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Activist #MMT - podcast

Welcome to Activist #MMT. A podcast about real-world economics including Modern Money Theory, and how life changes when you discover it.

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Ep150: Maren Poitras, creator and director of Finding the Money
  Welcome to episode 150 of Activist #MMT. Today I talk with Maren Poitras, the creator and director of the MMT documentary, Finding the Money. I had the pleasure of seeing this film on October 1st, 2023, in New York City, with my Torrens professor Steven Hail, Torrens administrator Gabie Bond, and Torrens classmate Susan Borden. After the film, we all went to a nearby bar-restaurant, and I got to meet and speak with Maren at length. (A list of the audio chapters in this episode can be found below.) In today's episode, Maren and I talk about how she came to the film and how it's informed by her background in ecological economics. We talk about the trials and tribulations of film-making, including the tortures of creating the intricate and subtle graphics used in the film. We also talk about her interactions with the non-MMTers as seen in the film. At the end, she says what you as a supporter can do to help this film be seen by others. In my view, the film is the most important milestone in the MMT movement since Stephanie Kelton's 2020 book The Deficit Myth (which was the most important milestone since US Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez said "MMT" out loud in 2018). The film has the power to change how we talk about some major concepts. It will be available to stream in early May. And now, on to my conversation with Maren Poitras. Enjoy. Audio chapters 3:35 - Hellos, European premiere 14:47 - When did the idea for the film happen and what is your background in film-making? 20:15 - MMT is the child in the Emperor's New Clothes. MMT forces people to question many deep fundamental assumptions about their lives. 38:59 - Printing fiasco 39:17 - Did feedback from the academics result in any major changes? 43:10 - Graphics (ripping open a wound) 47:46 - Non-MMTers in the film (attempts at critique) 55:35 - The film is unfortunately US-centric, due to time and resource constraints 57:18 - What can people do to help the film be seen? 1:01:00 - You never know where secret MMT people are lurking. 1:06:57 - Duplicate of introduction, but with no background music (for listeners with sensitive ears)
69:39 4/24/24
Episode 150 (preview): Maren Poitras: How can YOU help Finding the Money be seen by others?
Here's a preview of my soon-to-be-released interview with Finding the Money director, Maren Poitras. It's a four-minute segment where Maren describes what YOU can do to help Finding the Money be seen by others. The big launch is less than three weeks away. This means the most important thing is to get people to buy tickets for screenings. The documentary's website (findingmoneyfilm.com) is the best place to go for this, and especially the "where to watch" page. Here are the major upcoming screenings: This Tuesday, April 16, is the New York City premiere with "DOC NYC" at IFC Center at 7 pm. Get your tickets here./ New York City: May 3-9, each followed by a Q&A Washington, DC: May 9th at AFI Silver Theater, followed by a Q&A with Stephanie Kelton and Sara Nelson LA May 14-16 followed by a Q&A with Stephanie Kelton, Cory Doctorow, and Harry Shearer (Harry Shearer!) Other dates in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco are coming The film will be available On Demand nationwide wherever you rent movies on May 3! (I'm going to stream it with my family as soon as it's available. I'm pretty sure my boys, 14 and 17, will sit through the whole thing, but I have carrots (homemade popcorn) and sticks (threat of no bed to sleep in) at the ready.)
04:08 4/13/24
Episode 148[1/2]: Steve Keen: MMT says government spending creates money. It's correct.
Welcome to episode 148 of Activist #MMT. Today I talk with post-Keynesian economist Steve Keen about his decades-long fight against mainstream economics, what MMT convinced him of, and the couple parts of MMT he still disagrees with. This first part is a half-hour long audio interview, which will be followed next month by an hour-and-a-half-long video interview, where Steve walks me through the basics of his Minsky modeling software, and why he believes it's an important tool for MMTers. (Here's a link to PART TWO. A list of the audio chapters in this episode can be found right below.) MMT and Steve are in complete agreement with how banks spend (lend money into existence). After reading Stephanie Kelton's book in 2020, Steve realized that government spending also creates money. National governments don't tax in order to spend, they spend in order to tax. Steve quickly created a Minsky model convincing himself that MMT is indeed correct regarding this. This insight is also completely compatible with his understanding of bank spending. As far as Steve's disagreements with MMT, they are important, and Steve lays them out in detail in the last ten-or-so minutes of this episode. But let it be known that they are far from core issues. In other words, the amount of agreement is far greater. It's good to understand what these disagreements are, but as Steve says, we have much bigger fish to fry. This is the first main episode of Activist #MMT since August. Although I've released three chapters from John Harvey's readings of his book Contending Perspectives (with lots more to come!), the past six months have been all consuming, starting with my third Torrens course – which was coincidentally taught by John on that very book. It was both incredibly enlightening and unbelievably exhausting. I've also become a full-time musician. I now sing several times each week at retirement communities and related facilities (independent living, assisted-living, nursing homes, etc.). Coincidentally, back in July, I met Steve in person for dinner in Princeton, New Jersey, which is about an hour north of my home. After dinner and conversation, Steve gave me an initial walk-through of Minsky. We ended the night with me singing a few songs on the sidewalk – just me, my phone, and a little Bluetooth speaker. At the very end of today's episode, after the closing theme music, you'll hear a small highlight from that experience. You can check out my singing website at seejeffsing.com. And now, onto my conversation with Steve Keen. Enjoy. Audio chapters 4:24 - Hellos, and the plan 5:53 - His journey fighting mainstream, and, in 2020, to MMT 8:19 - Marx's view of money, Steve's PhD, Minsky's financial instability hypothesis, double entry bookkeeping, thinking of government spending differently 9:43 - Modeling money properly with double entry bookkeeping 10:49 - Discovering MMT in 2020, which changed his view on government spending 12:56 - Mild criticism of MMT's consolidated view 14:29 - Money creation is the expansion of balance sheets. The same thing happens on both the asset and liability side. If it ONLY happens on the liability side, it's a liability swap it. If it ONLY happens on the asset side, it's an asset swap. 16:42 - Regarding government money creation, how does your model distinguish between money creation and the supposed recycling of collected money? 19:12 - The only insight MMT gave Steve was that government spending creates money. All his work on banking is exactly compatible. 20:09 - Steve's two disagreements with MMT 21:31 - Disagreement 1: MMT says that in general, imports are a benefit and experts are a cost. 25:48 - Disagreement 2: The JG and UBI are actually complementary 27:59 - A dangerous follow up question: danger of UBI is that it could undermine the job guarantees Price anchor. Steve's response: the UBI would need to be below the job guarantee wage 30:25 - Have you modeled these disagreements in Minsky to confirm your view? Answer: no. There are simply much bigger fish to fry. 31:16 - Goodbyes for audio portion, transitioning to video 34:38 - Singing for Steve on a sidewalk in Princeton 36:01 - Duplicate of introduction, with no background music (for those with sensitive ears)
38:46 2/26/24
Full audio: John Harvey's Contending Perspectives: Chapter 1: Introduction [EDITED]
John Harvey reads the introduction to (chapter one of) his book, Contending Perspectives. Here's the original video from where this audio came. Here's a list of links to John reading every chapter (released so far) in his 2021 book Contending Perspectives. Note the original video is unedited, but the audio has been edited to eliminate obvious mistakes, coughs, interruptions, and etc. Audio chapters Use the below timestamps to navigate to each major section and occurrence in this section: 0:00 - The Cowboy Economist's cousin, John Harvey, introduces himself 0:41 - Page 1: Introduction 8:56 - Page 4 14:35 - Page 6
20:04 10/3/23
Full audio: John Harvey's Contending Perspectives: Chapter 00: Before we begin [EDITED]
Here's the original video from where this audio came. Here's a list of links to John reading every chapter (released so far) in his 2021 book Contending Perspectives. Note the original video is unedited, but the audio has been edited to eliminate obvious mistakes, coughs, interruptions, and etc. Audio chapters Use the below timestamps to navigate to each major section and occurrence in this section: 0:00 - Opening thoughts by John's cousin, the Cowboy Economist 6:37 - Page vi: Acknowledgements
16:34 9/17/23
Episode 147[2/2]: Brian Romanchuk: The secondary market through the eyes of a bond analyst
Welcome to episode 147 of Activist #MMT. Today's the second in my two-part conversation with author, mathematician, and bond analyst Brian Romanchuk (Twitter/RomanchukBrian), on the basics of the secondary market and how it relates to the primary market. Today in part two, Brian continues describing the participants in the secondary market, why they do what they do, and shares several anecdotes from his many years of experience as a bond analyst for fixed income recipients in Canada. A fuller introduction can be found before part one. But for now, let's get right back to my conversation with Brian Romanchuk. Enjoy. A fuller introduction can be found at the beginning of part one, but for now, let's get right back to my conversation with Brian Romanchuk. Enjoy. Audio chapters 4:03 - The internet allows you to do a large quantity of small transactions BUT everyone can see it (it's publicly viewable) 4:47 - "Reallocation between bonds and equities." 8:19 - What is the population of who purchases bonds? 26:24 - The rich don't just buy bonds themselves, as individuals. 28:22 - Municipal bonds don't play a large role in the macro economy 30:01 - Z-1 document from the Federal Reserve 32:11 - Who exactly are the supposed bond vigilantes? (The really powerful bond purchasers would never say anything publicly. It would be a breach of their fiduciary duty! Anyone talking on the news is only talking for themselves.) 33:57 - The most important players keep their mouth shut 36:07 - Speaking publicly is marketing and manipulation 41:40 - Anthropomorphic 45:08 - What people say, when not under legal obligation to be truthful, is sometimes manipulation and marketing. 49:03 - Reasonable people know the national government isn't really going to default 55:28 - Bringing it back to the beginning: The three core reasons why the government, not the market, is in control 58:47 - How would everything we've discussed change is we lived in a ZIRP world? 1:03:12 - ZIRP is bad only in the sense that 1:15:15 - Duplicate of introduction, with no background music (for those with sensitive ears)
75:52 8/29/23
Episode 146[1/2]: Brian Romanchuk: The secondary market through the eyes of a bond analyst
Welcome to episode 146 of Activist #MMT. Today I talk with author, mathematician, and bond analyst Brian Romanchuk, on the basics of the secondary market and how it relates to the primary market. Brian starts with a brief tutorial of how bonds are priced, which is seen very differently from the points of view of the primary and secondary markets. For an in-depth treatment of this topic, you can listen to episodes 30 and 31 of MMT Podcast with Steven Hail. (Here's a link to part two. A list of the audio chapters in this episode can be found right below [above the full-question list].) Brian then describes bonds (and more broadly, securities) in general, the population of who buys and sells them, some of the reasons why they are bought and sold, and several anecdotes of how it all happens. What can be said is this: rich people rarely if ever buy US treasuries on their own, as individuals. Additionally, the biggest players in securities trading never speak publicly in order to prevent jeopardizing their advantage – they keep their mouths shut. These two facts alone put a huge hole in the idea of so-called bond vigilantes. Although I'm not necessarily interested in the idea of bond vigilantes, it's one of the most obvious and common myths that comes up regarding the secondary market. Whatever the case, the idea that the market can somehow overrule the national government is clearly false. This is for at least the following three reasons: only the national government can create and delete its own bonds. Only the national government can create and delete its own money – which is required to purchase those bonds. And the national government (for countries such as the United States, UK, Australia, Japan, and Canada) have little to no foreign denominated debt, which means they do not offer to convert their money into anything else. What this means is that the national government, through the collective action of its citizens (US!), has the power to stand up to the market even if they somehow object to the actions of that government. The only way the market can overpower the national government is if the government chooses for it to be that way – such as when representatives and regulators are bought off by the biggest players in that market. This is further bolstered by the populace being sufficiently duped into believing it all to be "unfortunate, but necessary." This is a primary battle-front in the centuries-long war between rich and poor, which, unfortunately, the rich have all but won. And now, onto my conversation with Brian Romanchuk. This is part one of a two-part conversation. Enjoy. In order to preserve both my podcast and my sanity as I proceed through Torrens University and Modern Money Lab's graduate program in MMT and ecological economics (🦉🤝🌍), I've slowed my podcast from one episode a week, to once a month. For as little as a dollar a month, patrons of Activist #MMT can hear all three parts with Brian right now. You can start by going to patreon.com/activistmmt. Resources The Federal Reserve's Z1 document Brian's July 2023 Q&A with Torrens University students Audio chapters 5:33 - I don't care about bond vigilantes per es, it's just the most common (mythical!) topic discussed. 7:43 - The core reasons why the government, not the market, is in charge. 11:18 - The definition of money. Even a pizza coupon is money, but not as understood by the general public. 12:04 - A government bond is a security, governed by securities laws. 12:49 - The basics of price and yield 21:41 - Price and yield versus par value and coupon rate – terms as used in the primary versus secondary market 24:45 - Computer era versus pre-computer era 29:48 - despite lots of corruption and instability, he will always get $100 back from that. 33:14 - Primary market 36:05 - "Basis points" 44:34 - Your company benefitted fixed-income earners 47:11 - Does your company know when bonds are purchased from primary or secondary dealers? Does the distinction matter? 52:21 - John Harvey: the internet ended personal connection in trading 1:00:21 - The internet allows you to do a large quantity of small transactions BUT everyone can see it (it's publicly viewable) 1:01:06 - "Reallocation between bonds and equities." 1:04:24 - Duplicate of introduction, with no background music (for those with sensitive ears)
