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Moving …

Today I made a big change which will likely affect the future of this blog. If you are interested read on …

For the last 23 years I have worked at the University of Newcastle, NSW and built up my research centre – Centre of Full Employment and Equity – there. We kept the group relatively small because otherwise I would have had to become a manager and I like to tell the University, when they tried imposing the so-called “managing for performance” routines on us, that we were a management-free zone.

MFP was a new micro-management process concocted by the new breed of tertiary sector managers with the aid of our trade union. The latter signed away our freedoms in the name of a paltry pay rise, which still translated into a real wage cut. MFP involved too many meetings, too much paperwork for no fundamental productivity boost. I have always refused to take part in it and told the University to sack me if they didn’t like it.

My philosophy is that we should be an output-based organisation and I never cared when the researchers I employed worked or how they worked as long as the agreed timelines were met and the work was first-class. The bean counters had different ideas and wanted to micro-manage everything, although they somehow found their way clear to chase the executive salary binge in the corporate world and management pay and bonuses have sky-rocketed, while academic salaries, generally, have fallen in real terms, while having a litany of these bureaucratic impositions placed on our time.

It was just another symptom of the managerialism that has taken over Australian universities, which has dented creativity and outcomes. To their eternal shame, the union agreed to all these micro-management strategies being imposed on the workforce.

Anyway, the economics program was very strong in the early days but by the early 1990s was facing the onslaught of “business education”, which promotes study of human resource management, marketing, and the like at the expense of the foundation disciplines of economics and the related economic history.

Business degrees sprang up like topsy and students were coaxed away from the more demanding studies in economics by near 100 per cent pass rates and almost zero intellectual challenges. I can tell many stories of meetings at Faculty Boards when economists were attacked for daring to fail students.

I became the Head of the Economics Department in 1994 at a time when the new funding model declared we had a serious deficit and would have to lose staff and contract. Over the next 8 years of my period as HOD we went through a difficult restructuring process, which we largely managed ourselves – via democratic decisions taken at the Department Board meetings. As well as all the negatives that accompanied such a process, we did introduce some new subjects aimed at attracting students back (international trade, money and banking etc). The Department was strongly heterodox in its persuasion, which set it apart from other departments in Australia.

The strategy began to work and by 2001, my last year as HOD, the student numbers were growing again and we had eliminated the deficit and starting to appoint new staff. We built up our higher research degree load and our research output was multiplying. These are all things academic departments should be doing but under an increasingly KPI-dominated management structure the performance also satisfied the bean counters.

During this period, I also set up CofFEE (1998), which really formalised our research group. It was a separate entity to the Department although its was mainly comprised of Departmental economists and their research students. As such it provided the dominant proportion of the research income that the Department earned and because the latter was the dominant research unit in the Faculty the same proportions carried over.

By 2001, the neo-liberals had totally infested the university system and we went through a painful restructure, which consolidated the creeping managerialism that had begun in the mid-1990s. So elected HODs were abandoned. Elected Deans were abandoned. The academics, which had previously controlled the Senate (the legislative body of the University), lost the majority to the appointed positions. Committees, which previously had decision-making capacity, were declared advisory only. And so it went. Department Boards were abandoned as decision-making bodies and faculty boards were dictated to by a Faculty Executive, which was nothing more than a PVC telling a small group of academics what the rest of the staff would have to tolerate.

Some manager or another decided that the concept of discipline-based academic departments was divisive and so the Economics Department was abandoned in a major reduction in faculties (from 11 odd to 5) and departments (from 45 odd to about 20). We became the School of Policy (whatever that meant) and the Faculty was renamed Business and Law (previously Economics and Commerce). So they expunged the traditional roots of the faculty name.

Next step was that the faculty fell prey to the designs of a new dean, now called Pro Vice Chancellors (for whatever reason – which has never been explained), who decided economics didn’t fit his plans. He also wanted to narrow the focus of a diminished economics discipline to “business” (whatever that is) and to push the social science aspects out.

Around the same time (around 2004) I was offered a very lucrative position in another University in Australia. I toyed with the idea of moving. CofFEE was making millions of dollars in research income for the University (easily the higher return of any social science unit in the institution) and building an international reputation.

The new PVC didn’t appreciate our work even though it dominated the research output of the Faculty (on all measures). He was planning to eliminate the bulk of the economics program and knew that I would stand in his way. I was a senior professor in the University with an impeccable research record (winning many of the highest prestige Australian Research Council grants) and I was opposed to his plans to cut economics further. But I was also attracted to moving institutions and being at a place where our work was valued and where economics was not afforded pariah status.

