks, for their obvious mysogyny.

I suppose there are only so many evils one can purge in a day!

Just prior, the same genius said that:

MMTards are blind sheep!

None of this side of the attack suggested this was offensive – not to MMTers but to people with mental health issues (‘tards!).

The Tweeter that started all this tried to address criticism of him with this gem:

… you apparently think that a couple of identities and some hand waving about a job guarantee are equivalent to the equations describing the motion of the stars.

So MMT is now dismissed as nothing at all.

Why then are many of the leading mainstream macroeconomists falling over themselves to criticise our work and to stop it spreading in popularity?

Why did the IMF boss dismiss MMT without any particular argument being offered?

Why have central bank governors (Powell, Draghi, Haruhiko Kuroda, etc) been at pains to mount arguments against MMT?

Why has the Japanese Diet been discussing it and the Minister of Finance taking effort to deny that Japan is an example of the sort of dynamics that are central to the MMT framework?

Why are there many financial market journalists writing about MMT now?

Why did our Macroeconomics textbook sell out soon after it was released – see Bloomberg story – A 600-Page Textbook About Modern Monetary Theory Has Sold Out (May 31, 2019).

It strains credibility to argue that this response from the mainstream, that the heterodox economics tradition, has never been previously able to achieve, would have occurred had MMT just been a matter of “a couple of identities and some hand waving about a job guarantee”.

This sort of put down tells us something about the heterodox economist making the statements rather than any about MMT per se.

Then some Retweet from Thomas Fazi was wheeled out as from “Bill’s co-author” as if it reflected on me in some negative manner. Thomas is one of my co-authors. He is an independent entity. He is not a key MMT economist. What he does is his own business and has nothing to do with me.

What he writes with me is our business.

And then the Twitter storm which raged for a few days diverged into a range of ridiculous issues – all aimed to discredit MMT – but none actually linking the body of work to anything that one might call unsavoury.

Throughout the tirade the only times the main characters actually said anything about the core body of MMT work was as above (the identities put down) and this claim about MMT:

No, it’s a political project, centred around the policy of the job guarantee. The MMT description of the monetary system isn’t even accurate – for example the central bank and the treasury are actually two separate institutional identities.

The old furphy that the MMT lens is inaccurate because there is no relationship between the central bank and the treasury functions.

The Tweeter, by the way, did not come up with this criticism. He just parrots the claim made by others some years ago. This character has added nothing by way of knowledge or refutation of our work himself.

And, his claim might find some acceptance among his readership who are not trained to understand things beyond the superficial.

But in a modern monetary system, the central bank and the treasury cannot be independent in any functional sense. They must cooperate and communicate on a daily basis.

And that goes beyond the obvious ways that the central bank can never be independent – the government appoints the senior officials and in many countries has the legal right to overrule interest rate decisions.

Further, pulling the ‘independence’ card, is really playing into the neoliberal myth that promotes this false narrative as a way of depoliticising macroeconomic policy making.

I dealt with this sort of criticism in great detail in this blog post among others – Marxists getting all tied up on MMT (May 1, 2019).

I suppose when one has nothing meaningful to add to a discussion, any stray claim that sounds like one knows what they are talking about will capture some eyes and ears.

Not many, one hopes.

Printed Press

Earlier this week, an article in the British media outlet – James Meadway Interview: “There are ways to end neoliberalism globally that are not progressive, and this will (increasingly) be the terrain the left is fighting on.” (July 28, 2019) – was brought to my attention.

MMT activists were so affronted that they demanded the magazine, which claims to be an “an inclusive platform which creates a space for grassroots centre-left voices”, is “is fiercely independent and takes no editorial positions”, and more, offer me (among others) equal space.

The editor who conducted the interview wrote back:

Hi all,

Feel free to pitch a response article through our usual process: https://www.thesocialreview.co.uk/pitching/

Thanks,
Joe

I replied along these lines:

Dear Joseph

In your About Page, you talk about (quote) “Good-faith engagement within Labour is more essential than ever.”

I am sure that Meadway interview did not arise from him “pitching a response article through our usual process”.

In that sense, your “feel free” statement below is disingenuous at best.

If you were really interested in balanced debate (noting you claim to take “no editorial positions”), then you would interview me directly.

I am not writing a response and then have some editor determine it is not suitable.

Your publication does itself no favours by publishing a rather vicious interview which, in particular, grossly misrepresents my work to the point of lying and not seeking equal space from me.

Feel free to send me an invitation. If the interview has to be done in person, then I will be in the UK in September.

Best wishes
bill

No invitation was received.

So what was the problem?

I will only consider the section of the Interview that is specifically about MMT.

James Meadway was formerly an advisor to Shadow British Chancellor John McDonnell and was in attendance at the meeting I had with John last October.

I wrote a report on that meeting in this blog post – A summary of my meeting with John McDonnell in London (October 17, 2018).

You will note that at the end of the meeting I raised the issue of social media use with him and indicated that the British MMTers who were strong supporters of JMD and the Labour Party in general were regularly vilified by JMD’s advisers on social media.

Meadway said that the MMTers were rude to him and that I should control them. I said something like it was not a cult under my control and that I had actually noted at the MMT conference in NYC that a more respectful dialogue on social media should be the aim of both sides.

But in finishing I told JMD that is was counterproductive to abuse his support base for discussing MMT.

Meadway no longer works for McDonnell. If you see him ask him why? I know the story!

Anyway, Meadway has taken it on himself to try to isolate MMT from the British Left psyche in any way he can. And his tactics are fundamentally unsound.