67:01 7/31/23
Episode 145 [3/3]: Emily Ruhl: Religiously-defensible, divinely-supported genocide
Welcome to episode 142 of Activist #MMT. Today's the final part of my three-part conversation with Emily Ruhl, on his 2008 paper, Religiously-defensible, divinely-supported genocide. Today we discuss principles seven to ten. My full and detailed question and summary list can be found in the show notes to part one. Also, be sure to see the list "audio chapters" in all three parts (look below!) to find exactly where each topic is discussed. You can financially support this podcast by going to Patreon.com/ActivistMMT. For as little as a dollar a month, all patrons get exclusive, super-early access to several full episodes and some unique patron-only opportunities, like asking my academic guests questions (like my episodes with Dirk Ehnts, John Harvey, and Warren Mosler). In addition to this podcast, patrons also support the development of my large and growing collection of learn-MMT resources, and my journey through the Torrens graduate program. To become a patron, you can start by going to Patreon.com/ActivistMMT. Every little bit helps a little bit, and it all adds up to a lot. Thanks. And now, let's get right back to my conversation with Emily Ruhl. Enjoy. Audio chapters 3:01 - Different levels of Nazis: killing versus deciding who to kill (doctors, commandants, soldiers) 6:44 - Symbols as an expression and reminder of power (pledge of allegiance) 8:02 - Charismatization: The charisma of the individual, and of the world (institutions) around him — including reactions to him. 18:17 - Calmly stirring up the crowd into a frenzy, and further into genocide. 19:03 - The pursuit of Atlantis and the holy grail (Indians Jones) 28:10 - Nazi pseudo-religion is a tool to justify genocide. False economics is a tool to justify mass neglect and exploitation. 34:44 - Connecting false economics and Nazi Germany's pseudo-religion 38:47 - In the national context, there is no such thing as "finding money" Their decision to do something IS the the funding. 41:38 - Final question: Polanyi, "latent anti-Semetism" versus venting frustrations from a lifetime of mass neglect and exploitation 51:00 - Reality of hyperinflation, the treaty of Versailles 52:28 - Final comments 54:44 - Goodbyes  
58:50 6/29/23
Episode 144 [2/3]: Emily Ruhl: Religiously-defensible, divinely-supported genocide
Welcome to episode 144 of Activist #MMT. Today's part two of a three-part conversation with historian, author, and Harvard master's graduate, Emily Ruhl, on her new paper and master's thesis, In League with the Devine: How Religion Influenced Nazi Perpetrators of the Holocaust. You will find my detailed question list at the bottom of the show notes for part one. Also, be sure to see the list "audio chapters" in all three parts (look below!) to find exactly where each topic is discussed. A full introduction can be found at the beginning of part one, but for now, let's get right back to my conversation with Emily Ruhl. Enjoy. Audio chapters 2:43 - German pseudo-religion: three parts: anti-Semitism, Blut und Boden (blood and soil), and Volksgemeinschaf (the German worldview) 3:50 - Racism is an impossible concept. The only way to preserve the German Aryan theory is to exterminate anyone not "definitely" Aryan. 7:21 - The order in which you kill changes it from murder to sanctioned by God 11:12 - Religion is both coercion and a salve once what they were coerced to do is done. 20:31 - The biggest bias in sources is the power of those who created (wrote, filmed, etc.) it. 29:21 - "No punishment" for those refusing to kill, but only if they didn't threaten the regime. 30:12 - Religious symbols: pins (SS lightning bolts), belt buckles, architecture, white doctors coats. 44:28 - Symbols in architecture 48:59 - Different levels of Nazis: killing versus deciding who to kill (doctors, commandants, soldiers) 55:30 - Duplicate of introduction, with no background music (for those with sensitive ears)
56:09 5/28/23
Episode 143 [1/3]: Emily Ruhl: Religiously-defensible, divinely-supported genocide
Welcome to episode 143 of Activist #MMT. Today I talk with historian, author, and Harvard master's graduate, Emily Ruhl, on her new paper and master's thesis, In League with the Devine: How Religion Influenced Nazi Perpetrators of the Holocaust. This is the first of a three-part episode. You will find my full and detailed question list at the bottom of today's show notes. Also, be sure to see the list "audio chapters" in all three parts to find exactly where each topic is discussed. (Here are links to parts two and three. A list of the audio chapters in this episode can be found right below [above the full-question list].) (In order to preserve both my podcast and sanity as I proceed through the Torrens graduate program, I've decided to slow my podcast from one episode a week to once a month.) The Nazi Party started by trying to resist and reject all religion, but soon, religion became a fundamental part of the Party's strategy of coercing and propagandizing everybody, from members of the public, to the highest ranking figures in both religious and political institutions, into accepting the brutal and systematic murder of eleven-million souls. The Nazi religion took elements of Christianity, Protestantism, and Paganism, to make one geared not to brotherly love, but primarily to erasing non-Aryans from the Earth. This Nazi pseudo-religion served both as coercion – you must kill the unworthy, or at least stand back while others do – and also as a salve, to come to terms with what you've just done. As you'll hear in the cool quote for part two (the first minute before the opening music), that salve can make the difference between sanity and insanity, and life and death. The Nazi's didn't want to murder eleven million people, they had to, because God said they had to. It was "unfortunate, but necessary." My primary goal for this interview is to demonstrate how this is parallel to mainstream economics, which is also a tool to justify suffering, this time in the form of austerity. Instead of a gun to the head at point blank range, austerity is mass deprivation and exploitation, resulting in a slow and torturous death by despair, starvation, exposure, and untreated sickness and injury – not to mention wasted potential. We currently have the ability to provide all with what they desperately need, including healthcare, education, decent food and shelter, un-poisoned water, and breathable air. As illuminated by Kate Raworth's doughnut, if we are to continue existing as a species, then we must provide the desperate with what they most desperately need. At the same time, we also have to stop the very few on top from using the vast majority of our precious and limited resources to needlessly lavish themselves. Unfortunately, we are instead digging ourselves into an even deeper ecological crisis, when we should be getting off fossil fuels entirely, and restructuring society so we don't require as much. On our current path, in the not-too-distant future, it may indeed become unfortunate but necessary to choose who must be deprived in order for the rest to live. Of course, given our obscene and still growing inequality, the most powerful few will be the ones to make those decisions, and the least powerful many will be the sacrificed. This is the lifeboat economics of the tragedy of the tragedy of the commons. Instead of the around eleven million murdered by the Nazi Party, mainstream economics is little more than a religion to justify what may ultimately result in the death of not millions, but billions. Austerity is genocide at a slower pace. As if riding in a bus hurtling towards a cliff, we as a species currently face a binary choice, between having a terrible accident, and plunging off into oblivion. As Mark Twain said, "History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme." There is still time to learn from that history. We can choose another path. On a completely unrelated side note, while attending her master's program, writing her master's thesis and working full time, Emily also wrote… an entire fantasy novel. You can find out more about it, and read the entire first chapter, at her website, emilyruhlbooks.com. In order to preserve both my podcast and my sanity as I proceed through Torrens University and Modern Money Lab's graduate program in MMT and ecological economics (🦉🤝🌍), I've slowed my podcast from one episode a week, to once a month. For as little as a dollar a month, patrons of Activist #MMT can hear all three parts with Emily right now. You can start by going to patreon.com/activistmmt. And now, onto my conversation with Emily Ruhl. Enjoy. Resources Dirk Ehnts 2017 book, Modern Monetary Theory and European Macroeconomics, from the introduction: The crash of 1929 was a direct consequence of weak financial sector regulation in the US, and it had world-historical consequences. It caused the economies not only of the US and Canada to melt down, but also those of many other nations financially linked to the US – including the German economy, whose deflationary collapse in 1929 led to the election of Adolf Hitler by a desperate electorate in 1933, the same year Glass–Steagall was passed. Had Glass–Steagall been legislated ten years earlier, the Second World War would most likely never have happened. Asad Zaman 2016 lecture entitled Macroeconomics, at around the 33-minute mark, states that had the right economic theories been implemented by those in power, that the Great Depression would have never occurred. My post summarizing Polanyi’s 1941 book (2001 edition), The Great Transformation My interview with Asad Zaman on Polanyi. See especially the eight-minute, 35-seconds mark in part one (see the audio chapters at the bottom of the show notes) 2016 book by Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men Daniel Goldhoggen Hitler's Willing Executioners Calvin University online archives - start with this Google search for Calvin University online archives nazi Audio chapters 7:12 - Hellos 8:49 - Overview of the paper 10:46 - Elaborating on the gap in the literature 15:30 - Harvard online masters degree 16:40 - Her experience writing the paper, the major sources, and the consequences of the pandemic 20:12 - Structuralist approach to writing the paper (interconnectness) 25:04 - The bias in even primary sources (the art of bias) 30:02 - Lebensunwertes Leben: Life unworthy of living 37:06 - Three theories why Jews are lebensunwertes leben 44:56 - Christian verses Catholic 45:45 - Nazi party desired to be non-religious. Religion became critical. 54:07 - German pseudo-religion: three parts: anti-Semitism, Blut und Boden (blood and soil), and Volksgemeinschaf (the German worldview) 59:40 - Racism is an impossible concept. The only way to preserve the German Aryan theory is to exterminate anyone not "definitely" Aryan. 1:04:30 - Duplicate of introduction, with no background music (for those with sensitive ears) Resources ...to come... My full question list META QUESTIONS Introduce yourself. Your background and interests that led you to this paper. How it applies to your masters and career goals. (Be careful with what you want reveal to protect your job.) Can you give an overview of your paper? What research already exists related to this topic and what gap does your paper fill? Describe your experience writing the paper. The sources you used, the limitations of doing much of it during the pandemic, what would have been different if there wasn't a pandemic, the fact that you read German. You used a structuralist approach in your paper. Can you define that term and how it affected your paper and approach? Your evidence was primary sources such as diaries, testimonies, journals, books, documentaries, and propaganda movies. All these things however, were written in a certain context. For example, trial testimony captures the words of someone whose primary goal is to avoid legal consequences. Propaganda videos were obviously to manipulate in favor of those on top. Even a personal journal could be written in such a way to preserve their sanity such as by avoiding suicidal thoughts and actual suicide. How do you filter through that bias and understand reality? How do you trust even primary sources? THE PAPER ITSELF Some questions to answer, some summaries and insights to elaborate on. (I'm a classically trained singer learned how to pronounce German, SOUND like I can read it/speak :) Lebensunwertes leben means "life unworthy of life." We're going to talk about Jews in the next question, but in general, what lives were deemed unworthy by Nazis, and why? Conversely, how was a worthy life defined? (Aryan, and specifically German Aryan.) Who and what defines these things? Can you also talk about the history of these concepts? These definitions weren't invented in Nazi Germany. There are three major theories of why Jews are considered unworthy of life: the Christian view was that Jews killed Christ (even though Christ was Jewish; his final supper was a Passover seder!) The protestant view is from Martin Luther who just simply said that Jews are devils and they should be killed and their homes destroyed (resulting in Kristallnacht). It was also strongly asserted that all of Germany's ills were primarily caused by Jews. Can you elaborate on this? How were three such disparate theories used in concert? The Nazi party originally intended to be secular (non-religious) but ended up having to tolerate some of it for political expediency. If they didn't, they would have alienated a large part of the population. In other words, the Party accepted what they didn't want to accept, in order to not be destroyed. Conversely, religious institutions, from churches, all the way through the Vatican, had to accept Nazi pseudo-religion, in order for the church to survive. German pseudo-religion is built on three foundations: Above all is anti-Semitism, and also blut und boden (blood and soil), and volksgemenschaft weltanschauung (the German world-view). Can you define and discuss each of these? On page 1 of the introduction, you introduce someone named Franz Stangl who was a police superintendent at the Euthanasia Institute at Hartheim (a heck of an institution!). He explained how he only shot children who were motherless, saying it was "soothing to my conscience to release children unable to live without their mothers." As you point out, the word "release" means redeem or save in a religious sense. Therefore, his killing the child made him a savior or redeemer in the eyes of God. What shocked me about this was that he only killed children after their mothers were first killed by one of his comrades. So by simply REVERSING THE ORDER in which you kill a mother and her child, it changes