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The MMT debate

from Lars Syll

  1. Patrick Newman
    May 15, 2019 at 11:50 am

    Taxation? Read my lips – no new taxes, but how about reversing the tax cuts made as a windfall for major corporations that Trump gifted his oligopolistic friends?

  2. lobdillj
    May 15, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    Dean, like all other mainstream economists (and all politicians) is always ready to ask, “How’re you going to pay for it?” This implies that taxes are the resource, and you can only raise them so much (never enough to pay off the national debt, however). The fact is taxes are removed from the money supply and are extinguished by the government upon reception. They are not income that can be actually used to pay for anything. ALL expenses of the government are paid with newly created money. So it is wrong to speak of taxes as being the source of income from which all government spending will be (even eventually) paid. The national “debt” is a useful fiction to be used as a weapon against spending programs that the power in Congress wants to fund or suppress.

    • May 16, 2019 at 7:14 pm

      “The fact is taxes are removed from the money supply and are extinguished by the government upon reception. They are not income that can be actually used to pay for anything. ALL expenses of the government are paid with newly created money.”

      I’m afraid your “fact” is no more than an unsupported assertion. What makes you think it’s true? How’s this for a fact? “All taxes, including so-called personal ones, are expensed and paid by enterprise*. Firms then pass these costs on down to the retail level where they will need to be resolved by those on the receiving end of government income, as these are the only individuals having that ability.” The costs of e.g. M-I complex output are not passed on down to the retail level, because, while vertically integrated separately, these form forcibly payable final goods already. It’s producers do share in regular final output however, thanks to taxes as income. And even though it’s true that gov’t liabilities are private sector assets, in a free-enterprise system there is no “G” sector that as such is able to balance independently.

      MMT, while indeed better than anything out there at present, is still far too ambiguous to convince its skeptics. How about coming up with some assumptions that are undeniable, so that MMT can be made a theory that is true until contradictions make an appearance? Kelton, for one, at least used to readily admit it isn’t a theory [yet]. Cf. Stephanie Kelton, Session 2, 1st Fiscal Sustainability Teach-In and Counter-Conference
      George Washington University, Washington DC, April 28, 2010

      *) This is a first approximation only, (e.g.) private property taxes aren’t. But given** that all taxes (regardless under what pretext they are charged) are paid out of income, there still is an income-for-income exchange for the purpose of resolving final output between those obtaining personal income from the public and private sectors.
      **) Following from a monetary theory that _is_ based on assumptions.

      • lobdillj
        May 17, 2019 at 5:13 pm

        Thanks for your input, John. I’m having a hard time trying to understand what you are saying. What, exactly do you mean when you say, “How about coming up with some assumptions that are undeniable, so that MMT can be made a theory that is true until contradictions make an appearance?”

        What is the deniable assumption in my comment? What is the unsupported assertion?

        And further, I don’t understand what you are getting at when you say, ”All taxes, including so-called personal ones, are expensed and paid by enterprise.” This seems to contradict the “fact” that every taxpayer, individual or organization, pays income taxes.

        You seem to be unimpressed with the undeniable fact that taxes require payment in dollars, and this requirement guarantees the domestic demand for dollars, regardless of whether the dollar is backed by a commodity or backed by nothing at all (as in “fiat money”)

        Today our dollar is fiat money created by computer keystrokes. It has no intrinsic value. The creator of the currency is the sovereign power in the land, and its ability to create currency is unrestricted. This is not to say that GDP is unaffected by currency issue decisions. (Am I making any unsupported assertions or assumptions so far?) Is it too much of a stretch to say that the sovereign is a different kind of economic player than households or other entities that use the currency? Is it a stretch to say that the economy is populated by those whose activities are necessary to the production cycle and those whose activities make no contribution to production?

        So far I don’t see any unsupported assertions in the above.

      • May 18, 2019 at 1:53 pm

        You’re trying to explain the economy’s workings from a determinate and static _is_ condition onward, lobdillj. This would be a deniable assumption. But thanks for engaging too.
        An individual’s taxes are paid from the income provided by firms as their costs, as such no different than their “own” taxes are a part of those costs. And firms can only sustain their operation through vertically integrated returns on final output over time by all individuals; with the latter receiving income disbursements in both its private and public sectors. If these are indeed undeniable facts that apply to an economy behaving dynamically, then you’ll need a coherent theory of the “money supply” to explain why taxes are removed from it. If you can’t, it’s an unsupported assertion

        MMT explains the economy’s finances operationally. For better or worse, it either refuses or is unable to set assumptions, so as to delineate a theory from there. Hence, a theory it isn’t. Unfortunately, their resulting (non-)theory of the money supply seems to be full of holes. First, as alluded to above, it explains in terms of what it does and not what it is. Second, it has no way of explaining how “liquidity”, identified in the main as a cash asset, comes about; or remains intact after the payback of loans allegedly has shrunk that very money supply. And third, it can’t identify what exactly diminishes operationally for entrepreneurs when loans are paid off, with only bank-income related demand for final output having come to a stop together with their interest payments; yet now, according to them, requiring new loans to sustain production and aggregate demand. To me all of this strongly suggest that MMT’rs haven’t freed themselves from the illusion that money (and its supply) is a statically approachable _thing_. Dynamically, and with continuity being the criterion, there is no determinate money supply. Same as nothing else (i.e. stock) _is_ a valid point of departure from which to start analyzing. Money as a fundamental no-thing is strictly a unit of accounting for flow, subject to inflation and deflation when manipulated, entirely loose from CPI evidences occurring later. This is how it rolls out of my own set of first principles, true until proven false by contradictions showing up.

