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Travelling all day – listening to jazz

I am travelling for most of today after a rather (exhausting) speaking tour of Europe and the UK. I met a lot of people, gave an (awful) lot of presentations and I thank all the organisers who helped set up the meetings. Special thanks to Tristan (Paris), the GIMMS team (UK), Kevin (Dublin), and all the other people who helped make the tour work. I will be back in Europe in June-July. On Thursday, I will be provide some information about the new book that Thomas Fazi and I are working on as the sequel to our last book – Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World (Pluto Books, September 2017). Tomorrow, I will be providing some final remarks to cover the material that we did not get to in last Saturday’s London MMT Masterclass.

Please note that I will not be able to moderate comments etc while I am flying for the next 24 or so hours so please be patient and I will eventually get them.

I will also be publishing my June-July European-UK speaking schedule soon – well as soon as it is finalised. If you are an event organiser and want to acquire my services, please contact to see if we can arrange terms and a date.

Music for return travellers

Here is the US jazz guitar player – Emily Remler – who died in 1990 at the age of 32 while on tour in Sydney.

She died of heart failure but the claim was that it was linked to her struggles with heroin.

Whatever, she could really play and was up against it all her life as a result of being a fabulous female guitarist in a male-dominated music world.

I first started to listen to her when she married Jamaican jazz-reggae pianist – Monty Alexander – who has also collaborated closely with another fabulous guitarist Ernest Ranglin.

She played a Gibson ES-335, which is the only guitar I own and play which isn’t a Fender Stratocaster. It is poles apart from the Fender but it is a great guitar to play jazz and R&B.

She was always struggling with the claims that she was just a Wes Montgomery copy cat. We all copy – that is how we learn. But I think she made a statement in her own right.

This article from Premier Guitar magazine – Forgotten Heroes: Emily Remler (July 29, 2014) – is an interesting bio on her.

I particularly liked the part about her developing her sense of timing using a metronome.

Here she is playing the jazz classic – Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise – which was written by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II for the 1928 operetta – The New Moon.

Her version of this much covered song appeared on her dedication album to Wes Montgomery – East to Wes – which came out in 1988 on the Concord Jazz label.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2020 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

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    This Post Has 22 Comments
    1. This is completely not relevant to this particular post, but it is relevant to MMT potentially gaining acceptance in politics. I hope. And apologize if it isn’t.

      Bernie Sanders is doing very well in our presidential primary races for the Democratic nomination here in the US. He has gotten the most votes in each of the first three elections. Not only is he a completely ‘viable’ candidate- at this point he is the front runner and most likely to win and be the Democratic Party candidate to face Donald Trump in November’s general election for President of the U.S. Obviously, this election process is not nearly completed, and there is a lot of work to do and a lot of things that could go wrong in the meantime. And I admit I have always been not so good at forecasting elections. But then, I’ve never been quite so sure I was right about one before as now.

      I am struggling to tie this into MMT somehow. I know- Stephanie Kelton worked for Bernie Sanders at least somewhat recently. And I believe Sanders supports some version of a job guarantee with a minimum wage that a person could actually live on. And he supports a green new deal which dovetails nicely with Bill Mitchell’s point that the economy is something we create to serve us people who are intertwined with our planet and environment. Rather than the idea that people must serve at every whim of some fickle business economy and put up with the exploitation and pollution of our environment in order to protect the economy.

      Well I hope this hasn’t been too far off the discussion. It’s mostly a continuation of an argument from comments a couple of weeks ago. Events have turned out to support my side of it, for a change…

    2. Jerry, I hope it all keeps going well for Bernie. Are there enough people in the US who DON’T react to the word “socialism’, in the manner of Pavlov’s dogs?
      I’m also told that black Americans don’t like the ‘socialist’ tag. We will find out soon in S. Carolina, where Biden hopes to resurrect his campaign via the black vote.

      I’m encouraged by polls that show Bernie can beat Trump. Trump, like Bernie, also has a devoted following such as no other contenders from Left or Right can point to.
      Interesting that the ‘middle ground’ is really becoming quite despised.

