Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is getting a lot of attention these days, thanks in large part to the excellent work of Stephanie Kelton and Nathan Tankus, two of the movement’s most effective communicators. Over the past few weeks a number of people inspired by their work have asked me whether there is scope for thinking about degrowth from a MMT perspective. My answer: definitely. In fact, the two belong together.
We live in a head-spinning, gut-wrenching time of multiplying crises. At home we face outsourced jobs, crumbling cities, underpaid teachers, unaffordable healthcare, endless wars, political corruption, a co-opted corporate media, skyrocketing inequality, and public “austerity” measures whose main purpose is to make tax-breaks for the rich more affordable. Working-class stagnation is producing widespread anxiety, mounting debt, and “despair deaths” from opioid abuse. Fear is fueling populist outrage, along with extremism, authoritarianism, and the conditions for a fascist takeover. Meanwhile, climate change poses an existential threat to humanity itself. All of these calamities spring from the same root cause: an oligarchic capitalism that puts short-term profit for owners over people and planet. While this system seems immutable, upheavals from Occupy Wall Street to the rise of right-wing populism signal a backlash to a political–economic establishment that treats people and planet as resources to be pillaged and expenses to be minimized. Its failures have also been driving the development of new possibilities in the form of more systemic approaches. Still, while systems thinking has improved approaches in fields from agriculture to medicine, so far none of these reforms have been able to channel public frustration into true transformation because none addresses the root problem: oligarchy. The science of systemic vitality we need is also being born, but so far, its findings are diffuse. This article shows how the science of energy systems can galvanize today’s economic reformation by articulating the common sense rules and rigorous measures of systemic vitality, while anchoring them in an evidence-based vision of humanity as a collaborative learning species. The result is a practical path to building systemic socioeconomic vitality by revitalizing human networks, energizing collective learning, and clarifying why oligarchic capitalism is a distortion of our original democratic free-enterprise dream, which is now careening toward collapse.
KEYWORDS: Big history, energy networks, economic development, great change, paradigm shift, regenerative economics, societal learning.
What is money? And how successful is it in solving society’s ills and meeting its needs?
Currency expert Bernard Lietaer states that the fundamental problem with our present-day monetary system is that it is not sufficiently diverse. It dams and bottlenecks our creative energies, and keeps us trapped in a world of scarcity and suffering. But we actually have the capacity to create a very different reality by enabling our energies to move more freely where they are most needed, including towards cleaning up our environment, building adequate housing and providing good quality healthcare, etc.
Prof. Lietaer will show that we need an upgrade of our monetary systems as a systemic solution to our global economic, financial and sustainability crisis. He will show that we need the circulation of different types of currencies for different types of purposes.
The “Law of the Sustainability of Living Systems”, developed with other experts, explains and specifies the principles of sustainability: It says that living systems are only sustainable if they achieve a balance between productivity and elasticity. Balance, therefore, between short-term benefits of long-term existence. Just like that of Yin and Yang – not an “either – or”. We violate this law criminally. We have driven most living systems out of balance, making them non-sustainable.. Mono-cultures of all kinds, for example, emphasize short-term benefits and are not even sustainable in the short term without massive additional costs, as Lietaer shows with the example of forests and today’s monetary system. The book calls on readers to ensure that this law of sustainability is recognized and complied with. Both as individuals and as leaders in business and politics, readers are challenged to balance the short-sighted overvaluation of rapid return with the preservation of resilience.
A Deep Dive into Money and Banking After the banking crisis of 2008-09, even former Fed Chairs were admitting they had gotten it wrong. Economic policies are not working because the underlying theories are wrong. This workshop will take a deep dive into what is really going on with our money and banking system, how… Read More
There is a hidden war of value codes in the world today. On the one hand, there is the life code of value: Life → Means of Life → More Life (L → M of L→ L1). On the other hand, there is the money code of value: in its classical form, Money → Commodity → More Money ($ → C → $1). In its carcinogenic form, this sequence becomes: Money → More Money → More Money ($ → $1→ $2 → – $n). The latter money sequence of value is decoupled from any commitment to life function and is driven by the lending and investment cycles of banks. This paper demonstrates the carcinogenic properties of this sequence at the social level of life-organization.
The second part of the paper proposes a remedy. The first step consists in making the government-conferred privileges of banks – creating money by credit and lending others’ money stocks at compound interest – accountable to society’s life requirements. The second step consists in returning central banks to their constitutional mandate of lending to governments rather than alienating this function to private banks. The article concludes by arguing that the great obstacle to Canada’s and other countries’ economic well-being is the abdication by governments of their sovereign powers over society’s money supply, and the long cultivation of public ignorance on this ultimate issue of public policy and value decision.
