MMT is sending us crazy – the end is near … hold on, not quite near

The – Final Report – from Australia’s Royal Commission into to Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry was released to the public yesterday. The Commission was conducted under highly restricted terms of reference and barely scratched the surface of what goes on in this sector because the conservative federal government that was finally forced into establishing it didn’t want their mates to be exposed. Even so, the Report reveals massive fraud, deception and all manner of cheating behaviour from the major players in the financial sector. But its recommendations are pathetic. It is highly likely that no-one will go to jail for their criminal misconduct and no board member will lose anything as a result of their incompetence. Yet, if an indigenous Australia commits a minor infraction they go straight to jail to not pass go! It is also clear than commentators who appear in influential media publications and predict the worse then steer their readers to financial services they offer themselves should be held to account for the veracity of their claims. If a commentator is making money from their predictions then they should be subject to professional negligence claims if these predictions are systematically incorrect. That shift in law would prevent outlandish and wrongful commentary entering the public domain and influencing the way unsuspecting and/or unknowing customers invest their savings.

Take this Forbes article (January 31, 2019) – The Coming Recession Will Be Different – as a case in point.

It is already running hot favourite to be the worst article for 2019, although I have no doubt that other commentators, who are tripping over themselves to claim some superior insight about the shortcomings of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), will probably trump it.

But it is bad, make no mistake.

These anti-MMT articles are coming from both sides of the debate – from the Right who just haven’t any understanding at all, and from the progressive side, who see it as a threat to the mainstream macroeconomics they are hanging onto while claiming to be progressive.

The latter critiques are hilarious and I have dealt with them previously. But they keep popping up. Readers are told that the valid parts of MMT are well-known to New Keynesians and already part of that body of work (a lie) and the invalid parts are just loopy (and to explicate they wheel out some stupidity about Zimbabwe, usually).

Others attack MMT as not understanding politics. Well that is strange given MMT is not a political theory or praxis, which just goes to show how shallow the understanding of the critics really is.

Others are attacking the core MMT group for not engaging with mainstream economists in language and concepts that are acceptable – that is, their language and concepts.

First, we engaged with that lot for 25 or more years and got nowhere.

Their Groupthink is so powerful that despite their framework being exposed as being plain wrong in many instances (for example, money multiplier, bond yields, insolvency of governments, hyperinflation, deficits and interest rates, we could go on), they hang on to it with every dying breath.

They are resistant to change and admitting error. That is how a degenerative paradigm (see Imre Lakatos) declines – arrogant, revisionist, ignorant and blind to their failings.

Second, using the language and concepts of the dominant (declining) paradigm is a sure way to get nowhere.

Remember the wise words of George Lakoff that “if you lead with the lie, you privilege it” and if you use the constructs and language of the ‘enemy’ you also legitimise those constructs.

This blog post – The ‘truth sandwich’ and the impacts of neoliberalism (June 19. 2018) – summarises that point.

The famous hijacking of the work of John Maynard Keynes by John Hicks is the case in point. The bastardisation of Keynes’ work by J.R. Hicks in the late 1930s, which was consolidated into the main textbook macroeconomics from then on was only possible because Keynes used neo-classical (the then mainstream) concepts to illustrate their failings.

The problem was that Keynes made important compromises – notably in Chapter 2 when he assumed a simple Classical marginal productivity theory to explain labour demand (the so-called (flawed) law of diminishing returns).

In adopting this assumption, which he later realised was unnecessary and empirically unjustified, Keynes opened the door for subsequent developments which perverted his message. Ultimately, we could argue that the neo-liberal dominance now is, in part, due to that strategic error made by Keynes.

This blog post – On strategy and compromise (July 3, 2012) – provides more detail on that point.

Third, the core MMT group decided many years ago – at the advent of the social media revolution in communication – to take MMT to the public directly via blog posts, etc and build networks in that manner – completely bypassing our mainstream colleagues.

And now that the profile of MMT is becoming more public and more people are talking about our work and seeing its possibilities, the mainstream economists are feeling an attention-deficit and sensing the threat to their hegemony.

We are a long way from ‘winning’. But the progress over the last few years has been strong and eventually MMT will become self-evident to young economists entering the academy.