      And if Sanders does become president, I’m sure Stephanie Kelton will be able to gain considerable input into economic policy-making

    3. “She played a Gibson ES-335, which is the only guitar I own and play which isn’t a Fender Stratocaster. It is poles apart from the Fender but it is a great guitar to play jazz and R&B.”

      Peter Greens 335 was sold around 2015 or so ??????????????????????

      Did you buy it Bill ?

    4. Jerry,
      Sanders can’t come out and say what he really believes if he groks MMT.
      I trust Stephanie so I’ll assume Sanders gets it.
      OTOH, all he can do in his 1st term is educate the nation and the world. He will not be able to get much past Congress even if the Dems win the Senate. He will be better than any sell-out-liberal-Dem, and he will be far better than Trump or any other Repud.
      So, I don’t grok the level of hate directed at him. He will not get much done, al he can do is move the needle some.

      I like to call myself a Progressive. Earlier Progressives were Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and maybe FDR. Notice that 3 of them are up on Mt. Rushmore, and the 4th was still President then
      The Democratic Party lost its way back in the 80s. By the early 90s they abandoned 70% of the voters. They thought those voters would still vote Dem, but they were obviously wrong. The Dems have lost the control of the nation that they had from 1932 until 1980 at least. Now it’s the Repuds who control most of the States and the fed. Gov. IMHO, this is a direct of that decision by the Dems to count on the workers to vote for them even while the Dems were stabbing them in the back. Examples are many, just a few include NAFTA, ending welfare, criminal reforms, private prisons, gutting enforcement of labor laws, gutting enforcement of anti-trust laws, deregulating the TV news industry, deregulating the banks, weakening the EPA, letting the Citizens United USSC decision stand without any attempt to roll it back, not passing single payer when the voters gave the Dems a mandate and a veto proof Senate, bailing out the big banks and not even spending the money passed by Congress to help the homeowners with their mortgages, etc., etc.

      All of those things were done because the Dem leaders sold out to the Neo-liberal Corporate owners. This was very good for those Dem leaders, they got big money in campaign contributions and directly with speaking fees in the high 5 and low 6 figure range. The result is the disfunction we see today in the world. The voters are lied to by the media, they don’t know who to trust. An example is the lack of coverage of the unrest in France that has been going on for a year and a quarter now. It’s a lie by omision.

    5. Steve writes: “He will not be able to get much past Congress even if the Dems win the Senate”.
      Why is this?
      Same as “not passing single payer when the voters gave the Dems a mandate and a veto proof Senate”? (under Obama)?

    6. Yeah Neil- there are a lot of people here now that aren’t automatically turned off by someone calling something ‘socialist’. The fact of the matter is that Republicans have tried to label any progressive policy as ‘socialism’ for the past 50 years or more. Even center/left people like Obama were called ‘socialists’ for proposing moderate reforms well in line with capitalism and opponents abused the meaning of the word to where it doesn’t carry the stigma it once may have had. Lots of people admire the ‘socialist’ systems that several Northern European countries seem to have. Many people wonder why the US can’t have a health care system like the UK or Canada has.

      Black Americans are like any other Americans- they have their own opinions and disagree among themselves. Four years ago they were a base of support for Hillary Clinton that the centrist Dems took for granted. This year, well we will see, but it looks like there is plenty of support for Bernie and especially among younger voters. I am very hopeful about the S. Carolina primary- if Sanders doesn’t win it, I am pretty sure he will come in a close second place and still get delegates needed for our bizarre nomination process.

    7. The absolute surest thing is that any proposal won’t become policy if no one proposes and supports it. So you got to support the person you know is going to propose it and support it in the first place. If that policy is what you hope for of course.