from an immoral act of murder to an act of mercy sanctioned by God. Stangl also talks about how a Catholic clergy advocated for this "mercy killing" of the motherless child (that Stangl and his partner MADE motherless!). Stangl said in a 1971 interview, "Here was a Catholic nun, a mother superior, and a priest. And they thought it was right. Who was I then, to doubt what was being done?" So religion, even God himself, was utilized as a tool to justify and encourage mass murder. In addition, religion was also the excuse given to the murderer so they could clear their conscience after the act. Building on the previous question and returning to biases in primary sources: One of the biggest biases of all is power. It is REQUIRED to say that killing the unworthy is necessary (and commanded by God) in order to not be killed yourself. Even saying that someone is unworthy is required in order to not become unworthy yourself! This is true for average people, all the way through highest levels in both religion and government. How much did the clergy mentioned by Stangl really believe what they were saying, and how much of it was that they were protecting themselves and the church from being destroyed by the Nazi party? How threatened did the clergy feel? In other words, the fact that Stengel felt permission from the clergy is really his being COERCED by religion, because those religious figures in turn were coerced by the most powerful figures in Germany and the Nazi party. It turns out that religion and religious symbols became a core element of its strategy to propagandize the public. Can you talk about the religious symbolism in architecture, clothing, belt buckles, pins, and how these things come from both the pagan and Christian religions. (Paganism is basically NOT Christian. NOT one of the dominant religions. This is equivalent to the term heterodox in economics, which is the economics that is NOT mainstream.) Another important religious symbol was the white outfits worn especially by concentration camp doctors, and secondarily by commandants. Before the next question: I want to say a haunting quote I'm reminded of by the white outfits and the purity and moral and religious authority it gave to doctors and commandants, by Zygmunt Bauman in his book, Modernity and the Holocaust: "It was not illiterate savages, but graduates of the finest educational systems of the West who designed the gas chambers used to burn millions of innocent men, women and children in Germany." White outfits symbolizes these people as gods, because they alone decide who lives and who dies (and who is tortured and not tortured). There were different levels, such as how doctors killed people directly AND made the decision to do so; how commandants decided who should be killed but didn't do it themselves; and soldiers killed people but only under the command of an authority figure. In footnote 75 on page 26, someone named Albert Speer said he found "Hitler to be "deeply exciting" as a result of the "intermingling of frenzy and rationality" with which he spoke. In the footnote, it says, "listening to Hitler's speeches convinced him to commit himself to the party." The speech he watched almost certainly included the crowd's responses to it. Not unlike the Beatles and their crowds of fawning women. Can you speak about the concept of charismatization, of both Hitler the individual and the party and its institutions, and how all this was an important part of manipulating and propagandizing the public, to achieve the Party's goals? A tangent but a purposeful and important tangent for the Party. A major goal of the SS was dedicated to finding places and objects that could prove "the genetic and geographic roots of Aryans." Two major examples being Atlantis and the Holy Grail. The entire Indiana Jones movie series was based on this concept, especially part three, which was precisely a race to find the Holy Grail before the Nazis could. As you say in the paper, "the Aryan race… was believed to be descended from the deities who once lived in Atlantis." This is all complete fiction (they obviously never succeeded), yet the very pursuit validated and reinforced their beliefs in the eyes of the public (surely they wouldn't waste THAT many resources and THAT much time on utter nonsense!). The Holy Grail in particular was pursued not just as justification of their beliefs but also as a weapon to "repel the darkness" of those to be considered unholy. "If the SS found the Holy Grail, it would have appeared as though God himself had guided the Nazis to its location, thus implying that the Nazis had the approval of Heaven. This, in turn, would have depicted the actions of the Nazis including the genocide they initiated--as being morally correct and aligned with the desires of God." Can you elaborate on this? Mainstream economics is, like religion, a tool to justify genocide, albeit in a much less direct and overt fashion. This is especially true as our ecological crisis looms. That's the parallel I want to draw with this interview. (Mainstream economics, really, IS a religion, and Harvard's president is one of its leading acolytes.) You did a bit of reading on MMT, I wanted to get your thoughts on MMT in general, compare that to what you believed to be true before we met, and if it relates in any way to your paper. The other connection between our two topics is that, if the New Deal were implemented in the late 1800s, then WWI and the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party would have never happened. I've heard this from two PhD economists: the first is Dirk Ehnts in his book MMT and the European Monetary Union, and the second is Asad Zaman in his macroeconomics lecture, both of which will be linked in the show notes. A point made in Karl Polanyi's 1942 book, The Great Transformation, is that fascism is not a movement unto itself. There's no "strength" in fascism or fascists. Rather, fascism only exists to fill the vacuum left by the suffering wrought by neoliberalism (and more generally, the centuries of mass neglect and exploitation by the obscenely rich). So, the hatred by regular Germans of Jews (and other "unworthy" people) is in fact largely a response to the neglect and abuse *they've* experienced at the hands of those on top. They've just been deceived into thinking that society's ills are PRIMARILY caused by those with the least money and power. This gives those on top protection, because it provides their victims with an outlet for venting their rage, but in a way that allows them to remain in power. Citizens are: deceived into hurting themselves, so those on top don't have to. I say this, because it's both suggested and directly asserted by some of the figures in your paper that hatred of Jews and other "unworthies" was always lurking in the hearts of Germans, and I don't think that's true.
69:39 4/29/23
Modern Money Doughnuts: Torrens Student Susan Borden (season 3, episode 3, audio only)
Welcome to to the audio of season 3, episode 3 of Modern Money Doughnuts (MMD), hosted by Steven Hail and Gabrielle Bond. In series 3 of Modern Money Doughnuts, we meet some of the students from the Modern Money Lab and Torrens University Australia Masters Degree in the Economics of Sustainability. Today we talk to Susan Borden, one of our amazing students, about what she's learning in the course, what we're discussing and working on, and what motivated her to take up this challenge. Plus we'll ask our guests about their working life and activism and what they do for fun and regeneration. What have Doughnuts to do with modern money? Quite a lot as it turns out. In Modern Money Doughnuts, Gabrielle Bond and Steven Hail explore the relationships between #MMT and doughnut economics. (All episodes of Modern Money Donuts can be found on this page by Modern Money Labs.) Here's the video from which this audio comes from. (The audio is unedited.) MMD is hosted by Modern Money Lab, and the audio podcast is produced and hosted by Activist #MMT. So if you'd like to be automatically notified of each new MMD episode, then subscribe to Activist #MMT on your favorite podcast platform.
60:59 4/22/23
Ep142 [3/3]: Scott Fullwiler: Modern Central Bank Operations: The General Principles [principles 7-10 of 10]
Welcome to episode 142 of Activist #MMT. Today's the final part of my three-part conversation with Scott Fullwiler, on his 2008 paper, Modern Central Bank Operations: The General Principles. Today we discuss principles seven to ten. My full and detailed question and summary list can be found in the show notes to part one. Also, be sure to check out the list of audio chapters at the bottom of today's show notes, to find precisely where each principle, and otherwise, can be found. (A list of the audio chapters in today's episode can be found at the bottom of this post.) Principal seven, which refers to a world without a floor system (QE is an example of a floor system), is that a central bank can change its target interest rate by simply announcing it. This is contrary to the false idea that the central bank can only set a new target rate by overwhelming the system with reserves in order to push the rate higher, or push it lower by starving the system by selling a very large amount of bonds. This implies the central bank and its government to be little more than a very large currency user. Also, the "liquidity effect" is the false idea that the mere existence of reserves makes banks want more of them, and that this in turn results in more lending to customers. (This is essentially Say's law, which is the false idea that supply causes demand.) Principal eight is that the amount of total reserves in the system is primarily due to the central banks method of interest rate management. If a central bank chooses a floor system like QE, then there will be a whole lot of reserves in the system. If they also choose restrictive reserve requirements, then there will be even more as banks demand more in order to meet them. If there was no floor system or reserve requirements at all, then the total amount in the system will be greatly reduced. In this case, once again, the aggregate level will be controlled endogenously – by the rigidness of banks needing to settle payments each day, which is primarily dependent on the behavior of actual humans in the real economy (the non-government sector). Principles nine and ten basically assert that the central bank is in the unique position of being a currency issuer. Only the central bank, via the execution of fiscal policy, can create net financial assets – which is money we don't have to pay back. Commercial banks can only create credit, which must always be paid back, plus interest. Commercial banks – and indeed the entire financial system and economy – depends on the central bank because: we have to pay taxes which can, ultimately, only be paid with reserves, which can only be done through the banking system. Also, banks are legal franchises of the state. If a commercial bank tried to bypass the central banking system entirely, it wouldn't be a bank for long. In the same way, you could try and call yourself a bank, but unless you're legally sanctioned and accepted as one by the central bank, you wouldn't get very far. You can financially support this podcast by going to Patreon.com/ActivistMMT. For as little as a dollar a month, all patrons get exclusive, super-early access to several full episodes and some unique patron-only opportunities, like asking my academic guests questions (like my episodes with Dirk Ehnts, John Harvey, and Warren Mosler). In addition to this podcast, patrons also support the development of my large and growing collection of learn-MMT resources, and my journey through the Torrens graduate program. To become a patron, you can start by going to Patreon.com/ActivistMMT. Every little bit helps a little bit, and it all adds up to a lot. Thanks. And now, let's get right back to my conversation with Scott Fullwiler. Enjoy. Audio chapters 5:42 - It would mean they could buy reserves for low interest (penalty rate) and then earn high interest for holding it (IOR) 7:59 - Principle 7: There is no "liquidity effect" associated with central bank changes to its operating target. (Apologies for the very long question! I got it wrong at first, and scrambled to rewrite it at the last minute.) 20:40 - Principle 8: The quantity of reserve balances in circulation is primarily determined by the central bank's METHOD of interest-rate maintenance. 27:50 - Principle 9: Under current operating procedures, the central bank's balance sheet expands and contracts endogenously while these changes neither create nor destroy net financial assets for the non-government sector. (The banks can't create or delete reserves, only the central bank can.) 30:01 - Clarifying this sentence in principle 9: Outside of a floor (QE) system, the monetary base can only be determined endogenously (by commercial banks and potential borrowers). 31:10 - Thoughts on his approach to principle ten. 32:32 - Principle 10: The central bank's interest rate target "matters" because banks use reserve balances to settle payments. (The central bank is a currency issuer. Commercial banks are currency users.) 36:52 - Reservations about the final paragraph in principle ten. (Also, assuming away everything that disagrees with you, and equating sharing sources that refute you with "appealing to authority.") 39:52 - If you could, who would you appoint to government positions (Treasury, Federal Reserve, etc)? 41:48 - Assuming they're there, what changes would we see? (Your favorite policy plus the job guarantee, or your favorite policy plus the involuntary unemployment) 42:46 - Assuming they're there, what changes would we see in monetary policy? 47:08 - Macro-prudential regulation instead of one target interest rate. 49:31 - Scott will be teaching macroeconomics at Torrens University (for my MMT-plus-ecological economics masters program) starting February. I'll be taking it June 2023. How he's designing the course. 53:48 - Goodbyes 56:51 - Duplicate of introduction, with no background music (for those with sensitive ears)  
60:46 3/25/23
Modern Money Doughnuts: Torrens Student Nathan McMillan (season 3, episode 2, audio only)
Welcome to the audio of season 2, episode 2 of Modern Money Doughnuts (MMD), hosted by Steven Hail and Gabrielle Bond. In series 3 of Modern Money Doughnuts, we meet some of the students from the Modern Money Lab and Torrens University Australia Masters Degree in the Economics of Sustainability. Today we talk to Nathan McMillan, one of our amazing students, about what he's learning in the course, what we're discussing and working on, and what motivated him to take up this challenge. Plus we'll ask our guests about their working life and activism and what they do for fun and regeneration. What have Doughnuts to do with modern money? Quite a lot as it turns out. In Modern Money Doughnuts, Gabrielle Bond and Steven Hail explore the relationships between #MMT and doughnut economics. (All episodes of Modern Money Donuts can be found on this page by Modern Money Labs.) Here's the video from which this audio comes from. (The audio is unedited.) MMD is hosted by Modern Money Lab, and the audio podcast is produced and hosted by Activist #MMT. So if you'd like to be automatically notified of each new MMD episode, then subscribe to Activist #MMT on your favorite podcast platform.