By way of promotion – our new textbook – Macroeconomics – will be published by Macmillan (available for sale on March 11, 2019).

This development will provide academics with a systematic 2-year study resource in macroeconomics from a pure MMT perspective – no compromises.

Our language, our concepts, our framework.

As an aside, once that book is published, our earlier introductory book (published in March 2016) – Modern Monetary Theory and Practice: an Introductory Text – will be withdrawn from sale. The new book subsumes this book and adds another 17 chapters of more advanced material and more on policy etc.

So if you want a copy of the Introductory book only you need to get it soon. Frankly, I would wait. The Macmillan book is very reasonably priced (well under the usual macroeconomics texts) although I appreciate for many in this day of flat wages growth and elevated levels of unemployment, our book will still be too expensive.

I am working on a solution to that – more about which later.

Anyway, for mainstream New Keynesians to now berate us for not writing out MMT models in a way that is easily absorbed into their ridiculous schema (rational expectations, intertemporal maximisation, etc), the only thing one can do is laugh – insecurity is a bad thing for anyone to have to endure!

But, there is clearly a rush at present to denounce MMT as the devil’s work. And these critiques keep coming (to my amusement).

The Forbes article (January 31, 2019) – The Coming Recession Will Be Different – is the latest and was written by one John Mauldin.

This guy has form.

I wrote about his work in this blog post – Watch out for spam! (January 25, 2010) – yes, 8 years ago.

At the time, I was being encouraged by several readers to subscribe to a financial advice E-mail service written by Mauldin.

These readers told me that the insights from Mauldin were valuable and I could learn something from this expert.

I investigated.

I found out that (as at January 25) that we were now approaching the “end”.

Yes, Mr Mauldin was predicting that:

But make no mistake, we are coming close to the end game. Some countries and economies are closer to that point than others, but the entire developed world is lurching, in almost drunken fashion, towards our economic denouement …

Over the next several months, we are going to start to explore various aspects of the end game. Whither Japan? Are they actually, as I think, a bug in search of a windshield …

I loved his sense of theatre – dénouement (the final outcome).

The END.

In the wake of the increase in the US federal fiscal deficit to combat the GFC, Mr Mauldin thought it was sensible to ask:

Where do we find $1 trillion (plus!!!) in US savings to fund the deficit

The old faithful.

It doesn’t matter, it seems, that the funds that are borrowed from the non-government sector were provided by the net government spending (the deficits) in the first place – $-for-$ – as a “wash”.

Apparently, that doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter, that there is not a finite pool of saving, but, rather a flow of saving that grows with income.

So the deficit spending, inasmuch as it stimulates economic growth, is actually the source of finance for non-government savings.

There is a debate that can be had about the form of the fiscal intervention – but never about the principle that a rising non-government spending gap requires a rising government fiscal deficit to ensure that income generation doesn’t contract.

The dominant economics ideology seeks at every point to disconnect these ideas.

Anyway, Mr Mauldin issues a weekly newsletter which holds himself out as a financial advisor and predictor of doom. He intersperses his commentary with promotional material.

In 2010, he was promoting his annual “Strategic Investment Conference” and told his readers that:

This year we are going to focus on “The End Game.” I can guarantee you lively debate, fun times, and over-the-top wines – plus, you will be with people who are simply the coolest ever. The speakers are all friends who “get it.” They called the crisis well in advance. These are the guys who sit and think every day about how this will all end up. The panels are going to be fun. Do not procrastinate. Register now.

I was sorry to have missed the event.

What, hanging out with “the coolest people ever” and havinge “fun times” and listening to all his mates (friends) who “get it” and attending “fun panels” – what more could a simple academic like me aspire to?

And I supposed as Armageddon or the apocalypse was approaching (“The End Game”), all these cool cats would anaesthetise themselves on the “over-the-top wines”.

So cool.

Well, as we know “The END” didn’t come in 2010, nor in 2011, and, last time I looked out the window of my office, it still hasn’t come in February 2019.

That doesn’t stop the likes of Mauldin though.

In his recent Forbes article (January 31, 2019) – The Coming Recession Will Be Different – he is telling the readers that a disaster is on the way and:

There will be few places to hide.

And don’t except there to be a “recovery” as is usually the case with recessions because:

Except it will be different this time.