For example, during the Interview he was asked: “You’ve been fiercely critical of MMT. Why do you think this would be such a wrong turn for the left?”

His reply was based on a number of lies that should not be left uncontested on the public record.

First, he really offers nothing of substance about the core body of MMT work, which is a common tactic among these critics. He just says he dealt with it in his ‘Tribune’ article.

The Tribune, to its credit allowed us to respond to his attacks there.

I also provided a more detail response in this series of blog posts:

1. Seize the Means of Production of Currency – Part 1 (June 11, 2019).

2. Seize the Means of Production of Currency – Part 2 (June 12, 2019).

3. Seize the Means of Production of Currency – Part 3 (June 17, 2019).

He then moved on to defend the British Labour Party’s Fiscal Credibility Rule – etc.

I last dealt with that Rule in these blog posts and won’t repeat the arguments:

1. The British Labour Fiscal Credibility rule – some further final comments (October 23, 2018).

2. Forget the official Rule, apparently, there is a secret Fiscal Credibility Rule (June 19, 2019).

In his Interview though, Meadway became increasingly desperate to slam MMT.

He went on:

… the underlying politics of MMT are worth spending some time on. The core MMT policy agenda has strikingly little to do with the left: support for dollar dominance; indifference (at best) to redistribution from the rich through taxation (usually argued as taxing the rich being “unnecessary”); and labour market authoritarianism via the so-called “Job Guarantee”. There’s not much in here that is recognisably of the left, if we think the left is basically about freedom and equality – there’s quite a different political tradition at work.

First, the ‘dollar dominance’ argument was dealt with in this blog post – The conga line of MMT critics – marching into oblivion (March 7, 2019).

Second, there is no indifference to taxing the rich – that is a gross misrepresentation.

What MMT economists argue is that we should not conflate the desire to tax the rich to reduce their economic and political power and the need for government to provide services to the disadvantaged (for example).

MMT economists repeatedly indicate they want the rich to have less purchasing power and less power.

They just do not want to reinforce the neoliberal line (that Meadway pushes) that the ‘money’ the rich might have is essential to allow the governments to provide welfare and other services.

I will come back to the Job Guarantee assertion later.

Meadway continued:

This comes through in many different ways. For instance, Bill Mitchell and Thomas Fazi described it (in Reclaiming the State, p.10) as “tragic” that the left adopted the causes of anti-racism, women’s rights, and LGBT rights in the late 1970s. Worse, they claim this is as “equally tragic” as the acceptance of neoliberalism by parts of the left over the same time period. Now this is reactionary garbage, however you look at it, and should be firmly rejected – but it’s an important indicator as to where MMT is coming from.

This is a serious example of selective quoting and spurious inference being paraded as serious commentary.

If one goes to the actual text and reads it fully, one will see that we wrote in the Introduction (the page 10 section):

This has gone hand in hand with another, equally tragic, development. As discussed in Chapter 5, following its historical defeat, the left’s traditional anti-capitalist focus on class slowly gave way to a liberal- individualist understanding of emancipation. Waylaid by post-modernist and post-structuralist theories, left intellectuals slowly abandoned Marxian class categories to focus, instead, on elements of political power and the use of language and narratives as a way of establishing meaning. This also defined new arenas of political struggle that were diametrically opposed to those defined by Marx. Over the past three decades, the left focus on ‘capitalism’ has given way to a focus on issues such as racism, gender, homophobia, multiculturalism, etc. Marginality is no longer described in terms of class but rather in terms of identity. The struggle against the illegitimate hegemony of the capitalist class has given way to the struggles of a variety of (more or less) oppressed and marginalised groups: women, ethnic and racial minorities, the LGBTQ community, etc. As a result, class struggle has ceased to be seen as the path to liberation.

In Chapter 5, we elaborated at length the way the Left has moved from post modernism to progressive neoliberalism.

We explicitly stated that:

1. “Issues such as racism and xenophobia are important, of course.”

2. “But we need to be cognisant of the way in which the establishment has used these to divide and conquer the working class, and to divert our attention from the antagonistic class relations that lie at the heart of capitalism.”

3. “the embrace of this post-modernist agenda by the 1960s Marxist radicals has meant that the left’s traditional focus on class has been replaced by a diversity of struggles, none of which challenge the basis of capitalism.”

4. “Therefore, an alternative left strategy must necessarily be grounded not only in an appreciation of the operational reality of fiat monetary systems but also on an understanding of the underlying class relations that define capitalism as an historically specific system of productive organisation. This is not in contradiction with the struggle against racism, patriarchy, xenophobia and other forms of oppression and discrimination.”

There are two points to appreciate here. First, these statements reflect our values and are not intrinsic to the MMT core body of work. So even if they were offensive to some, they would not undermine the validity of MMT.

Second, how anyone could construct these views as in some way undermining concern for “the causes of anti-racism, women’s rights, and LGBT rights” and departing from a Left perspective is beyond me.

Next, Meadway once again pulls the nationalism card.

He suggests the roots of MMT are in the Right wing because:

MMT advocates are reportedly advising Matteo Salvini in Italy, and Bill Mitchell thinks his government should “lead” other European countries.

First, once again if a person achieves an MMT understanding and then uses that understanding to advise a right-wing politician one cannot conclude the understanding is right-wing.

The values applied might be. But not the understanding. That is spurious association at best.

Second, I have implored Italy to lead other European countries out of the Eurozone. Not to lead them in any particular domestic policies. There is a fundamental difference then.

I also began to make those suggestions in my 2015 book – Eurozone Dystopia: Groupthink and Denial on a Grand Scale – long before the current group of politicians were in government.