    8. Neil,
      You are exactly right, they both have the same cause. This cause being that the Dems are liberals and not Progressives. A few of them are total sell-outs to the 1%.
      But, that was exactly my point. The Dems Party as a group don’t care enough about the pain the working class is suffering to offer to *DO* *anything to reduce their pain. Since the Dems don’t help the workers economically, some of the workers vote for the Repuds for non-economic reasons. The ‘some’ who vote Repud are enough to give the Repuds election after election.
      The only hope for America and the world (the world because of ACC) was for a mass of Progressives to take to the streets and demonstrate that there are a lot of them. Also, to make the media cover their demonstrations. This had to happen starting some months ago. It didn’t happen. Now the Primaries have started and it is too late. If the UN IPCC report is close to correct, then we have just 10 years to stop CO2 emissions. If we blow this election then it will be impossible to meet that goal. That means we all might die and almost certainly civilization will come to an end.
      . . I’m very gloomy. Partly because the UN IPCC is very conservative. It only covers what science knows pretty much for sure. One of the things it therefore doesn’t cover is when the 1st un-stoppable feedback loop will be triggered. Once one is triggered they will will all fall like dominoes and the world will heat up by 5 deg. C. If this happens it will be impossible to grow enough grain to feed even 1 billion people and the sea will feed maybe 1 million. Chaos will be the result, and it will maybe cause a nuclear war.

      Nevertheless, we have to go down fighting. We have to try ’til the end.

    9. Good to hear that the word “socialist” is almost respectable now in the USA.

      It stopped being respectable in the UK in the days of New Labour. When he first became leader, Tony Blair used to indulge in long & implausible theological discussions of what he actually meant by socialism. But once he was safely established as PM, he abandoned that pretence, and if Labour MPs knew what was good for them, most of them did as well, with honourable exceptions.

      Come Jeremy Corbyn, and it became semi-respectable again. At least, it was obvious that Corbyn was attracting new members in large numbers. The Blairite Parliamentary Labour Party can’t have liked that, since the new members were obviously attracted by Jeremy’s socialism. But after the failed “chicken coup”, with Jeremy here to stay at least until the next election, they must have thought discretion was the better part of valour, and didn’t make too many anti-socialist noises. That all changed after the disastrous election results for Labour, and then the knives came out for Corbyn and his followers. However, then came the Labour Leadership elections, and the candidates were in a quandary: for the general public, they now have to (or so they think) pretend that they aren’t socialists like Jeremy – after all, it was his extreme left-wing-ness that lost the election, or so their narrative goes. But for the membership, which tends to be well to the left of the PLP, they have to pretend to be socialists, and they have certainly been laying it on with a trowel. (The ridiculous Paul Mason was today tweeting to the effect that Keir Starmer was an anti-capitalist).

      I should say that there are at least two honourable exceptions here (one leadership candidate, one deputy leadership candidate), who are genuine socialists and remained loyal to Jeremy all along. Hopefully the membership will recognise who they are, and remember this when it comes to voting.

      Oh, a warning to Americans: I hear that Tony Blair is heading your way, in order to warn y’all not to vote for that, er, socialist, Bernie Sanders. (And I thought it was only Russians who interfered in other people’s elections?).

    10. Actually, an ES-330, at least, the ES-330s’ claim to fame is that Grant Green and Emily Remler played them. The 330 was a true hollow body, albeit with a plywood top (not the elegant solid spruce tops that serious acoustic instruments have.) I never figured out how to set up with it to avoid the feedback. I gather the 335 is a solid body with a rounded double-cutaway shell around it, and less twitchy on stage.
      That is a lovely performance from Remler.

    11. Lets have a redefinition of what capitalism is.

      That is people who are able to set up their own business, free enterprise, making the country better, and the government supporting them by offering a JG should everything go bump.

      Lets talk about how food stamps are actually a different currency.. which is against capitalism .

      Let talk about how tax avoidance hurts society, since it is tax that drives the value of the currency. And so is again against capitalism.

      Lets talk about how companies who cause people to go bankrupt, by offering a service (medical fees), causing them to be unable to consume anymore, is also against capitalism.

      No, these things have much more to do with neoliberalism.

      Socialism? by definition is the workers own the means of production. which is about companies giving up control of their companies to their staff. Really I do not think this is the solution.

    12. Steve_American, you say FDR was “maybe” a progressive when Bernie calls himself an “FDR Democrat” and he is widely seen as the most progressive US president ever (New Deal, Glass-Steagal, Social Security,..). So why the “maybe”?…

    13. Tony,
      it doesn’t much matter whether your definition of socialism is that workers control ‘the means of production’, or the government does, or society in general does. Technically you might be right. But all of those are outside of what is remotely possible anytime soon in the USA. But the American public does not understand or think that Sanders’ proposals are in those categories either- and neither do I. And I am saying that our understanding of the definition of that word has changed a lot. So the word doesn’t scare people anymore.

