On visiting Japan and engaging with conservative politicians

It is my Wednesday blog post and my relative ‘blog day off’. But there has been an issue I want to write briefly about that has come up recently and has become a recurring theme. I am writing today to put the matter on the public record so that spurious claims that arise elsewhere have no traction. As our Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) work gains popularity, all manner of critics have started coming out of the woodwork. There is now, quite a diversity of these characters, reflecting both ends of the ideological spectrum and places in-between. The mainstream economists and those who profess to be ‘free marketeers’ bring out their big guns pretty quickly – inflation and socialism/Stalinism. Standard stuff that any progressive proposal to use government fiscal policy gets bombarded with since time immemorial. Easily dismissed. More recently, those who claim to be on the ‘progressive’ side of the debate have become more vociferous in their attacks, sensing, I suspect, that MMT have supplanted their relevance as the defenders of the anti-neoliberal wisdom. These characters resort to all sorts of snide-type attacks ranging from accusations of anti-Semitism (which I have covered previously), siding with Wall Street, ‘America-first corporatist sycophants’ (latest ridiculous book from G. Epstein as an example), giving succour to fascists and the Alt-Right, and that sort of stuff. Today, I want to address that last claim, which recently has been raised by a number of so-called progressive critics.

One of the other interesting aspects of the mainstream MMT opposition has been the two-part nature of it.

We have seen key mainstream economists (Summers, Krugman, Blanchard, etc) come out with rather lurid statements about MMT – Summers called it “grotesque” and then, soon after, they publish Op Ed articles or Working Papers outlining how monetary policy has run its course and a period of fiscal dominance must come next.

And they offer analysis that is core MMT and, certainly not, core mainstream New Keynesian macroeconomics, which they have extolled the virtues of for years.

This is a version of the ‘we knew it all along’ dodge that is also being observed, as these characters struggle to maintain their credibility when their mainstream ideas have been shredded of all credibility by the events over the last 20-30 years.

But that is not what I want to write about today.

Here is the issue.

Core MMT economists (and that means the original team plus those who came soon after but are prominent) are getting invitations to speak all around the world now as more and more people, organisations and government agencies are seeking to learn about MMT and its implications for them.

Next week, I will be in Europe speaking to some large financial institutions including Amundi (Paris), Pimco (Berlin) and then a workshop at the European Central Bank, financial market interests in London, and more.

In addition to these events, I am doing public workshops as follows:

1. September 17, 2019 – MMT Framing Workshop (PINE Maastricht – 18:00 to 19:00)

2. September 17, 2019 – Reclaiming the State (PINE Maastricht – 20:30 to 22:15)

3. September 21, 2019 – MMT – Green New Deal Edinburgh (MMT Scotland – 10:00 start)

4. September 21, 2019 – Modern Money workshop – how the economy actually works (MMT Scotland – 14:00 start)

5. September 23, 2019 – Brighton Labour Party Fringe Event (GIMMS – 14:00 start).

6. September 24, 2019 – London (GIMMS note time change to an 18:30 start).

So, one can appreciate the diversity of the audiences involved.

In early November, I have been invited to do a speaking tour in Japan. The invitations came from two very different groups.

The first, from a university professor, who was a senior advisor to Shinzo Abe – a “special advisor to cabinet” but left that position because of disagreements over economic policy.

This story – Meet the intellectual muscle behind Japan’s prime minister (June 6, 2017) describes this academic.

His role in the conservative LDP government was to give advice on “disaster prevention” – he has a background in civil engineering but in recent times has become a key voice in promoting MMT within Japan.

He is very well connected in conservative circles, edits a conservative magazine that recently devoted almost the whole issue to MMT, and is now leading a lobby group that is opposed to neoliberalism and globalism.

He has contacts to the top of the Japanese government and can muster massive media interest.

He was behind my colleague, Stephanie Kelton’s recent visit.

I will come back to this soon.

The second invitation came from a Leftist group, broadly organising themselves under the banner of the – Rose Mark Seal Campaign – which advocates “anti-austerity policies in pursuit of providing choices for voters and to supplant Abe Cabinet’s poor economic policies.”

