Manhattan Project to prevent Hyper-Inflation

By J.D. ALT

It’s ironic that, at this moment, when the truthfulness and utility of modern money theory (MMT) is being publicly realized—(and even potentially implemented!)—that its singular vulnerability must emerge as a real concern: hyper-inflation.

The most recent thing I’ve written—Paying Ourselves to Save the Planet­­—addresses the issue of hyper-inflation as follows:

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STANDARD MONEY THEORY

By J.D. ALT

The last two and a half months I’ve been at work on a new book. As it evolved, I found I was approaching MMT from a new direction—one which made an explanation of MMT much less counter-intuitive and, perhaps, less controversial. The approach is relatively simple and straight-forward: follow what I began calling “standard money theory” step by step until one reaches a perspective that has, almost seamlessly, become “modern money theory.”

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MMT is a Political Problem: Part 2

Thornton Parker

      In the first part of this series, we explained why MMT should be seen as a political problem rather than just an educational one.  In this concluding part, we will discuss where MMT promotion is most likely to fail or have good chances of success.  First, consider some poor prospects.   

      All readers of NEP know how Social Security works and it seems like a natural for MMT.  But is it?  Wall Street sees the program as a leak from what should be their profitable money flow.  For years, the former investment banker and secretary of commerce under Ronald Reagan, Pete Peterson, kept forecasting its failure.  George W. Bush tried to fix the leak by privatizing it.  Arguing the virtues of MMT for Social Security is a sure way to stir up Wall Street bees that are quiet at the moment.

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MMT is a Political Problem: Part 1

By Thornton Parker

       The way a problem is seen can determine how or even if it gets solved.  When the French engineer, Ferdinand de Lesseps, was picked to build the Panama Canal, he saw it as another excavation problem as his Suez Canal had been.  But Egypt was flat and Panama had a mountain. 

When the United States took over the job, John Stevens, who was put in charge, saw it as a railroad problem.  The biggest task was to move ninety-six million cubic yards of rock and earth, as fast as the fifteen giant steam shovels cut them out of the mountain, from the Pacific side of Panama to the Atlantic side for building a dam and raising a lake that would be part of the canal.  

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GW, CC, and MM

By Thornton Parker

  The way a problem is seen may determine how or even if it gets solved.  Global warming (GW) and climate change (CC) are going to scramble many ideas about how developed economies work.  At root, GW and CC must be seen as money problems, and modern money (MM) is the key to solving them.   

     Energy companies spend money to find, extract, and market fossil fuels.  Other companies use money to create products and services that consume fossil fuel energy.  Money enables every step from ground to atmosphere and is the common ingredient of all aspects of the global warming problem.    

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21st Century Machiavellians 3: The Clash of Machiavellians, the Billionaire Class, and an Anti-Machiavellian Politics

By Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.

In the final section of this essay, I will look at the combined effect of the conflicts and collusion between the two types of Machiavellian political actors that dominate the higher offices and influential media organizations in the United States and to a lesser degree in other countries today.  Looking solely and narrowly at one party or the other encourages myopia and the creation of a “voodoo doll” in which all manner of evil is thought to be embodied, i.e. projected onto. Thus our tendencies towards psychological “splitting” from our childhoods are supported by finding the supposedly single locus of “bad”. The process of collapse of our democracy is more complex and encompassing than just the description, criticism and/or demonization of one party or set of actors.

The focus on just one actor as the primary source of political evil has split progressives and the Left in the period 2016 to the present: there are some who focus almost exclusively on the neoliberal Democratic Party and its neoconservative militarist allies as essentially the “worst human beings” in or near seats of political power.  Others focus almost exclusively on Trump, the Trumpist Republicans and/or the far right outside the Republican Party.  These essays here are an attempt at synthesis of what might be called a “two-front” battle for the future of American democracy and, in an era of rapid climate deterioration, generalized to other nations, the future of human civilization on the planet.  I will at the end offer an outline of what an anti-Machiavellian politics and policy orientation would look like.