The senior management of the University (Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor Research) wanted to keep me (and my group) at the University because they knew the numbers (research income etc) as well as anyone.

The upshot was that I made a special agreement with the VC at Newcastle to remain at the University. CofFEE moved out of the Faculty structure and we were given stand-alone status (which means I had a separate cost-centre and only really reported to the DVC Research). I could come and go as I pleased and in the following years our research income grew significantly as did our published output and notoriety.

The downside was that I was excluded from teaching into the Economics program by the PVC of the Business and Law faculty and pressure was put on academics within that faculty to reduce or sever their contacts with CofFEE. Many bowed to the pressure and resigned as research associates of my centre. Some might call it a bullied response. I called it gutless.

In my absence from the Faculty processes (I held the position of Research Dean in the Faculty before I left under my agreement) the strategy to reduce economics to a rump proceeded with a pace. The Bachelor of Economics degree was scrapped and the economists were only able to keep a diminished major sequence in the Commerce Degree, which was of secondary importance in student numbers to the Business degree.

Many of the growth subjects I had brought in while I was head of department and which formed the vehicle for restoring our financial position in the late 1990s were scrapped or taken over the accountants etc (for example, money and banking). Staff numbers were cut (through attrition and contract elapse) and very little remains of the once excellent program in economics.

Being out of the faculty I was not able to influence any of this. I had decided that I would safeguard my own research group and concentrate on building that up rather than continue to slug it out with a system that increasingly imposed decisions on staff via fiat rather than consultation and reason. I think I made the right choice – although at times I thought that I probably should have left the University and moved to another more supportive institution when the opportunity was there.

But under my agreement I had freedom and have been very productive as a result. I am an old-style academic. To me freedom generates creativity which produces results. Bureaucratic and managerial structures impede those results. I can tell you many stories of the struggles I have had over many years to remain as free as possible within the system that increasingly suppressed it. I knew though that I was able to “be my own person” because I earned a lot of research income. That was my saving grace – by bargaining power – and I used it to protect my research group.

Anyway, the University for its own reasons – ideological – whatever – decided to relinquish its claim to provide a comprehensive and first-class course in Economics and Economic History. It was amazing that at the time the PVC was driving through his plans that the world was entering the largest crisis since the Great Depression.

I said to the top managers – more times than I care to recall – “when do you see headlines each day on HRM or marketing or accounting?”. The great debates in our area are about economics – every day – every week – every year. Yet our University decided it didn’t want to be a player in the most important debates that affect all of us every day. You can guess that I didn’t support this strategic direction at all. I thought it was poorly thought out and ill considered.

But I was able to situate CofFEE in all the debates and our work has attracted among the most “media hits” of any group in the University for the last decade or more. I do interviews for national radio, the written media and sometimes television several times a week and attract, probably, the highest media profile of any academic in the University.

We work for international agencies (such as the ILO, the Asian Development Bank, the EU etc). We are on very large research and infrastructure projects with partners at the University of Melbourne and other universities around Australia and the world, which bring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the University each year in research income.

There are many other things I could tell you about the way managers fail to support creative processes in our universities these days. Part of this trend has arisen because of the neo-liberal bean counters in Canberra (the federal Department of Education etc, which doles out the funding) have become obsessed with KPIs (key performance indicators) and other bureaucratic impositions.

One of the latest travesties is the UK-inspired research excellence framework. In economics, it has meant that publishing policy-related material is given low credits and an article, in say, the Journal of Economic Theory, which will be read by about 10 people and, which has no relevance to anything, will be awarded high research importance status. This is because the mainstream of my profession has promoted the key paradigm-reinforcing journals as the A plus type journals on the recognition list, while heterodox studies are largely disregarded.

Anyway, to cut a very long story short, after 23 years I have left the University of Newcastle and started work this week at Charles Darwin University. The link to CDU came because the new Vice Chancellor at CDU was previously the DVC Research at Newcastle, who was instrumental in retaining me back in 2006 and drove through the special deal I mentioned above.

He likes CofFEE and is keen to develop more teaching and research capacity in Economics at CDU – a trend that runs counter to what is happening in other universities around Australia. I plan to teach a full-blown MMT macroeconomics sequence here using the new textbook that I am currently completing with Randy Wray. The attraction of being in an institution that actually wants to invest in the development of economics is significant.

The Northern Territory government is also keen for me to help them build modelling capacity to improve the conduct of economic policy. Some say the NT Treasury is one that neo-liberalism passed by. We will see about that.

I am also doing research on Timor, indigenous labour markets and have on-going work with the Asian Development Bank (so the northern location is attractive).

