By Pavlina R. Tcherneva
The attacks on MMT are taking a comical turn. A recent one, courtesy of Noah Smith, takes aim at a paper I wrote in the 90s titled “Monopoly Money: The State as a Price Setter”.
It focused on a key MMT idea—that the currency-issuing monopolist (just like any other monopolist) is a price setter. The economics that I was taught didn’t even consider the implications. So I wrote down a few equations to look at different scenarios of prices paid and real resources purchased by a currency-issuing government, given the level of aggregate tax liability and private saving desires.
By J.D. ALT
We define poverty, I suppose, as that living condition which is unable to acquire enough dollars to purchase some, or most, of the basic necessities of life. It also seems to be an accepted notion that a certain amount of “poverty” is a necessary condition of our modern market economy—that a certain segment of the population will always be “unemployable” by the profit-oriented business community, either because they lack skills or because the business community simply does not need their services in order to generate its profits. Nobody really knows what to do with these “unneeded” people. We talk about “retraining” them—but there is no guarantee the profit-seeking business community will need them even with their newly acquired skills. In the meantime, these “unneeded” people don’t know what do with themselves either. This is, perhaps, the biggest problem of all—though I will not, in this short essay, go into the details of that (except to say that it is contributing to a tragedy that is now disrupting the lives of too many of us). The point is this: It is time to begin imagining specific, concrete solutions to what is becoming a fundamental dilemma of our time.