Importantly, they provide support (via the granting of a conceptual “Rose Mark Seal”) to “to candidates who adopt the ‘anti-austerity economic policy’ regardless of which political parties they belong to.”

This English video lets you know very clearly what this group stands for. They also provide a – Prospectus – in English

They are seeking to tap into what I see as a growing progressive revolt around the world against neoliberalism.

The Campaign is led by Professor Tadasu Matsuo of Faculty of Economics, Ritsumeikan University, and other associates.

It is interesting that they offer this sort of specific endorsement to any candidates for office irrespective of their party affiliation and qualify that on their Japanese language site with this statement:


(meaning: – Note that this does not mean recommending the candidate for anything other than economic policy).

Which is interesting because they cooperated with the conservative group (who brought Stephanie Kelton to Japan) to help raise funds and organise events for that visit.

Now, why am I writing all that detail?

The reason is because some young Leftists in the US (the so-called Libertarian Socialist Caucus (LSC) of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)) have circulated a document and are currently voting on whether it should be made public and the recommendations acted upon (which include denouncing Stephanie Kelton for siding with Fascists and mounting a progressive boycott of the upcoming MMT conference in New York).

The document is rather like something one would read in a junior school essay where a class of very enthusiastic students discover the world of Google, find some information, interpret in a binary way (black-white, good-bad, etc) and produce a document that contains some facts, but, also contains a lot of ignorant, half-fetched conclusions that detailed analysis would disabuse them of.

The allegations are that the Professor who invited Stephanie Kelton to do some lectures in Japan, is a member of the far- or ultra-Nationalist Right, and this proves that MMT economists are giving succour to these extreme, anti-progressive views.

It seems that any of the core MMT group will be similarly denounced if we visit Japan to meet the demand for our services in educating policy makers about MMT.

One of the problems here is that it takes a lot of time to screen invitations, especially when there are language and cultural barriers.

For example, I have been invited to Pakistan in December to be the Distinguished Speaker at the annual conference staged by the highest profile research and teaching institution in that nation.

It took be some time to establish the bona fides of the invitation before I accepted – and there was, as you can imagine, a lot of English information available given it was Pakistan.

In the case of the Japanese invitations it is quite difficult to ascertain who is who and what they stand for.

You can read about the nuances of the LSC denunciation nonsense here – Statement on Kelton Visit to Japan.

My own research into the bona fides of my invitation from these groups has been rather extensive and has drawn on the services of friends and contacts in Japan, some who are native speakers and can help me with cultural and language nuances.

The current situation is that I have found that the LDP connected invitation is not reflecting a primary association with the Alt-Right in Japan. It is from conservative forces who are united in replacing austerity and hardship for the Japanese people with progressive fiscal policies.

The nuance here is that the political situation in Japan is not binary as the LSC characters have made out.

There are far right-wing elements in the LDP but, historically, in Japan’s postwar ideological history, the political right has implemented economic policies that we would consider to be progressive Left-wing initiatives, while the political Opposition Left, has promoted and supported neoliberal policies.

We know that well don’t we? All the Social Democratic parties in the West that lead the charge on implementing neoliberal economic policies. Syriza was the exemplar.

In Japan, the conservative LDP has implemented its policies that promote larger government, universal health insurance, etc…), while the left-wing opposition parties have continued to advocate balanced fiscal outcomes and smaller government.

Within the LDP, there are members from the centre-Left members and members to the far Right.

The centre-Left group within the LDP is pushing for a balanced fiscal position while implementing leftist policies on diplomacy and human rights. On the other hand, the right-wing within the LDP has implemented hawkish policies in diplomacy and other areas, while advocating ‘Keynesian’ economic policies.

Some of the LDP Diet members work closely with opposition Left MPs to advance leftist economic policies while often being hard-Right otherwise.

So it is very nuanced.

Who are the progressive enemies here?