The logic was always explained along the lines that the European elites could kill of Greece because it was small, but with Italy, it would be a different story. Italy was one of the original Community states and very large in relative terms.

That is a totally different logic stream to the Meadway claim that in some way I am – and MMT is by association – some right-wing nationalist project.

Finally, Meadway concludes his response by claiming that:

Mitchell and Fazi approvingly cite the monetary policy of Nazi Germany before the war in their book.

We do not.

Our only reference to Hitler and Nazi Germany was this section of the text:

Austerity was the dominant response of European governments during the early years of the Great Depression. The political consequences are well known. Anti-systemic parties gained strength all across the continent, most notably in Germany. While 24 European regimes had been democratic in 1920, the number was down to eleven in 1939 … Various historians and economists see the rise of Hitler as a direct consequence of the austerity policies indirectly imposed on Germany by its creditors following the economic crash of the late 1920s. Ewald Nowotny, the current head of Austria’s national bank, stated that it was precisely ‘the single-minded concentration on austerity policy’ in the 1930s that ‘led to mass unemployment, a breakdown of democratic systems and, at the end, to the catastrophe of Nazism’ … Historian Steven Bryan agrees: ‘During the 1920s and 1930s it was precisely the refusal to acknowledge the social and political consequences of austerity that helped bring about not only the depression, but also the authoritarian governments of the 1930s.’

Match that against the Meadway accusation and you can then draw your own conclusions. His assertion is a fabrication.

Conclusion

The question is not whether these criticisms carry any merit – they don’t. They are largely spurious, personalised attacks with no substance.

The interesting thing that I muse over is what is behind these ridiculous attacks. Sure enough they make the critic look rather lame.

So why do they behave in such a nonsensically and patently transparent way?

Is it as simple as they are vehemently against Brexit and want to discredit those who are pro-Leave? Are they threatened by MMT because they have not been able to cut through with their own academic work?

I have conjectures that I am still thinking about.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2019 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

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    This Post Has 43 Comments
    1. Sorry to present the old chestnut yet again, “ First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”, but it’s worth considering that all these – poorly formulated and somewhat desperate – attacks are firm evidence that MMT is now moving into the penultimate phase of the process.

      Exciting times.

    2. I conclude there’s big money behind these fabrications. The liberal left with its identity politics is essentially a tool of the corporate class. No wonder most working people vote Conservative despite being absolutely crushed by their inhumane policies.

    3. Once you start discussing the history of macro, you necessarily end up mentioning the worst examples. Examples that totally prevent any further understanding. Hitler, Stalin, Mao etc. etc. associations fly around the room like tar balls. Instead, I believe the basic maths and understanding of the power of fiscal spending, particularly Overt Monetary Finance where little to no debt is used, is the real disruptor MMT creates for the orthodoxy. I have come to the conclusion the orthodoxy ended up being an ad hoc melange that will end up creating an hereditary ruling class of very rich capitalists unless stopped by the adoption of MMT. Stress your maths and common sense explanations, it is there where your dynamite resides. You cannot be refuted there because ‘there’ bans fallacies and irrelevant political associations. The power of State Money, a 4,000 year old tradition, remains as the most efficient, least costly way to finance a nation’s well being. No contest.

    4. As it ever was .Being apart of a trotskyite set back in the day the tragedy remains today.
      When you can countenance no doubt openly you have to rubbish your opponents.
      I am sure the left who are not believers in MMT feel exactly the same about you.
      There lies the tragedy .Polemics are poison .When you trash talk people they will trash
      talk back.

    5. Dear Kevin Harding (at 2019/07/30 at 8:53 pm)

      Show me where I have created false associations, falsely quoted people, and the like and avoided evidence-based substance to support my positions.

      best wishes
      bill

    6. As a former student of Professor Mitchell, i congratulate him.

      Having managed a macroeconomics team in Canberra, these numpties at Treasury and RBA are difficult to move.

      Anyone who dares challenge the right of private rent seeking bankers to profit off the $350 trillion of global debt they created out of nothing, is challenged with every intellectual and political dishonesty the flatearth neoliberals can muster.

      They will never allow sovereign money or MMT to help the productive workers, rather than financial parasites.

    7. The privilege of the few is made worthless by the equality of all. Those who would be a savior of those who don’t know better put themselves in the position of dictating truth, thus defining who is part of which group and when. Much as a cult leader would (or accidental aristocrat, for that matter). When one posits oneself of no special position but clarity of vision, you have positioned yourself as common, all can understand, no one is privileged. Thus no front of line privilege, special menus, special deference, no sycophants. Equality of ability to live a economic life of basic dignity would lead to commonalities of ways of life developed organically, not controlled or dictated. Leaders would develop naturally who personify the common, not dictating the differences. This would spell the end or the accidental genteel aristocrat, a real threat to those who consider themselves your better.

    8. I was about to start another FB interchange with Meadway about this blog. I’ve met him a couple of times and been a FB friend for a few years. His mate, another ‘professional’ economist, a FB friend for longer, recently blocked me – finally, I believe because I called him a snowflake for not being able to debate:o) He was particularly upset about my rubbishing of UBI. Both of them worked for NEF (New Economics Foundation) which has been infected with Positive Thinking, as has much of UK ‘left’ economics (Ann Pettifor is another). But Bill, I think it’s time to just ignore Meadway. He’s no longer an advisor to John Mc and doesn’t have any influence. It’s going to be a long haul to convince John that he’s been led up the garden path. Perhaps we can stir things up a bit at Labour Party conference. I just hope that Bernie gets into office and shows him how it’s done.