        I’ll make this short re. the rest of your points. As long as you can keep yourself from falling into the trap of considering money as a substantial thing that is, like a physical means of exchange or store of physical value, I’ll likely agree with you. Except perhaps on the subject of a job guaranty program. I consider MMT’s approach as a band-aid solution to a situation that as a rule is hemorrhaging average-pay occupations, jobs that never should have been lost in the first place, and replacing them with minimum-wage jobs. While for sure a better than nothing interim plan to getting those resigned to remain outside the active labour force back into it instead, I consider a return to the much more progressive taxation policies of the post-war “golden age” to be far more effective; as it would be grabbing a hold of the cause of involuntary unemployment, and not just treating the symptoms through a monetary manipulation that isn’t side-effect free.

      • lobdillj
        May 19, 2019 at 1:02 am

        JV: You’re trying to explain the economy’s workings from a determinate and static _is_ condition onward, lobdillj. This would be a deniable assumption.

        JL: John, I’m still not clear on what you’re trying to argue. You say (above) that an attempt to explain the economy’s workings is a deniable assumption? This doesn’t make sense to me.

        JV: An individual’s taxes are paid from the income provided by firms as their costs, as such no different than their “own” taxes are a part of those costs. And firms can only sustain their operation through vertically integrated returns on final output over time by all individuals; with the latter receiving income disbursements in both its private and public sectors. If these are indeed undeniable facts that apply to an economy behaving dynamically, then you’ll need a coherent theory of the “money supply” to explain why taxes are removed from it. If you can’t, it’s an unsupported assertion.

        JL: Money supply is a definitional term, not requiring a “coherent theory”. It has nothing to do with where a taxable income comes from or how the payor obtained it.

        JV: MMT explains the economy’s finances operationally. For better or worse, it either refuses or is unable to set assumptions, so as to delineate a theory from there. Hence, a theory it isn’t.

        JL: I don’t understand this at all.

        JV: Unfortunately, their resulting (non-)theory of the money supply seems to be full of holes. First, as alluded to above, it explains in terms of what it does and not what it is.

        JL: I’m sorry, this doesn’t make sense to me.

        JV: Second, it has no way of explaining how “liquidity”, identified in the main as a cash asset, comes about; or remains intact after the payback of loans allegedly has shrunk that very money supply.

        JL: What do you mean “allegedly”? And liquidity doesn’t “come about” nor “remain intact”.

        JV: And third, it can’t identify what exactly diminishes operationally for entrepreneurs when loans are paid off, with only bank-income related demand for final output having come to a stop together with their interest payments; yet now, according to them, requiring new loans to sustain production and aggregate demand.

        JV: To me all of this strongly suggest that MMT’rs haven’t freed themselves from the illusion that money (and its supply) is a statically approachable _thing_. Dynamically, and with continuity being the criterion, there is no determinate money supply. Same as nothing else (i.e. stock) _is_ a valid point of departure from which to start analyzing. Money as a fundamental no-thing is strictly a unit of accounting for flow, subject to inflation and deflation when manipulated, entirely loose from CPI evidences occurring later.

        JL: I have no idea what you are talking about above.

        JV: This is how it rolls out of my own set of first principles, true until proven false by contradictions showing up.

        JV: I’ll make this short re. the rest of your points. As long as you can keep yourself from falling into the trap of considering money as a substantial thing that is, like a physical means of exchange or store of physical value, I’ll likely agree with you. Except perhaps on the subject of a job guaranty program. I consider MMT’s approach as a band-aid solution to a situation that as a rule is hemorrhaging average-pay occupations, jobs that never should have been lost in the first place, and replacing them with minimum-wage jobs. While for sure a better than nothing interim plan to getting those resigned to remain outside the active labour force back into it instead, I consider a return to the much more progressive taxation policies of the post-war “golden age” to be far more effective; as it would be grabbing a hold of the cause of involuntary unemployment,

        JV: “…and not just treating the symptoms through a monetary manipulation that isn’t side-effect free.”

        JL: Huh?

      • May 20, 2019 at 8:20 am

        J.L, perhaps a focusing on the deleted crucial context of that sentence would have made more sense? There are I think four possible states of the economy’s elements to interact as a system, to wit: determinate-static-linear, determinate-dynamic-linear, determinate-dynamic-nonlinear, and interim (meaning, until an exogenously located determining purpose becomes fulfilled) indeterminate-dynamic-nonlinear. Each has its own separate epistemology, and the question is which of those states describes the economy best. My search for answers concerns the last one, because, while believing it relevant, I’ve yet to come across an open question or contradiction. And from that specific position, determinate-static-linear arguments are deniable.

        Is this a debate about seeking the true reality of an economy’s workings, or are you a true believer convinced of having found that truth already? Definitional terms in and of themselves are meaningless. And relative to their truth they could even be total nonsense. To know if anything is true and not just ideological you’ll need to set assumptions and delineate a truth in its terms. But then again, it may all be redundant to you.

        You don’t understand “operational”? Perhaps this will help: “The ideas [of MMT] are not theoretical, and they aren’t particularly modern. What we’re doing is simply describing, operationally, the way government finance works. It’s not a theory; we do not make assumptions, although we are economists. What we’ve been describing to you today is not dependent upon any ceteris paribus condition or any set of assumptions about perfect competition or rational agents or anything else that you get exposed to when you study economics, but rather an attempt to simply describe the way in which the institutional arrangements are set up, and the accounting identities and what happens in a balance sheet framework; when one side of the equation moves, what happens on the other side of the equation? That’s really all we’re up to…”
        Stephanie Kelton, Session 2 — 1st Fiscal Sustainability Teach-In and Counter-Conference. George Washington University, Washington DC, April 28, 2010

        MMT, from an an economy’s operational point of departure, alleges that paying back loans diminishes the money supply. I guess it seems only logical that if loans create money, paying them back must destroy that money. Unfortunately, not having a theory of what money _is_ to fall back on, that definitional term may just as well be nonsensical as it could be true. And from the position of a paradigm whose (interim) status is indeterminate-dynamic-nonlinear, while loans indeed do create money, only failures in the demand for production output leading to bankruptcies will destroy it. So if the latter interpretation, arrived at from a set of first principles, reflects the economy’s true reality i.e. its ontology, MMT’s ideas about a shrinking money supply are bunk.