It is this complexity that has led to growing interest in MMT from both sides of the political spectrum.

There were, what we might call Alt-Right elements, linked to Stephanie Kelton’s visit, unbeknown to her. They were brought in to defray the expense of the tour.

Despite some conservative groups promoting policies that were close to the framework we set out in our book – Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World (Pluto Books, 2017) – anti-austerity, anti-neoliberal globalism, but internationalist, my research into the bona fides of the invitations has discovered some things I am deeply disturbed about.

One of the agendas of some of the conservative elements in Japan (who are otherwise anti-austerity and anti-neoliberal) is to engage in what I see as the equivalent of Holocaust denial. In their context, it is questioning the historical account with respect to the – Nanjing Massacre – and the role of so-called – Comfort Women – in Korea, China and the Philippines during WW2.

There is a literature denying the evidence that the Imperial Army acted to enslave women as ‘sex slaves’ and massacred hundreds of thousands of Chinese (and others) at Nanking in late 1937, early 1938.

The conservative magazine that I mentioned above has published, it seems, one article along those lines.

So while advocating economic policies that are 100 per cent progressive and one can align with – even though they are being proposed by elements in the LDP – I see being involved with groups (for example, accepting invitations to visit Japan) who are associated with historical revisionism of this ilk to be unacceptable for a progressive person.

But it takes a lot of effort to work through the complexity of the multitude of invitations I (and we) receive now as interest in MMT has risen significantly.

To avoid any confusion and mixed signals about the Japanese tour, I have developed a set of protocols.

I have written to the LDP-linked Professor who represents one of two groups that have invited me to speak in November indicating that the magazine article I noted above must be withdrawn.

I do not think it brings any credit to anyone and I do not wish there be an association between our MMT work and those sorts of viewpoints.

I have also made it clear – to avoid any allegations that I am mixing with the Alt-Right or ‘nasty’ influences that:

1. All events are to be open to all and promotional literature freely available.

2. I will not appear at any events that carry any association with certain people, groups or publications (I specified the specific entities involved here).

3. All funding sources should be disclosed and I will then be able to assess whether they are acceptable.

4. I will not have private meetings with a range of people (I specified).

5. I will only give interviews to the standard international media and the main mastheads in Japan.

I am also doing some events for the Rose Mark Seal Campaign, which should disabuse any critics of making allegations that I am giving any succour to any Fascist group.

Those arguments are as spurious as the anti-Semitist allegations recently launched against me because I support my friend Chris Williamson in his struggle against the British Labour Party.

In general, I will always engage and talk to conservative politicians, especially if they are in government. I do that regularly, both in Australia and elsewhere.

Education enlightens people.

It would be ridiculous for a person like me to not do that if my aim is to influence economic policy to deliver progressive outcomes by extending the number of people that have an MMT understanding.

But, as I noted above, I will not engage with people who, for example, deny that major shocking historical events occurred, in order to avoid learning from the mistakes our forbears made.

That is the line I am drawing in my upcoming Japanese speaking tour.

Call for financial assistance to make the MMT University project a reality

The – Foundation for Monetary Studies Inc. – aka The MMT Foundation serves as a legal vehicle to raise funds and provide financial resources for educational projects as resources permit and the need arises.

The Foundation is a non-profit corporation registered in the State of Delaware as a Section 501(c)(3) company. I am the President of the company.

Its legal structure allows people can make donations without their identity being revealed publicly.

The first project it will support is – MMTed (aka MMT University) – which will provide formal courses to students in all nations to advance their understanding of Modern Monetary Theory.

At present this is the priority and we need some solid financial commitments to make this project possible and sustainable.

Some sponsors have already offered their generous assistance.

We need significantly more funds to get the operations off the ground.

In order for FMS to solicit tax-exempt donations while our application to the IRS is being processed, the Modern Money Network, Ltd. (“MMN”) has agreed to serve as a fiscal sponsor, and to receive funds on FMS’s behalf.

MMN is a non-profit corporation registered in the State of Delaware, and is a federal tax-exempt public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Donations made to MMN on behalf of FMS are not disclosed to the public.