39:57 3/6/23
Ep141 [2/3]: Scott Fullwiler: Modern Central Bank Operations: The General Principles [principles 3-6 of 10]
Welcome to episode 141 of Activist #MMT. Today's part two of my three-part conversation with Scott Fullwiler, on his 2008 paper, Modern Central Bank Operations: The General Principles. Last time in part one, we discussed some generic but related topics, and then principles one and two. Today in part two, we discuss principles three to six. Next time in part three, we discuss seven through ten. My full and detailed question and summary list can be found in the show notes to part one. Also, be sure to check out the list of audio chapters at the bottom of today's show notes, to find precisely where each principle, and otherwise, can be found. (A list of the audio chapters in today's episode can be found at the bottom of this post.) Principal three is that, outside of a floor system, it's not possible for the central bank to target the quantity of reserves. This is for two reasons: first, as in principle one, banks need reserves to settle payments and meet reserve requirements. Both of these are rigid needs. They need exactly that amount, no more no less. In other words, banks' demand for reserves is always vertical. Any less, and the payment system, and consequently society, breaks down. Any more and the reserves sit around unused. (The excess may earn a bit of interest, but, outside of a Volcker shock, where rates are set up around 20%, it's not much.) This means the amount of reserves in the system is determined by commercial banks (that is, it's endogenous) not the central-bank (which would be exogenous). The other reason the central bank can't set the quantity of reserves (outside a floor system), is because many transactions occur that are outside the central bank's control. A few examples are government spending and taxation (both of which the central bank must do), and calendar factors such as more cash being desired by the public as each weekend and vacation day approaches. Related is principle four, which is that all of these extra transactions must be offset. This is required if banks' demands for reserves is to be met, which is required to manage the payment system, which is required to have a stable society. Specifically, these extra transactions result in reserves entering and leaving the system in an uncontrollable and volatile fashion, making it less likely that banks' needs will be met. Therefore, the central bank must buy and sell bonds in order to keep reserve levels sufficient. Principal five is that reserve requirements are not for controlling reserve aggregates (which as in the previous principal, isn't possible anyway), but rather are an additional tool for reducing interest rate volatility. Although nothing changes what the central bank has to do, correctly designed reserve requirements allow the actions to occur at a more measured pace. They also provide some foresight and notification before some actions become urgent. (Think of it in terms of the tickets and doors at a sports stadium. Everyone with a ticket needs to get inside before the game starts and outside after it ends. The doors and the tickets make it such that the crowd enters and exits in a controlled fashion, distributed over time.) Finally, principle six is that volatility in the target rate can only exist within the central bank's corridor, meaning interest on reserves at the minimum and the discount window's penalty rate at a maximum. The decision to not regulate, or not enforce existing regulations, is just another form of regulation. When there is no deliberate floor or ceiling, as is our current reality, it means the highs will be dangerously high and lows dangerously low. In the same way, Minsky's financial instability hypothesis is only true within the ceiling and floor set by governments. We could set a rigid floor and ceiling such as with a job guarantee, but then, as Kalecki says in his 1942 paper, Political Aspects of Full Employment, if the government governs, then the rich and their feelings can't. This is why the rich pay our legislators to not legislate, especially when it comes to employment. Principals seven through ten come in part three, but for now, let's get right back to my conversation with Scott Fullwiler. Enjoy. Audio chapters 6:07 - Relation between fractional reserve banking and money multiplier 9:10 - Principle 3: Outside a floor system, it's impossible for the central bank to target the quantity of reserves. 15:12 - Another comment regarding the Fed being in charge of the government (not) 15:54 - Principle 4: The CB must offset many things out of its control, and government spending is mind-twisting! 28:21 - Principle 5: Unless using a floor system, it's impossible for the CB to control the amount of reserves. It can only control the price of those reserves (the interest rate). Also, reserve requirements (and TT&L accounts) are to BUFFER. 34:51 - Using the target rate to manage inflation is a terrible thing to do (it has real-world consequences) but does not limit the ability of the central bank to manage the stability of the payment system. 38:28 - Liar, Liar reference 39:18 - Principle 6: How does the CB defend a precise target, as opposed to only ensuring it's remains within the corridor? 48:38 - What if the penalty rate was intentionally set below interest on reserves (IOR)? 52:16 - It would mean they could buy reserves for low interest (penalty rate) and then earn high interest for holding it (IOR) 54:33 - Principle 7: There is no "liquidity effect" associated with central bank changes to its operating target. (Apologies for the very long question! I got it wrong at first, and scrambled to rewrite it at the last minute.) 58:36 - Duplicate of introduction, with no background music (for those with sensitive ears)
63:06 2/25/23
Modern Money Doughnuts: Torrens Student Jeff Epstein (season 3, episode 1, audio only)
Welcome to season 3, episode 1 of Modern Money Doughnuts (MMD), hosted by Steven Hail and Gabrielle Bond. In series 3 of Modern Money Doughnuts, we meet some of the students from the Modern Money Lab and Torrens University Australia Masters Degree in the Economics of Sustainability. Today we talk to Activist #MMT Jeff Epstein, one of our amazing students, about what he's learning in the course, what we're discussing and working on, and what motivated him to take up this challenge. Plus we'll ask our guests about their working life and activism and what they do for fun and regeneration. What have Doughnuts to do with modern money? Quite a lot as it turns out. In Modern Money Doughnuts, Gabrielle Bond and Steven Hail explore the relationships between MMT and doughnut economics. (All episodes of Modern Money Donuts can be found on this page by Modern Money Labs.) Here's the video from which this audio comes from. (The audio is unedited.) MMD is hosted by Kerberos Media, and the audio podcast is produced and hosted by Activist #MMT. So if you'd like to be automatically notified of each new MMD episode, then subscribe to Activist #MMT on your favorite podcast platform.
