Category Archives: Guest Blogger

Hy Minsky, Low Finance: Modern Money, Civil Rights, and Consumer Debt

By Raúl Carrillo

I delivered the remarks published below at the First International Conference on MMT on September 22nd, 2017. The panel, entitled “Modern Money, Courts, and Civil Rights — Against Legal Predation”, explored the interplay between the cycle of crisis, austerity, and privatization, and the concomitant loss of rights for the public. I was joined by two esteemed law professors: Angela P. Harris, formerly of UC Davis School of Law, and Martha McCluskey, of the University at Buffalo School of Law. The panel was moderated by Danny Sufranski, MMN Harvard Chapter President.

These remarks were delivered solely in my capacity as a director of the Modern Money Network and do not reflect the views of any past or present employers.

Good morning, everyone. My name is Raúl Carrillo and I’m a director of the Modern Money Network (MMN), a student-driven interdisciplinary organization promoting public understanding of money, law, finance, and the economy (obviously embracing MMT as a foundation). By day, I’m an attorney specifically focused on consumer financial protection or as one notorious predator, Capital One, would say, “What’s in your wallet?” Perhaps a better way to put it, is that, in the Minskian sense, I help people manage their “survival constraints.”

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A Memo From MMT’s Legal Department

By Rohan Grey and Raúl Carrillo

Orthodox economists are often inclined to think of law as an external force that ‘intervenes’ to regulate otherwise naturally occurring economic phenomena. In contrast, Modern Monetary Theory and its antecedent intellectual traditions have long recognized that law in fact constitutes and shapes modern economies and the monetary regimes that underpin them. For example, Knapp argued explicitly that money was a “creature of law.” Similarly, Keynes, in A Treatise on Money, stated:

“The State…comes in first of all as the authority of law which enforces the payment of the thing which corresponds to the name or description in the contracts. But it comes in doubly when, in addition, it claims the right to determine and declare what thing corresponds to the name, and to vary its declaration from time to time-when, that is to say, it claims the right to re-edit the dictionary. This right is claimed by all modern states and has been so claimed for some four thousand years at least.”

Today, many of the core propositions of MMT can be understood as essentially legal arguments. Here are a few examples:

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Monetary Sovereigns, Monetary Subjects: Modern Money & The Criminal Legal System

By Raúl Carrillo

I delivered the talk published below as part of a panel at Yale’s annual Rebellious Lawyering Conference, on February 17th, 2017. The panel, entitled “Financing Criminal Justice”, co-hosted by The Modern Money Network, focused on the connections between fiscal austerity and the horrors of the U.S. criminal legal system. I was joined on the panel by Thomas Harvey, Co-Founder and Executive Director of ArchCityDefenders, Judge Jaribu Hill, Director of the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights, and Mitali Nagrecha, Director of Harvard Law School’s National Criminal Justice Debt Initiative.

Together, we discussed how financially-strapped local government entities, charged with public safety, perpetuate social violence, especially upon low-income communities of color. My presentation focused on macroeconomic context. More specifically, I attempted to build a bridge between the insights of MMT and arguments asserted by opponents of mass incarceration, police brutality, and criminal justice debt.

Good afternoon, everyone. Buenas tardes. In my short legal career, I have had some hands-on experience with these issues. After law school, I joined the Enforcement Division at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We did (some) work at the intersections of private consumer debt and criminal justice debt. I’m currently at New Economy Project, an anti-poverty organization, in New York City. Some of our clients do wind up behind bars because of failures to appear and failures to pay. Some do leave incarceration only to return home to frozen accounts and judgment liens in addition to the fees they were charged for their time in the system. I’m not here to speak about all that, though. I’ll leave it to the experts.

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JMK Writings Project

jmk

DECEMBER 8, 2016.

THE CLOSING DATE FOR THE CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN FOR THE JMK WRITINGS PROJECT.

