Podcast – Unemployment, Surpluses and Investment

Its Wednesday so a shorter blog post today with an interview I recently did with financial market educational professionals, the i3 (Investment Innovation Institute) where I cover a range of topics of current interest from an Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) perspective. Then we get down with some very cool music. And that is it. And I turned off the debate today in the US after 5 or so minutes and wondered what the hell that nation has become. None of the contenders is electable would be my conclusion.

Podcast – Unemployment, Surpluses and Investment

I have been doing a lot of interviews, workshops, and podcasts in the last 6 months without travelling much at all. It is a very weird experience interacting with the rest of the world from lockdown.

Here is a recent podcast that the team at i3 did with me – Episode 51: MMT’s Bill Mitchell: Unemployment, Surpluses and Investments.

Thanks to Wouter and the team at i3 for doing this and I look forward to being their keynote speaker at their (delayed) annual dinner in Sydney in November. The way the virus numbers are falling it looks like that event will now (finally) go ahead.

The edited podcast goes for 37:26 minutes.

Here is the “Overview of Podcast with Bill Mitchell, University of Newcastle” courtesy of i3:

1:00 You coined the term ‘Modern Monetary Theory’?
3:00 Starting to blog: bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/
5:00 More interest from the investment industry
6:00 The Australian economy has collapsed
7:00 Most of the collapse could have been prevented
9:00 We are about $100 bn short of government spending
10:00 Not against the lockdowns
12:00 Much attention goes to MMT’s comments on deficits, but what it says about budget surpluses is much more interesting: it detracts from economic activity.
15:00 What is the role of fiscal policy? It is to ensure that spending in the economy is sufficient to maintain production at levels which will provide jobs for everybody.
16:30 To run a deficit is to undermine economic activity. That is okay in the case of Norway (where the economy runs hot).
17:00 A surplus not only undermines economic activity but it also destroys private sector wealth
22:30 Can we solve unemployment? A very pertinent problem at the moment.
23:30 Mass unemployment like we have today is a political choice
27:00 The Green New Deal or Green Transition.
28:00 If I was the government I would be embarking on large scale investments in renewables, transition technologies, in speeding up the process of carbon elimination.
28:30 Why not use the Hunter Valley culture of high productivity manufacturing to build a renewable energy hub for Australia and create jobs in manufacturing, R&D, et cetera.
31:00 What do you want people to take away from MMT?
34:00 Does working from home distort the measuring of worked hours?
35:30 There is a massive distortion in economic data. This is not to blame the statistic agencies, but it is just very hard to measure right now.

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Music – Hot Buttered Soul

This is what I have been listening to while working this morning.

One of the best songs of all time reinterpreted by – Isaac Hayes – on his 1969 album – Hot Buttered Soul (Enterprise label).

The backing band is also one of my favourites – The Bar-Kays – who backed Otis Redding and a stack of other very significant artists.

This Bert Bacharach/Hal David song – Walk on By – was written and first recorded by – Dionne Warwick (released 1964).

It was a song that left an indelible impact on me as a I was entering my teenage years. One of the classics.

This New York Times article (November 15, 2017) – Meet the Musicians Who Gave Isaac Hayes His Groove – provides some insights into the band that played on that great album.

The lead guitar player on this song is not very well known but always demonstrated exquisite touch – Harold Beane – who played with the great band – Funkadelic – and died in February 2020.

Here is a story about him – Funkadelic, Isaac Hayes Guitarist Harold Beane Dead at 73.

And as a special treat because it is so good, here is Harold Beane with Funkadelic playing their classic – Maggot Brain – on a beautiful red Fender stratocaster. Magical.

“Free your mind and your ass will follow”!

And when you are done with that go back to the 1971 album of the same name and hear the original with original Funkadelic guitarist – Eddie Hazel – playing the song (see below).

And I realise how lucky I have been growing up in this period and loving guitars (and Jimi Hendrix and derivatives).

After all I might had grown up in the era of harpsichords!

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2020 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. The German Economist Peter Bofinger just released an article entitled “The Bazooka Modern Monetary Theory In Action”, claiming that the US central bank is playing by the MMT textbook.
    I believe that MMT has an holistic approach.
    It can’t be broke into pieces and applied partially.
    I think that what we got here is an attempt to apply only the parts that are more conveniente to the mainstream economics, to cover the lies they can’t hide anymore.
    If that happens, everything will go back to “normal”, after the blizzard has gone.

    I found out today that the song “Walk on by” has got dozens of covers. I was convinced it was a song by the Beach Boys, after I heard it some 20 years ago on the album 20/20. Good to learn something. Thank you.

  2. Possibly to my shame I’ve got the pop Dionne Warwick version of Walk on By. And by coincidence I just entered a photo in a competition with that title. A couple walking past (by) a memorial to the WW2 radar installation at Worth Matravers.

  3. Bill

    I think theres a typo here in you list of topics from the podcast:

    16:30 To run a deficit is to undermine economic activity. That is okay in the case of Norway (where the economy runs hot).

    Presumably you mean “Surplus” not “deficit”?

  4. Nothing but good things ought to be said re the Warrick-Bacharach version! (check out Dave Marsh’s pithy take on it, in his 1001 Hits of RnS …).
    Got the 45 vinyl of the Hayes as well, shorter of course.
    … & been trying to play Maggot Brain from way back …

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