L. Randall Wray’s Presentation at Lewis and Clark College

L. Randall Wray recently presented at the Steinhardt Lecture at Lewis & Clark College in Oregon. The title of his presentation was: “Fiscal Cliffs, Debt Limits, and Unsustainable Deficits: Can the US Really Run Out of Dollars?”

The video and matching slide presentation are provided below. Media Roots created a transcript of the presentation. You can access it via this link.


13 responses to “L. Randall Wray’s Presentation at Lewis and Clark College

  1. Perhaps it is a problem with my system, AND is there any way to boost the volume at the source?? I have my set up at its max and I can barely hear the voices.

    • I’m having the same problem. Earphones seem to be a solution.

      Another problem is that some of the chart lines are not visible. Anyone have a suggestion?

  2. Erick Borling

    Audio is OK in the LEFT channel. Great lecture Dr. Wray! Thanks a million for posting this.

    • I don’t see a LEFT channel and can barely hear this at all. Sound on my computer is turned all the way up. I have not encountered this problem with any other video on this site or others…help?

  3. Great Lecture, really mastered your voice in communicating the argument. I’m really keen to see Randy or Stephanie do a broader audience talk such as a TED Talk. Then we go viral!

  4. casino implosion

    Great stuff. Dr. Wray’s dry, ironic delivery reminds me of the late great JK Galbraith. I think he has found the medium that suits him best—live lectures.

  5. This is beautifully clear, and enjoyable as well.
    I have an odd question that I’m not sure where else to bring up, but it concerns all the hysteria about the “size” of the debt. I’ve been following the Ecuador story recently, and it occurred to me that the dollars they’re using to maintain their own economy are essentially segregated from our economy. I’m assuming that since they need them for commerce, they really don’t want them ever “paid back.”
    So it seems to me that they really shouldn’t be included in our federal debt, as such.
    Any thoughts?

  6. Magnificent.
    Agree with casino implosion.

  7. Dear Randall,

    I do so much want your moral economic message to succeed.

    I also know you have been reading George Lakoff. I started a non-profit to help ordinary Americans use his insights in our neighborhoods. You can find many of Lakoff’s reframing resources at http://empathysurplus.com/reframing-resources

    I especially thought of this one particular resource from Lakoff’s book entitled “Don’t Think Of An Elephant:”

    Two things that challenge all progressives who embrace empathy and responsibility for self and others in public government is crafting a (1) positive message that (2) does not use conservative frames. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-lakoff/wheres-the-movement_b_435045.html

    I wonder what your Lewis and Clark speech AND slides would have changed IF your opening premise had been framed around your progressive morality versus answering and repeating (and therefore reinforcing) conservative morality?

    I wonder how your Global Economic Intersection article could have been passionate AND positive. I could feel your passion and couldn’t find the positive message that would leave conservatives thinking “I respectfully disagree AND you’ve also given me something to think about. Because cognitive science says you cannot negate a frame, if conservatives are thinking about OUR FRAMES our values are also being thought about, EVEN if they disagree. http://econintersect.com/b2evolution/blog2.php/2013/02/27/krugman-is-right-about-simpson-bowles-the-buzzards-circle-the-fiscal-cliff

    Don’t we want conservatives arguing about OUR FRAMES and OUR VALUES versus the other way around?


  8. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
    for example below….
    The issue behind this differential is explained in this simple example. Jones makes $10,000 a year, while Smith earns $20,000. Assuming no inflation, a year later Jones is earning $15,000 and Smith makes $30,000.

  9. Dr Wray does an excellent job of explaining the post-Keynesian and MMT rationale for continued and expanded government spending in a deflationary cycle. Too bad he doesn’t get the mechanics right.

    Dr Wray : “I’m not interested in teaching myths and superstitions”
    Dr Wray : We have to look at how government spends ( an economic flow).

    In positing an answer to the question of how government spends via ‘keystroking’ money into existence – which it does NOT do – Dr Wray paraphrases a dialogue between The Bernank and a hypothetical Member of Congress. This dialogue is also presented in Warren Mosler’s “Seven Deadlies” as between CBS’ Scott Pelley and The Bernank, readily seen.

    PELLEY : “Where did you get that money to bailout the banks? Is that tax money that the Fed is spending?”
    I should STOP right here and point out that the private Central Bank NEVER spends any tax money, so the question itself is somewhat based on ignorance. Except for paying its own expenses(from its own revenues) , the private CB’s transactions are all asset/liability swaps between itself and its depositories, other CBs or beneficiaries(PDs, Corps, etc.).

    That point shouts out that there is a myth being advanced here – which is that the private CB’s loan transactions are examples of government spending. Just not true.
    Said The Bernank in answer to Scott Pelley:
    BERNANKE : “” So, TO LEND TO A BANK , we simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account that they have with the Fed.”” (my emphasis)

    The Bernank does not say that the government spends money into existence by keystrokes – because it does not. Only MMT says that. And he would never say that the Fed’s ‘keystroking’ exercises create any money when they make these ‘loans’.
    As he explained, they are simply ‘markups’ to the borrowing bank’s Fed accounts – which are reserve balance accounts. The CB uses its own revenues to spend, and uses its reserve-creation powers to lend.

    Whenever it is postulated THAT the government ‘keystrokes’ money into existence, and that postulation is advanced via a statement of our CB head, KNOW that it cannot be true.
    I want to emphasize. It CANNOT be true.
    THAT the Fed’s balance sheet expansion via making loans to banks is an example of, and explains how, government creates money when it spends is indeed a monetary-economic myth.
    For the Money System Common

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