Furthermore, all donations made to MMN on behalf of FMS will be used exclusively for FMS projects.

Please help if you can.

We cannot make the MMTed project viable without funding support.

Music makes us happy

I love the concept of Playing for Change but I like what they produce even more.

Here is one my favourite Jimi Hendrix songs (written by Bob Dylan) – All Along the Watchtower.

Bob Dylan put it out on his 1967 – John Wesley Harding album and I liked it but then when Jimi Hendrix put it out a year later (1968) on his Electric Ladyland – I was mesmerised by the song.

Electric Ladyland remains one of my favourite all-time albums. I purchased it in 1969 (we always got albums on delay in Australia) from the only import record shop in Melbourne (Bourke Street), which was run by a musician Keith Glass, who I subsequently got to know when I starting playing professionally around the city.

On the Playing for Change version, we see that John Densmore pops up playing drums by the beach.

And Cyril and Ivan Neville with Ivan on the Hammond.

And those Lakota Singers and Dancers.

And the lead Sitar break.

And the Bizung Family Drums.

And master percussionist Yu Hatakeyama.

It is just all happening.

And that is what Playing for Change does.

And the sun is shining outside too, today.

And here is the original Jimi Hendrix version.

It has original Rolling Stones member, Brian Jones, playing percussion.

That is enough for today!

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

This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. LSC/DSA activists better try to figure out the downbeat in brother Jimmy’s intro. That be no mean feat.

  2. Your respect for the humanity of others is humbling, ideology be damned. I am not religious but have always been troubled by the phrase “love thy enemy”. It just might mean seeing the Humanity in even the most hateful of people and thus the possibilty of change. I am reminded of Miltons explanation of Satan in Paradise Lost, that God still loved him but “He would rather rule in hell, than serve in heaven”. I know you are the MMT ironman, but your blog is much more than that. Thank you.

  3. Eurozone Dystopia – Groupthink and Denial on a Grand Scale

    Is there a German version yet Bill at a reasonable price ?

    Xmas is coming and thought these would make great presents for my friends and family in Germany.

  4. Bill. Glad to hear you guys are finally getting some of the recognition and success you deserve.

  5. Bill, thanks for spreading knowledge about MMT worldwide. Are you aware of the so-called “Japanese Keynes”? Korekiyo Takahashi (first name first) was PM, head of the Bank of Japan, and head of the Finance ministry in the prewar period. He was noted for lowering interest rates, taking Japan off the gold standard, and actively using fiscal policy to pull Japan out of the great depression. Unfortunately, massively expanding spending on the military caused inflation, and when Takahashi tried to cut back on military spending, he was assassinated by ultranationalist young military officers. Takahashi was a Christian and an establishment conservative, but he wasn’t rightwing or fascist. Though his name is not a household word in contemporary Japan, most economists and historians know about his policies, which generally were effective.
    Bill, I’m not familiar with the important Japanese economist you mention, but the policies for speaking in Japan you list seem good. The problem right now in Japan is that the present PM is the grandson of a WWII war criminal who was released by the US occupation in short order along with many other war criminals in order to allow them to recreate a conservative postwar political infrastructure that could contain and control all the unions, leftist parties, and Koreans remaining in Japan who were agitating for more democracy and opposing Japanese participation in the Korean War. The present PM always expresses pride about his grandfather and wants to get rid of the anti-war clause in the Japanese Constitution, though the main reason for his comparative popularity is his economic policies, not his militarist aspirations. Because of US interference in domestic politics during the occupation (leftists were regularly blocked or purged), it was the conservatives (led by the Liberal Democratic Party) who have been able to maintain a nearly one-party regime since around 1950. Therefore there are many complex and sometimes contradictory allegiances in play, and ideological or party-based purity isn’t necessarily a productive lens through which to view Japanese economists and politicians, despite what certain socialists in the US may think.
    Yes, many Japanese progressives, like many progressives in the US (except, notably, for AOS and Bernie Sanders and a few other leaders), want to prove their virtue by being deficit hawks. Ever since Bill Clinton, the party of FDR and LBJ has been the party of big finance, big military, and big pharma and therefore of constant war and constant deficit hawkery. One difference in Japan is that the idea of government spending is still generally considered something worthy (only the amount is debated), not something in absolute opposition to private business, as in the US (though the Republicans suddenly change and become deficit spenders if they take power). The Japanese “1940 system” (of a government-led [war] economy) was positively regarded up until around around 1980, when the private sector began to gain much more prestige. So, Bill, I think your policy of staying strictly and clearly away from the far right but working with both conservatives and progressives who are truly and seriously interested in MMT is a good one. It is in no way reactionary or fascistic or “collaborationist”!