37:51 2/8/23
Ep140 [1/3]: Scott Fullwiler: Modern Central Bank Operations: The General Principles [principles 1-2 of 10]
Welcome to episode 140 of Activist #MMT. Today I talk with Scott Fullwiler on his 2008 paper, Modern Central Bank Operations: The General Principles. Today's part one of a three-part conversation. Today in part one we discuss some generic but related topics, and then principles one and two. Next time in part two we cover principles three to six, and then in part three, principles seven to ten. My full and detailed question and summary list can be found at the bottom of these show notes (look below!). Also, be sure to check out the list of audio chapters to find precisely where each principle, and otherwise, can be found. (Here are links to parts two and three. A list of the audio chapters in this episode can be found right below the resources section in this post.) Today's principles one and two. Principle one is that reserves can only be used for two purposes: Settling payments between banks, and meeting reserve requirements. (There's actually a third purpose, which is it's the only thing that can ultimately settle tax obligations to the state.) Knowing these are its only possible uses, when you hear, for example, that more reserves somehow increase a bank's liquidity, and that this in turn encourages banks to lend more to customers, which then in turn increases economic activity in general… you know they're wrong. The same is true with the reverse: that less reserves somehow discourages lending and reduces economic activity. Principal two says that, because the central bank is the only entity capable of creating and deleting reserves, it has "a fundamental, legal obligation to promote the smooth functioning of the national payment system." Without a functioning payment system, society would, without exaggeration, break down. If a bank can't settle its payments with another bank, then everyone expecting a payment won't receive it, and everyone expecting payment from them also won't receive it. And on and on. Trillions of dollars go through the federal reserve system every day. More goes through this system in the United States each week then an entire year's worth of GDP. Not to mention, the US payment system is central to most of the payments for the entire world, and so the US payment system breaking down would have global implications. (As a brief side note, this latter point is leveraged by the United States to surveil and manipulate most nations around the globe. One example is how, when Iraq threaten to eject all US troops, the US responded by threatening to forbid Iraq from using its payment system, thereby potentially disconnecting it from the entire world. This is the big story that lurks behind the so-called petrodollar. Here is a fascinating video on this by the Wall Street Journal.) And now, onto my conversation with Scott Fullwiler. Enjoy. Resources Daily Treasury statement (original location) 2017 paper by Rohan Grey, Banking in a Digital Fiat Currency Regime 2015 paper by Perry Mehrling, Elasticity and Discipline in the Global Swap Network 2000 paper by Stephanie Bell (now Kelton), Do Taxes and Bonds Finance Government Spending? The updated version of this paper, from 2009, consolidates the original ten principles into around seven, and then adds some more. It's much longer, and is a chapter in the book (as co-edited by Scott) called Institutional Analysis and Praxis: The Social Fabric Matrix Approach. Audio chapters 5:06 - Hellos 6:55 - My boys 8:49 - Our meeting, and Twitter 11:27 - The plan 12:17 - The Federal Reserve and the banks are in charge of the government (not) 16:58 - How do you know what you know? 19:52 - How the paper came to be 23:08 - What would change about your paper if you could write it again? 25:25 - The horizontalists versus structuralists debate (plus circuitists and chartalism) 27:54 - MMT agrees more with horizontalists, but Randy Wray had one unexpected element of agreement with structuralists. 30:34 - Steve Keen's Debunking Economics opens with the false labor supply-demand curve 31:37 - Principle 1: Reserves can only be used for settling payments and meeting reserve requirements. 35:57 - Aside from banks and other central banks what other institutions and entities have reserve accounts? 38:24 - Principle 2: The primary directive of central banks is to preserve the stability of the payment system (which is necessary to have a functioning society) 40:54 - Principle 2 continued: parenting analogy 43:22 - Principle 2 is almost the most important one 44:23 - Relation between fractional reserve banking and money multiplier 47:27 - Principle 3: Outside a floor system, it's impossible for the central bank to target the quantity of reserves. 50:48 - Duplicate of introduction, with no background music (for those with sensitive ears) My full question and summary list I have some questions before we get into the ten principals: Pre-1: First, I'd like to start with a general question mostly unrelated to your paper: A common online theory is that the central bank doesn't answer to the government. Rather, the government answers to the central bank – and according to some, even directly to commercial banks. This means the government must borrow (in the personal sense!) from the CB or banks, which means the national debt and deficit, and bond vigilantes, are indeed a big deal. This also completely undermines MMT. We're going to get into lots of details, but in general, how would you respond to that person? (Assuming they really want to know better.) Is there any instance in history where, when it really came down to it, the central bank didn't do what Congress or Parliament demanded of it? Having a stable society requires a stable payment system, which, under our current institutional set up, only the central bank can do. Is it possible to have a stable society/payment system, and a dollar worth the same on both sides of the country, if the government had to answer to the central bank in that way? Pre-2: Your paper, written in 2008, is called Modern Central Bank Operations: The General Principles. Can you tell the backstory of how the paper came to be, as you briefly mentioned in email? Pre-3: As I understand it, horizontalists and structuralists agree that loans create deposits, but disagree on the how, where, and dwhy the reserves are obtained afterwards. Can you summarize the differences and the debate between the two camps, and also relate it to the chartalist view? Pre-4: How do you know what you know? You interviewed CB employees? Looked at their balance sheets? Just logically it must be true? Pre-5: It's been fourteen years and two major crises since you wrote your paper. How well do the ten principles stand up? If you wrote the paper again today, would there be any major changes? THE PRINCIPLES I'm going to summarize the ten principles in your paper as best I can, and describe some of their implications. Then I'll ask you to correct and elaborate as necessary. I'll also use some of the principles as an excuse to ask a question. PRINCIPLE ONE Reserves only serve two purposes: settling payments and meeting reserve requirements. Regarding the latter, there could be an arbitrary requirement that, for example, a bank must always hold an amount of reserves equal to 10% of the amount it has in deposits (perhaps immediately, or with a lag). In the absence of reserve requirements, the amount of deposits held by a bank is only very distantly related to the amount of reserves banks need to make settlement. This is because a newly created deposit for a newly created loan (or from new government spending): may not be spent right away, may not be spent in its entirety, at least some of it may be spent at (a company that banks at) the same bank. If it is spent at (a company that's a customer of) another bank, it's only one of many transactions taking place between those two banks. The net transactions between those banks may be small, or even in the opposite direction. (A simple example: if I owe you $1000 and you owe me $1050, then the net transaction to settle the whole thing is… you just give me 50 bucks.) Finally, the bank may already have sufficient reserves, or can cheaply borrow them from another bank. So again, the existence or creation of new deposits is only very indirectly related to the need for more reserves. A minor follow up: Banks require reserves to transact with entities other than itself. These other entities include other banks, and the government at all levels. What other institutions/entities require reserves for settlement? Foreign banks and governments? PRINCIPLE TWO As the only institution capable of creating and deleting reserves, the central bank has "a fundamental, legal obligation to promote the smooth functioning of the national payment system." As you say in the paper, "a nation's payment system is at the core of the infrastructure of the modern business world." According to the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors in 1990: "A reliable payments system is crucial to the economic growth and stability of the nation. The smooth functioning of markets for virtually every good and service is dependent upon the smooth functioning of banking in the financial markets, which in turn is dependent upon the integrity of the nation's payment system." The amount of transactions settled each day is enormous. In the US in 2005 it was $2.1 trillion. Today I believe it's closer to $5 trillion. So, a sixth of the annual GDP of the United States, is processed each day by the central bank. Further, this is only a portion of the nation's transactions, because more are directly settled between banks through side agreements and internal systems. The central bank is the only institution that can create reserves, and so, if we are to have a functioning society, it will provide the reserves needed by the banks, because it's the only thing that can settle those transactions. If a bank abuses these privileges (such as, they keep demanding more and more, because they keep committing crimes) then they could be shut down. An analogy is how parents are the only ones capable of providing their children with food. Ultimately, it's provided based on the needs of the children. Parents will provide enough food in order for their children to remain healthy and not dead (and so they don't have to go to jail). It also implies a power struggle, such as when the children whine about being hungry, not out of actual need but as a form of manipulation. Of course, unlike the banks and their central bank, in most normal families, the children haven't paid off their parents. Also unlike banks, a child can't be shut down if they consistently misbehave – unless the parent really wants to go to jail and lose all their children! PRINCIPLE THREE Before I summarize this principle, can you talk about how the money multiplier view and fractional reserve banking are two sides of the same thing? The principle: The money multiplier not only doesn't limit bank lending, it's impossible for the central bank to directly target reserve levels, or the monetary base, at all. It's only possible to directly target the price of that money – the interest rate. The monetary aggregate can only be indirectly targeted, which is inherently unreliable. Even if the central bank could magically manage the levels of reserves, since banks are not reserve constrained, it wouldn't have any direct effect on bank lending anyway. It's impossible for the central bank to control the level of reserves because there are many factors out of its direct control. This includes: fiscal policy (the government spending it's compelled to execute), taxation which is collected through the banking system foreign policy and foreign exchange, the public's desires for cash and coins, loans, and foreign products, calendar factors, such as paychecks at the end of each week and more cash spending on the weekends and vacation national holidays, crises, the trillions in daily transactions which must be settled, and the fact that the central bank doesn't just manage the payment system, it also manages "inflation" and "maximum employment"! As we're about to discuss in principle four, all these activities must be continually offset. Attempting to target specific reserve levels can only serve to degrade its ability to manage these offsets, and so its target rate, and ultimately, the payment system. PRINCIPLE FOUR As in the previous question, the central bank does many things unrelated to interest rate targeting, and many other things happen out in the world that aren't directly in its control. This results in reserve levels moving in an unpredictable fashion, all of which must be offset if the target rate is to be maintained. One of the things out of the central bank's control is government spending. The way the government spends occurs is mind twisting, and understanding it is key to understanding national accounting specifically and modern money in general. The government itself has a checking account at its central bank, which in the United States is called the Treasury's general account, or TGA. This is the account where a number is raised in response to new spending voted on via the passage of a new law. [CORRECTION: As (needlessly!) required by law, the TGA is not raised except after tax and bond revenue is received.] When that money is distributed to someone in the real economy, that same number is lowered once again. This is a very nature of government spending. Here's another example of this mind twisting: When the government sells a bond, it's paid for by the government. The government does this by withdrawing $1000 from its account, the TGA, and handing it to the central bank. So, to pay the bank – it's bank – it withdraws $1000 from that bank and hands it right back to the bank! Further, at some future date, the bank must then pay its profit to its shareholders, which is the government. How do they do this? By putting that money right back into that same government account! (Of course, no money is actually passed around, it's just a number going down there and going up here.) (Also, the government's account can go deeply negative without much real-world consequence, but since negative numbers stress uninformed people out, we cater to (and leverage) that ignorance by making sure it stays positive.) PRINCIPLE FIVE Reserve requirements are related to interest rate targets, not control of monetary aggregates. In one sense, what's having the purpose of having rules at all when it's guaranteed that the rule maker will do whatever it takes to ensure the rule followers always follow the rules? It seems reserve requirements are a tool to buffer against sudden volatility, in the same way that TT&L accounts (as stated on page 607 in Stephanie Kelton's 2000 paper, Do Taxes and Bonds Finance Government Spending?) are used to buffer against volatility from government spending and redemption. These things don't stop the need for offsetting these activities (as in principle four), but it does make it possible to not have to do it at such quick, extreme, and unpredictable levels. In other words, these buffers don't change what the the central bank needs to do but it helps them see it coming. I'm going to ask a mostly unrelated question: Interest rates are for managing the target rate, which is for managing the stability of the payment system, which is for maintaining the stability of the entire nation. Yet, at the same time, the CB is also mandated to manage (some definition of!) inflation, and the only way it knows how to do this is by adjusting interest rates. How can these tasks not conflict? If it's critical to keep interest rates stable (near the target, ideally zero from our MMT points of view), then during the Volcker shock, how could you possibly keep interest rates stable at such a high level? In that situation, it seems that banks simply settling their payments