Hi guys, this might not make much sense unless you’ve been following my adventures in economics (including my podcast), but hopefully, if you have the time, you might pick up the context as you read.
An open letter to non-Modern Monetary Theory economists.
Dear non-MMT economists,
I’m sorry that your feelings are getting hurt lately.
I know you think all MMT advocates act and speak as one, so here, let me treat you all as one entity and tell you on behalf of all of us, why sometimes we might come across a bit testy.
We study, we learn, the clock is ticking. We lose our jobs, our standard of living declines, our public services are deliberately underfunded to the point of collapse and those least able to fend for themselves in our communities suffer and die. Year on year. Because of some numbers on a spreadsheet at a central bank, and the way you talk about them.
No-one is paying us to learn. No one is paying us a nice salary to unquestioningly repeat orthodoxies, or we’d all be calm like you.
Some of us aren’t getting paid for anything anymore, no matter what we do. (And you know that’s a policy choice, right? There’s no unemployment in nature? Monetary systems create unemployment. Of course you know that. You guys are smart. You know everything.)
We study, we learn, we search for answers. While one group of politicians destroys our society, another group of politicians waits in opposition (armed with the same economic framework as our antagonists – the one you keep handing them) to do the same thing in a “kinder” way. They are ripping out the backbone of our civilisation. Because debt. Because insolvency. Because inflation. Because Phillips curve. Because “the government is like a household and has to balance its books”. When politicians do these destructive things, they do it because you gave them permission.
Then we discover the work of Warren Mosler, Bill Mitchell, L. Randall Wray, Stephanie Kelton, Pavlina Tcherneva, Steven Hail, Ellis Winningham… Economists who are actually bothered about changing public consciousness around economics.
Because it’s a matter of life and death.
We learn MMT. We learn that monetarily sovereign governments can never “run out of money” – the very fallacy that policies of austerity were founded on, which persist to this day.
We come to you and call you out on your complicity with orthodoxy. Your response to MMT: “Oh yeah, what you’re saying is nothing new, we knew this all along…”
Oh did you? Our response to you is:
Because we looked, and we found bullshit, and then we found MMT. You guys must’ve been writing your MMT columns so they looked like bullshit. Sorry for not picking up on that.
Our political systems are falling prey to right-wing demagogues who promise a new way forward, women and minorities suffer and die in this new political climate – in large part because all you have for the would-be progressive community is TINA.
Anyway, if you’re insulted, get used to it. Welcome to the world of people noticing what you do and the effect it has, and holding you accountable.
Thanks for everything, but if the accountability and emotion is getting to you, and you don’t feel like you can write another word ever again, never mind, I guarantee the world will do just fine.
All Of MMT xx
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