Okay, the doom prediction again.

Mauldin then launches into an attack on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).

Apparently the “progressive left’s siren song will begin to play everywhere” – “free everything” – because of the the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have become entranced by the:

… economic insanity called Modern Monetary Theory or MMT

This is from a commentator who was organising conferences in 2010 to focus on “The END”.

His characterisation of MMT is, consistent with this sort of commentary, erroneous, to say the least.

He claims:

They talk about raising taxes on the rich. But there’s simply not enough money to do what they propose – even if you take everything the rich have.

Raising taxes on the rich is not to generate “money” to facilitate spending.

In part, it is to deny the rich of purchasing power and would free up real resources that can be diverted to other uses that would benefit more people and reduce the strain on the natural world.

In that sense, it creates more room to spend without encountering demand-pull inflation.

But it is also to reduce the power of the rich – to reduce their capacity to lobby the political process, to fund think tanks, to fund media outlets etc.

There has to be a fundamental rebalancing of ‘influence’ in the future away from those who currently wield it through their access to purchasing power.

Further, the currency-issuing government has all the ‘money’ it needs to buy anything that is for sale in that currency, including all idle labour.

The issue is not a shortage of capacity to credit bank accounts with numbers.

The constraint, that MMT highlights is that the US government or any currency-issuing government may not be able to command enough real resources to do everything that we want.

A nation’s material prosperity is always limited by the real resources (people, machines, equipment, etc) that it can bring into productive use.

A nation with few real resources at its command will typically always experience low material standards of living, even if all the resources it can command are being fully utilised.

Full employment of a nation’s productive resources thus is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a high material standard of living.

That is core MMT.

Mr Mauldin appears to misunderstand that.

My concerns about all the promises that people on the Left might make with respect to Green New Deals etc is that there might not be sufficient real resources available to do everything that would be desirable.

Then the game turns to which sectors or people will we allow the government to deprive of current access to real resources in order to divert them elsewhere.

That becomes the tricky political issue.

Mr Mauldin continues that because “there’s simply not enough money”, the US government will have to:

… add more debt and eventually monetize it.

Hold on.

I thought there wasn’t enough money?

And if there isn’t enough money (liqudity) how can the government issue debt? The issuing of debt is a process of swapping bank reserves for a bit of paper.

One account (A) at the central bank gets debited and another (B) gets credited.

And, how does a government “add more debt and eventually monetize it”?

Oh, via “quantitative easing on a scale that makes the Bernanke years look like an elementary school picnic”.

Which swaps bank reserves (liquidity) for outstanding government debt.

Okay, so the numbers get transferred back from B to A.

And …

Well, Mauldin seems to started his Op Ed by copying earlier doom predictions and then he must have reflected that he better not say the end is near and so he tells us:

Now, the world will not come to an end.

And …

So what?

A few predictions about technology eating jobs etc.

And then the marketing … for his subscription newsletter providing advice on how to “invest” in an era of new “volatility”.

It was about as facile as that.

But the point is that at some point, financial commentators should be called to account.

I understand the principle of Caveat emptor and for those who pay to subscribe to any of his services or conferences, that is their look out.

His continual doom predictions that never turn out to be correct should be warning enough for these ‘buyers’ and it is a wonder there are any left.

But, when a person comes out in the mainstream media as an Op Ed columnist making all sorts of claims and predictions that are erroneous then I think the issue of professional negligence comes into play.

Just like the Australian bankers who lied, cheated and stole money from naive or duped customers, Op Ed ‘experts’ who continually predict one thing and another happens should be brought to account.

They won’t be but they should.


The current period is interesting as public scrutiny on our work (MMT) is increasing all over the World.

The New Keynesians are coming out with preposterous Op Eds against us.

Some Post Keynesians, who hate New Keynesian macro, are attacking MMT. Their problem is they became so lost in identity issues and methodology and all that that they have dropped the ball on macroeconomics. Now they are trying to claim relevance.

And so the MMT train rolls on as more and more intelligent people, not poisoned by mainstream macroeconomics, grasp its message and see a political route to improve the well-being of all of us rather than just the few.

It all looks as though we are making progress.

Upcoming speaking tour

Between February 23 and March 13, I will be in Europe.