And, I am sure Somerset Maugham would agree that everyone has to spent some time in their life in the tropics. Today it is 35 degrees and very humid – which means awfully hot. We have moved to the top of Australia some 4 hours by plane from Newcastle.

While Darwin is a remote tropical location it is also one of the capital cities in Australia. This means it has a seat of government and provides more public infrastructure and other facilities than say a regional city like Newcastle can provide. So that compensates a bit. But it means more flying hours than ever.

Some of my research group are remaining behind at what will become known as CofFEE-Newcastle. The HQ of CofFEE is now located at CDU in Darwin. Our annual conference, which is normally held in December will now be staged in Darwin in July 2013 (during the dry season when it is 30 degrees and relatively low humidity – in other words, near perfect weather). We hope to see a lot of people up here for that event next year. We hope to run it in to the Darwin Festival, which is a premier cultural event in Australia and worth the trip to be part of.

I have agreed with VC to come here for 2 years. The weather is not particularly attractive, there are no surf beaches, there are crocodiles and I spend a lot of time in Melbourne each fortnight on the collaborative projects with staff at the University of Melbourne. Melbourne is 1 hour or so by plane from Newcastle but 4 from Darwin – so a not inconsequential difference. So I am capacity building here over the next two years and then will return to Newcastle after that time.

The implications for my blog are as yet unclear. I have a more regular faculty position now – still situated as a stand-alone unit with the university but this time located in a Faculty structure. I will be teaching again and presumably having to take responsibility as one of the most senior academics here for some committees etc. So a change of role no doubt.

At present I allocate a fixed amount of time to the blog and that is why the conclusion comes very quickly sometimes. The clock ticks over and I have to bring it to an end. I am unsure whether I will have that much time each day for the next two years. I am unsure whether I will be able to plan each day as fully as I do at present. So it is likely that I will not write as many blogs as I currently do, which I am sure will be met with a sigh of relief.

While I don’t claim to be a particularly succinct writer, the blogs do have to be of a certain depth given that the material I write about is contentious and involves concepts that are either unknown or poorly understood. I have to spell things out a bit to ensure the arguments are not dismissed as being of the lunatic variety.

So we will see what this all means. Wish me luck!

For earlier reflections on the way the Australian university system has been taken over by managers and bean-counters, please read the following blogs:

1. Technocrats move over, we need to read some books

2. I feel good knowing there are libraries full of books

3. Education – a vehicle for class division – and they make good background reading for this blog.

4. Education – a vehicle for class division

5. I have found an inflation threat


Tomorrow, we will be discussing MMT things again – the reason why fiscal policy is required at present and why monetary policy (increasing liquidity) will not turn the sinking ship.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2012 Bill Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

This Post Has 76 Comments

  1. “So it is likely that I will not write as many blogs as I currently do, which I am sure will be met with a sigh of relief.”

    Not really. In a selfish way I would find that a disappointment. I look forward to the blog every day. It’s a breath of sanity in a mad world.

    However I appreciate the time commitment required to generate this level of output. There are many full-time journalists who would struggle to match the level and quality of output on essentially a single topic.

    I would suggest sticking with the regularity though – once a week or once a month. I think it is a powerful tool to have an audience turn up at a time expecting something.

    I find the ‘everything has to be a business’ attitude as annoying as you do. You find it all over at the moment, and it doesn’t fit with the way creativity works.

    I hope the new structure works well and that it trains many more MMT soldiers who can help change the world.

  2. An interesting dissertation on the trials and tribulations of academic managerialism.Is it any different to what is going on in other sectors? I suspect that when a system becomes so hidebound and devoid of the ability to think outside the square it is heading for a fall. Or so history tells us.

    You may find that the Territory grows on you and that Newcastle doesn’t look so good by comparison 2 years down the track. You will also get used to the climate but maybe not to the alcohol culture.

  3. Bill,

    For me, your blog has been educational and enjoyable. I hope you can keep it up even if it is less frequent. I have been amazed at how much you have had time to write in amongst other commitments. There is a standard joke about the person who apologised for such a long letter because he did not have time to write a shorter one.

    Best wishes

  4. It sounds like the Newcastle managers are luddites and civilisational vandals. I agree with the previous sentiments – you’ve certainly opened my eyes with this blog over the years. Best wishes in Darwin, hope you can still post occasionally.

  5. Although I’ll be disappointed to read less of your blog, I’ve been grateful for all the brilliant analysis you have presented here in the past.

    I am in full support of any arrangement that will allow you to be more productive in your research.