        What’s your definition of liquidity? I guess we’ll take it from there for I think this post is already long enough. On the other hand, while Keynes made sense that the difficulty doesn’t lie in accepting new ideas but in escaping from the ones already having saturated one’s mind, I’m not altogether convinced that you’re not feigning your incomprehension as a debating tool either.

      • lobdillj
        May 20, 2019 at 3:38 pm

        This is going nowhere. I apologize for wasting space.

  3. May 15, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    A good start on explaining MMT, but we need to go deeper and help people understand the politics of money -creation and credit-allocation, as in our TV special seen on PBS stations in the USA ” The Money Fix ” ( free to our colleagues at http://www.ethicalmarkets.tv and globally distributed for classrooms at http://www.films.com ).
    Then we need to explain how financialization has become predatory on the real economy
    ( see my reviews of Nick Silver” Finance,Society & Sustainability”(2018); Nomi Prins : Collusion (2018) and Mariana Mazzucato ” The Value of Everything” (2019) all at http://www.ethicalmarkets.com,on our Books & Reviews page.

  4. May 15, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    There was not one word mentioned about war and the reality of existing deficit spending going to war.

    Logic leading to avoidance of deficit spending have zero to do with the thinking of modern economists. The subject of economics is rank blindness and religious faith the central experts can conjure a green new path away from approaching species suicide.

    Three grown men blathering about mmt economics that have nothing whatsoever to do with real economics on a program called real news.

    I scroll down to cut off below the mouths and avoid moving video brand name brain washing when I listen to things like this.

  5. Craig
    May 15, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    MMT, like Keen’s financial instability and Hudson’s financial parasitism are all trying to deal with the correct problems, it’s just that they all still reside within the current monetary paradigm and haven’t recognized the paradigm changing policy point whose operation can bring directness of the monetary circuit and immediately “kill the two problematic birds of economics, scarcity of available individual income and chronic inflation….with one stone”.

    When you recognize that a 50% discount/rebate policy at the point of retail sale is the very temporal universe expression of the new paradigm of Abundantly Direct and Reciprocal Monetary Gifting the scales fall from your eyes.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah you still have to regulate and be vigilant because the world and man is not an altogether rational and ethical being, but JFC, what else is new? A new paradigm, that’s what and the secret that the OCD theoretical/scientistic types can’t understand is….EVERYTHING ADAPTS TO A NEW PARADIGM, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND….BECAUSE IT’S SUCH A SINGULARLY PROGRESSIVE EVENT FOR EVERYBODY BUT THE OBVIOUS BAD ACTORS THAT DESPERATELY NEED TO GET A STAKE DRIVEN THROUGH THEIR HEART ANYWAY.

    Wisdomics-Gracenomics concisely enumerates what needs to be done to complete MMT and Keen’s and Hudson’s work among others. And the rest….we learn by doing while being faithful to the concept behind even the new paradigm.

    • lobdillj
      May 18, 2019 at 2:31 pm

      I think we both understand what is wrong. We have a fiat money system now, and it is still being operated like a hard money system.

      • Craig
        May 18, 2019 at 6:41 pm

        Yes, all of the leading heterodox theories/theorists basically agree on what needs to be done (injecting more money into the system while preventing consumer price and asset inflation) it’s just that they don’t know a truly thorough and effective way of accomplishing it.

        And that’s where Wisdomics-Gracenomics’ insights about the inversion power point of retail sale and the guiding, underlying and enlightening signatures of all historical paradigm changes point the way. It integrates and completes all of the heterodox insights. Reforms are like cladding on the side of a house. Paradigm changes are an entirely new dwelling.

  6. Helen Sakho
    May 15, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    Wonderful Live photo opportunity to say what exactly? I’m afraid I am baffled by it all, expect to say that in this context MMT might well stand for the Mirages and Miracles of Tautology.
    Still, others might think differently. Each to their own as the saying goes.

    • May 16, 2019 at 3:02 am

      I will never forget the Mirages and Miracles of Tautology. They explain everything.