      I sent the following letter to FT yesterday. They probably won’t publish this one but have done quite a few others over the years – probably because very few women correspond.

      I have to inform Aaron Schaal, JD LLM (Taxation) that taxes have several purposes, but, for a currency-issuing state, funding public expenditure is not one of them (https://www.ft.com/content/8ef61dae-afb9-11e9-8030-530adfa879c2).

      The US government can purchase anything for sale in its own currency without creating debt, as the monopoly supplier. Taxes are paid in US dollars which create the demand for the currency. There is no stock of money but there is a stock of real resources available at any one time.

    9. How unusual and encouraging it is to read a post like this one from Bill, which, employing both reason and restraint, calls out the frenzied madness in our midst on both the right and the left. The almost irresistible temptation these days is to lash back at those who viciously and promiscuously attack you or your position, but that only adds fuel to the fire consuming political and social discourse. A complementary strategy to dampen the flames is to employ humor. When we come to the point where enough people can laugh at something–especially a toothless or absurd or self-contradictory attack–then that something AND ITS SOURCE are well down the road to the dustbin of history. MMT, thankfully, has its champions of reason and clarity in economists like Bill. It awaits only its Twain or Voltaire.

    10. Dear Bill (or anyone else who can help)

      Meadway’s rehashing of the Dollar Dominance stuff is regularly served up by people who want to attack MMT. Randy Wray deals with this a bit in his Primer and Bill has refuted it when it crops up. The link to the blog post that refers to this issue only has this paragraph:

      ‘The rest of the paper is not compelling and rehearses many of the standard arguments now being raised against MMT – for example, it only applies to the US as the reserve currency-issuer; that foreign exchange markets will crucify a government that tries to run policies that are counter to the interests of the speculators; that we ignore the plight of development economies who cannot export enough to get the foreign exchange necessary to buy necessary imports; that MMT is a “nationalist oriented policy, or ‘America First” and stuff like that.’

      I was wondering if anyone, knows of links to papers that deal with this more extensively and refute the US and its ‘exorbitant privilege’ argument used against MMT. Meadway seem to link this with restraints on deficits as if we were somehow still in the Bretton Woods system! And as usual he sets up the strawman that MMT implies you can buy everything, an argument used by Francis Coppola recently.

      Be good find this systematically refuted from an MMT source.

      Wray sums up the US ‘dominance’ thus:

      ‘So yes, the US(and other developed nations to varying degrees) is special, but all is not hopeless for the nations that are “less special.” To the extent that the domestic population must pay taxes in the Government’s currency, the Government will be able to spend it’s own currency into circulation. And when the foreign demand for the domestic currency is limited, there is still the possibility of non-Government borrowing in foreign currency to promote economic development that will increase the ability to export. There is also the possibility of international aid in the from of foreign currency . many developing nations also receive foreign currency through remittances (workers in foreign countries sending foreign currencies home. And finally foreign direct investment provides and additional source of foreign currency.’

      Maybe that covers most angles and chimes in with Bill’s posts on countries whose currency is not in demand and who may be resource poor.

      Much discussed is the issue of the Fed providing 29 trillion dollars during the GFC. Wray has pointed out that 84% of this went to 14 private banks, the rest to CBs. Meadway again uses this as ‘evidence’ that MMT is dollar dependent and that fiscal space is somehow squeezed by this as if the FED could suddenly stop the supply in a crisis.

    11. Bill asks: “Are they threatened by MMT because they have not been able to cut through with their own academic work?”

      Meadway reveals some genuine alarm re MMT, shown in this quote from the SocRev article:

      ” ….the less appropriate MMT becomes, especially for a country like Britain where a massively overexposed financial system is dependent on the Federal Reserve (ie, the US government) acting as its effective lender of last resort in the event of a crisis – this is what happened in the Great Financial Crisis, when the Fed provided “swap lines” (access to cheap dollars) to keep UK institutions from folding. (UK-based banks needed dollars urgently, the Bank of England couldn’t supply enough, so the Fed stepped in, is the story – Adam Tooze’s magisterial Crashed goes into the details.)”

      [An ALP economist-adviser expressed similar views to me, re the risks of an exposed Oz govt. “going it alone with MMT”].

      Further, Meadway has problems with what he terms a “disciplinarian” feature of the JG, possibly based on a misplaced anti-authoritarian stance on his part; but in fact in the real world most people will jump at the possibility of paid (above poverty) employment, whether JG or otherwise.

      So, combined with his distrust in (govt.) OMF via MMT, he has to rely on the redistribution of wealth via taxation.

      Part of the task then (to win Meadway et al) is to allay (irrational?) fears around “massively overexposed financial systems” of individual nations.

    12. My CarthagoDelendaEst: Caitlin Johnstone lately is studying the role of industrial-strength narrative management in our own Politics and Society. She has written some about debating over Twitter, in an article I can’t find now — maybe I made it up based on ‘Remember: The Goal Is Always To Make Dissident Ideas Mainstream’ from July 3. There’s a strong probability that a Twitter troll will actually be part of a professional advertising campaign. As such it’s useless to address the troll; the troll’s mind will not change. The real audience is the troll’s audience. The troll’s convincing has to be overcome by counter-convincing. Luckily for us, this is also how honest debate works.
      I’m NOT saying this in response to anything bill or anybody else has said or done here. I’m just sayin’. Hope this helps.