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21st Century Machiavellians 2: The Gaslighting, Neo-Fascist Gangsters of the Republican Party

By Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.

While describing the machinations of the Democratic Party Establishment creates an repellent vision of political scheming and ethical compromise, today’s Republican Party is a few qualitative steps more repellent, more reactionary, and at the same time simpler to describe.  To compare and create a realistic vision of the current American political landscape, one has to be able to conceive of both “bad” and “worse”, i.e. degrees of moral compromise and turpitude in political (and social-economic) life. 

With the re-mobilization of the anti-New Deal, anti-civil rights, anti-Communist Far Right following its crushing electoral defeat in the 1964 Republican Presidential Election (the aftermath of the Goldwater campaign) and the emergence of the New Right in the 1970’s, the Republican Party has been over a period of decades fully transformed into a party of open reactionaries and racists, determined to defend a couple centuries of sometimes ill-gotten gains and privilege of wealthy white European-origin people on the North American continent, with a massive propaganda campaign and gun-enabled domestic terrorism.

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21st Century Machiavellians 1.2: Elites View the Democratic Party as a Containment Vessel for Popular Discontent

(This is a 3-part essay divided here into a total of 4 installments, with the first part divided into two)

By Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.

Attracting Popular Discontent

The basic structure of concentric circles of the discourse and ideological “space” of a political party or partisan organization, described in the foregoing could apply to almost any political party or for that matter any group with a relatively passionately held set of beliefs against which they believe others are opposed.  Using this schematic diagram of a group, the specific role of “containment vessel for popular discontent” is more likely to be, in the now almost 50 year old neoliberal era, to be slated for a party like the Democratic Party or one of the Parties of the Socialist International, like the British Labour Party, the German SPD, the Australian Labour Party, etc. 

On the other hand, when such center-left parties fail to attract popular discontent and they in agitating outside governing roles or acting in governing roles generate more popular discontent, other political actors, including center-right and far right political actors and movements, can capture popular discontent for their own purposes. Such was the case in 2016 in the United States, in Great Britain through the Brexit process with the emergence of UKIP and then the “Brexit Party”, the Northern League in Italy, the Alternative für Deutschland in Germany, the National Front in France, the BJP in India, etc.  Less successfully or durably, other newer left of center parties like Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, La France Insoumise, or various Green Parties have attempted to represent discontents at one point or another which the traditional parties of the Left have failed to address. 

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STATEMENT: House Budget Committee, “Reexamining the economic costs of debt”, Nov 20, 2019

By L. Randall Wray

This blog is based on the testimony I provided to the US House of Representatives. My written statement will be published in the Congressional Record (a version is also at the Levy Economics Institute: http://www.levyinstitute.org/publications/statement-of-senior-scholar-l-randall-wray-to-the-house-budget-committee. The full statement was co-authored with Yeva Nersisyan.

I will argue that the Federal Government’s deficit and debt are not so scary as we are led to believe.

Neither the deficit nor the debt ratio is on an unsustainable path. In some sense, chronic deficits and a rising debt ratio are normal.

They are not due to out of control spending—now or in the future. They serve a useful public purpose. In any case they are largely outside the control of Congress.

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ALTERNATIVE PATHS TO MMT

[ed. This was part Randy’s Talk at ICAPE.]

By L. Randall Wray

First I’ll clearly state what MMT is and then outline four paths that lead to MMT’s conclusions: history, logic, theory and practice.

What is MMT? It provides an analysis of fiscal and monetary policy that is applicable to national governments with sovereign currencies.

There are four requirements that identify a sovereign currency: the national government

a) chooses a money of account;

b) imposes obligations (taxes, fees, fines, tribute, tithes) in the money of account;

c) issues a currency denominated in the money of account, and accepts hat currency in payment; and

d) if the National government issues other obligations, these are also payable in the national government’s own currency.

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