    BTW, have you considered sending electronic notices of your talks in Japan to the economics departments of major universities in Tokyo and Kyoto? (Kyoto is where Ritsumeikan U is located.) Most Japanese academics can read English, and I’m sure you could send an English notice to Rikkyo University in Tokyo, which is rather progressive. Or you could ask one of your Japanese friends to make a Japanese translation for you. Kyoto is known for its progressive tradition (once it even had a communist mayor) and for its universities. If you ask, the university departments might copy the notices and put them up on their bulletin boards.

  6. I respect Bill’s principle and scrupulousness in determining which invitations he will accept and which he will not. As a retired attorney, I understand the need to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. What I do not respect, however, is the promiscuous guilt-by-association which has become the obsession (and favorite weapon) of certain segments of the left. Time and again throughout modern history, the right has gleefully watched the left eat its own. Apparently, ABSURDLY, Stephanie Kelton has now joined Bill and other MMT economists in this cannibalistic cauldron. Enough of this self-defeating frenzy! Let speech be judged by its content, not its audience, and may the left get back to consuming ideas instead of each other.

  7. Part of me thinks that these attackers of MMT just don’t have enough intellectual courage to accept MMT is fact yet.

  8. Dear Bill,
    You write fairly regularly about Japan, for which I am very grateful. Its economy has some particular and interesting features, especially when viewed in a historical context.
    I was just wondering whether, when your busy schedule allows it, you might be thinking of writing any articles about China. I cannot remember any recent ones (apologies if I have missed them) and a search did not reveal any recent ones.
    The reason I ask is that I’ve seen a few references suggesting that China’s economy and currency may be heading for trouble. Regrettably, I did not think to bookmark any references. Knowing the dubious quality of most mainstream economic commentary, it’s probably that these sources were not very reliable. But it would be interesting to hear your expert analysis, through the MMT lens. Just doing a quick google now, I see that China is supposed to be in a “debt crisis”. But we know that the mainstream’s view of debt may turn out to be erroneous when viewed through the MMT lens.
    Thank you in advance.

  9. Yes Newton, hopefully this kind of attack doesn’t get any traction. It’s so ridiculous on the face of it- to anybody who has read Bill Mitchell or Stephanie Kelton- that you would think it couldn’t possibly. But then, I am continually amazed at what MMT critics have come up with thus far. Not in a good way.

    Oh well, I guess we are part of a dangerous cult, or so I’ve been told. Maybe it’s time to embrace that and get the official MMT tattoo or uniform or whatever gets decided.

  10. Looking at MMT lenses, Japanese “conservative politicians” look like “fascists”, which is very disappointing.
    The economic lens is clear, but the political lens is not clear.

  11. Dear JP-MMTer (at 2019/09/12 at 9:02 pm)

    No, an MMT lens doesn’t have categories such as Fascists.

    That is the issue. One has to impose political descriptors and values to draw conclusions about their political behaviour.

    best wishes

  12. Thank you for your response.
    Japanese MMT advocates included many conservative voters.
    In addition, the invitation of conservative scholars was accepted as “Economics is right or left?
    As a result, support for not only innovative voters but also “neutral voters” and “conservative voters” has increased.
    As a result of this decision, MMT seems to have an impression of “political thought” rather than “economics”, and this will have a negative impact on Japanese discussions.
    I hoped that it would have a politically unbiased stance.