    I hope your family is okay with you moving so far though.

    One last thing, I have to ask, who from the University of Melbourne are you working with? I studied first-year economics there and did not hear any whispers of MMT there. I was taught by Nils and Jeff – do you keep in touch with them?

  6. I’m grieved to lose your prolific writings here; they are looked forward to every day as at present I cannot formally study MMT, although I have decided that is my goal within the next two years. Is there potential for a graduate studies program?

  7. As a Darwin resident I am incredibly excited to have you here! You must check out the Mindil Markets before they finish for the year.

    Congratulations on all the work you have done over the years Bill. I don’t think the announcement of less blog entries will be met with as many sighs of relief as you imagine. Your blog has been more than educational for me.

  8. The teaching of a full-blown MMT macro sequence in an Australian university is great news.

    All the best with it and thanks for your incredible output in the academic literature and blogosphere.

  9. I could have sworn that you were talking about Monash University! Pretty much the same thing (in terms of bureaucratical interference with strong negative outcomes) is happening there. I like Darwin. Perhaps I will visit you some day. Cheers!

  10. Well, Bill, I hope that you won’t regret the movie and that your air-conditioning never breaks down. Make sure that you wear long sleeves when you are outside. All the best. James

  11. Bill
    Reading your blog is one of the rare highlights of my day, what am I going to do now? I don’ know if I can survive on a weekly (or less) ration! I’ve learnt an incredible amount from my daily reading and week-end quizzes. All the best for your move, I hope it all works out for the best.

  12. Good luck Bill!

    I sincerely hope that MMT ends up having some impact on the thinking and policy-making of a government (albeit a non-currency issuing one in this case) – I will be watching the actions of the NT government more closely from now on.

    As you’re already aware I’m sure, don’t even think about swimming anywhere other than a swimming pool – I’ve seen crocs lying in swamps less than 100 metres from the main road near Darwin!

    You might enjoy the Mindel beach markets though, which included a blues/roots/alternative music festival once the sun goes down (over the ocean, something we never see here on the east coast) when I was there last – a weekly event I think.

    All the best.

  13. “You must check out the Mindil Markets before they finish for the year.”

    Woops – did I misspell “Mindil”?

  14. Good luck with this new venture Bill.

    Is there any question of this website being taken down altogether?

  15. Dear Bill,

    Good luck on your new challenge. From a rainy London perspective a life in the tropics sounds, well, really exotic.

    I sincerely hope you will keep the blog rolling. There are so many competing attractions out there but your blog has earned my daily – often many times a day – attention since I “discovered” it about 6 months ago. Yours is the most coherent, insightful and consistent MMT blog that exists and it will be a great loss if you discontinue it. In any case I look forward to your new work with Randy Wray.

    Take care,


  16. To all readers

    Thanks for all your nice wishes – on and off the blog. Be assured that I was not signalling a closure of my blog or perhaps even a reduction. I was just announcing a big change and, as yet, I am unsure of the implications of that change for many things.

    It might be I will write 3-4 times a week plus the quiz at weekends. It might mean that the blogs will be at different times in the day. It might mean business as usual. I just don’t know at this stage.

    But the blog will keep pumping along in some shape, which will probably be not that much different. We will see.

    take care

  17. So wish I read this earlier.
    Congratulations on teaching again, Bill.
    If you get your MMT course underway, please make it available by Distance Education.

    I feel the need to echo Neil’s sentiments, once you get adjusted, as with change we don’t know what change it will actually bring, when you blog, I would try to keep it at regular intervals.

    Just wished my sister still lived in Darwin. And if you can try and wrangle a legal academic by the name of Ken Parish into the MMT fold.

    Wishing you all the best.

  18. Professor Mitchell your blog is a beacon of enlightenment in a sea of ignorance. Your have a gift in conveying complex economic issues with clarity that is rare amongst economics teachers.
    All the best at your new professional home.

  19. I can only echo the previous posts. Easily the most instructive and interesting information on what’s going wrong in the world. I’ve been reading for well over a year now and your predictions on what is going to happen are frighteningly accurate. What i really like is that your explanations revolve around how the system works and the mathematics derived from that. As an engineer, this has so much more credibility that simply stating what is really a political ideology and hoping things will turn out as promised. Your evidence-based approach is simply fantastic and it makes me wonder every time you critique the EU, OECD and IMF why I get so much hassle for my forecasts being wrong when they can just update theirs massively every quarter to be completely different and not get any flak! How can that be? I look forward to reading your blog every day (my lunchtime in the UK) though quite how you can write so much, so quickly is beyond me. Please keep up the fantastic work – surely what you are writing will become part of a new paradigm.