each day would be so expensive, they would have to pass much of that cost onto their customers through higher interest rates. Raising interest rates: increases interest income on new bonds, further enriching the rich raises interbank borrowing costs for banks, which are passed onto its customers. The results in its business customers raising prices for its customers, which is just another way to further lower real wages. Anyone with a variable rate loan, whether the borrower is in or out of the country, suddenly has much greater difficulty paying it off. This includes global south countries colonized by powerful nations, such as via the IMF. PRINCIPLE SIX Volatility in the target rate is only possible between the discount window's penalty rate at a maximum and the interest rate paid on reserves at a minimum. The way you say it in your paper is, "Potential volatility is determined by the width of the corridor." Here's a question about the target rate and its corridor or band (with thanks to Andrew Chirgwin): Let's assume a corridor with a width of .5%. So the minimum, the interest on reserves (IOR), is 1.75%. The target rate is 2%, and the penalty/discount rate is 2.25%. So, they're all different values. If a bank is in need of reserves, it first turns to another bank. It may be a bank it needs to settle with, but maybe not. It may try to get all the reserves from one bank, or maybe a little from several. In order to turn a profit, the banks with excess will make an interest-rate offer to the bank-in-need. That rate will be somewhere within the band. It won't be higher than the penalty rate, because the bank-in-need could just turn to the central bank's discount window and pay less interest. It won't be lower than IOR, because no bank would deliberately choose to lose money (that is, make less from the bank-in-need, than they would from interest paid directly on their reserves). Within this narrow band, banks with excess may compete with one another in an attempt to get the business of the bank-in-need. So, although a bank may offer an interest rate of, say, 2.24%, which is just under the penalty rate, another could easily steal their business by offering 2.20%. The central bank is okay with this competition, because they know the interest rates will remain within the band. What I don't understand is, the CB defends that band so that it remains within the minimum and maximum. So, why is there a precise target at all – and consequently, what's the point of potentially setting it equal to IOR? Clearly I'm missing something, because it's stated at several points in your paper that setting the target rate equal to IOR does make an important difference. How does the central bank defend the precise target rate? A somewhat related thought experiment, which may just be absurd: What would some of the major consequences be if the discount window/penalty rate was set below IOR? (With the target rate between the two.) PRINCIPLE SEVEN In the context of monetary policy, the concept of "liquidity effect" is that extra reserves in the interbank market pushes down interest rates, which then stimulates banks to make more loans, which in turn increases economic activity. In other words, it's the false view that the interest rate is not something the central bank can arbitrarily decide, but rather something it can only control or defend by offsetting the effects of "market forces". Luckily, since the central bank is the largest currency user, it at least has a decent chance of success. (I know that's not what they mean but it's not far off!) Specifically, the "liquidity effect" is the false belief that the only way for the central bank to "choose", or defend, its target rate, is to inject a potentially vast amount of reserves into the banks' balances. This will encourage banks to increase lending, which in turn will increase economic activity. This is called "easing". (QE is just a ridiculous amount of easing.) Removing a large amount, called "tightening", will discourage lending and economic activity. In reality, the target rate is an arbitrary decision (a "policy variable") of the voting members of the central bank. The consolidated government has the infinite capacity to create and delete its own money and to sell and purchase its own bonds. This means it can effectively choose an interest rate for any bond at any maturity. The false "liquidity effect" view also asserts the mere existence of more reserves in a bank's account makes banks suddenly need them; makes them want to use them. It strongly suggests that reserves can be directly lent to customers, or can be used for some purpose beyond settlement (and meeting reserve requirements). If my bank dramatically increased my personal checking account, then sure, that would indeed cause me to pay off my mortgage and probably hire some contractors to do fixes and upgrades to my house that at the moment, we can only dream about. But that's only because, for average people, deposits can be used for almost any purpose. [CORRECTION: Me getting money in my bank account, outside a loan, is net financial asset – a grant. The back being reserved is always an even swap. That's totally different.] Beyond reserve requirements, the only possible use of bank reserves is to settle transactions – transactions that happened at some point in the past. It means the mere existence of more reserves has no direct influence on a bank's behavior. In other words, settlement – and therefore the amount of reserves needed – is endogenous. A bank's demand for reserves is vertical. It's decided on not by the government but by actual people choosing to take out a loan and a bank choosing to give them one A final point: The false idea of the "liquidity effect", that the mere existence of new reserves incentivizes banks to issue more loans, evokes the concept of Say's law. Say's law is the false idea that supply causes demand, as if a new product appearing on a store shelf magically and magnetically attracts a new customer – who didn't even know the product was existed – to want to go to that store and want to purchase that product. (As if consumers are unthinking puppets and businesses their puppeteers!) In reality, demand causes supply. In reality, loans create deposits. Those deposits will at some point likely result in some transactions with another bank, which the bank will need to settle. If they don't have enough in reserves, only then will they request more. PRINCIPLE EIGHT The quantity of reserve balances in circulation is primarily determined by the central bank's method of interest rate management. The only uses for reserves are to settle payments and meet reserve requirements. If there are no reserve requirements, then there's clearly less reasons to hold them. As a simple example, if the central bank chooses to penalize overdrafts severely at the end of each day, then banks will demand much more reserves in order to buffer against that possibility. If there were no reserve requirements, and both IOR and the penalty rate (and the target) were set to zero, then it seems there would be little to no uncertainty for banks. It would be free to purchase reserves from the discount window whenever needed. This seems close to, if not exactly, MMT's ZIRP. If all three were equal but set *above* zero, then banks would make a profit on their reserves, and when in need of more reserves for settlement (again assuming no reserves requirements), they would pay that same rate at the discount window. (There would be little need for banks to lend to each other, because they could do no better.) So, again, it seems there would be little concerns from banks to make settlement or fear overdrafts. The only difference is the perpetual risk-free, effort-free interest income! These are different methods the central bank can choose to manage the interest rate. What are some other important scenarios/methods and their practical differences, both from the banks and the central bank's points of view? PRINCIPLE NINE Under current operating procedures, the central bank's balance sheet expands and contracts endogenously while these changes neither create nor destroy net financial assets for the non-government sector. In your paper, you say: "neither reserve balances nor the monetary base can be expanded or contracted exogenously by the central bank as long as the central bank's target rate is above the rate paid on reserve balances." With our previous questions as background, can you elaborate on this? PRINCIPLE TEN This principle is basically distinguishing between the currency issuer and users Central banks interest rate "matters" because banks use reserve balances to settle payments. Banks and "market forces" do not control the interest rate. This is for the simple fact that banks must settle their transactions at the end of each day, those transactions can only be settled with reserves, and those reserves can only be supplied (created and deleted) by the central bank. Also: There's no use for reserves beyond settlement and reserve requirements, settling payments with anything other than risk-free reserves is obviously riskier than settling them with risk-free reserves, reserves are also the only thing that can settle tax obligations to the state; which can only be done through the banking system, and banks are legal extensions (franchises) of the state. If they tried to bypass the state (and its central bank) by entirely settling amongst themselves, the state would not take this lying down! The banks don't control the central bank and its interest rate any more than average people control the commercial banks at which they have a deposit. Even the most powerful currency user has no power over the currency issuer, because their power largely comes from that issuer! (They were issued a lot, while the rest were issued less.) Any power the user has over the issuer is only because the issuer chooses for it to be that way. FINAL QUESTIONS If you could have your dream government, what economic and financial appointments would you make? What position would you want? If those people got appointed, then what are some of the big changes we would see, particularly regarding monetary policy?
53:42 1/29/23
Full audio: John Harvey's Contending Perspectives: Chapter 2: Economics as a scientific discipline [EDITED]
Here's the original video from where this audio came. Here's a list of links to John reading every chapter (released so far) in his 2021 book Contending Perspectives. Note the original video is unedited, but the audio has been edited to eliminate obvious mistakes, coughs, interruptions, and etc. Audio chapters Use the below timestamps to navigate to each major section and occurrence in this section: 1:35 - Page 8: Chapter 2: Economics as a scientific discipline 3:25 - Page 8: Section: What is science? 4:40 - Page 9 10:03 - Page 10: A realistic version of science 17:39 - Page 13 30:13 - Page 17: Economics: Training and apprenticeship 44:01 - Page 22 58:38 - Page 27: Economics: Schools of thought 1:06:32 - Page 30: Economics: Primary and secondary standards of behavior 1:09:30 - Summary of table 2.1 on 32 (then skipping page 31, paragraph 2 through page 34, paragraph 2 – all of which is covered in future chapters) 1:10:43 - Page 34, paragraph 2 1:13:10 - Page 35: Conclusions 1:14:55 - Final comments
75:34 1/8/23
Ep137: Steve Kelsey: Trans-jurisdictional caring
Welcome to episode 137 of activist #MMT. Today I talk with Steve Kelsey, about what money and money issuance, and our entire money system, should and could be, if we could start over and design it from scratch. You'll find two of his papers linked below (in the Resources section). Before that, we discuss Steve's Twitter thread, which is one of the most viral MMT tweet threads of all time more than 3000 retweets and nearly 7000 likes. The topic of his thread is the big lies told by former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The first big lie is "TINA" which stands for "there is no alternative." This is how those already on top tell the rest to sit down, shut up, and take what you can get. The second big lie is "there is no government money, there is only taxpayer money." This is a statement by those who have taken control of government that they will do whatever it takes to prevent its powers from being used for regular people. This is true even for things desperately needed and obviously within its capabilities. The third big lie is that the government is nothing more than a gigantic household or company, and so must balance its spending with revenue. This is basically the justification used by those in power to deceive the rest into thinking that deliberate mass neglect is "unfortunate, but necessary." The fourth big lie, despite not being included in Steve's Twitter thread, is most closely related to today's conversation. That is, "there's no such thing as society, there's only household individuals and families." This is just another version of, "you're on your own. We could help you (and we're the only institution that can help you!) but we're not gonna do that. So, good luck!" If healthcare had no cost, then rising healthcare costs, obscene pharmaceutical prices, and medical debt, would become an impossibility. If education had no cost, then student debt – and the faux concern that canceling it is regressive and will cause terrible inflation – would also be impossible. Finally, if everyone who wanted a job, could have a job, then "the sack" could no longer be used as a tool to discipline workers. Much of these things boil down to what Michael Kalecki describes in his 1942 paper, The Political Aspects of Full Employment: the rich pay legislators to not legislate. When the government doesn't govern, who's left to control our lives but those who pay legislators the most? Those on top cannot remain on top unless they exploit the rest. They will not stop until they are stopped. Needless to say, overhauling our current system is a daunting task. But what if we could? Even if unlikely, you can't achieve a goal if you don't first dream and design it. Today's conversation with Steve is a thought experiment to dream about what a new system could be. Steve's idea is to replace national money issuance with community-based money issuance. Importantly, these communities don't have to be limited to small geographical regions. They could be trans-jurisdictional, meaning they could span multiple national borders, even dispersed across the world, coordinated by tools such as the internet. Something that spans borders cannot be conquered without the cooperation of all the nations in which the community exists. One historical example of mass collective action is the hole in the ozone layer, which took the cooperation of nations from around the world to reduce chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and greatly reduce the hole. We currently have a society where the vast majority are not cared for. This drives us apart and into the arms of precisely those who pay our legislators to not care for us. Let's replace that with caring for each other, which would drive us together, making it possible to ignore those who personally benefit from mass exploitation and neglect. There's much more to Steve's idea but I'll leave it there. As a reminder, you'll find two of his papers linked in the show notes. Sadly, Steve's mother passed away a week before this episode was released. Here is Steve's tribute to her on Twitter. And now, onto my conversation with Steve Kelsey. Enjoy. Resources Steve Kelsey's Physical Money Propositions v1.5 Steve Kelsey's Transactional Logic v3.0 Milton Friedman on inflation Audio chapters 6:28 - Viral Twitter thread on Thatcher's Great lies 10:48 - New era of my podcast because of Torrens 12:53 - Introducing himself and his ideas 24:05 - My one big question: Once we get there, how do we stay there? 44:47 - Follow ups by me 50:54 - His responses 1:09:02 - Final comments by me 1:13:28 - Goodbyes 1:17:12 - Duplicate of introduction with no background music (for listeners with sensitive ears)
