Tag Archives: Modern Monetary Theory

The General Pattern: Risk-Free Nominal Assets

By Brian Andersen

It only makes sense to compare ETF issuers to currency issuers if issuing currency is like issuing ETFs. In my other posts I assumed that to be the case. But perhaps that isn’t obvious. So the question becomes, what do ETFs and currency have in common that make one an appropriate model for the other?

The answer is that ETFs and currency are both examples of risk-free nominal assets. The language stems from philosophy where there are thought to be things and names, and the names are used to retrieve the things. So nominal assets are the names and real assets are the things that they retrieve. Just as it is unhelpful to have multiple names referring to the same thing, it is unhelpful to have too many nominal assets trying to make claim on a given pool of real assets. While interesting from an etymological point of view, it is not entirely accurate to think of nominal assets as names referring to specific things.

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Economists vs What Works: Lessons from the ETF Market

By Brian Andersen

In my previous post I outlined the strategy used by Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) to create financial assets that offer both price stability and high liquidity. I defined price stability as the ability to hold the asset without gaining or losing purchasing power. And liquidity as the ability to buy or sell the asset on demand. Since this mechanism has been shown to work very well in the equity markets, I think it could be instructive for issuers of fiat currency, because fiat currency are also financial assets that are supposed to offer price stability and liquidity.

To that end I extracted four guidelines for a currency issuer to follow, based on what is already known about successful ETF operations:

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Let’s Fight Poverty, Not the Poor

By Fadhel Kaboub
(cross posted from freepress.org)

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the so-called “War on Poverty” that President Lyndon B. Johnson declared when the official poverty rate was at 19%. Five decades later, the poverty rate stands at 15% with 46.5 million people living below the official poverty line, which is about $23,000 for a family of four (2012 Census Data). More than 20 million people earn less than half the poverty line, in other words, they live in extreme poverty in the richest country in the history of the world. The statistics are even more depressing when we consider that the child poverty rate (under age 18) is an alarming 21.8%. Even worse, for children under the age of 5, some states register poverty rates of up to 36%.

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ETFs as Analogy for Sovereign Currency

By Brian Andersen

By now, everyone has heard the expression “financial innovation” to refer to changes that have taken place in our financial markets. Like all innovation, the goal of financial innovation is to solve problems. To bring our intelligence to bear on the problems that we face. Sometimes those innovations fail completely. At other times they achieve a narrowly defined success while causing new problems to emerge in their wake.

One of the financial innovations that have worked out comparatively well are Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). ETFs have a lot in common with ordinary stocks. They are listed on a stock exchange and you can buy and sell them just like any stock. Like stocks, ETFs represent fractional ownership in a corporation (the issuer). What distinguishes ETFs from ordinary stocks is the trading strategy of the issuer.

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GROAF & CONTRAKSHUN

By J.D. Alt

Recently I came across a passage from John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath: One of the Joad-clan migrant farmer characters, upon learning that “there’s a newspaper fella near the coast, got a million acres,” replies—“If he needs a million acres to make him feel rich, seems to me he needs it ‘cause he feels awful poor inside hisself.”

I don’t think I’ve ever heard or read a more succinct description of the underlying reality of the income-inequity issue that has moved to the front page of our national dialog. As part of that dialog, I keep trying to frame a case for radical change that the status quo will actively embrace—for the simple reason that if that were to happen, the radical change itself would be more likely to occur—but also, I realize now, because the status quo “feels so awful poor inside hisself”, it will never embrace radical change unless it believes the change will make it feel richer—and, finally, because from my perspective MMT uniquely makes this paradoxical set of relationships possible.

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Turn That Frown Upside Down

(Updated – slides added)

Stephanie Kelton’s keynote address to the students, faculty, and visitors at Augustana College’s (Sioux Falls, SD) Undergraduate Research Symposium on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 10am. Stephanie begins at 2:40. The topic of the keynote is Debt and Deficits in the Modern Economy. The slides are available below the video.

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A Business Strategy Long Overdue

By J.D. Alt

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The Washington Post recently reported that Day Care now costs more—in 31 U.S. states—than a college education. In a fit of logic rarely exhibited in today’s journalism, the article explains that since it takes the average family eighteen years to save enough for a child’s college education, that same child now needs to start saving for his or her own children’s Day Care beginning at age eight. The article didn’t mention—I suppose because they thought it was obvious—that this necessity is against America’s child labor laws. And, of course, Little League Baseball would be devastated.

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PBS goes MMT, Cites JKG

What gives money its value?  PBS explores. You can check it out here.

MODERN MONEY IN SIX SHORT VIDEOS

By L. Randall Wray

I recently did an interview for Euro Truffa on six topics related to Modern Money – MMT.

They are transcribing my interview to Italian and putting up the videos (I think that only two are up so far). However, they have also posted all of the videos to YouTube.

As you can tell, I did not realize they were recording the video—I might have tried to sit still if I had known. Also, the coffee had not quite kicked in so I was not entirely awake. Here are the links with just a brief indication of the topic for each.

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MMT and Social Movements

By Tadit Anderson*

The probability of demonstrating the democratic functionality of MMT/ff economic and fiscal policies in an academic or literate fashion to persuade politicians toward a conversion experience is unlikely. Even with our best communicators speaking in a mass media context or other public forums there are various other factors that need to be examined, such as learning styles and self-interest. Even if the analysis is right and validated by history the politicians will act upon the net amount of political influence supporting one set of policy priorities over another set of interests. When it comes to the influence of campaign contributions, thanks to the delusional decision that money is a form of free speech, the many will be usually outweighed by the few who have the money to buy political influence. While that is the unfortunate law of the land, the advocacy for democratic functionality will usually end up in second place.  However, the actual history of socializing movements suggests that an alternative path is not just possible, but also necessary. Given that the public discourse is also largely occupied by corporate interests, we have to also find different ways to grow a socializing movement other than relying upon public spectacles, such as mass demonstrations of protest and resistance.

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