  20. Good luck Bill.
    Please continue to blog in some capacity. You have quite a following I think.
    Thanks for reteaching me macroeconomics. I had been searching for the light for quite a while before I came upon BillyBlog. No-one else came close.

  21. Bill, you could also consider publishing a textbook-lite which would simply consist of some of the classic blog entries you wrote over the years.

    I am very happy to hear the blog is continuing, this is definitely the best economics blog out there, by a mile.

    I wonder every day about how prolific and high quality your output is, simply amazing! Chapeau bas.

  22. Bill — Congratulations and best wishes in your new position. I, too, look forward to your blogs everyday. You include much more in the way of foundational and background information for your posts than most of the other MMT bloggers. I find this of great help in understanding both yours and theirs.

    Many thanks for all you do to spread the word.

  23. Bill, your blog has been invaluable in helping me understand economics from the MMT perspective. It is good to learn that you will continue to work in an academic environment and hope that you are able to make a relatively smooth transition. Will look forward to the new billy blog.

  24. @Lefty

    Yes, “Mindil” is a weird one isn’t it? Many Darwin suburbs have indigenous names such as Wulagi, Wanguri, Wagaman, Jingili, Malak, Larrakeyah.

    There are also plenty of swimming places, it just depends on the time of year. Checkout Lichfield national park. Not all doom and gloom around Darwin :).

  25. Dr. Mitchell: The best of luck and success in your modified endeavors. I hope the change of environment and support is invigorating and rejuvenating for you.
    As always, I will avidly read and study your every word. As all the others have said, you have brought some reason and clarity of understanding to the pseudo-science one reads.

  26. Bill,
    Your blog has been the passageway for me into a world that actually makes sense! MMT is the missing link to a new view of human progress and possibility. When I was first exposed to the concept several years ago and went on a quest to “prove it wrong,” you were the one who made it irrefutable. Thanks for playing such a critical role in my understanding or reality.

  27. Hi Bill,

    Like all the posters here, I am very relieved to hear that your blog will continue, albeit possibly with changed regularity. Yours is too important a voice to lose at this critical time.

    Wishing you all the best with your change of scenery.

  28. It was amazing that at the time the PVC was driving through his plans that the world was entering the largest crisis since the Great Depression. … I thought it was poorly thought out and ill considered.

    It may be my own anti-managerial bias causing me to read too much into this, but perhaps it was not the Economic program at all that needed to be gotten rid of, but rather a particular individual involved in that program whose teachings put the lie to the required doctrinal prejudices.

    Over the years, I’ve found managerialism to be good at two (and only two) things: (1) providing the veneer of objective consideration to justify doing what one would have done anyways if simple personal preference carried the day, and (2) providing the veneer of objective consideration to justify not doing what one wouldn’t have done anyways if simple personal preference carried the day. I suspect the above “plans” were merely an example of these two at play.

  29. Good luck, Professor!

    Hopefully all universities around the world will start using the new MMT macroeconomics textbook.

  30. Bill, I have many friends in academia who have been facing similar stories in recent years, as deans are replaced by vice presidents, faculty governance by standard-issue corporate governance and bureaucracy, etc. I’m glad you found a better personal alternative, but this is a trend that is very worrisome.

  31. I ‘discovered’ your blog about a year or so ago and some time after was praising it to some colleagues who work in social policy and they told me that your work, particularly at CofFEE, was highly regarded and very useful.
    I hope you can continue, you are needed.


  32. This blog started me on MMT, and is my most enlightening read of the day
    Thank you and good luck!

  33. Bill,

    I hope you can continue your blog at the present rate but if you can’t that’s fine too since there’s plenty of your older stuff to study. Just don’t let that older stuff disappear, OK?

    Thanks again for the work you do.

    I share your hatred of micromanagement and lack of work liberty. There are people who are interested in process and going through the motions and there are people interested in getting things done. I am pleased you are of the latter persuasion. If I oppose a JG, that’s where I’m coming from, at least partly.

    Best wishes.

  34. Bill,
    Best wishes in this new position. Whatever you find time to write on the blog, I will make time to read. Your blog has been a tremendous insight to me and is a real “game changer”. As others have mentioned, please don’t let the older stuff disappear…I keep telling myself that someday I am going to go back and read it all thoroughly!

  35. I’m very grateful
    Thank you for all the time you spent writing all those excellent articles
    I completely underwrite your criticism of managerialism

    Wishing you all the best

  36. Very best wishes for your move Bill 🙂

    Your blog is as brilliant as it is prolific, & I hope it continues on at least some regular basis so I know when to come & get my fix of economics sanity!

