Category Archives: Guest Blogger

Essays in Monetary Theory and Policy: On the Nature of Money (12)

By Anonymous Student*

Pre-MMT Knowledge

And there I was, a teenager, strolling on the Kingsway – a district with a long road that encompasses high-end shops, restaurants, and hotels on both sides of the road and as the name implies, it literally used to be the King’s way to his palace – when I saw a few street children walking around begging the privileged passersby for mercy-money. Sadly, I observed that the street children were invisible to almost everyone. The fortunes would look straight at them and see right pass through them. I wondered why those shoppers who could afford to spend on high-end designer handbags could not show mercy on those children and spend a few dollars on them. One of the conclusions I reached was that maybe because they were so used to encountering not only those underprivileged children, but also, a lot of other underprivileged people in their daily lives in that society that they were immune to them. This story is of a developing country and as with a lot of developing nations, the income gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots” was pretty high and consequently, inequality persisted in every aspect of life among the citizens there.

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Essays in Monetary Theory and Policy: On the Nature of Money (10)

By A. Clayton Slawson III*

In today’s economic market, people tend to think excessively about money whether to spend on essential or discretionary goods and services, savings or which investment options to choose, or even the current topic du hour in Washington, whether there is too much or too little money floating around! Many “arm chair” economists, lacking the knowledge of our economic history, stop at these basic thoughts however, and thus never fully understand money in terms of its identity, origin, or even how today’s currencies became of value in the first place. Just as these concerns can vary person to person, so too can the very definition of money and how currency adopts value. In order to better understand the “nature of money,” this paper will utilize the frameworks of both the Orthodox school and the Heterodox schools of thought to provide a basic understanding of money in their respective approaches, which will set up a clear argument for why one approach is more advantageous for guiding economies toward full employment. Undoubtedly, any weekend warrior economists will be better prepared for discussions on money at the conclusion of this paper.

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Introducing Modern Money Monopoly (MMM)

By Alex Hofmann

Coming back to Stephanie Kelton’s “A Contest: MMT for Eighth Graders” from last May, we have yet to find a good way of explaining basic modern money concepts to children. I followed the blog thread with much interest, but it seems that the initiative has got stuck on the fundamental challenge of finding child-like analogies for concepts that are too abstract even for well-educated grown-ups. As has been pointed out many times, didactics or ‘framing’ is perhaps MMT’s biggest strategic challenge. 

Looking at my own children, a lot if not most of their learning happens not by chewing on concepts but through play, often enough by integrating recent experiences into their favourite games. Hence, what might work better than verbal explanations is an adaptation of the popular ‘Monopoly’ board game: Modern Money Monopoly (MMM).

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What’s the Politically Correct Word for Schiffhead?

Click image to view video

Warren Mosler’s talk in Chianciano, Italy, January 11, 2014

By Alexandria J E Angus

Warren Mosler gave this talk in Chianciano, Italy, on January 11, 2014 at the Chianciano Conference entitled Oltre L’Euro: La Sinistra. La Crisi. L’Alternativa. In English: Beyond The Euro: The Left. The Crisis. The Alternative [Google translation]. The video is embedded below, but you have to listen to a realtime translation in Italian, which doubles the listening time. I thought this talk important enough to transcribe, if not deliciously subversive on the part of Warren Mosler who offers Italians a way to save their economy. The transcription follows below the video.

Mosler describes how Italy (or any of the 17 EU countries that use the Euro) can leave the European Union safely if the EU persists, as it insists on doing, in impoverishing their country and citizens.

The subheads in blue are mine, not Mosler’s, and are designed to assist reading. Some terms Mosler refers to in the body text relate specifically to the Italian economy, and I can’t identify them because I don’t know their Italian names.

Enjoy.

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How Fiat Money Works

By Chris Mayer*

Warren Mosler tells a good story that shows how our economy works at its most basic level.

Imagine parents create coupons they use to pay their kids for doing chores around the house. They “tax” the kids 10 coupons per week. If the kids don’t have 10 coupons, the parents punish them. “This closely replicates taxation in the real economy, where we have to pay our taxes or face penalties,” Mosler writes.

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Essays in Monetary Theory and Policy: On the Nature of Money (10)

By Brian Hartley*

Modern banks are professional arbiters of financial IOUs secondary to that of the state or issuing authority. Central bank liabilities – reserves – form the most liquid and foundational instrument in the hierarchy of money, with intermediate obligations between banks ranking next, down finally to obligations issued by individuals. Banks facilitate the transfer of IOUs across and between various levels of the hierarchy, allowing transactions between individuals, extension of credit from the liquid to the illiquid, the transformation of maturities and transference of risk. Balance sheet expansion provides the liquidity necessary for increasing sophistication of the credit and payment system.

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Essays in Monetary Theory and Policy: On the Nature of Money (9)

By Lukas Kaluza*

Introduction

“Money is what we use to pay for things.” This quote from Lerner (1947, p. 313) is the simple answer to the question: “What is money?” But in order to get an answer to the question of the nature of money we have to go further into the theory and consider two different approaches: the orthodox and the heterodox approach. In the following essay the answers of both approaches to the questions of the nature of money will be discussed and after that implications for policy making will be made. Therefore, this essay will start with a short excursion in which the two different stories of the history of money will be given.

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Essays in Monetary Theory and Policy: On the Nature of Money (8)

By Ken Yamat*

What is the nature of money?

Money is a medium of exchange, a store of value, and a unit of account as described below:

In an important sense our task throughout this monograph has been to develop a theory of the nature of money. When asked “What is money?”, most people respond – quite reasonably – that money is used to buy something. This gets at money’s use as a medium of exchange, which is of course the most familiar use. If pressed further, most would also say that money is something one can hold as a store of value. Indeed, economists recognize money as the safest and most liquid store of value available, at least outside situations with high inflation, when money’s value falls rapidly. Some people will also mention the use of money to pay something down, debt, with money used as a means of payment, or means of final settlement of contractual obligations. Finally, if we ask people “How much is that worth?” – pointing to just about anything- a common response would be to evaluate with in terms of money, this time acting as the unit of account used to measure wealth, debt, prices, economic value. (Wray, 2013)

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Essays in Monetary Theory and Policy: On the Nature of Money (7)

By Marilynne Meikenhous*

The debate surrounding the nature of money is an impassioned one. Our understanding of money and the policy implementation based on our beliefs differ momentously. Have our policies reflected a true understanding of how money functions in a modern society, and have these policies worked?  In order to answer this, it is first necessary to explore what money is. This typically depends on how you think money came into existence, what money is used for, and how money functions in the modern economy. The way that one incorporates money into a discussion of macroeconomics is arguably what indicates their economic background and beliefs.

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