    13. Dear Professor Mitchell,
      I think you would do better if you ignored the spurious attacks and continue to work out details of MMT. For example, how can public works and guaranteed job programs be worked out at regional levels, through local finance that nonetheless originate via sovereign money injections, perhaps through interest-free loans from Federal levels to State and Provincial authorities. I am an economist who currently is on the advisory board to a small municipality in California that is spending $130 million of Federal/State loans to rebuild a water-sewer system. Still in the early stages of this project, I would like MMT guidance on how this project could be accomplished with minimal finance charges. Reading you and Wray, there is not much that I have found on sub-national financing of public works projects. You seem to conclude that the MMT solution of spending money into existence and avoiding the issuance of debt and debt service, seems to apply only to national-level projects. I don’t think that is a necessary conclusion and that through intermediary government agencies at the state level as well as local private community banks and credit unions at the local level, that fiscal policy of sovereign money creation can be “distributed down” to local electorates, communities and regions. In other words, MMT has yet to address the issue, what is the appropriate territorial scale, including size of human electorate, for sovereign currencies to work? You’ve also said that local and regional solutions are not sufficient to address the scale of our needs. I would suggest that the problem is the other way around: we need to reduce the scale of our activities in order to stay within the limits of the environment. ….. my two cents regarding MMT, but I am looking for guidance on this, so anything you may say would be appreciated. Sincerely……

    14. The irony is that these characters purport to fight nationalism.

      But a 100 years ago, it was the same neoliberal policies that let the right take power in the first place in Europe.

    15. Frauds and mediocrities like Jo Michell and James Meadway may be incapable of actually refuting MMT arguments by honestly describing MMT. But they have learned very well from the fake anti-semitism scandal engulfing Corbyn that accusing political opponents of anti-semitism has very high chance of success by making certain ideas and people radioactive in the eyes of vast majority of people.

      Hardly anyone thought life long anti-racist activist Corbyn can be painted as an anti-semite. But a vast media campaign has done it. It’s the same with MMT, they have hit upon their weapon of choice.

    16. More to the point, you can’t renationalise the railways if they have already been renationalised, as in the UK. And the train operating companies are franchises which return to public ownership when the franchise expires.

      So what is Paul Embury talking about, exactly?

      And why was he worth RT’ing instead of correcting?

    17. I always laugh when I read that MMT is some cult. If it were then surely I would be one of the followers- but what a terrible follower I make. Always arguing with and asking questions of our exalted leader- any actual cult would have kicked me out or sent me for brainwashing long ago. It’s such a ridiculous accusation that it is actually funny. Just pick out 5 or 6 billyblog posts at random and read through the comments section- I doubt any sane person would describe them as the adoring writings of unquestioning cult members.

      When someone has to make up ridiculous and false accusations you know (and they themselves know) that they have lost the argument and are grasping for anything to give themselves some kind of credibility. It’s rather sad in a way.

    18. Another ridiculous accusation I have come across is that MMT is a tool of the wealthy finance sector. I suppose this might be because Warren Mosler was a successful banker and finance guy and one of the founders of MMT. But it might also be because MMT shows that the government really does not need the money of the rich in order to finance programs like Social Security or Medicare for All or a Jobs Guarantee, or really anything at all. This can come as a shock to lefties who may have spent their lives struggling against inequality and trying to find the ‘funds’ they thought necessary for the government to implement those programs. (At least it was for me personally.)

      But they will get over it if they learn. MMT says tax the rich because we think they have too much money and that gives them too much power. I suppose MMT would approve of taxing the rich heavily if they were consuming too many resources and owned too much of the available land in a country also? Either way- MMT points out that we don’t need ‘their’ money to have our government do what we want it to. Completely separate issues.

    19. I tend to be sympathetic to the views of Willem and Mel above. When the attacks are dishonest and based on statements taken out of context or are complete fabrications it is impossible for me to believe the attacker is acting in good faith. While it is true the motives of any individual attacker are difficult to determine, Bill’s account of the twitter attacks reminds me that western security organisations employ thousands of social media trolls. There is no secret about this. The UK government is currently recruiting ”covert online operators”. Go to Craig Murray’s blog for the link to the job posting and a number of interesting observations by Mr. Murray on this aspect of government activity. https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/07/how-to-spot-a-twitter-troll/
      The response to spurious accusations of right-wing nationalism, anti-semitism, etc., requires some thought. Caitlan Johnson and Johnathan Cook provide some suggestions in their respective blogs.

    20. Sorry to go on about this but now I’m getting pretty worked up about these idiots calling MMT a cult. Maybe it isn’t funny.

      I just want to point out that the current mainstream econ is more of a cult than MMT could ever be. They had 4+ years in university to work their indoctrination on me. Trying to push unbelievable assumptions like Ricardian Equivalence, rational expectations, government budget constraints, financial crowding out, utility theory, NAIRU, loanable funds and the money multiplier, unemployment as a function of labor’s preferences for leisure and many, many more ridiculous and false ideas that, though they ran counter to what I knew even as a 20 year old, I had to learn to get a degree. All the while I was actually paying quite a bit of money for this indoctrination. Bullshit. That is what a cult does- it twists your understandings to their particular ideology and hits up its followers for their resources. MMT has never done that to me.

      I’m actually amazed that Bill stuck with economics past his first degree. I couldn’t have done it- I was sure it was bullshit after 3 years but stuck it out for the degree. Although the few Keynesian professors that were still around weren’t too bad. Maybe he had a few of those. How did you manage to stick with it Bill- out of stubbornness? A determination to show they were wrong?