    But please don’t over work to do it, take care of yourself.


  37. Bill,

    I wish you happiness and the best of luck at your new venue.

    I despise the (basically American) business “culture” forcefully inculcated on Academia by the wretched neo-liberal revolution whose stupidity and inhumanity you so strongly and convincingly fight. (It’s a crime against the academic environment.) It reminds me the hollowness and artificiality portrayed by Sinclair Lewis in “Babbit”.

    Your marvelous blog has been, dayly, since I came to encounter it about half a year ago, a refreshing dose of sanity in the maelstrom of illiteracy and mediocrity of mainstream economic and social thinking that goes on engulfing public policies and resulting in evil social choices. Choices? Or premeditaded design? I tend to the latter. Good, maybe, but only to the theorists’ paymasters.

    I was always amazed at your production as if your days were much longer than the days of the common mortals. I surely understand a diminution on the frequency of your posts. I gather, though, they will always be of the same outstanding quality. All will be fine, do not worry!

    I guess better less than nothing (that would be terrible!).

    Best wishes,


  38. Thanks Bill,

    I hope you and your family do well in your new surroundings. You have fought the good fight and always done and told the truth as you saw it. One can not ask more from any person. As a retired proletarian I have always tired to do the same. I always tried to do the best at any task asked to preform in order to give me the right to speak my mind. I have learned the hard way that history does not always move forward and defeats are inevitable. I stand with you as a disciple and comrade in the political and intellectual battles to come. Your blog has a huge intellectual impact. Take care of your family and do what you can. No one can ask anymore.

    All the best,

    Ken Simpson

  39. Professor Mitchell,

    You are such a prolific and informative writer – your side-job blog is much more productive than what a syndicated columnist produces in a whole day of work.

    Glad that you can now teach the next generation in classes too!

    My best regards

  40. Professor Mitchell

    Good luck in your new setting. Unfortunately the forces you mention are rampant throughout the UK, indeed as you noted we inspired some of the worst. From my perspective economics reflects a worse state than the contest between classical and quantum physics because we could look forward to the older School literally dying out.

    Nigel Clayden

  41. Lucky Darwin, the town of my childhood, easily the least civilised place in Australia then, a rough frontier town of heavy drinking miners, buffalo and croc hunters.

    Half a century on, and it’s the seat of a modern university, named after arguably the greatest debunker of all time, Charles Darwin.

    How fitting then that Charles Darwin University should now lend its imprimatur to the promotion of another great truth, Bill’s Modern Monetary Theory.

  42. Whilst accepting the general thrust of MMT, I have been critical on certain points in the past. I hope that doesn’t detract from what I say below.

    Bill Mitchell I salute you! Anyone who has fought the good fight against manegerialism and neoliberalism as persistently, courageously and productively as you have done deserves major accolades. The litany of atrocious management (managerialism) you describe is all too true of Australia in the late 1990s and 2000s. I experienced it whilst in the Federal Public Service and whilst I would never claim the PS was perfect we lost many things of value when managerialism took over and screwed things up entirely.

    Best of luck Bill. The managerialist fools didn’t deserve you. May they sink in the mire of their own stupidity.

  43. Dear Bill Mitchell,

    Congratulations and best wishes for your new post! Your blog has certainly become the highlight of my day and I do hope you will be able to continue it. Maybe you can teach us MMT economics at the same time as you teach your students.

    And hope you’ve sorted out the big move with your fellow musicians!

    Warmest regards,

    Larry Kazdan

    P.S. Letter at

  44. Bill – even though I am not convinced by MMT, I think this is a fantastically refreshing and thought-provoking blog.

    To me, it is profoundly worrying when critical academic thinking becomes a slave to disciplines like business studies, human resources and commerce. Instead of reflecting on the monumental (economic/political/philosophical) issues facing Western democracies, we simply aim to provide ‘expert opinion’ within our already broken neo-liberal paradigm. We live in free, democratic societies – as long as we promise not to think or criticise them too much.

    Reading this post reminded me of the so-called Bologna reforms in Europe, which have effectively abolished all government funding to subjects relating to critical thought. Free, academic thinking is supposed to be a defining feature of civilized democracy, instead our politicians impose the type of groupthink used to shore up unstable dictatorships and corrupt totalitarians.

  45. Bill,

    Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us non-academics. I hope you can keep writing as often, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blogs. The world now is now much clearer, and I derive hope from the fact that there is a hard-edged macroeconomic truth behind the fuzzy niceness of progressive politics, even if many on the left don’t see it yet.