    Japan requires MMT.

    * Sorry for Google Translate

  13. Regarding the young democratic socialists etc in the US, I would hazard a guess that they suffer from the same syndrome that many uk students do. Which is that they come from such privileged backgrounds that they themselves have nothing whatsoever to protest about, yet protesting is what young people feel the need to do, and often with good cause.

    But having no economic axe to grind with the establishment, they leap onto identity politics with the same verve and passion with which my generation supported the miners and opposed cruise missiles, and my parents generation went on strike for better pay and conditions and marched against the Vietnam War.

    I may have mentioned this once before, but my son had a recent massive row with some fellow millennial friends, who almost unbelievably, insisted that rolling out more gender-neutral toilets was a more urgent and pressing issue than ending austerity! I kid you not.

    I also read last night – I forget exactly where now – that students at the Oxford Union had attempted to no-platform Julian Assange who was booked to speak (in the days before his attempted asylum and eventual incarceration) after the Swedish allegations, yet they had made no attempt whatsoever to prevent a talk at the very same body the previous evening by the egregious John Bolton.

    This typifies the problem; some of these kids are verging on batshit crazy, and it’s probably pointless to try and reason with them, because lazy and incurious emotional virtue signalling appears to be the limit of their intellectual awareness. They certainly appear completely unequipped to understand nuance in any form whatsoever.

  14. We need a new left that abandons the types that write these hit pieces and realize that MMT opens the world to a new understanding that eradicates much of the value these groups once presented. They are not interested in changing the world, merely shifting power in their favor. They are economically illiterate and recalcitrant.

    MMT needs to be understood in all corners of the earth and in all political spheres. Otherwise we keep playing the same stupid games expecting to win even more stupid prizes.

    Memo to this pathetic DSA sect: lead, follow or get the hell out of the way of progress.

  15. dear Bill

    I am sure you are deceived by a malicious hoax that was intentionally spread and making a wrong decision.
    Professor Fujii who invited Stephanie Kelton is NOT a member of the far- or ultra-Nationalist Right.

    I think Professor Matsuo who presides Rose Mark Seal Campaign is not worthy to support. He was originally a famous reflationist. But he suddenly approached MMT recently. He also professes that he cannot accept “Taxes drive money” concept emotionally. Moreover, very ironically, he joind a round-table talk cession in the latest conservative magazine that you mentioned.

    Your decision is based on wrong information and very confused.
    It is not good for both MMT and Japan.

  16. Dear Another JP- MMTer (at 2019/09/13 at 7:26 pm)

    Thanks very much for your information.

    I am not supporting any particular person in my visit to Japan in November. I will be doing events for the Rose Mark Seal Campaign and for Professor Fujii (mostly) under the terms I have specified.

    The aim is to meet the growing MMT community in Japan and help them broaden their networks.

    best wishes

  17. Well done Bill for so successfully promoting wise and virtuous macroeconomic policy.

    Having worked for Toyota’s car manufacturing operations in Australia I can point to a number of positive aspects to the Japanese way of doing business:

    – All employees are more valued
    – Flat organisational structures with far less income disparity
    – Empowerment of production teams and team leaders selected from the workforce
    – Consensus decision making where anyone with a concern or constructive idea is expected to speak up
    – Planning is extremely thorough and can be slow but the implementation phase is then rapid
    – A better balance between technology and human skills and adaptability is found – often the human remains the best solution
    – Simple productivity innovations and staff suggestion scheme ideas often favoured over complex technological solutions
    – The simple Kanban stock ordering system when deployed widely minimises stock and enables substantial product variations down the same production line
    – External innovations are considered and adopted where beneficial
    – An obsession with quality, minimising product variability and continuous improvement
    – All forms of waste are minimised
    – Suppliers are assisted to improve and can become ‘part of the family’
    – Employment is long term, stable, respectful, more harmonious and loyalty between all organisation participants can develop
    – Trade union representatives are respected
    – Company reputation was important
    – Planning was very long term and often counter cyclical with local market conditions

    On the other hand the US owned car manufacturers in Australia had a much sharper divide between management and worker, were much more top down and were more dependent on the qualities of senior management.