  7. Ken Zimmerman
    May 21, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Money is not a commodity medium of exchange, but a social technology composed of three fundamental elements. The first is an abstract unit of value in which money is denominated. The second is a system of accounts, which keeps track of the individuals’ or the institutions’ credit or debt balances as they engage in trade with one another. The third is the possibility that the original creditor in a relationship can transfer their debtor’s obligation to a third party in settlement of some unrelated debt. This third element is vital. Whilst all money is credit, not all credit is money: and it is the possibility of transfer that makes the difference. An IOU which remains forever a contract between just two parties is nothing more than a loan. It is credit, but it is not money. It is when that IOU can be passed on to a third party—when it is able to be “negotiated” or “endorsed,” in the financial jargon—that credit comes to life and starts to serve as money. Money, in other words, is not just credit—but transferable credit. As the nineteenth-century economist and lawyer Henry Dunning Macleod put it: These simple considerations at once shew the fundamental nature of a Currency. It is quite clear that its primary use is to measure and record debts, and to facilitate their transfer from one person to another; and whatever means be adopted for this purpose, whether it be gold, silver, paper, or anything else, is a currency. We may therefore lay down our fundamental conception that currency and transferable Debt are convertible terms; whatever represents transferable debt of any sort is Currency; and whatever material the Currency may consist of, it represents transferable debt, and nothing else. As we shall see, this innovation of the transferability of debts was a critical development in the history of money. It is this, rather than the graduation from a mythical barter economy, which has historically revolutionized societies and economies. In fact, it is barely an exaggeration—if we make allowance for the unmistakable overtone of Victorian melodrama—to say, as Macleod did: “If we were asked—Who made the discovery which has most deeply affected the fortunes of the human race? We think, after full consideration, we might safely answer—The man who first discovered that a Debt is a Saleable Commodity.” The recognition of this third fundamental element of money is important. It explains what determines money’s value—and why money, even though it is nothing but credit, cannot just be created at will by anyone. For sellers to accept buyers’ IOUs in payment, they must be convinced of two things. They must have reason to believe that the debtor whose obligation they are about to accept will, if it comes to it, be able to satisfy their claim: they must believe, in other words, that the money’s issuer is creditworthy. This much would be enough to sustain the existence of bilateral credit. The test for money is more stringent. For credit to become money, sellers must also trust that third parties will be willing to accept the debtor’s IOU in payment as well. They must believe that it is, and will remain indefinitely, transferable—that the market for this money is liquid. Depending on how powerful the reasons are to believe these two things, it will be easier or harder for an issuer’s IOUs to circulate as money. It is because of this third critical element of transferability that money issued by governments, or by the banks which governments endorse and backstop, is thought to be special. Indeed, there is an influential school of thought—known as chartalism —which argues that governments and their agents are the only viable issuers of money.

    But the story of the Irish bank closure exposes this as another misleading preconception. The closure of the Irish banks showed that the system of credit creation and clearing need not be the officially sanctioned one. The official system—the banks—was suspended for the best part of seven months. But money did not disappear. Like the infamous fei that sank to the bottom of the sea, the associated banks suddenly vanished—and with them the official apparatus of credit accounts and clearing—and yet money continued to exist. The Irish bank closure demonstrates that the official paraphernalia of banks and credit cards and solemnly printed notes with unforgeable insignia is not what is essential to money. All of this can disappear and yet money remains: a system of credit and debt, ceaselessly expanding and contracting like a beating heart, sustaining the circulation of trade. What matters is only that there are issuers whom the public considers creditworthy, and a wide enough belief that their obligations will be accepted by third parties. For governments and banks to fulfil those two criteria is generally easy; whereas for companies, let alone individuals, it is generally hard. But as the Irish example goes to show, these rules of thumb do not apply universally. When the official monetary arrangements disintegrate, it is surprising how effective society is at improvising an alternative.

    So what? What difference does it make, in our everyday world, if I think of money as social technology rather than a thing? And why does it matter if it’s a social technology that doesn’t necessarily depend upon the state?” These are fair questions. All I have been arguing for ultimately, is a simple change of perspective. But simple changes of perspective can have dramatic consequences. My own powers of persuasion aren’t enough. So, I turn to a favorite story of the great physicist Richard Feynman for help. In one of his famous television lectures on physics, Feynman wanted to convey how, in science, a small change of perspective can sometimes produce a radically different view of the world—and how our preconceptions might make that change of perspective seem counter-intuitive. He gave the example of how the static electricity generated by using a plastic comb can be used to levitate a piece of paper. We never cease, he explained, to be entertained and amazed by this feat. The reason is that we are used to forces that we can see—for example our hand touching the comb itself, experiencing resistance, and therefore being able to grasp it and lift it up—and so we think only these forces are real. By contrast, forces that we can’t see—for example the action at a distance caused by the electromagnetic field attracting the paper to the comb—seem like magic. But in fact, we have it exactly the wrong way round. It is the force that we cannot see—the electromagnetic field—which is the fundamental force. The invisible electromagnetic field lies behind both the apparently magical action at a distance of the static electricity and the familiar solidity of everything we can see. It is just the same with money. As we have seen, the great temptation has always been to think that coins and other currency, being tangible and durable, are money—on top of which the magical, incorporeal apparatus of credit and debt is constructed. The reality is exactly the opposite. It is the social technology of transferable credit that is the fundamental force—the primitive monetary reality. The stone fei of Yap, the willow tally sticks of medieval England, the banknotes, cheques, scrip money, and private IOUs of countless episodes of monetary disorder throughout history, and the billions of bits of electronic data that the banking systems of today’s advanced economies use: they are all simply tokens to keep track of the underlying and ever-fluctuating balances of millions upon millions of credit and debt relationships. The consequences of this change of perspective on money for our understanding of our economic ways of life are every bit as dramatic, in their sphere, as the consequences of the shift from the Newtonian to the quantum theoretic perspective have been for our understanding of our physical reality.

    • May 23, 2019 at 8:32 am

      Interesting post, Ken. I agree with you on a number of points but disagree on its very essence. First, not being able to detect whether or not your argument delineates from a set of self-evident first principles, I take it that your reasoning is inductive. Right? This would mean that while your proposed reality of money as a social technology could be true, you’ve got no way of proving it to be so. Second, you’re missing or at least give no indication of the fact, that the bulk of our economy operates with incurred costs being passed on down to another level; i.e., it’s vertically integrated, so that, abstracting from retail services, no firm on whatever production level is able to operate independently. And third, your “vital” third element, transferable credit, seems to possess a possible identity independent of any income that is disbursed in the course of producing output. The question is why this would be so; or in other words, is it truly independent as a transferable identity.