    I wish you all the best at your new workplace. Keep up the good fight!

  46. This blog is vital. I can’t think of a more important vehicle for communicating modern monetary theory. The world is in great danger and desperate need of MMT, which feeds on and refines ideas from Keynes, Kalecki, Davidson, Minsky, Lerner and Godley, amongst others, and provides a coherent framework for Post-Keynesian economics as a practicable and far more realistic alternative paradigm to the neoliberal one we have lived with for so many years. I appeal to the VC of CDU to insist on Bill’s blog being given the highest priority. It will spread the CDU name further (and with more prestige) than anything in the entire history of the University. It is of potentially historical global importance. We need Billyblog!

  47. Congratulations, Bill!

    As a fellow professor, the future belongs to our students!

    There is no better way of ensuring MMT grows as a discipline, and increases it’s reach into policy making than to teach it
    at the tertiary level. I hope that your plans for a full blown MMT based degree granting program in Economics grow into
    full fruition.

    Warmest wishes,

    Dr. George W. Oprisko
    Public Research Institute


  48. (Correcting typo: I should have written daily, evidently not dayly.)

    And, Bill, please take it easy, do not overwork as your prodigious output and frenetic ever present icon (“busy”) suggest. Mainly now, in tropical clime. Go at least a little bit slower. I don’t know if Somerset Maugham advised that, but I do. Take care and enjoy more time with the family.

    I’ll continue faithfully enjoying your blog, no matter how often it will come out, given that I have become addicted to it. A very nice addiction.

    The best,


  49. @Bill Mitchell

    Daily reader first time commenter here.

    I have started reading your blog about a year ago, and as someone who started economic studies on a neoclassical keynesian basis (university materials), I was sceptical of your ideas at first. However through your work, recent economic events that are happening in the world, and my own studies of statistics have opened my mind to accept some MMT ideas.

    The news that you are going to teach MMT in an university is very encouraging, as I have always considered people who studies economics should learn various economic theories and evaluate which theory best explains the world. While Post Graduate Political Economy in University of NSW teaches Post Keynesians theory, I hope that as CDU starts to teach MMT, more universities in Australia will open themselves to Post Keynesian economic theories.

  50. Bill

    Just want to add my thanks for all your work. I was following from the UK, now following redundancy after 25 years of employment, I’ve exported myself and am tuning in from China. I’m writing a few (mostly non-economic) thoughts on exile life in China for amyone that’s interested on Just hope the construction boom here continues – every crane in the world is presently on top of an unfinished apartment block.

  51. Congratulations and good luck.

    Enjoy the lightning, don’t go troppo and beware the midges.

    I hope the text book will be available as an e-book at a reasonable price.

    Will you run an open university website in MMT based on the Australian monetary system?

  52. Congratulations, Bill…will miss daily MMT infusions (sniff), but sometimes less can be more.

    Re Darwin:
    Mindil Markets are the joy of the ‘Dry’. Parap markets aren’t so bad, but salted green mangoes are an acquired taste, despite what the little old ladies that sell them say. As for the local rag-The NT News- I always suspected that the horrible tingly feeling I got after reading it was damage to the nervous system from synapses dying. Be careful if they take an interest in you.

  53. Like the others, I’m excited for you, and that this blog will continue. I wish you all the happiness this no doubt will bring, and thank you again for my non-negotiable daily read!

    I’ve approached CDU already about the course (Senexx, this may interest you), specifically whether it is available on ‘Learnline’ or not. Perhaps it’s too early to know this, or the requirements to be accepted. I for one would love to supplement my B.Comm & Eco with a course like this. I remember coming out of University with so many annoying unanswered questions, specifically relating to the dilineation of monetary & fiscal policies, amongst other things. Thanks to Bill and the other warriors for setting straight what should be mandatory teaching.

  54. All the best Bill. Over the last 2 and a half years, your blog has opened my eyes. You are providing a great service. Long may it continue.

  55. All the best Bill, Newcastle’s loss is CDU’s gain. I am sure the move will present challenges (sounds like it from what you say) but if I was an Aussie looking to study economics I would be heading north with my sun hat and a book on how to wrestle crocs (might come in useful for wrestling Austrians…)

  56. As a former student I was shocked, and angered, to find out that economics was no longer offered at my university. It is supposed to be a university, not a trade school for managers.

    Best of luck with the next phase of MMT and I will continue to follow this blog.