I will be conducting classes at the University of Helsinki on February 26-28 and March 5-7 in Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).

While the lectures are part of a university degree (in my role as Professor of Global Political Economy at the University of Helsinki) – they are open to the public and I would welcome anyone to attend.

It is possible I will also be in London to launch our text book (Marchh 1) – more details to follow.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2019 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

This Post Has 32 Comments

  1. Great post.

    The recent uptick in media interest has been heartening. Of course we always knew it would be attacked etc. But MMT has logic / analysis / data / track record on its side. I am beginning to believe it will ultimately save us all (the environment, democracy, sensible capitalism). I only hope that when the majority discover the reality the right people receive the acknowledgment . ie: Mitchell / Mosler.

  2. Bill, MMT is gaining traction and ordinary people are seeing a different path from the past. Eventually the pollies will have to listen to a critical mass of the populace. The advent of younger adventurous politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the USA will inspire younger people here in Australia to follow suit. I hope like Chris that all the hard work that you Warren Mosler, Randall Wray, and Stephanie Kelton did despite enormous opposition to establish MMT will be recognised. In the meantime keep rocking!!

  3. Ah Chris and Wayne, it is well known that everything in MMT is what we already knew already. Except for the crazy parts, which are just crazy even if we already knew them- which we did anyways- and can’t really explain what’s crazy about them. We don’t need to though. Trust me on that- I got it from Simon Wren-Lewis so it must be true.

    Nevertheless, when I have my autobiography written for me, I will give credit to Bill Mitchell and those other characters you mention for teaching me everything I already knew about economics. Cause I’m just that kind of guy.

  4. the last thing I am is an expert on MMT. Just an interested observer status, but it’s enough to comment on the muddle that passes for economic theory with supporters of There are always a few fundamental questions one can ask and then sit back and watch the reaction. Usually nobody tries to answer straight up. They fuss about imprecision and prepare to shift the ground away from the direct one sentence language, all before starting up lines of abuse. I now tell them they are neanderthals and on their way to oblivion, etc. No one learns. No one says they can see the truth now. No one wants to learn from a nobody like me. You point out non sequiturs to no avail.

  5. The comparison to valid MMT policy options being enacted given the nature of the current political structure is fair?

  6. Bil, did you mean to write?
    “In his recent Forbes article (January 31, 2018) – The Coming Recession Will Be Different -”
    I looked at it and it is dated 2019 not 2018.

  7. @ Jerry:

    “Nevertheless, when I have my autobiography written for me, I will give credit to Bill Mitchell and those other characters you mention for teaching me everything I already knew about economics. Cause I’m just that kind of guy.”

    How magnanimous of you, Jerry 🙂
    I would, however, advise you to instruct the ghostwriter of your autobiography to emphasize your life-long efforts to adjust policy according to your knowledge of MMT but had to concede due to “Realpolitik” and stubborn politicians. You know, to cover all your bases 😉

    @ John:
    “No one learns. No one says they can see the truth now. No one wants to learn from a nobody like me. You point out non sequiturs to no avail.”

    Never give up, my friend! Make screenshots and save them for the time when you’ll get tosay the four most beautiful words in the English language: “I told you so!”

    I do relate with you though, yesterday I spent half my morning reading “lefty” posters at the Guardian defend the EU’s handling of the Greek sadomonetarist tragedy that has been playing out for the last decade…

  8. Bill, I’m now going to ask one more time for a copy of Reclaiming signed by you and Thomas to hand to Jeremy Corbyn. This is the way to get through to John McDonnell. Jeremy is a reader and has recently been talking to AOC. I’ve just heard a rumour that she will be invited to speak at the Labour Party conference in September. I feel I can’t wait much longer to get the vital MMT message across here and will just have to deliver an unsigned copy, but it would have that much more thrust coming from the authors.

  9. I’m surprised, Bill, you give this guy as much as the time of day. He has only one agenda – to make himself a lot of money. If people in general get an understanding of how the monetary system really works that will seriously impact his ability to put about these scare stories which allow him to sell them his investment schemes. I followed his blogs for some years and just laughed. I’ve got better things to do nowadays and have unsubscribed. Sadly there are plenty of gullible people about who do lap it all up. There’s always another sucker round the corner.