81:48 1/5/23
The Reality of Inflation with Fadhel Kaboub
Dennison University economics professor Fadhel Kaboub discusses the reality of inflation. Dr. Kaboub has recently been appointed as Under-Secretary-General for Financing for Development of the OEC. See: https://oec-oce.org/en/secretary-general-appoints-fadhel-kaboub-under-secretary-general-for-financing-for-development/ Here's the video of this snippet, with thanks to KRTD Media: https://youtu.be/obSc-Ddcpwc It was extracted from this video, starting at around the seventeen-minute mark: https://youtu.be/ggcsd08LXFA This video was curated by Activist #MMT - the podcast, and produced by KRTD Media. Follow Fadhel Kaboub on Twitter at @FadhelKaboub Follow Activist #MMT at @ActivistMMT Follow Kerberos Media at @KRTDMedia
11:06 12/29/22
Full audio: John Harvey's Contending Perspectives: Chapter 1: Introduction [EDITED]
Here's the original video from where this audio came. Here's a list of links to John reading every chapter (released so far) in his 2021 book Contending Perspectives. Note the original video is unedited, but the audio has been edited to eliminate obvious mistakes, coughs, interruptions, and etc. Audio chapters Use the below timestamps to navigate to each major section and occurrence in this section: 0:00 - Opening thoughts by John's cousin, the Cowboy Economist 6:37 - Page vi: Acknowledgements
19:32 12/11/22
Ep136 [2/2]: Gabie Bond: Climate change, Torrens, and the job guarantee
Welcome to episode 136 of Activist #MMT. Today's part two of my two-part conversation with Gabie Bond. Last month, in part one, we talked not about economics, but all about music. Gabie's a classically trained violist and I'm a classically trained singer. Today in part two, we talk about MMT, Torrens University, climate change, and the job guarantee. The Sustainable Prosperity Action Group has written a twenty-five-page report geared to introducing the job guarantee to the general public, and advocating for its implementation in national policy. Since recording this interview, a second version of this report has been released. Gabie is CEO of Modern Money Lab, which is the owner of the intellectual property – the academic content – of the Torrens graduate program. When another university or organization expresses interest in the program, it's Gabie who receives the call. She talks about her role in how the Torrens program came to be and in its day-to-day operations. Ever since considering applying to the program early this year, up until my most recent class meeting last night, Gabie has been there every step of the way. Regarding the job guarantee, Gabie and I have come to the conclusion that people should be allowed to choose to not participate, and should receive full benefits such as healthcare and childcare, and a check about half the size of the job guarantee wage. Even if people are legally allowed to not participate, I believe there will be social pressure applied (onto those who are capable of doing so), to participate. Clearly, everyone in the community benefits from the output of the job guarantee program, whether or not they individually participate. Someone has to make the stuff! That said, I want to clarify that I expect that most of those not wanting to participate in the job guarantee do in fact want to be productive, but are concerned the program would forbid their definition of what it means to be productive. After fifty years of vicious and brutal neoliberalism, it's an understandable concern. (Also, to be clear, Gabie and I both have more to learn, and the most important thing is that the job guarantee's wage and price anchor is not undermined.)Finally, I believe the skepticism of the job guarantee comes from a deep cynicism in the human condition, and the very possibility of the collective us. This has been terribly eroded by a lifetime of abuse at the hands of neoliberalism. Gabie's experience in orchestras and my own in choirs is an example of how it is indeed possible for people to come together and do beautiful things. It is possible to be vulnerable, and to open ourselves to being controlled by others, in a very limited and appropriate fashion. In fact, this kind of collectivism is necessary if we are to survive as a species. You can financially support this podcast by going to Patreon.com/ActivistMMT. For as little as a dollar a month, all patrons get exclusive, super-early access to several full episodes, they can watch and ask questions live on weekly patron streams with my Torrens classmates, and they also have the opportunity to ask my academic guests questions (like these recent episodes with Dirk Ehnts, John Harvey, and Warren Mosler. In addition to this podcast, patrons also support the development of my large and growing collection of learn-MMT resources, and my journey through the Torrens graduate program. To become a patron, you can start by going to Patreon.com/ActivistMMT. Every little bit helps a little bit, and it all adds up to a lot. Thanks. And now, let's get right back to my conversation with Gabie Bond. Enjoy. Audio chapters 4:28 - Climate change and not wanting to fly- mass travel (and the Levy Summer Session) 12:38 - Join an Activist group 13:41 - Her role in the new Torrens University MMT + ecological economics graduate program 19:08 - Apply to Torrens! 20:19 - How Gabie discovered MMT 25:17 - How Jeff discovered MMT 30:52 - Job guarantee report 36:44 - The unbearably cynical criticisms of a job guarantee 41:24 - Should people get a check if they CHOOSE not to work? 51:36 - Final thoughts and goodbyes 59:18 - Duplicate of introduction, with no background music (for those with sensitive ears)
63:28 11/28/22
Ep135 [1/2]: Gabie Bond: Talking all about music [NOT MMT]
Welcome to episode 135 of Activist #MMT. Today I talk with Gabie Bond. In part two, we talk about MMT, Torrens University, climate change, and the job guarantee. In hour one, however, we talk all about music. (To be clear, this first hour has little to do with economics.) As you heard before the opening music, Gabie is a classically trained violist. (Her accompanist and partner is a classically trained pianist.) I'm a classically trained singer, and for the past year have been learning guitar. (Here's a link to part two. A list of the audio chapters in this episode can be found at the bottom of this post.) Gabie and I talk about various topics, such as how the guitar has frets and the viola doesn't, and the consequences that has on our approach to the instrument and the notes. We talk about the differences between perfect and relative pitch, and how neither of us have the former. We also share some of our own experiences learning from, and teaching others. Gabie ends by describing how and why she let much of her professional music career go in order to become an activist, something which is greatly informed by MMT and ecological economics, which she learned thanks to meeting Steven Hail and Phil Lawn. In the show notes, you'll find several links to the things we mention, plus some examples of our playing. Out of my almost 140 episodes, this is the third entirely or substantially dedicated to music. Links to the other two, with Andy Berkeley and Derek Ross, can be found in the show notes. Getting to know MMTers outside of MMT, is important. It's basically an anthropological look at the background of MMTs adherents, which provides important context on the theory and movement as a whole. I was inspired to do this by Fred Lee in his 2011 book, A History of Heterodox Economics Next month in part two, Gabie and I transition to discuss MMT, Torrens University, climate change, and a job guarantee. Gabie is CEO of Modern Money Lab, which is the owner of the intellectual property – the academic content – of the Torrens graduate program. She talks about her role in the program coming to life and in its day-to-day operations. And now, onto my conversation with Gabie Bond. Enjoy. Resources Version two of the job guarantee report by the Sustainable Prosperity Action Group. Here's an overview. Examples of Gabie's playing viola: Piece played before the opening music: Carl Stamitz viola concerto, accompanied by Alexander Hanysz Performing with the Australian Discovery Orchestra: Tuscany from 17 songs Performing with the Australian Discovery Orchestra: The Tender Land (Suite) Aaron Copland Gabie's partner is pianist Alexander Hanysz. His website, which includes music and digital art Gabie's sister Annie is a scientist and part of Scientist's Rebellion. She recently glued her hand to the front-door window of a fossil fuel company headquarters, as mentioned by Steven and covered by ABC TV and radio. Examples of my singing: Me singing Weekend In New England by Barry Manilow Me singing every part except the lead vocal, of an a cappella arrangement I wrote of slave song called Wayfaring Stranger. I created the theme of a train to represent the slave's journey from earth to heaven, where he is finally free of his suffering. And now, onto my conversation with Gabie Bond. Enjoy. Audio chapters 5:25 - Hellos, summer here, winter there 7:24 - Music! 8:32 - Listened to each others' music 13:58 - Traveling by plane to rehearsal and reservations about it 15:46 - Jeff learning guitar, ambitious pieces like Maple Leaf Rag 21:29 - Learning an instrument as an adult (and teaching adults) 23:34 - Guitars have frets, violas don't 27:46 - Perfect pitch versus relative pitch 31:44 - Gabie's partner is a classical pianist, Flinders Street school of music 36:47 - Jeff playing a couple minutes of When She Loved Me on the guitar 40:18 - Jeff- finger-style versus strumming 42:36 - Why Gabie stopped being a musician and became an activist 52:31 - Do you choose to listen in your own time to the (classic) music that you play? 57:04 - Climate change and not wanting to fly- mass travel (and Levy Summer Session) 1:04:18 - Duplicate of introduction, with no background music (for those with sensitive ears)
66:40 10/30/22
Full audio: Cowboy Economist #23: Is we is or is we ain't in a recession? (John Harvey)
Here's the original video from where this audio came. Here's a list of links to the full audio for every Cowboy Economist video.
07:36 10/12/22
Ep134 [2/2]: Charles Hayden: Inflation and Warren's monopoly price setter
Welcome to episode 134 of Activist #MMT. Today's part two of my two-part conversation with Charles Hayden. In part one, Charles described how he created at least three important milestones in MMT history, and how Warren Mosler played a integral role his journey to understanding and accepting MMT. Today in part two, we discuss some of the many varied realistic views of inflation, and how each of them is connected by the fact that the national government is the monopoly price setter for the entire economy – whether they know it or not. This is one of the unique contributions of Modern Money Theory. The first realistic view of inflation is how it's not a disease or a symptom, but rather a measurement of some prices going up somewhere in the economy for some reason. It's not possible to know what the problem is without going out into the real world and discovering them for yourself. If you address those real-world problems, then those prices will naturally go down, which will in turn result in a lower measurement of inflation. This is not unlike how a thermometer measures the temperature of a sick person. The rabid desire to "lower inflation" is not unlike dunking the thermometer into a cup of ice, and ignoring the actual sickness of the actual patient, and doing nothing to help them. This is the idea behind lowering inflation by raising interest rates – if we lock all the starving people out of the kitchen, then we can truthfully say that "everyone who enters this kitchen gets a good meal." These are all examples of how real costs are pushed by those with the most onto those with the least – and subsequently onto the families and communities in which those people exist. A second realistic view is the class conflict theory of inflation. This is as originated by Marx and adopted by MMT. Inflation is essentially a battle between business owners and their workers, where one side fights to increase their profits, and the other fights to increase their wages. A wage-price spiral can only happen if we allow it to happen. The only way it can stop is if one side is empowered enough to prevent the other from pushing back. More broadly, this is a centuries-long battle between rich and poor to increase their power over the other. In all the above cases, outside of natural catastrophe, the government must be complicit in order for the inflation to persist. Currently, the government is essentially entirely on the side of the rich, business owners, and capitalists. So, in almost all cases, all real and financial costs are borne by workers and the poor. The idea that the government is the monopoly price setter, essentially means to me that: We as a collective are in control of our own destiny. The government is us as a collective. We have let it decay into the morass that it currently is. We've let the leash out way too far and now it's going to take a whole lot of effort in order to reign it back in. Regardless, no matter how unlikely or even impossible that task may be, if we are to survive, there is a no alternative. Outside of natural disaster, everything we do and don't do is a choice. We are choosing to go extinct. We could choose to not do that. And now, let's get right back to my conversation with Charles Hayden. Enjoy. Audio chapters 6:23 - Inflation- first thoughts 7:24 - Inflation is to the real world like a thermometer is to sickness (also, inflation the boogeyman) 12:34 - Government is the monopoly price setter. This is behind every other (valid) view of inflation 20:10 - Government is dog walker 24:07 - Foreign demand for a currency 26:40 - The government passively delegates its price setting powers (plus neglect and suppression) 38:29 - Inflation affects peoples lives 40:54 - Fortunate to learn MMT directly from Warren Mosler 42:34 - The language of Warren, versus other academics, versus activists, versus 46:08 - Warren's extreme examples as thought experiments 47:21 - MMT was all over TV (trying to do to MMT what they did to CRT) 49:43 - Dennis Kucinich and my monetary reform article 50:54 - Inflation is an area of concern MMT 53:33 - The first MMT Activist 56:24 - Inflation and the real world, grades and children, temperature and sickness 1:01:46 - Raising interest rates (to 100%!) 1:04:03 - Street protester (there's power in protest) 1:08:30 - MMTers in Texas 1:09:45 - Campaigning 1:13:18 - Vote blue no matter who 1:14:59 - Goodbyes 1:18:44 - Duplicate of introduction, with no background music (for those with sensitive ears)
82:44 9/25/22
Modern Money Doughnuts, seas2-ep12: Fadhel Kaboub: climate justice and monetary sovereignty (audio podcast)
Welcome to season 2, episode 12 of Modern Money Doughnuts (MMD), hosted by Steven Hail and Gabrielle Bond. MMD is an international show about modern monetary theory and ecological economics. This week, Steven and Gabie talk to Fadhel Kaboub, the President of the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity and consultant to Modern Money Lab , is one of the world's leading MMT economists and an expert on sustainability, and the global south. We asked Fadhel about what has been driving global food prices, about his role in climate change discussions among African politicians and diplomats. (All episodes of Modern Money Donuts can be found on this page by Modern Money Labs.) Here's the video from which this audio comes from. (The audio is unedited.) MMD is hosted by Kerberos Media, and the audio podcast is, for now, hosted by Activist #MMT. So if you'd like to be automatically notified of each new MMD episode, then subscribe to Activist #MMT on your favorite podcast platform.