    Due to our finance, mining and bulk agriculture dominated neoliberal governments all of Australia’s car manufacturers were pushed into unprofitability by excessively open markets and inadequate and politically unpopular levels of government support.

    I can’t see any government owned enterprise attaining the productive and innovative production environment of the international and especially the Japanese automotive companies.

    I therefore see a place for the corporation in a more democratic progressive and environmentally sustainable world. However there is also a substantial place for more democratic enterprise models such as worker owned, cooperatives, community owned, non-profit, semi government and similar.

    The corporations and the wealthy however should never again be allowed to rule our governments and parliaments as now.

    Capitalism definitely needs democratic socialism to ensure the needs of the populace are prioritised and that the proper balance between all participants and forces is maintained.

    Japan has been better at maintaining full employment, social cohesion and has excelled at developing dynamic and advanced industries. Japan has even pioneered some of the macroeconomic policy positions suggested by leading MMT proponents – unknowingly or by philosophical preference?

    The highly successful economic development model adopted by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) throughout the post-war period to the present has also been adopted by all the successful East Asian ‘Tiger’ nations and this approach also would suit Australia and most other nations and is now more relevant to Britain if Brexit occurs.

  18. Thank you very much, Bill.

    Of course, I understand your stance to prevent your visit to Japan from being used for specified political purposes .
    It just seemed that the information that led to your stance decision is quite biased .
    I am looking forward to your visit.

    best regards
    Another JP- MMTer

  19. Dear Another JP- MMTer (at 2019/09/13 at 9:21 pm)

    It was quite difficult getting unambiguous information about all the complexities involved in this trip. That is why I decided to establish the protocol which is a cautious route through a minefield on all sides.

    I never considered Professor Fujii to be representative of the Alt-Right but I needed to make sure that the arrangements were as clear and clean as possible.

    I hope to meet with you in November to discuss the local situation.

    best wishes

  20. I’m not a MMTer but Marxian Economist (sympathizer of MMT) working for Japanese Private University.

    As you said “it is very nuanced”.

    1. I have no intention to defend Pro. Fujii, but you may have wrong information on the conservative magazine you contributed. You said “there is a literature denying the evidence that the Imperial Army acted to enslave women as ‘sex slaves’ and massacred hundreds of thousands of Chinese (and others) at Nanking in late 1937, early 1938”.
    But I can’t find any article mentioned to such subject. Actually ther’s no such word, Nanking or ‘sex slaves’.(Even so some of writers are revisionist.)
    So you need to identify “the magazine article” you asked to withdraw.

    2. “Another JP-MMTer” advised you Pro. Matsuo is “not worthy to support”.
    I don’t think so. It’s true that he is a famous Reflationist and he believes CB can increase Money Supply. (Exogenous Money)
    He is prominent Marxian Economist (disciple of Nobuo Okishio), but he sometime describe himself as New Keynesian or Left Keynesian. He said you can synthesize NK and MMT.
    Anyway, It’ “worthy” to discuss with him and other Japanese left economist.

    Last but not least, I’m looking for your visit to Japan.

  21. Dear Ryouji ISHIZUKA (at 2019/09/14 at 3:03 pm)

    Thanks for your comments and insight.

    I think I now have a nice arrangement in place with Prof Fujii to go forward with which will prevent any slurs being made about the spurious associations of MMT with the Alt-Right.

    He has been very decent in his negotiations with me and we have a great schedule planned for November when I visit Japan.