  10. @Carol Wilcox,

    As I’m sure you know, JMcD declined the personal offer of a copy of RtS by a N London Labour member at a local party meeting, stated he had already read it, declared it a very good book… and then claimed that Bill was in agreement with Labour’s Fiscal Rule, having met him with advisers that morning last autumn.

    Clearly it fell on deaf ears – economically, the party leadership appears to be firmly in the grip of Meadway, Michell (the other one!), SWL and Portes. They even disagree with R Murphy for goodness sake, let alone Bill… so I wouldn’t expect a great deal from JC, tbh.

    Perhaps send it to AOC instead, or Chris Williamson, though I expect he’ll have it on his bookshelf already.

    Best, Mr S.

  11. There has always been multiple paths to achieve progressive outcomes.
    However I used to think a ‘second-best’ outcome for MMT would be to have a progressive political movement get elected and pretend to work under some of the tenants of the neoliberal economic paradigm.
    If they could just get elected, continue with the tax ‘funds’, ‘budget’ ‘balance’ paradigm, then prove this is false during their elected term and go for the correct amount of fiscal policy and pivot while in office rather than pivot while in opposition.

    The ongoing John McDonnell issue and more recently the progressive Labour of New Zealand has proven my ‘second-best’ political ‘pivot while in office’ to be wrong.

    Evidently all these progressives don’t have the knowledge or are bought out and inundated with group-think, too many elite to overcome, the media is primed to attack and the progressive effort as illustrated is to attack its own best solutions. The latest iteration is self-imposed: “budget responsibility agreements”, “pay-go” and all that garbage.

    Bill is correct the science approach of MMT is better bypassing the existing rotten institutions and going directly to people.

    I have had success engaging with the Jillet Jaune locally. France and sectoral balances gives the context of the grand destruction of private sector assets taking ~30 billion euros out of the private sector year by year. The false narrative of Macrons compromises which are zero-sum outcome for aggregate wealth of households.

    Then you can look to larger Europe and see what happened to a counter-cyclical budget in Italy recently.

    People are waking up.

  12. The issue is not a shortage of capacity to credit bank accounts with numbers. Bill Mitchell

    True but the banks themselves (especially if privileged by government as seems to be entirely the case) can also credit bank accounts (“Bank loans create bank deposits”) and thus contend for the same real resources as the monetary sovereign but not for the general welfare but for the private welfare of the banks themselves and for the most so-called “credit worthy”, the rich.

    How is this not a problem? The use of what is, in essence, the public’s credit but for private gain?

  13. I understand that the governmental agency revealed by MMT is limited by available resources, but having spent much of my life in the political arena, both as a community organizer and a candidate, I feel compelled to make a crucial point I’ve previously tried to make. What I sense is missing in the gradual upward trajectory of MMT is an ever-deepening alliance with the environmental movement. Yes, MMT economists and others have written articles showing how JG workers, for example, could do various things to address environmental damage–planting trees, restoring wetlands, preventing soil erosion, growing local healthy food, clearing obstructed waterways, reclaiming abandoned and polluted urban spaces, insulating and otherwise greening existing buildings, installing solar panels and windmills, etc. etc. etc. But what are hard to find, at least for me, are bold and sweeping visions of how fiat money could be used, within existing resource constraints, to finally do something significant–and do it NOW–to slow the global drift toward catastrophic ecocide. THIS is undoubtedly the central issue of our time, and MMT has so much to offer in terms of helping us to change course and take important preliminary steps toward ameliorating this looming crisis, one which goes far beyond economics and threatens the continuation of life itself. So how might we reach out to those in the environmental movement with the good news of MMT and form a genuine and lasting partnership? If we got those folks on board, we’d have one hell of a powerful, perhaps unstoppable train.

  14. You’re right Bill. I followed Fox Business, TV, magazines, Mauldin, Schiff, Rogers, Zulauft; anybody and everybody for years. It’s all nonsense. I vetted their comments. You think you’re watching a program on business, finance, investment. No, it’s really about politics, self serving and sales.
    No matter how Keynes would have put it – it would have been corrupted. Friedman and Co was inevitable – it’s about the wealthy and the powerful getting back to an economics that serves them. This is a good time for you guys. The worse things get – the more people look for answers.

