There was a conference in Berlin recently (25th FMM Conference: Macroeconomics of Socio-Ecological Transition run by the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung), which sponsored a session on “The Relevance of Hajo Riese’s Monetary Keynesianism to Current Issues”. One of the papers at that session provided what the authors believed is a damning critique of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). Unfortunately, the critique falls short like most of them. I normally don’t respond to these increasing attacks on our work, but given this was a more academic critique and I was in an earlier period of my career interested in the work of Hajo Riese, I think the critique highlights some general issues that many readers still struggle to work through.
In between reading economics articles, I read a lot of fiction novels especially when sitting around airports and flying places. I get through a lot of novels. I am currently tracking some Icelandic noir writers (for example, Arnaldur Indriðason and Ragnar Jónasson) and have been sort of ‘living in the fjords’ lately such is the imagery these great writers present of life in Iceland. I am right up north in a place called Siglufjörður at the moment surrounded by towering mountains and snow storms and enjoying it a lot. It was also where the excellent TV series ‘Trapped’ was filmed. Anyway, Iceland has been firmly in my focus. And the politics of the place is interesting at the moment because with the economy well down the recovery path, the neo-liberals which nearly ruined the place are trying to reassert their mindless policies – to wit, in this case, the Finance Minister claiming that Iceland is thinking about pegging the króna to the euro or perhaps a basket to maintain ‘stability’ (now you can laugh). Current Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson has rejected the plan it seems setting up an internal power struggle within the government. One of the reasons Iceland has recovered so well and left the Eurozone nations in its wake is because its currency was floating. Pegging it to the euro would be a very silly thing for that nation to do. Only a little less stupid that trying to revive their old neo-liberal plans to join the Eurozone as a Member State. If they did that then it would be a case of Dark Iceland (the theme of Ragnar Jónasson’s novels) – the economic lights would well and truly go out.