    21. As far as the UK is concerned, the irony is now that we have newly “elected” Prime Minister Boris Johnson going around making rash spending promises like the proverbial drunken sailor (thought to be because of an expected early election). Given that he’s also proposing tax cuts (for the wealthy), this is almost bound to push up the fiscal deficit. He will never be held to account for this in the way that a Labour Chancellor or Shadow Chancellor would be, and if anyone tries, he will bluff and bluster his way out of it as he always does, and probably get away with it.
       
      Meantime, McDonnell et al are consciously hobbling themselves with their ridiculous Fiscal Credibility Rule, and at the same time, kidding themselves that they could, e.g., take the railways back into public ownership while remaining in the EU. Of course, all those Blairite MPs in his party never wanted to take the railways back into public ownership in the first place; if they had wanted to, there was plenty of opportunity to do that between 1997 and 2010.

    22. Are we in the realm of economic science (maybe better “scientology”) or in the realm of twitter-gutter politics?
      The question about how to describe the global financial system belongs to the first realm. We simply cannot reduce the current global financial system to the sum of components (multiple sovereign countries and blocks running fiat currencies). There is more into it and we need to apply empirical and analytical approach (identify the relevant phenomena and describe them bottom-up) rather than keep philosophising about taxes which give value to currencies what allows governments to buy all the domestic products and services they need. This is all true but does not fully answer the question “Что делать?” (What Is to be Done – V. I. Lenin). We live in the global system where so-called financial capital can flow between countries often without the consent of the relevant governments. If we acknowledge this we may be able to answer a question why the Chinese have had to amass such a huge stock of foreign reserves (they don’t want to be Thailand post-1997, see the GDP growth graph on World Bank national accounts data). Then we will also understand by what means the US is applying pressure on Iran or why the persistent capital flight is bleeding the Russian economy dry since 1991. Maybe we will be also able explain why nationalists, Christian religious fanatics and fascists pay such a prominent role in Central Europe (hint: in my opinion it has something to do with foreign-denominated mortgage lending and the fact that 700000 middle-class households had at a certain point of time negative equity on their dwellings, they abstained from voting for the liberals and will continue doing this). There is absolutely nothing anti-MMT in asking these questions and in fact it is precisely the MMT what establishes the right analytical framework to answer them.
      The second part of the problem is in my opinion gutter-twitter politics related. First of all, I would stay away from that place as it is where pig-wrestling happens and it cannot be drained and will ever be septic. Even worse, some of the pigs which we may be wrestling are bots or unemployed students paid a few dollars per hour. In the worst case (if I could not resist the temptation) I would write my own MMT-bot to take on anti-MMT-bots or buy a few beers to some unemployed fellows to outsource the pig-wrestling.
      I disagree with the statement “Any kind of publicity is good publicity as long as they spell your name right.” (attributed to the previous incarnation of D. Trump, P. T. Barnum)
      This is OK if we want to be Instagram influencers selling cosmetic products for pets or something like this. I don’t think this is the ultimate goal. The likes of Donald Trump and Boris Yeltsinovich Johnson know perfectly well that their respective governments are not fiscally constrained by borrowing and taxation in helping their mates from the military-industrial complex making good (or even better than that) deals. The idea which we want to promote is that governments are not fiscally constrained by taxation and borrowing in spending for greater public good (in domestic currency and under certain obvious circumstances). This includes re-tuning the whole global economy so that it does not irreversibly damage the human habitat by spewing an excessive amount of carbon dioxide and methane.
      But there is an even more serious issue here.
      The issue of taking part in the so-called political debate regardless how demented these debates are. What is the point in flogging the dead horse of Brexit? To prove the point of lack of fiscal sovereignty under the Treaty of Lisbon rules? But who cares about that when the UK is to be ruled for the next 10 or 20 years by the same right-wing Tory oligarchy which got away with imposing austerity under David Cameron?
      Unfortunately I need to extensively quote Sam Dastyari, the former Australian Labor (right-wing faction) senator, removed from the office for not hating China enough. This is from “10 daily”

      “Barnaby Joyce made the decision to support an increase in Newstart. He did so by comparing his plight as a politician earning over $200,000 per year to those struggling to survive. He appeared out of touch and foolish.
      But he was a convert — someone the left should have welcomed. They should have pointed out that Joyce was wrong to try and link Newstart to a welfare card and made a few jokes about him (there’s an endless supply of those). Then they should have thanked him for adopting our position.
      But that’s not what happened.
      In what was nothing more than a circular firing squad, progressives took to social media and the airwaves to piss on Barnaby from a great height. They made it all but certain no other conservatives would adopt his position.
      That was stupid and gratuitous — a product of short-term thinking.
      It also explains why the left loses more political fights than it wins.
      If you support an increase in Newstart, you should also support a conservative politician that comes out in favour of increasing it, regardless of their personal motives.
      But that’s the big difference between the conservative and progressive forces in Australia. Conservatives are hugely effective at building winning coalitions. Progressives keep spitting in the face of anyone who isn’t “pure”.
      It was Gough Whitlam who famously said, “the impotent are pure”.

      The left should take the support of the religious community on workers’ rights even though we disagree with them on abortion and marriage equality. We should partner with tax dodging multinational billionaires if it can help end slavery. That’s what winning looks like. It’s about building a coalition on an issue and running with it.
      Because let’s not kid ourselves — our opponents play harder than we do. The conservatives will take support where they can get it. They will build majorities from anywhere. And they keep winning. They keep passing laws. They keep forming governments.
      How does the left respond? They spend a few hours on the Internet pointing out all that is wrong with Barnaby (and believe me, the list is long). They attack any progressive who sides with him and then wonder why they aren’t winning the bigger debate in Australia.
      I’m tired of losing. Every round. Every fight. Every possible recruit.
      I’m tired of being beaten.
      And fellow progressives: you should be too.”