  15. Mr S, I am afraid you are right. Can you imagine taking Meadway to a meeting he doesn’t need to be at? It can only be so that he can set McD straight after the meeting is over. Can’t let McD drift away from the truth of New Keynesianism.

    Not only do Portes and SWL disagree with Murphy, with Portes claiming that Murphy deliberately misunderstands him even though he has been perfectly clear, and correct of course, they bad mouth Bill for no good reason. You couldn’t make this up.

  16. “True but the banks themselves (especially if privileged by government as seems to be entirely the case) can also credit bank accounts (“Bank loans create bank deposits”) and thus contend for the same real resources…”

    Not unless willing and qualified borrowers walk thru their doors and ask for loans.

    Borrowers are have been doing that all along and it hasn’t been enough to command available resources (except for that period in the 2000’s when banks would make loans whether people qualified or not).

  17. Not unless willing and qualified borrowers walk thru their doors and ask for loans. paulmeli

    Which sufficient deficit spending can easily provide. And guess which source of new bank deposits will be blamed in the event of politically unacceptable price inflation?

    Ah but MMT bank regulations shall insure that only loans that lower the cost of living shall be approved – such as loans to automate jobs away with what is, in essence, the public’s credit but for private gain? But not to worry since that’s what a Job Guarantee is for?

    But if the public’s credit shall be used to automate the public’s jobs away then where is their Citizen’s Dividend?

  18. Which sufficient deficit spending can easily provide.

    This has always been the case (we’ve always lived in an MMT world, just haven’t been aware of it) and except for the aforementioned period bank lending has typically been around 10% of GDP or less.

    Since current deficits are accruing to the rich mainly I don’t see an uptick in bank lending anytime soon.

    Maybe I’m missing what point you’re trying to make though.

  19. A notable economic news site in NZ loves printing this stuff by Mauldin. It brings out all the doom mongers and they all go into hysterical lament fests whenever it is printed despite the fact they nearly all claim to be prosperous investors doing quite nicely for themselves. I suppose it is click bait.

    There is quite a lot of fun to be had in the comments section when you ask provocative questions.

  20. @Mr Shigemitsu

    I’m talking about Jeremy Corbyn, not John McDonnell. They are two different people. Jeremy is in contact with AOC, John is not so far as I know. Jeremy is a reader. Some of us know both of them personally. I have sent stuff to John via his PA (whom I know). He normally attends NPF meetings, to which I am a delegate. I may take the opportunity to mention about my connection to the MMT movement – he is a member of our LVT campaign. Getting through to Jeremy is another route. I believe he will be interested.

    As for Chris Williamson, I like him a lot, but I’m not sure that he really understands MMT. We had a meeting with him a few months ago about our campaign. We had the intention of sounding him out on MMT as well. He gave us very little time and spoke at us rather listening to what we had to say (there are plenty of MPs like that). He then handed us to his spad who thought we were anti-frackers. So I’d say not a details man.

  21. Dear Carol Wilcox (at 2019/02/06 at 6:24 am)

    1. Thomas and I will send a signed book within the next few days. We didn’t have any spare copies and had to wait for a copy to come from Britain via mail.

    2. I am meeting with Chris Williamson on Monday, May 13 in London and he is organising a workshop with the ‘socialist’ Labour MPs at Parliament House that I will participate in to talk about MMT and the rest of it. He seems very interested in our work.

    best wishes

  22. Since current deficits are accruing to the rich mainly I don’t see an uptick in bank lending anytime soon. paulmeli

    But isn’t the plan to end that and benefit the non-rich, who have a higher propensity to consume?

    Or am I on the wrong bus?

  23. @ Carol Wilcox,

    Not being a Labour member I don’t know, and have never met, any of these people personally, so I can only go by their public declarations and appearances. Clearly you are in closer contact, so I bow to your greater knowledge and familiarity with their behaviours. I hope you can break through with JC.

    Best, Mr S.

  24. Dear Bill,

    Fascinated to read that you’re Finland-bound again shortly! (I registered that you lectured here before – I watched the video – but hadn’t known that you hold a (visiting, presumably?) professorship at H:ki University).
    I would gladly attend but it’s too far (overnight ferry), and a bit too expensive (even averagely-decent hotels in H:ki aren’t exactly cheap). Apart from the intrinsic interest (which requires no additional stimulus!) and lending moral support (which you’re not in need of), it would have provided an opportunity to find-out what level of acceptance there is for MMT in Finland.