      Firms book disbursed money-income as a debit entry that for continuity reasons will need to be resolved by credits coming in, so creditors won’t pull the plug. Agreeing with MMT that money is debt, the latter not only has an etymologically sourced identity that is the same as debit, (in some languages it’s the same word too) but functions identical in economics’ reasoning as well. This would mean that received income is only an asset in the form of a claim to final output and not an asset in general. Hence, reasoned as identical to debt already, we can’t earn debit-booked income to pay off (resolve) debts inflicted by financing costs of final goods. There is no feasible “net” that can arise to be directed that way. An economy-deep continuity is only achievable when income directed toward paying off financing costs, is redirected by its receivers toward spending on (retail only!) final output. In such manner a mutual sharing of that final output between producers and financiers would be the result. The more than substantial part that isn’t, represents a wasted effort and unrecoverable _loss_ to the economy’s real potential, in more ways than one. For any recycled financial “capital” (read: to be resolved debt), wrongly perceived to be necessary to spur growth*, would be costlessly creatable from thin air; as if our challenged planet could accommodate an intensified energy usance related to such growth. And while non of the reasoning above decidedly rules out the possibility that the “transferability” attribute of money could still be true, the latter would need to be deduced from a set of first principles that I don’t think has been a part of your argument yet.

      *) E.F. Denison, likely to the chagrin of his neoclassical colleagues, already in 1962 definitively disproved that notion. See: “The sources of economic growth in the U.S. and the alternatives before us.” New York, NY: Committee for Economic Development, Supplementary Paper No. 13.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 23, 2019 at 1:29 pm

        John, I’m an anthropologist and historian. With only a few exceptions I know of we don’t use “first principles.” Mostly because they are derived from historical and anthropological observations “dressed up” to make whoever’s using them seem smarter and more important. I believe your point about vertically integrated incurred costs makes by position even stronger. Transactions of products (product trade) requires debt and credit that is transferable over time and distance. Otherwise, trade beyond our own backyard and the next week or month is impossible.

        Your second paragraph is interesting. But it’s about the tools, e.g., cost accounting to carry out use of the social technology called money. It is not the social technology. What these tools look like and what they do depends on the social technology of money from which they are derived. And this social technology varies from culture to culture. In your terms the look of the tools is derived from the culture of which they are a part. Not from any first principles, unless you consider the culture a first principle.

      • May 23, 2019 at 1:50 pm

        John, I also see your first paragraph and this discussion as interesting.

        With money viewed as a social invention one can and should include its functions. One such social function is agreement that money involves exchange and a store of value.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 24, 2019 at 1:49 pm

        Garrett and Craig, in other words, why was money invented? No one really knows all the details.

        Ancient Greece was the first civilization to be transformed by money, but shortly thereafter money colonized all cultures after the Greeks. Humans have found many ways to bring order to the flow of experiences and consciousness. Money is one of the most important. Money is strictly a human invention in that it is itself a metaphor; it stands for something else. Just about anything else. It allows humans to structure life in complex ways not available to them before the invention of money. This metaphorical quality gives money a central role in the organization of societies and cultures. Money represents an infinitely expandable way of structuring value and social relationships—personal, political, and religious as well as commercial and economic. Money created marketplaces everywhere it went. Money created a new urban geography in giving rise to towns and cities centered on the marketplace rather than the palace or temple. The exchange of goods demanded new commercial routes over land and sea from one market town/city to the next, thereby creating a web of commerce that linked all these market cities/towns. This new social network founded on commerce and money gave rise to a new political system. Alexander the Great expanded this new commercial network and with it spread the new political system, which would eventually become democracy.

        Greek became the language of commerce, and of political and religious discussion. The Greek spoken in the markets of Iberia and Palestine was not the classical Greek of Aristotle and certainly not the ancient Greek of Homer. The merchants used a simple, almost pidginized form of shop Greek, but this language proved capable of conveying great ideas far beyond the needs of simple market exchange. The marketplaces of the Mediterranean became focal points for discussing a new kind of religion. The followers of Jesus used the simplified market Greek to spread their ideas from one market center to another. The language of the New Testament was called “God’s Poor Greek.” This allowed for the rise of a “common person’s” religion, open to all people. Christianity raged through the cities of the Mediterranean as a totally new and revolutionary concept in religion. It was a uniquely urban religion that had none of the fertility gods or weather gods of the sun, wind, rain, and moon associated with farmers. It was the first religion that sought to leap over the social and cultural divisions among people and unite them in a single world religion. Its followers actively sought to make Christianity a universal religion; they did so in much the same way that money was creating a universal economy. A thousand years after Jesus, Islam followed the example of Christianity, creating another world religion.

        According to anthropologist Ruth Benedict, every culture organizes life around a few core principles, activities, and beliefs; from which all institutions and activities hang like apples on a tree. That core for western culture is money. Money is the cultural configuration of western culture. But money was not the configuration for all cultures. The Dogon of Mali organized their lives around art and ritual, the Nuer around cows, the ancient Egyptians around death, the Aztecs around human sacrifice, and the Papuans around marriages, yams, and pigs. Each of these offered a focus for conducting the essential activities of life. The odd abstraction we call money would make no sense to these people, just as we would find their cultures strange and unappealing. Money, by contrast with these forms of aesthetic and biological satisfaction, lacks immediacy; yet in modern society, money serves as the master key that unlocks nearly all pleasures—as well as many pains. Money constitutes the focal point of modern world culture. Money explains nearly all relationships among people, not just between customer and merchant in the marketplace or employer and laborer in the workplace. Ever more in modern society, money designates relationships between parent and child, among friends, between politicians and constituents, among neighbors, and between clergy and parishioners. Money forms the central institutions of the modern market and economy, and around it is grouped the ancillary institutions of kinship, religion, and politics. Money is much more today than the language of commerce. Yes, humans have yet to work out the consequences of this dominance of money. It seems necessary but they don’t always like it and worry about its longer term implications for Sapiens’ survival. Our species has taken wrong evolutionary and cultural turns before. Is money one of these?