35:07 9/5/22
Ep133 [1/2]: Charles Hayden: His role in early MMT milestones (and Warren Mosler)
Welcome to episode 133 of Activist #MMT. Today I talk with Charles Hayden about his role in creating at least three important milestones in MMT history, and how Warren Mosler played a integral role his journey to understanding and accepting MMT. The first milestone, as hinted at in the cool quote (what you heard at the very beginning), is the 2013 debate between Warren and Austrian economist Robert Murphy. The second is the 2020 conversation between MMT economist Pavlina Tcherneva and billionaire Mark Cuban, as hosted by Real Progressives. The third is a three-and-a-half-hour long talk and Q&A Warren gave in 2012 at a Texas church. This event was a personal milestone for a previous guest of mine, although I've not yet determined who. (Here's a link to part two. A list of the audio chapters in this episode can be found at the bottom of this post.) In part two, Charles and I discuss the many different realistic views of inflation, and how they're all connected by the fact that the national government is the monopoly price setter for the entire economy – whether they know it or not. This is one of the unique contributions of Modern Money Theory. As Charles told me, he wouldn't choose to be so public, or to have to fight so hard as an activist. He'd rather just enjoy his family, home, and backyard. There's not much hope in doing those things, however, without a stable, and not-blazingly hot, world in which to do it. Helping the general public understand the reality of our economic and financial systems is an important prerequisite in consolidating the power we need, in order to stand against those who benefit from instability and inequality – and who, most unfortunately, are exactly those who currently stand at nearly all the levers of power. If you like what you hear, then I hope you might consider becoming a monthly patron of Activist #MMT. Patrons have exclusive access to several full-length episodes, right now. A full list is here, each with a brief highlight. Patrons also get the opportunity to ask my academic guests questions, like in recent episodes with Dirk Ehnts, John Harvey, and Warren Mosler. They also support the development of my large and growing collection of learn MMT resources. To become a patron, you can start by going to patreon.com/activistmmt. Every little bit helps a little bit, and it all adds up to a lot. Thanks. And now, onto my conversation with Charles Hayden. Enjoy. Audio chapters 4:22 - Hellos, radiant barriers, time, and Stranger Things 6:10 - How he discovered MMT 14:56 - Warren talks for 3 1/2 hours at a Dallas church in 2012 23:45 - Mark Cuban 31:47 - MMT during COVID 35:20 - Frederic Lee - "Prices begin with Warren's monopolist." 38:57 - Mistaking Mark Cuban for Nick Hanauer 39:51 - You need to start from scratch (Mosler's business card story.) 50:08 - John Harvey 54:24 - Inflation- first thoughts 55:25 - Inflation is to the real world like a thermometer is to sickness (also, inflation the boogeyman) 1:01:01 - Duplicate of introduction, with no background music (for those with sensitive ears)
63:45 8/28/22
Ep132[3/3,6/6] John Harvey on exchange rates and neoclassicism [guest host: Johnathan Wilson]
Welcome to episode 132 of Activist #MMT. Today's the final part of a six-part series with Texas Christian University (TCU) economics professor and Cowboy Economist John Harvey. Parts four through six are also the first main interview of Activist #MMT hosted by someone other than me. Today's guest host is my own former guest, MMT researcher, Texas lawyer, and pmpecon.com author, Jonathan Wilson. Jonathan and I spoke in episodes 106 and 107. (A list of the audio chapters in this episode can be found at the bottom of this post. Here's a link to part one in this six-part series with John, which contains a link to all other parts. For a link to every Activist #MMT interview with John – plus the full audio of every Cowboy Economist video (!) – go here.) Today in part six, they focus on some of the core assumptions and ideology of mainstream economists. They also discuss how some assume inflation to always be caused by too much demand and too high wages, despite clear empirical evidence that it's caused by something else. You'll find links to many resources, as mentioned by John and Jonathan throughout these final three parts, in the show notes to part four. But for now, let's get right back to Jonathan's conversation with John Harvey. Enjoy. Audio chapters 3:57 - What if the price of diamond jewelry goes up? Should we care? 6:09 - Josh Barro, if it wasn't inflation in used cars, it'd just be somewhere else. (victim blaming) 9:38 - GDP can be dominated by financial speculation. 13:26 - At the rank-and-file level, neoclassicism is not a conspiracy 17:16 - What neoclassicals really believe 21:47 - Thomas Oberlechner and balancing trusting what test subjects say and their biases 25:10 - Paul Davidson- it is better to be approximately right than precisely wrong. (accuracy versus precision) 30:34 - Complicated models for complexity sake, or because it needs to be? 32:32 - Policy based on children's building blocks 35:31 - South Africa COVID loan program (worry for "over investment", for investment in what the economy really doesn't need) 41:39 - How much of the resistance against intervention is ideology? 43:43 - Where did initially believing in no intervention, come from inside you? 46:58 - Do you think MMT needs to be more upfront about its political economy aspect? 49:53 - Warren Mosler's banking proposals 52:41 - Jonathan recaps 55:41 - Goodbyes 58:53 - Duplicate of introduction, with no background music (for those with sensitive ears)
58:20 8/21/22
Ep131[2/3,5/6] John Harvey on exchange rates and neoclassicism [guest host: Johnathan Wilson]
Welcome to episode 131 of Activist #MMT. Today's part five of a six-part series with Texas Christian University (TCU) economics professor and Cowboy Economist John Harvey. Parts four through six are also the first main interview of Activist #MMT hosted by someone other than me. Today's guest host is my own former guest, MMT researcher, Texas lawyer, and pmpecon.com author, Jonathan Wilson. Jonathan and I spoke in episodes 106 and 107. (A list of the audio chapters in this episode can be found at the bottom of this post. Here's a link to part one in this six-part series with John, which contains a link to all other parts. For a link to every Activist #MMT interview with John – plus the full audio of every Cowboy Economist video – go here.) Today in part five, they continue their conversation regarding exchange rates from different points of view and in different contexts. In the second half, John gives his extended thoughts on a recent critique of MMT by Drumetz and Pfister. Next week, they focus on some of the core assumptions and ideology of mainstream economists. They also discuss how some assume inflation to always caused by too much demand and too high wages, despite clear empirical evidence that it's caused by something else. You'll find links to many resources, as mentioned by John and Jonathan throughout these three parts, in the show notes to part four, which is the first with Jonathan. But for now, let's get right back to Jonathan's conversation with John Harvey. Enjoy. Audio chapters 5:19 - Currency markets are driven by financial capital flows, not trade flows. 8:27 - "I feel like a liar when I talk about the mainstream theories of exchange rate." 11:35 - How crises made it into John's textbook and class 13:44 - 1990's Mexican and East Asian currency crises 17:38 - If Mexico had more advanced industry at the time of the crisis, could it have done differently? (Brazil and capital controls) 20:58 - Ilene Grabel's books and concepts 22:17 - Russian interest rates and hot money, versus unsustainable returns for crypto 25:27 - The game of musical chairs 28:37 - Turkey and becoming stuck with short-run strategies 30:55 - Is it harder to build a cold money economy, or boot out the IMF from a hot money economy? 34:45 - Barney Miller and revolution, and bouncers who check facial structure 38:52 - Jamie Galbraith's bi-annual conference at the university of Texas 40:12 - Drumetz and Pfister MMT critique - the setup 41:20 - How John learned about MMT 44:17 - Initial comments on Drumetz and Pfister- tone and rhetoric 46:15 - Drumetz and Pfister- unstated assumptions 47:16 - Drumetz and Pfister- what they get right about MMT (and try to present as an indictment) 54:20 - "MMT doesn't do any formal modeling" - General equilibrium modeling 56:30 - Simultaneous equations can't model time 1:10:39 - What if the price of diamond jewelry goes up? Should we care? 1:15:27 - Duplicate of introduction, with no background music (for those with sensitive ears)
76:51 8/15/22
Modern Money Doughnuts, seas2-ep11: Matthew Rimmer (audio podcast)
Welcome to season 2, episode 11 of Modern Money Doughnuts (MMD), hosted by Steven Hail and Gabrielle Bond. MMD is an international show about modern monetary theory and ecological economics. This week, Steven and Gabie talk to Professor Matthew Rimmer, an expert in intellectual property and innovation law at the Queensland University of Technology. Matthew has recently written about the Right to Repair movement and how we must do more to incentivise the repair and re-use of existing products to move towards something like a circular economy. (All episodes of Modern Money Donuts can be found on this page by Modern Money Labs.) Here's the video from which this audio comes from. (The audio is unedited.) MMD is hosted by Kerberos Media, and the audio podcast is, for now, hosted by Activist #MMT. So if you'd like to be automatically notified of each new MMD episode, then subscribe to Activist #MMT on your favorite podcast platform.
36:01 8/10/22
Ep130[1/3,4/6] John Harvey on exchange rates and neoclassicism [guest host: Johnathan Wilson]
Welcome to episode 130 of Activist #MMT. Today's part four of a six-part series with Texas Christian University (TCU) economics professor and Cowboy Economist John Harvey. Parts four through six are also the first main interview of Activist #MMT hosted by someone other than me. Today's guest host is my own former guest, MMT researcher, Texas lawyer, and pmpecon.com author, Jonathan Wilson. (Jonathan and I spoke in episodes 106 and 107.) (A list of the audio chapters in this episode can be found at the bottom of this post. Here's a link to part one in this six-part series with John, which contains a link to all other parts. For a link to every Activist #MMT interview with John – plus the full audio of every Cowboy Economist video – go here.) This three-part interview with John and Jonathan is wide ranging and in-depth. They start by discussing the difficulties nations face managing their currencies, such as during major conflicts, natural or man-made disasters, and in the global south. They also discuss these things from the perspectives of holders of various currencies, both in and out of a country. In part two, they continue this conversation. In the second half of part two, John gives his extended thoughts on a recent critique of MMT by Drumetz and Pfister. Finally, in part three, they focus on some of the core assumptions and ideology of mainstream economists. They also discuss how some assume inflation to always caused by too much demand and too high wages, despite clear empirical evidence that it's caused by something else. You'll find links to many resources, as mentioned by John and Jonathan throughout these three parts, in the show notes. And now, onto Jonathan's conversation with John Harvey. Enjoy. Resources 2004 book by Ilene Grabel and Ha-Joon Chang: Reclaiming Development: An alternative economic policy manual 2017 book by Ilene Grabel: When Things Don't Fall Apart John Harvey, intermediate macro, 30 lectures (discusses problems with general equilibrium models) Paul Romer "post-real" paper, The Trouble with Macroeconomics and Trouble with Macroeconomics, Update - Paul Romer George DeMartino (Ilene Graebel's husband) 2013 , Professional Economic Ethics: Why Heterodox Economists Should Care Megacorp. an oligopoly by Alfred Eichner (John: somewhat outdated but still important) Steve Keen 1995 paper in Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Finance and economic breakdown: modeling Minsky's "financial instability hypothesis" 2011 post by Warren Mosler, Proposals for the Banking System Audio chapters 3:30 - Video games 7:12 - We need an MMT game 10:58 - The plan 11:31 - What happened to the ruble and domestic inflation in Russia this year? 15:02 - How does Russia manage the price of the ruble through, Gasprom, which is a privately owned bank? 17:00 - What are foreigners who held rubles before the war now doing? 19:53 - Timeline of Russian management of the ruble through the conflict 21:38 - Russian versus non-Russian holders of the ruble 23:08 - Bank of International Settlements (BIS) tri-annual survey of international transactions 26:07 - What might happen after the war? 28:11 - Strong currency as a cause versus as an effect. 33:24 - Ilene Grabel 34:21 - Decrease in price drives demand up, but not enough to drive the price back up to the original level. (No perpetual motion machine) 38:36 - Holding foreign currencies as a form of portfolio diversification. 49:57 - Should countries force others to purchase things in their home currency? 53:55 - Hierarchy of currencies, 1-5 58:59 - What is a low-value exporting country to do? 1:04:35 - The deficit can be evidence of an external desire to save 1:08:16 - Currency markets are driven by financial capital flows, not trade flows. 1:12:00 - Duplicate of introduction, with no background music (for those with sensitive ears)
73:42 8/7/22

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