    (also, I totally deserved that fail mark in first year)

  57. Bill:
    In the two years that I have been following you, I have learned more than I did in all my international finance courses combined! So, if you have to write fewer entries, that’s ok, but please keep the blog around, and, if you are at all able, keep the quiz. (If not, why not try getting a junior colleague, or a first rate post-grad, to do the grunt work on it, and then vet and improve it as necessary. Maybe it could become the new CofFee quiz?)

  58. @ Larry Kazdan

    Excellent letter! Sad that the Epoch Times even bothers with Crowley — I always hope that Epoch can diminish, somewhat, Canada’s unequaled media concentration.

  59. “”So it is likely that I will not write as many blogs as I currently do, which I am sure will be met with a sigh of relief.”

    Not really. In a selfish way I would find that a disappointment. I look forward to the blog every day. It’s a breath of sanity in a mad world.”


  60. Dear Professor Mitchell,

    As a regular reader i would also like to add my thanks to the above sentiments. Your writing have been of great interest and education to me. It nice to look at the commentators and see i’m not alone in thinking that the current economic / social policies are insane. I look forward to your future posts.

    Thank you


  61. Professor Mitchell:
    I very much hope you continue to produce your blog, it has been such an education.


  62. Your blog is very much appreciated. It brings sanity to the world of economics.

    The MMT insights are slowly gaining some ground here in Finland and there’s a Post Keynesian conference being arranged in December.

  63. Hi Bill,
    Thanks for the education and for allowing the blog to be interactive
    Once a week at least would be good if can fit it in.
    Check out Roti Island. It’s a short plane ride from Darwin to Kupung
    At west Timor then a ferry to the island. A perfect long left hander
    Is waiting for you. The Island is very very poor. The people are wonderful.
    Good Luck
    Kind Regards Punchy

  64. Hi Bill,

    Great news on the new start and congratulation! You get used to the heat and humidity after some time – I prefer it now.

    Good luck,

  65. Dear Bill,

    Congratulations, and all the best in your new academic position.

    Any time you can set aside for it, and from any place you find yourself, your blog will always be welcome.

    If you’re looking for things which you’ve consistently underestimated in your life, here’s one major candidate: The amount of light your light house emits from down under !..

    Vassilis Serafimakis

  66. I can sympathize for (at least) two reasons: I am living in China at the moment and the humidity was brutal until 2 weeks ago – and we were well under 35 degrees.
    And I applied to an Australian Uni last year and the bureaucracy was astounding, I can’t even remember the number of strange CV items they asked for. The only comparable bureaucracy I have seen is US community colleges (I support their mission, but they are stifled with an almost unbelievable amount of layers of state and local regulations. In the US at least, the more prestigious the U, by far the easier the application process).

  67. All the best, Bill. Lets hope you can get something going along the lines of The University of Missourri Kansas City. For too long all this hr/business bable has infected the daily workings of people that just want to get on with their job. I quit a previous job after about 6 months because the place was infected with the hr virus of performance reviews. Bugger that! What a load of mumbo jumbo!
    I remember reading something a while ago, that one of the things that caused the fall of China during the middle ages, from the height of its powers, was not war or famine, but ‘over beaurocratization”. Ie, from the decisions of people who’s heads were so far up their behinds, that they couldn’t see the damage they were doing.
    This is definitely what is happening to our Universities. The “Sandstone” is being systematically eroded.
    Everything, everywhere, seems to be about the bottom line, pure learning has gone out the window.
    Eventually, it will all come crashing down, but of course, there will be noone to accept responsibility, they’ll all be long gone, along with their big fat bank accounts.
    Anyway, keep up the good, honest, work!

  68. Bill:
    A heartfelt thanks from south Florida, and proof that even an old dog like me can learn new tricks.

    MMT may not be the way government policy is debated (certainly not in the US where both parties seem to have zero understanding of the basics, such as “spending = income”), but as one who trades the future markets for the past 20 years, I can assure you that the insights I have gained here have made me far better off. For example, the bond market – when I realized there would be ample demand for US Treasuries and German Bunds, I knew just what to do … because these governments are not revenue constrained it means the coupons will always be paid and there is never a worry of “default” (unless the foolish pols attempt to take us there for a couple of days or so).

    MMT may well end up being the established view in another decade or so, when those in the US realize that the “entitlements” are indeed sustainable, and we don’t “owe” anything like the US$100 trillion that scaremongers like David Walker (on CNBC this morning) keep telling us. I so look forward to seeing these charlatans proved wrong …

  69. Thanks for all you do, Bill. Echoing the above comments, your contributions are greatly appreciated.

    And you make a difference.

    Best of luck on your new endeavor!

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