        In the 20th and 21st centuries money has changed. Credit card served as an easy accounting device in a world where people no longer bought and sold goods and where the government had either replaced or become a partner with the market. Money no longer had value in terms of gold, silver, or any other commodity. It had become merely “an algebraical symbol for comparing the values of products with one another.” Money had become just accounting. The credit card increased purchasing and, therefore, production and services, but it did so at the cost of increased individual (the single consumer of neoclassical and neoliberal economists) debt and international inflation. But credit cards also increased the status of some and lowered it for others. By the end of the 20th century spending for luxury and pleasure was the new metaphor created for money. According to Georg Simmel, “when money stands still, it is no longer money.” Following the credit card, electronic money, spending, and investing have increased the speed of money a thousand-fold. This new subterranean or invisible money is changing western society in fundamental ways. We now live in the “age of money.” Money mostly defines and controls our lives today. What began as clearly a human invention is now a metaphor for the most powerful and uncontrollable power on Earth.

      • Craig
        May 23, 2019 at 5:44 pm

        Money is most basically accounting. Thus it obeys the conventions of accounting like (eventually and necessarily for the sake of survival of any enterprise) in profit making systems….all costs must go into price. Any enterprise that violates this either goes out of business or must practice accounting control fraud.

        You can do the calculus on the flow of total costs (including capital costs) of any enterprise and compare it to the flow of total individual incomes it produces and the former will always be greater than the latter. As debt, which always incurs the additional cost of its repayment is (97%) the ONLY form and vehicle for the distribution of credit currently allowed that would make the macro-economy inherently cost inflationary. At least until we cognite on a way to integrate a new monetary paradigm into the economy.

      • Craig
        May 24, 2019 at 6:34 pm

        I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with the details of that chronology, but as I have pointed out here before, history and its human adjunct study anthropology, are the chronology of humanity’s relative lack of self awareness/unconsciousness. And therein is the real problem….as you yourself come around to observe at the end of your post. Therefore, the real problem is that humanity has not cognited on the insight expressed and emphasized in the zen Buddhist saying: Wherever YOU go THERE. YOU. ARE.

        Economics and the money system need a new philosophy the study of which includes ethics. As a new paradigm is a singularly unifying philosophical concept that resolves the deepest and most chronic problems of the current paradigm and thus creates an entirely new pattern in the body of knowledge/area of human endeavor that it applies to….a new philosophical concept that defines the new pattern ought to be the front and center concern of all economists and economic pundits….no?

      • May 24, 2019 at 7:32 pm

        Sorry Craig, but our theories are irreconcilable. In mine, delineated from first principles, fiat money is strictly a unit of account. Following that truth, until contradicted, it’s a no-thing without a quantity, velocity, or any identity attributable to a thing. No perceivable monetary manipulation can change that reality, only an alternate reality from a different set of first principles could possibly do so. I’m afraid, aside from contradicting mine, that’s your only option. Why don’t you give it a try?

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 25, 2019 at 12:33 pm

        Craig, you’re confused a bit. Money is not basically, or any other way, accounting. It’s the reverse. Accounting is constructed to serve the needs of money. Including uncovering when money is not money and when money is used for purposes other than those of money. In institutions organized around money, money input can be more, less, or the same as money output, depending on the purposes of the institution. Humans really don’t lack self-awareness. The “self” is, like society and culture socially constructed, and much of that work is held tacitly by humans, after the work is done. This could make it seem humans lack self-awareness. The problem is twofold. First, human imagination never ceases, so humans are always “making-up” other societies, other cultures, and other selves. Just too much happening for any of us to be aware of it all. Second, the notion of self-awareness and conscious/unconscious is also “made-up” by humans, so their forms are variable, both over time and over geographical location.

      • Craig
        May 24, 2019 at 10:00 pm

        So you’re agreeing with me that money is basically accounting. Good. You’re problem is you’re simply refusing to “up your game” to utilize philosophy and to look at the economic/legitimately productive process itself. Apparently you think “bean counting” is all that is necessary to fix the economic, financial and money systems.

        Have you ever had to pay more than the price of retail sale? Except for the supposedly legitimate economic/productive business model of finance, of course you haven’t. Utilizing the knowledge that retail sale is the terminal ending point and hence by definition must be the terminal expression point for every legitimate factor including cost, all forms of inflation and price, then a simple algebraic operation can change scarcity of individual income into abundance of same and harmful price and asset inflation into beneficial price deflation…..”miraculously” even in profit making systems.

        Paradigm changes are always characterized by conceptual opposition to the current paradigm and inversion/transformation of same. And the actual operation performed to bring about the paradigm change is always basically very simple and yet relevant and deeply affecting.

      • May 25, 2019 at 1:05 am

        Craig, You may have crossed a line of greater function that might possibly balance exchanges so that lesser entropic friction is generated. For currency that sensitive, bean counting with calories is info age quantum perspective is required of cosmic powered biology manifest as human.

        Things get complicated when privatized capitalism tries to grow to infinity on a finite planet.

        Evolution is accelerating at an accelerating rate. Variance from perfect for national currencies can be measured as deviation from 100% exchange rate. Take the patient’s temperature!