      Amen.

    23. Marx was right on one thing the economy is subject to the Hegelian dynamic that moves from crisis to crisis because Thesis is confronted with its Antithesis leading to Synthesis which is why we move from one consensus to the next.

      Keynesians were the antithesis to crisis of the 1930s which produced the post war consensus.

      Free market economics and monetarism was the antithesis to the stagflation of the 1970s that yielded neoliberalism.

      Does MMT contain the seeds of its own destruction? Of course it does! In the wrong hands a commitment to full employment always carries an inflation risk. No economic paradigm has a monopoly on the truth or an infinite useful life, not even neoclassical economic, Keynesianism or neoliberalism. But at this moment of crisis MMT is the best antithesis to the cosmopolitan, internationalised and failed neoliberal thesis on offer, which makes it he most progressive option on offer to the left.

    24. “Twitter is in the same league as 4Chan and Reddit. It is not a venue for measured discussion.”

      Twitter enables the likes of Miranda Devine and Janet Albrechtsen (columnist at The Australian) to block replies to their tweets. Janet tweets nonsense such as “you can’t be a Marxist and a Christian” and then blocks replies. Twitter is little better than a sham echo chamber.

    25. “Does MMT contain the seeds of its own destruction? Of course it does! In the wrong hands a commitment to full employment always carries an inflation risk.”

      I presume that when global poverty is eradicated, the population will stabilise as women take control of their own lives. Then resource demand should not exceed resource availability (especially in a green economy).

    26. The very fact your are being attacked in this way shows they are worried!
      Trump and Boris, BREXIT ,right wing extremism and facile centre left parties are symptom of a system that is reaching it’s last hooray !

    27. @ Neil Halliday,

      “Does MMT contain the seeds of its own destruction?”

      Of course it does. Everything, if carried to massive excess, can destroy itself.

      For example, “Does Neo-liberalism contain the seeds of its own destruction?” Yes, the austerity it can’t seem to stop doing in Europe after the GFC is going to destroy the European voter’s acceptance of Neo-liberal economics.

      Another example, rain is a good thing, but look at the central US. So much water on the fields that the winter wheat crop seeds rotted in the ground and the farmers can’t drive their tractors in the fields to plant anything, yet.

      BTW — You have heard about the “Year without a summer”, right? But, did you hear this story? [source is my memory from Willard Scott, the weatherman on NBC decades ago.] In the fall of 1815 the staff of the “Old Farmers’s Almanac” was writing the issue for 1816. An editor noticed just 2 hours before the deadline that the guy who wrote the weather predictions for New England had not included one for the summer. He went down the hall and told him to write one and he had 2 hours. The writer replied that the calculations would take 10 times that long. The editor said that he didn’t care, to write something. So, the writer placed his tongue firmly in his cheek and wrote that there would be frosts and snow in July and Aug. He hoped that everyone would see that it was a joke. . . . . Long story short.
      . . . Three days later the volcano on the island of Tambora in {what is now} Indonesia exploded and sent so much ash into the air that it blocked out a lot of the sun’s light and heat. So, in New England there were frosts and snow in June, July , and Aug. of 1816. This made the reputation of the OFA shoot up.
      . . . Some farmers didn’t get the joke and they planted Buckwheat {so Willard said}. They got some harvest that year while many others didn’t.

      The point of the story is that Mid-western farmers can plant something else and get some food for America for the winter. Next year, who knows?

    28. For @Steve-American:

      just to clarify: the passage in quotes that you replied to was from PhilipR, not me…..here is my own comment following his quoted passage, again:

      I presume that when global poverty is eradicated, the population will stabilise as women take control of their own lives. Then resource demand should not exceed resource availability (especially in a green economy).

      Not sure how this is related to your comments about “massive excess” (with which I agree).

      (BTW, a green economy based on renewables can potentially power the world economy with unlimited, ‘free’, clean, sustainable energy after the infrastructure, including storage technology, is built – since sunshine and wind are free).

    29. Bill never said you falsely quoted anyone.But you do indulge in the poison of polemics.
      The lens of MMT is very useful but there are other ways of viewing what is progressive
      and what is neo liberal.
      I am no snowflake the talk of luvvies ,latte drinkers and cosmos are not offensive
      just pathetic (And in the context of brexit completely missing the point of the complete
      lack of traction of LEXIT arguments).
      What grates and takes me back to my sectarian youth is the implication that you have
      a monopoly on progressive political economy that without the revelation of MMT you
      are really a neo -liberal.The trotskyite sect i belonged to the Militant grouping talked of
      the thin red line of historical correct thought brought to them by the apostle Ted Grant.
      The adherents of the free market faith can ditch fiscal constraint without fundamentally
      changing centuries of left right political conflict.A change of clothes to maintain wealth
      and power.
      All on the left need to argue humbly and with respect and certainly I am guilty of arrogance
      and hubris .I am not in denial.

    30. Dear Kevin Harding (at 2019/07/31 at 7:52 pm)

      You are not equating like with like.

      My polemics as you call it are of a different quality to what I commented on yesterday.

      First, I don’t use the term luvvies.

      Second, terms like Cosmos, Europhiles etc, which you object to are meaningful in the sense they are ground in the literature and reflect what cohorts write, say and do.

