Who is this ear-ringed Aussie? It's my second-favorite Billy Mitchell. Like my top favorite Billy Mitchell, shown below --
... this Billy Mitchell also lords it over an obscure subculture that has recently caught the attention of the mainstream.
A few months back I noticed that many of the better commenters had disappeared from my favorite economics blogs. Why did my stomping grounds suddenly feel like Studio 54 circa 1985?
As it turns out, everyone was on to the new new thing: Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT for short. MMT is a neo-chartalist economic theory promoted by Bill Mitchell and a few other eccentric characters. The main insight of MMT is that money is a creature of the state and under a fiat, floating exchange rate currency regime, a sovereign government has no nominal spending constraint.
What does this mean in English? Any country that prints its own currency and borrows in its own currency can never go bankrupt against its will. It can always print more currency to pay off its debts. A second key aspect of MMT is an emphasis on full employment as the appropriate goal for monetary and fiscal policy.
Who are its enemies? The deficit terrorists like Pete Peterson, the IMF, the EU leadership and the rest of the neo-liberal establishment.
Sounds good, right? As much as I am with Bill & co. in spirit, I do find his underlying economic arguments a bit off -- but that's a subject for another post. Nonetheless, I have to applaud the success he and his allies have had in popularizing a strong anti-austerity position, despite the prevailing deficit hysteria.
Just a few weeks ago I turned on BNN, my beloved closet-leftist Canadian business network, and saw one of his allies, Marshall Auerback, eloquently bashing the deficit hawks. Music to my ears!
The next step in the MMTers' publicity campaign is being organized by some of our friends over at Corrente: a teach-in and shadow conference taking place on April 28th in Mordor-on-Potomac. The idea is to provide a counter-narrative to Pete Peterson's deficit terrorist conference that is happening at the same time. I encourage everyone to do what they can to help out with this laudable initiative.
Not to prod, but in particular I think they could use a bit of high quality agitprop, *cough* Fluggenock *cough*.