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 25, 2019 at 12:38 pm

        Garrett, capitalism is a utopian way of life. Marketplaces were never utopian. They’re useful. Functional, and limited in time and space. Capitalism’s pursuit of infinite wealth and growth confirms its utopianism, but still provides no way to fix the situation apart from abandoning capitalism. This is abandoning a culture. Expect significant repercussions.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 25, 2019 at 12:35 pm

        Craig, you use terms such as “bean counting,” “retail sale,” “accounting” as if their connotation and use is fixed, unchanging. But each has a history. That history is the source of connotation and uses. And that history embodies one or more cultures. This relationship is joint. Humans make cultures and history, and cultures and history make humans.

      • Craig
        May 25, 2019 at 5:34 pm

        Ken,

        I’m not confused about money, accounting, retail sale or consciousness.

        Steve Keen only recently discovered how important accounting is to the economy and the money system when he bemoaned the fact that economists could get their PhD in economics without so much as taking an elementary course in it. He then went about proving that the monetary/financial system de-stabilizes the economy via differential equations in order to re-discover what C. H. Douglas originally discovered via doing the calculus on the datums of cost accounting.

        I said “money is BASICALLY accounting”….and that is both correct, significant and potentially extremely insightful. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have other purposes of course as you point out. However, basics are extremely important as I’m sure you would agree.

        The same is true for the basic temporal universe economic fact and point of retail sale as I have elaborated here many times.

        Personality is essentially delusion. Consciousness itself is not….to whomever or whatever one attributes it. And there are definitely levels and modes of consciousness and ways of experiencing it. At the top of the scale of ways to experience it are knowingness with lookingness right below that. Science i.e. abstractingness is a few levels below these two.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 27, 2019 at 1:09 am

        Craig, the invention of money preceded the invention of accounting, although I admit by less than 500 years. But accounting has taken dozens of forms. For example, for more than six hundred years, from the 12th to the late 18th century, the operation of the public finances of England rested on a simple but ingenious piece of accounting technology: the Exchequer tally. A tally was a wooden stick—usually harvested from the willows that grew along the Thames near the Palace of Westminster. On the stick were inscribed, always with notches in the wood and sometimes also in writing, details of payments made to or from the Exchequer. Some were receipts for tax payments made by landowners to the Crown. Others referred to transactions in the opposite direction, recording the sums due on loans by the sovereign to prominent subjects. “9£ 4s 4d from Fulk Basset for the farm of Wycombe” reads one that has survived, for example—relating a debt owed by Fulk Basset, a 13th century Bishop of London, to Henry III. Even bribes seem to have been recorded on Exchequer tallies: one stick in a private collection bears the suspicious-sounding euphemism “13s 4d from William de Tullewyk for the king’s good will.” Once the details of the payment had been recorded on the tally stick, it was split down the middle from end to end so that each party to the transaction could keep a record. The creditor’s half was called the “stock,” and the debtor’s the “foil”: hence the English use of the term “stocks” for Treasury bonds, which survives to this day. The unique grain of the willow wood meant that a convincing forgery was virtually impossible; while the record of the account in a portable format—rather than just inscribed in the Treasury account books at Westminster, for example—meant that Exchequer credits could be passed from their original holder to a third party in payment of some unrelated debt. Tallies were what are called “bearer securities” in modern financial jargon: financial obligations such as bonds, share certificates, or banknotes, the beneficiary of which is whoever holds the physical record. Historians agree that most fiscal operations in medieval England must have been carried out using tally sticks; and they suppose that a great deal of monetary exchange was transacted using them as well. A credit with the Exchequer, as recorded on a tally stick, would have been welcomed in payment by anyone who had taxes of his own coming due. It is, however, impossible to know for certain. For although millions of tallies must have been manufactured over the centuries, and though we know for sure that many thousands survived in the Exchequer archives up until the early 19th century, only a handful of specimens exist today. The ultimate culprit for this unfortunate situation is the famous zeal of England’s 19th century advocates of administrative reform. Even though the tally-stick system had proved itself remarkably efficient over the preceding five hundred years, by the late eighteenth century some believed it was time to dispense with it. Keeping accounts with notched sticks—let alone using wooden splints as money alongside the elegant paper notes of the Bank of England—was by then considered almost barbaric, and certainly out of keeping with the enormous progress being made in commerce and technology. An Act of Parliament of 1782 officially abolished tally sticks as the main means of account-keeping at the Exchequer—though because certain benefits to some (including the monarchy) from the old system still existed, the Act had to wait almost another half-century, until 1826, to come into effect. But in 1834, the ancient institution of the Receipt of the Exchequer was finally ended, and the last Exchequer tally replaced by a paper note. This is clearly money accounting but nothing like the accounting of today or even the accounting (double entry) the Venetians borrowed from China.

        Then you tell us about all these levels of consciousness as if these follow full born from the brains of some smart humans. They certainly do flow from the human brain. But from the community human brain. Whatever humans take to be consciousness, reflexivity, perception, mindfulness, etc. is created via human relationships with one another and the nonhumans they encounter. In human history there have been hundreds of cultures created just this way, with hundreds of versions of self, self-awareness, perception, etc. Which one is your choice?