      Bernie Sanders type ‘socialism’ is understood to be similar to President Franklin D Roosevelt’s New Deal policies. I think he could call himself a ‘New Deal Democrat’ and most people would say that is pretty much true and would consider that to be an adequate definition of a ‘democratic socialist’. Such is our understanding of economic theory and policy in America.

    14. Dekin,
      1] I’m not aware of any on thinking FDR was the *most* progressive Pres. ever.
      2] IMH, the Republican Party of A. Lincoln ws the most progressive Pres. ever. Why? Because of their platform.
      . . a] End slavery in the territories, and later in the states too.
      . . b] The Homestead Act, which gave the land to the settlers instead of selling it to middlemen who made a profit selling it to the settlers.
      . . c] The Transcontinental RR.
      . . d] The land grant college system.
      . . e] Build internal improvements with Fed. money.
      Etc.
      These things were all in the Rep. Platform in 1860. And they did them all.

      I see FDR as a pragmatist and not an idealist. He had to do what he did. He grew into it. He didn’t believe it going in.
      That is why the ‘maybe’.

    15. Dear Steve_American and all (at 2020/02/25 at 11:52 am)

      The Sanders Campaign released a Fact Sheet on February 24, 2020 entitled How Does Bernie Pay for His Major Plans? – which confirms he is not operating AT ALL in the MMT paradigm and is using the framing and language of the neoliberals.

      Sanders, after all is a fiscal conservative.

      best wishes
      bill

    16. Bill @ 6:57, at the moment there is no chance that any candidate in the US could educate a majority of voters about MMT and still get elected here in November. You have probably educated many thousands of Americans about how government actually ‘finances’ its spending- but there are about 330 Million people here in the US that still don’t understand that. And many of them can and will vote. That is just a political reality and holding Bernie Sanders to some stupid standard because he advocates things like Medicare for All and has to come up with sort of reasonable sounding taxes that would ‘pay’ for it is ridiculous. And describing him as a “fiscal conservative” is bordering on being untruthful in the context of the situation and the election. Fiscal conservatives do not ever advocate for the federal government to spend many additional trillions of dollars on ANY social program- that’s just not what they do.

    17. Dear Jerry Brown (at 2020/02/26 at 7?:58 am)

      Everyone points to Bernie Sanders’ consistent record over many years as a defining feature worthy of support.

      It is therefore not “bordering on untruthful” to also point out that he has a consistent record of fiscal conservatism and the “How to Pay for it” document is consistent with that.

      You should keep your assertions of dishonesty for others.

      best wishes
      bill

    18. Jerry @ 7.58 writes:
      “And describing him as a “fiscal conservative” is bordering on being untruthful in the context of the situation and the election”.
      Correct; but Bill is describing the reality of Bernie’s “fiscal conservatism” (ie the belief that taxes fund spending) in the context of MMT, which is a different context.

      Just so that we are all on the same page……

    19. Dear Bill Mitchell,
      I want to straight out apologize for implying any sort of dishonesty on your part. I know my comment reads that way after re-reading it myself- but that intent was not there when I wrote it and I am very sorry.

      That doesn’t mean I don’t think you are mistaken there- I do. Sorry again Bill and if it at all helps- there is no other intellectual or economist or columnist or teacher even that I have so much respect for as I do you. It was a poor choice of words on my part and I hope you can forgive that.

    20. Remler’s first album is in my collection, but I’d never heard her second album until recently when some kind person uploaded it to YouTube. I admit I always thought of her as an heir to Wes Montgomery (although her soloing technique is not the same as Wes’s: single notes/octaves/chords), but I’m past that now.
      I really wish I’d been able to make the Manchester event, but I couldn’t get there. I hope you’ll visit Amsterdam next year or even Utrecht!

    21. Is Neil Wilson still about

      Im discussing how import/exporting works between currency zones and how banking systems make this work.

      3spoken was a great blog on this but now i can’t find it and I’m unable to remember the granular detail .

      Neil,coupd you please put your blog back up it served very well

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