      The claims that MMT comes out of dark, Nazi-sympathising, nationalist, anti-semitic origins has no meaning when applied to anything I have written, said or done.

      best wishes
      bill

    31. Neil Halliday
      Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at 16:11
       
      (BTW, a green economy based on renewables can potentially power the world economy with unlimited, ‘free’, clean, sustainable energy after the infrastructure, including storage technology, is built – since sunshine and wind are free).

       
      With respect, sunlight and wind may be free (although the means of harnessing them isn’t), but they are not unlimited. They need considerable physical resources (including land and the means of connecting them to the grid), and of course, there is no sunlight at night, and wind does not always blow. To fully allow for the variability of solar and wind energy, massive energy storage capability would be needed, involving yet further physical resources, and technology which is not yet developed. Another energy source is needed and is potentially available, which I have already mentioned in another thread, so I will not labour the point.

    32. Mike Ellwood

      “To fully allow for the variability of solar and wind energy, massive energy storage capability would be needed, involving yet further physical resources, and technology which is not yet developed.”

      Pumped hydro.

    33. I do not object to such terms .They do you a disservice but that is unimportant.
      The judean popular front are inside the thin ‘red’ line
      the popular front of judea are outside
      MMT is inside ‘friends like these’ outside.
      I agree it is not like for like .When Godwins law strikes the offender is revealed
      in a terrible light .
      We need friends like these to defeat dangerous enemies like boris.
      Best to separate the personal from the ideas .
      You are right the disgraceful slurs come from the brexit debate which is
      hard to understand through the MMT lens. For most of the left in the uk
      they see it is a struggle against the far right.

    34. https://www.independent.ie/au/business/jobs/not-enough-migrants-arriving-to-keep-pay-down-central-bank-38356212.html

      You and MMT as “nationalist”, Mitchell? Your “left” antifa enemies are the useful idiots of Capital in general and the Muslim ummah in particular, for precisely the reason you outline: Identity Politics was never an an analysis of capitalism

      Indeed Central Bank of Ireland, as handmaiden to Irish finance capital, should also have talked, in the URL above, of low-wage migrants as future debt slaves to the same Irish banks whose debt was shifted onto Irish government accounts. But you know all that.

    35. kevin harding wrote:-
      Thursday, August 1, 2019 at 19:41
      “For most of the left in the uk they see it is a struggle against the far right”.

      Their analysis is simply and comprehensively wrong. So much has been obvious to anyone with a brain and the will to use it – including yourself – from the start.

      So what’s the point of repeatedly reminding yourself and us of their so-called case? Doing so doesn’t make it any less wrongheaded the umpteenth time it’s referred to than it was the first time. It’s as though you are inwardly excusing their folly and implying that they ought to be spared any criticism of it (however merited) – just because they’re “on the left” (so their hearts must be assumed to be in the right place).

      Sorry, but I for one don’t buy that. They’re grown-ups, who ought to know better. Worse, they’re giving way to blind prejudice. I don’t see that they merit anything but strong opposition, of the kind which you as a lexiter have been voicing. To little or no avail by your own account, alas.

      Doesn’t that suggest that they deserve only to be written-off as a bad job? I don’t see they’re being of the left as having any bearing one way or the other.

    36. I think Kevin Harding has written 3 comments on this post up to this point and while I’m not sure I entirely understand his last one, I don’t see why he is getting so much criticism. Without a doubt MMT is an analysis of capitalistic systems and can be rejected along with that entire system by those who reject capitalism completely. MMT has no monopoly on leftist opinion and shouldn’t claim to. And labeling everyone who disagrees as ‘neoliberal’ isn’t very useful.

      And while 80% or more of what I know about Brexit comes from reading everything Bill Mitchell writes about it- it is not an issue that is easily clarified by the MMT ‘lens’ that Bill likes to call what MMT provides. Honestly, to me, who as a US citizen just hopes you all figure it out real soon, this seems more like a political issue than an economic issue. UK has its own sovereign currency in the EU and will have its own currency if you ever get around to leaving that. Different story from Greece.

    37. @ Jerry Brown
      “And labeling everyone who disagrees as ‘neoliberal’ isn’t very useful”.

      Has anyone here done that, and if so would you care to cite examples? Least of all has anyone ever labelled Kevin Harding (who was the subject of your post) as such: to do so would have been grotesque considering the very clear left-wing position he has consistently taken.

      Speaking for myself, I have only admiration for the principled stand which he and those all too few others like him on the left in the UK have made. It can’t have been easy for them.

      “(Brexit) is not an issue that is easily clarified by the MMT ‘lens’”.

      No, except indirectly, insofar as it exposes with strark clarity the spuriousness and/or irrelevance of much (most?) most of the analysis, and of the reasoning predicated upon it, advanced against Brexit by remainers.

      But as you say it is overwhelmingly a political rather than an economic issue anyway, and MMT being *theory* is apolitical (some might say “above politics”) by nature.

    38. Hi Robert. No, I don’t care to cite any examples. Mostly was just proving MMT is not some kind of cult where people are not free to express opinions contrary to the leaders.

      But I did break my own rule about never talking about Brexit, which is regrettable and hopefully will not happen again. Gonna expand that to not even reading about it anymore. Maybe someone can tell me when it is all over one way or the other. Or if an actual war breaks out. Do hope you all figure it out eventually. Best wishes like Bill would say.

    39. I’d call the war of the Allies against Germany an imperialistic war.
      It was certainly not a war against an ideology (nazism). Poland was an artificially created state after WW1. Hitler was trying to rebuild the German empire. His view was that a great power seeking colonies was nonsensical, when that country hadn’t even united all of its folk under the same banner.

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