DEGROWTH AND MMT: A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT | Jason Hickel

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.

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Public Communication and Power: Talking Capitalism, Theory and Critique with John McMurtry

Abstract: This interview with globally distinguished Canadian philosopher and author, John McMurtry, presents dialogue discussing capitalism, asymmetrical power relations, life capital, social theory, common life interest, life value, global problems, market theology, media, values of the market and free market ideology today in relation to public education, academia, intellectual fads and the broader intellectual culture in relation to enabling public understanding of meaning-making and power, totalising market culture, climate, dispossession, health, influence, energy, labour, income, slavery, corporate welfare, neo-liberalism, the global ecosystem, and inequalities of class and power.

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CAGING THE POOR | The Case Against the Prison System | Prof John McMurtry (2000)

We need to recognise from the outset that prisons are not there for the reasons they are said to be there. In truth, they do not morally reform lawbreakers. They do not protect society from violent criminals. They are not retributive institutions. All of these rationalizations of the prison system are myths. This paper will refute each in turn, and then explain the underlying function of the prison system which has not yet been recognised.

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Lessons to be Learnt from Coronavirus

  • A lesson coronavirus is about to teach the world
    • ‘Take it on the chin’
    • Permanent crisis
    • Valuing the common good
    • Nowhere to fly to
    • A boot stamping on a face
    • Survival of the fittest
    • Obscenely stunted worldview
  • Eight Emerging Lessons: From Coronavirus to Climate Action
    • 1. The Coronavirus Disruption is a Harbinger of Things to Come
    • 2. Your Behavior Changes the System
    • 3. Two Levers: Timely Government Response and Data-Based Citizen Awareness
    • 4. We Are Faced With a Choice
    • 5. The Decline of Trump and Far Right Populists
    • 6. The Rise of Data-Driven Awareness-Based Collective Action
    • 7. The Conversation We Need To Have Now: Reimagining Our Civilization
    • 8. School For Transformation: Activating Generative Social Fields

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Public lecture: Changing our Monetary System. Why and How | Bernard Lietaer | School of Business and Economics

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.

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TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE WORLD | Bernard Lietaer | Delta Institute – Dieter Legat

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.

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THE BANKS AND THE CANCER STAGE OF CAPITALISM: FROM CAUSE TO CURE | Prof John McMurtry (1997)

(Abstract)

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.

John McMurtry
Department of Philosophy
University of Guelph

Bank of Montreal Distinguished Visitor Lecture, Trent University, March 13, 1997. Read More

Climate Catastrophe and Social Justice: Analysis and Action (2008) | Prof John McMurtry | scienceforpeace.ca

Published 2008-10-04 by John McMurtry

Keynote Address

Science for Peace and University of Toronto Students Union Conference
Climate Catastrophe and Social Justice: Analysis and Action
October 4, Earth Sciences Building, University of Toronto

The destabilization of the world’s climate and hydrological cycles is a catastrophic effect of a more general disorder to which it is not connected — the failed global market experiment and its regulating money-value system which brings degradation and despoliation of human life and life support systems at virtually every level of life organization.

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Why is there a War in Afghanistan? | Prof John McMurtry (2001) | scienceforpeace.ca

The following article was part of a Science for Peace Forum and Teach-In, about How Should Canada Respond to Terrorism and War on Sunday December 9, 2001. A speech was made there by Professor of Philosophy, John McMurtry. It looks at a wider and deeper issue of totalitarianism that is creeping in, or, as McMurtry suggests, continuing in more earnest.

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Good and Bad Capitalism: Re-thinking Value, Human Needs, and the Aims of Economic Activity | Giorgio Baruchello (2009)

The world is experiencing a twofold crisis. On the one hand, the global, virtualised economy is collapsing and, in its fall, it is bringing down significant sections of the real economy. On the other hand, the environmental collapse of the planet is also marching on, and there is no clear sign that this may stop soon, for the most commonly discussed paths for economic recovery seem to rely upon further spoliation of the Earth’s life support systems. In this book chapter, the reader is to encounter an account of this twofold crisis in light of the deeper axiological grounds that are causing it. To this end, the present author refers extensively to the theory of value developed by Canadian scholar John McMurtry, according to whom: “[F]inancial crises always follow from money-value delinked from real value, which has many names but no understanding of the principle at its deepest levels.”

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