    I will hope we can meet during that visit and work together to smash the neoliberal bias in policy making.

    best wishes

  22. The more you disculpate yourself, the more you allow the progressive/liberal mentally ill control the narrative and have you under the thumb. You won’t be able to have your own space to act, without the thought police shout racist and sexist at you.
    The event in question is about economics, NOT history, whether West revisionist history or Eastern revisionist history. What if you were invited by Abbas’ administration in Gaza. Would you say, oh, sorry, you’re linked with Hamas, so I’m not going. It’s a selective, arbitrary case of who’s a progressive and who’s a reactionary – arbitrarism that all the political factions love to fester in, and your infanticide-ridden, unlimited immigration, gender fluid, Gov sponsored hormone therapy for toddlers and genital mutilation progressives are no different.
    The more you try and advertise MMT as an ideology for degenerates on the left, your market share will continue to go down and down.

  23. Playing For Change — All Along The Watchtower video is mind-blowing. Made my day! Love how Warren Haynes wraps the vocal. And the Hammond B-3 is needle-sharp.

    Thanks Bill. FYI–We’re doing an MMT Study Group here in western North Carolina USA. Will be looking at some of your posts re: Green New Deal next time…as well JD ALT’s slides describing how fiscal deficits generate net financial assets.

  24. Zane writes:
    “The more you try and advertise MMT as an ideology for degenerates on the left….”

    The goal is to dis-associate MMT from “degenerates” on the Left AND the Right (eg nationalist revisionists of history)…..

  25. Dear Professor Mitchell,

    I had a discussion with a Japanese political scientist in the other day about Japanese fiscal polity. He said it’s not so much about Austerity vs public spending expansion, it’s more like who-gets-more-money power game. Obviously the groups/institutions/industries who get more money from the government budget have more freedom on how to spend such money, but also having more money means they now have more power to do things. Government agencies and politicians are also aware of this, so there are lobbying activities going on here just like any other countries.
    Conservative groups that seek expansion of government spending in Japan includes construction industry (infrastructure) and national defense, which is fine. The leftist groups tend to ask for more spending on social securities, education, child/elderly care, health care issues.

    Conservative people who became attracted to MMT in Japan earlier are construction people (in relation with what is called National Resilience Plan), and they are more like old-fashioned Keynesian. They thought MMT is a good tool to convince the government to expand fiscal policy and inject money into their industry, so they started to promote about MMT.
    My concern is, certain interest groups in Japan take advantage of MMT and use it to justify their crony capitalism, and distorted version of MMT spreads around.
    Construction people talk about infrastructure, which is important in our society as well, but how about education? health care? social securities? Are they really trying to help the people? or, themselves?

    If you come to Japan, I’d like you to question them the Resilience people if they are really thinking about helping disadvantaged/underprivileged people and children and elderly in Japan, and how. Because I don’t see that in them.

  26. Postscript.

    Forgot to mention one thing.
    When you (and all the other MMT economists as well) talk about a job guarantee program, I would like to suggest that you first clarify the difference between full-employment and underemployment.

    I talked with numbers of people about job guarantee recently and found out that many of them misunderstood what full-employment means. It may be due to the mass media defining and treating the work as such.
    They think full-employment means: the state in which everyone who wants to work has a job, period. It poses a number question, never a quality question.

    Good number of people said to me that they worry about job guarantee because the program may create labor damping, extremely cheap labor, a long-hour job with rubbish wages that people barely sustain living (what we call “working poor” condition in Japan). This is not full-employment, and this is not what job guarantee intends to provide.

    When we look at the number only, of course the unemployment rate is very low in Japan. But for 3 decades of economic stagnation, Japanese people got used to this horrifyingly bad working conditions, and often enough we hear things like “at least you’re not unemployed” “you are lucky to have a job anyway”, but people here need to recognize that their working condition is in fact “underemployment”. The word “underemployment” is very little known in public.

    You will be requested to talk about job guarantee in Japan many times, I suppose, and before you go into any details, it is better to clarify these terminologies in the beginning so that everyone is on the same page. From there, people finally realize many of us are in fact underemployed and job guarantee is a method to correct that.
    This is a very rudimentary part of economics discussion, but in order to avoid confusion and misunderstanding of what job guarantee really is, this need to be clarified in the very beginning, I think.

    Warmest regards,

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