Fiscal Sustainability Teach-in and Counter-Conference

Materials from the Fiscal Sustainability Teach-in, held in Washington D.C., April 2010, have been released and are available here.

These include video, audio, slideshows, and transcripts of the following sessions:

Bill Mitchell: “What is Fiscal Sustainability?”

Stephanie Kelton: “Are There Spending Constraints on Governments Sovereign in their Currency?”

Warren Mosler: “The Deficit, the Debt, the Debt-To-GDP ratio, the Grandchildren and Government Economic Policy”

Marshall Auerback: “Inflation and Hyper-inflation”

Randall Wray and Pavlina Tcherneva: “Policy Proposals for Fiscal Sustainability”

3 responses to “Fiscal Sustainability Teach-in and Counter-Conference

  1. This was an excellent set of presentations and discussions.My one suggestion might be to bring the inflation discussion more broadly to the surface. Marshall did a great job of highlighting the hyperinflation fallacy versus the US situation. But a number of interesting discussions touched on the inflation issue, cutting across separate primary topics and flowing from persistent audience interest.If there is a true “theoretical component” to MMT, I think it would be an MMT specific “theory of inflation”.MMT spans monetary operations, inflation, and policy. The subject of monetary operations is not theory – it is fact – as is frequently emphasized. The key conclusion to be drawn from a correct understanding of monetary operations is a central truth relating to the issue of “affordability”, a point emphasized in discussion by Randall Wray.The question is – what do you then do with that point? The answer goes to policy, but before you get there, you need a theory of inflation – backed by empirical evidence of course, as highlighted in Marshall’s presentation and in the discussions.Policy then flows from the ideas for streamlining the monetary architecture, plus ongoing budgeting for real resource allocation, including JG/ELR. A key point emphasized again by Randall Wray, which I think is very important, is that “budgeting” is not necessarily a dirty word. In fact it is a required discipline under MMT, apparently. Once the haze of monetary and inflation fallacies is lifted, budgeting becomes a clear headed decision on how best to allocate real resources via the public sector.

  2. Wm Wilson saysWhile I supported the FST-I_CC earlier this year, I was unable to attend (further, I am a retired biochemist who has been following the conference speakers for the past several years in hopes of better understanding how modern money ideas might translate into better government). A point about which those who are promoting MMT and related concepts may be aware is that these concepts generally seem to be ignored by the MSM. I thought this might be a venue where a suggestion might find reception, thus, I would like to suggest that the points addressed by the conference participants might reach a wider audience if a technique such as that described at RSA Animate were adapted. For instance:David Harvey delivered a 31.14 min talk titled 'The Crises of Capitalism' was subsequently re-presented as a 11.1 min animation: animated version was passed along to me by my daughter (a non-economist professional) because it got her attention (no small accomplishment). Why is this important and why mention this here? Warren Mosler, one of the conference participants, was interviewed regarding his run as an Independent candidate by Norwich (CT) News as summarized in 5 x 10 (approx) min videos which I suspect that a number of economists may have viewed; however, had his points been cleverly summarized in a RSA-like animation effort, the message might have actually been viewed by a much larger audience including many curious non-economists. President Obama has surrounded himself with a group of support staff, some of whom claim to be economics experts. That staff either ignores MMT arguments, thinks they are irrelevant, or finds fault with them. Thus, the Prez continues to take advice and make decisions which many responsible people (economists, especially) seem to disapprove. It seems to me that more effective communication techniques should be pursued by socially-concerned economists and their promoters.

  3. I laughed out loud when I came across the person who identified himself/herself (my puter's too crappy to play the vids well, so I'm using the transcripts) as "a foul-mouthed leftist blogger" – Was I cloned at birth? Is there a rip in the space-time continuum making me two people?I still work to get my head around all this, so I'll refrain from speculating on how mmt gets translated to policy. But I do want to make one observation re a concern expressed more than once:How do you "educate", if you will, the rest of us deliberating under false assumptions? The rhetoric of your persuasion has got to find some way of avoiding what someone critical of your work can easily pull from Mosler's presentation: Fiat currency is grounded on State coercion. I am a bit familiar with Professor Wray's paper (or maybe part of his book) countering the argument that "money" evolved from bartering and the "natural" selection of a particularly useful commodity, but rather, money was invented by Sovereigns for their own purposes. (I rather like that Willem Buiter used the phrase "fiat commodity money" to illustrate that most anything could be picked out as the index value, if that's what you really want to do.) I have no problem accepting that – but hey, I'm a commie, and the state is (historically till now) the means by which some group dominates the rest.Try making that case to the average Teabagger and his Patron Republicker, the Blue Dogs, etc., and all you will do is reinforce their beliefs as to what you and the FedRes are all about.I have no advice how to solve that. There may be NO rational, deliberative, communicative solution. I know that when I blog, I assume there isn't one ….But good luck anyway. And foul-mouthed leftist bloggers of the world, UNITE!!! We have nothing to lose but everything we still might have ….