I thank, from the bottom of my heart, all those who have backed the campaign, with donations ranging from USD5 to USD1,000.  Almost everyone has said complimentary things about the proposed edition (‘great idea’, ‘wonderful project’,   ‘best of luck’ etc), but far fewer have followed up with contributions.

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Paid Leave and Daycare: Luxuries of the Wealthy

Originally published in The Minskys by Lara Merling

The U.S. trails the rest of the world in benefits available to families. Currently, the only industrialized country that does not guarantee paid maternity leave for new mothers is the United States. While other countries offer generous paid parental leave and some form of childcare subsidies, the U.S. does not. This lack of policies to support working families widens economic inequality and limits opportunities of children not born in wealthy households.

smalldaycare

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‘Control Fraud’ – Corrupt Bankers Do It, Congress Ignores It

The bipartisan shellacking Senators gave John Stumpf, the Wells Fargo CEO, last week made for great television, but did nothing about the real scandal: Our government continues to look the other way as many top bankers thumb their noses at fraud laws.

There is a term for the criminality that infects our biggest banks and damages the economy, and there is a solution to this problem. But there is also an obstacle.

Read more of David Cray Johnston’s post: ‘Control Fraud’ – Corrupt Bankers Do It, Congress Ignores It | Investopedia

JMK Writings Project

jmkpProfessor Rod O”Donnell is currently engaged in preparing a major edition of the remaining unpublished writings of JM Keynes, of which there remains a HUGE quantity of valuable material scattered across many archives in several countries. Since standard sources of funds for this kind of research have dried up, he has turned to crowdfunding.

The CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN begins 11 OCTOBER 2016 on INDIEGOGO.

OVERALL AIM:  To complete the publication of ALL of Keynes’s unpublished writings of academic significance. Only about ONE THIRD were published in the Royal Economic Society edition. Continue reading

Is the euro a foreign currency for peripheral Eurozone (EZ) countries? – Part 2

By Ignacio Ramirez Cisneros

Some considerations on the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) latest assessment on the handling of the euro crisis.

Part II

If decisive large scale interventions on the part of the Eurosystem would have been enough to quell financial panic –along with the strategic functioning of the EZ large transactions payment platform, Target2, allowing capital repatriation by core EZ financial agents- the IMF should not have had a role in the crisis resolution process to begin with. The IMF is brought in when a country is in need of foreign reserves to bridge temporary difficulties in the balance of payments or when debt restructuring is imperative. The first case does not apply to any of the main three EZ countries that turned to the IMF for assistance, since the large majority of capital outflows were to EZ partners, and in any case almost all liabilities were euro denominated.  Continue reading

Is the euro a foreign currency for peripheral Eurozone (EZ) countries?

By Ignacio Ramirez Cisneros

Some considerations on the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) latest assessment on the handling of the euro crisis.

Part I

The most recent IEO assessment of the IMF’s role in the lending and structural adjustment programs in Greece, Ireland and Portugal (and Cyprus) makes reference to a past held belief within the IMF ‘that large current account imbalances were little cause for concern [for the IMF], and sudden stops could not happen within a currency union that issues a reserve currency’ (IEO 2016, 46). In the document, it is made clear that this understanding of EZ financial realities was mistaken given all the financial and economic turmoil since 2010.

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Three Tales of Rigged Elections: The Narratives of The Political Revolutionary, The Billionaire, the Ballot Bandit, and the Corporate Media

By Payam Sharifi

An oft repeated phrase you hear every election cycle is that “this is (one of) the most important elections in our lifetime”.  This is usually said within the context of competing and (supposedly) incommensurable policy positions, during a (supposedly) rare moment of crisis that will transform American policy at home and abroad for at least four years.  Yet this phrase has, much to my surprise, not been said once by anyone in the media or among the social media groups that celebrate either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.  Instead, it is characterized as a historical moment where the threat of a neo-fascism in the form of Donald J. Trump must be stopped.

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