Department of Philosophy
University of Guelph
Bank of Montreal Distinguished Visitor Lecture, Trent University, March 13, 1997. Read More
Table of Contents
♦ MODERN MONEY THEORY: THE BASICS
♦ Taxes and the Public Purpose
♦ CREATIONISM VERSUS REDEMPTIONISM: HOW A MONEY-ISSUER REALLY LENDS AND SPENDS
♦ Tax Bads, Not Goods
♦ DEBT-FREE MONEY: A NON-SEQUITUR IN SEARCH OF A POLICY
♦ Why Money Matters
♦ MODERN MONEY THEORY: How I came to MMT and what I include in MMT
♦ An MMT View of the Twin Deficits Debate
♦ A Conspiracy Against MMT? Chicago Booth’s Polling and Trolling
♦ A Must Read: Why does everyone hate MMT?
♦ HOW TO PAY FOR THE WAR Read More
“The only people who claim that money is not an issue are those who have sufficient money that they are relieved of the ugly burden of thinking about it.” So thought the American writer Joyce Carol Oates. This Primer will explain why now even those fortunate few should think about it.
Have you ever wondered where your money comes from? How the value of your money is determined?
Who is really in charge of your savings?
To start answering these questions, we need to understand the rules of the global money game, know who the players are and why they act the way they do. In this Primer, you will meet the key actors in our money system, and learn the essentials of the map of the current system that we will refer to later, when we explore the fundamental changes taking place in the system. Never before have monetary issues had such an influence on public policy worldwide, so this is a good time to educate ourselves about what is at stake. All of this will dramatically affect your money and your own future as surely as a radical climate change would affect the flowers in your garden.
The starting point is to become aware that “your” money really represents a partnership between you and your country’s banking system. In this chapter, you will learn how banking originated and how any form of storing value (real estate, stocks, bonds and currencies) can be transformed into additional new money by banks.
The cause of the recent series of currency crises (Mexico, Asia. Eastern Europe) will be traced to unprecedented ongoing changes in the global currency markets. Because banks have proven historically to be very fragile institutions, specialized emergency “firemen” or intervention organizations have been created: a Central Bank in each country, and on a global level the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bank of International Settlements (BIS). Their role in managing the growing instability of the global money system will be assessed. We will then return to the initial questions on how all this affects your own money and future.
4. May 2016, Brussels
Q 1– 0:07 – Where does money come from?
Q 2 –1:04 – Is money neutral?
Q 3 –2:41– Why is money scarce?
Q 4 –4:57– Can this monetary system work sustainably?
Q 5 –7:46– Does the financial system need growth?
Q 6 –9:11– Why are you interested in monetary-systems?
Q 7 –10:41 – Do we have just one monetary system at the moment? Like a monopoly?
Q 8 –12:32 – What would you propose regarding the monetary system?
Q 9 –15:31 – Are there alternatives to the current monetary system?
Q 10 –17:30 – Why is there this speechlessness about money-topics?
Q 11a –19:22 – What kind of behaviour does our money-system create between people?
Q 11b –21:49 – Does the scarcity of money harm only the poor people?
Q 11c –25:56 – What does money do to people and their relationships?
Q 12 –31:55 – How did you discover complementary currencies?
Q 13 –34:42 – Did the knowledge of complementary currencies effect your life?
Q 14 –35:49 – What do you think your co-author Margrit Kennedy achieved in regard to monetary systems?
Q 15 –37:33 – Are there changes to this financial system?
Q 16 –41:09 – What do you think about internet-based currencies like Bitcoin and the new technology Blockchain?
Q 17 –42:30 – You observed the global financial development for decades. What do you conclude from your experience?
Q 18 –44:34 – Where do you see practical progress concerning complementary currencies?
Q 19 –48:00 – What would you propose for countries which are in Euro-crisis like Greece?
Q 20 –49:02 – If you were in power, what would you do?
Q 21 –50:40 – What do you think about the Euro?
Q 22 –52:21 – For which task do we need the Euro?
Q 23 –55:02 – Could a currency have influence on the question of war or peace?
Q 24 –58:10 – Are there “currency-wars” or wars because of currencies?
Q 25 –59:43 – Does the money-system polarize?
Q 26 –1:01:10 – Can a national lead-currency deprive other currencies and nations?
Q 27 –1:02:00 –What is the motivation for your work?
Q 28 –1:03:45 – Do you like to give a message to the next generation?
Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy
- The government must raise funds through taxation or borrowing in order to spend. In other words, government spending is limited by its ability to tax or borrow.
- With government deficits, we are leaving our debt burden to our children.
- Government budget deficits take away savings.
- Social Security is broken.
- The trade deficit is an unsustainable imbalance that takes away jobs and output.
- We need savings to provide the funds for investment.
- It’s a bad thing that higher deficits today mean higher taxes tomorrow.