    Actually I’m surprised there is any at all! If this were your first visit I would have been predicting that you might find yourself lecturing (like Isaac Newton on one occasion) to an entirely empty lecture-room. If any country’s population – not excluding its intelligentsia – might be expected to be 100% unreceptive to MMT I would expect it to be Finland’s. I’m sure you didn’t overlook the fact that Finland out-did even Germany and Holland in the savageness of its treatment of Greece (and that’s saying something!). (If you saw my post commenting on your blog “EU deliberately subjugates prosperity to maintain its neoliberal ideology” in which I described an exchange with our local MP, as part of which I fired I fired it at him – to precisely nil effect – you’ll know what you’re up against (that’s if you didn’t already)).

    I attribute that to a deep-seated strain in the Finnish character which I suspect stems from lutheranism – doubtless an over-simplification: it may well go much further back. As I’m sure you’ve been told, the characteristic most esteemed by Finns is “sisu”, meaning “endurance”, “grit”, a kind of grim, silent, perseverance in the face of pain and suffering. According to those values the Greeks had only themselves to blame for their plight (due to wanton self-indulgence and cooking of the books) and must take their deserved punishment without whingeing – as Finns would have done. Or so their national self-image tells them – almost certainly correctly.

    Finland as a nation seems impregnably ensconced within the neoliberal camp, and indeed to have positively embraced that ideology requiring as it does stern moral fortitude (“sisu” again) in the face of adversity (ie continuous low or negative growth, plus unremitting austerity into the foreseeable future according to the Finance Ministry’s latest bulletin). The current government is pursuing an even more draconian Thatcherite-style programme than its predecessors (including planned partial privatisation of the national health service under the rubric “free choice”!) despite loud complaints on every side that Finland’s care for the elderly is already the worst in Scandinavia and that continuation in Finland of the much-prized “Nordic model” welfare-state itself is now threatened.

    Have a good trip (and wrap up warmly!)
    Best regards

  25. Dear RobertH (at 2019/02/06 at 6:56 pm)

    Thanks for your E-mail. I have a permanent appointment at the University as the Docent Professor in Global Political Economy. I was invited to apply for the position and went through a 15 month selection process with external reviews etc. These positions are given to people external to Finland who qualify by way of their academic work. A Docent teaches, offers advice on courses, helps in the postgrad program, etc

    But, while you might consider the nation to be neoliberal central there is a strong MMT movement. And the Political Science and International Relations school at the University is very progressive and I teach pure MMT there.

    This is the third year I have given MMT talks and the second that they have been part of the postgraduate degree program in Political Science.

    I have a warm coat!

    best wishes

  26. @ Bill
    “… there is a strong MMT movement. And the Political Science and International Relations school at the University is very progressive and I teach pure MMT there”.

    I’m left pondering on where all those non-junk-economics/MMT-wised-up young people are going to.

    Certainly not into the Finance Ministry (to judge from its prescriptions – which Osborne or Hammond would sign-up to without demur). Least of all into politics (ditto, in spades).

    Or is it that all that MMT nonsense gets smartly knocked out of them the minute they start in a job – assuming they want a career?

  27. That’s wonderful, Bill. Thanks so much. We will take it round to Jeremy’s constituency office in North London (I used to go to meetings there as secretary of Labour CND until he became leader) rather than try to get through security at Westminster.

    I now won’t have to buy a third copy of your book – I left the first on Clapham Junction station.

    And it’s great about your meeting Chris Williamson. But think you mean Portcullis House, not Parliament House – it’s where the MPs have their offices.

    Best wishes to you and Thomas.

  28. Carol,

    Thank you for the time and effort you are putting into this. We can only hope it pays off. Good luck to you.

  29. Bill, I noticed that it was the Pol Sci department that was the progressive element, in this respect, in the university and not the economics department, which falls under the rubric of the social sciences. A good bit of the university’s econ research seems to be econometric with heavy emphasis on banking decisions under uncertainty, possibly within a game theoretic perspective. Given that they emphsize that the department trains people to work in banks, this is probably unsurprising.

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