        A capitalistic market economy in which the means of production are in the hands of private citizens or companies and in which the economy is moved by the innate enterprise of humans to act as a “homo oeconomicus” to strive for maximization of profit and in which prices of goods are set by the law of supply and demand is rare in theory and nonexistent in practice, even today when it’s supposed to be the dominant form of economics. This is but one example. ‘Marketless trading in Hammurabi’s time.’1 Hammurabi was a great conqueror king of Babylon in the 18th century BCE (Old Babylonian Empire). The substance of the article is an account of a community of Assyrian merchants in the city of Kanesh (SE Turkey) in the 19th century BCE. At Columbia University Karl Polanyi developed his concept of a marketless economy in the Ancient Near East. It was a showcase for him to prove that marketless economy was possible and existed in world history. In Antiquity, as especially in the Near East, trade was not organized through a free market, but through negotiations and treaties between states. Trade was in the hands of state directed commercial agents, rather than free traders. A connected issue is the existence of a physical market, a place where goods were traded, as on the Greek agora, ‘marketplace’ (in Karl Polanyi’s views the Greek economy was one step into the direction of a market economy). In Polanyi’s and Oppenheim’s view there was not such a place in Mesopotamia and there was no word for it. Assyriologists discussed subsequently if the words kārum, ‘quay’, and sūqu, ‘street, square’, in Arabic suq, denoted such a concept. And certainly, there was not a word for the abstract concept of ‘market’. Karl Polanyi and others argue the real substance of economy is how to make a living and deal with all kinds of social forces in which markets need not play a role. It is therefore not acceptable to use modern economic ‘formal’ concepts, like profit, inflation and market, in the study of early periods. Concepts like ‘reciprocity’ and ‘redistribution,’ or even gifting are preferable.

      • Craig
        May 27, 2019 at 4:09 am

        That’s all very informative, but unfortunately it’s irrelevant to and misses the two salient points I’ve been saying here:

        1) the 50% discount/rebate policy at the point of retail sale has the effect of completely inverting the temporal universe realities of individual and systemic monetary scarcity and chronic price and asset inflation into monetary abundance and beneficial price deflation.

        2) Everything adapts to a new paradigm….not the other way around.

      • Calgacus
        May 29, 2019 at 6:28 pm

        Ken, what you are saying is basically MMT, which descends from McLeod through Alfred Mitchell-Innes. So I agree almost entirely with you, with a few minor quibbles: But it is a bit odd to say that money is not basically accounting or be so sure about the dates for either. They both date back to the Ancient Near East and further. The accounting and the creditary nature of money – the social, moral, relational nature is the key; one can think of any credit / debt as a degenerate case of money even. The unit of account comes from the transferability and cancelability of money, so it is not really primary. And there really hasn’t been any essential change since McLeod’s discoverer; things like the gold standard were just inessential, superficial, temporary overlays.

        Indeed, there is an influential school of thought—known as chartalism —which argues that governments and their agents are the only viable issuers of money.

        That’s not really right, though many people have this misapprehension. For instance MMT just observes that that is generally the case; that in the modern world that it is nearly universally the case that the government issue the top money.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 30, 2019 at 9:51 am

        Calgacus, I agree that money and accounting for money developed together and in close proximity. But money is money because it’s cultural acceptable to settle third party debts. While an accounting ledger may show sufficient money to settle certain third party debts, the ledger itself cannot settle those debts. The money described in the ledger must exist somewhere — bank, strong box, digitally inside a computer, someone’s pocket, etc. — be removed from that place and handed over to settle the debts. Also, if those who issue money safeguard it properly, money cannot lie. It is what it says it is. Ledgers lie all the time. Ask Donald Trump.

        I just mentioned safeguarding money. For that to occur with the greatest credibility only governments and their agents should be allowed to issue money, collect taxes, and pay national debts. This disappoints a lot of criminals (a la Donald Trump once again) but the rest of us feel more secure about our future happiness and security.

      • Craig
        May 29, 2019 at 9:54 pm

        The financial elite would love for us to (forever) quibble over the nature of money and debate reforms like MMT rather than examine the idiocies of giving a self interested business model monopoly and paradigmatic control over the most powerful factor in the economy, namely money/credit-debt creation.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 30, 2019 at 10:26 am

        Craig, agreed. In the words of Mel Brooks, “it’s GOOD to be the KING.”

      • Craig
        May 29, 2019 at 11:18 pm

        How to break up that monopoly and paradigmatic control is the only true order of the day. That and how such break up can bring more economic democracy and free flowingness to the economy….among many other benefits to all agents as I have enumerated here many, many times.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 30, 2019 at 10:34 am

        Craig, rather than breaking up this control, why not just subvert and corrupt it? Allow those who believe they’re in charge to continue to believe this while quietly moving all the functional controls into the hands of we “lesser mortals.” A lot fewer problems.

  8. Helen Sakho
    May 25, 2019 at 12:56 am

    There is some cause for fearful celebration today!

    Here is what I have been preoccupied with: the resignation of Mrs. May today, who broke down in tears, while declaring serving her country out of sheer “love” and “honour” the situation will only get worse for all, but particularly migrants. Simply because they continue to sever the natives while paying the State. And whoever replaces her will be just as racist and unfit for purpose as the Home Office was decades ago. The focus and the main victims were and remain the migrants. If Mrs. Thatcher left a legacy of being the “Iron Lady,” who started the process of unbridled privatisation, and pushed women back into the home on a “back to basics” platform while her son was openly exposed for the large scandal known as the “Iran contra” as a legitimate business deal, May is encouraging Conservative women to come forward and replace her!

    Together, they leave combined legacies of poverty, misery and destitution. Neither died nor will die poor though. As for their victims, plenty have and will. The current hierarchy of vulnerability now includes their own people too, although definitely not as much as the migrants. Brexit though and the confusion and chaos it has caused in her country, in Europe and in the whole world is May’s alone.

    Short of miracle happening, it is the very poor who are counting every penny or dime or rubble or drachma or….

    Globalisation was a scam from the beginning and it remains so, no matter what they say. It is this kind of discourse we should be having really…

    • May 25, 2019 at 1:29 am

      Timothy Wise includes many interesting observations, for example, cost shifting to Des Moines citizens paying for advanced water purification to sell cheap corn in Mexico and cheap pork in China.

      “Eating Tomorrow; Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the battle for the future of food.”

      Trump offered farmers 16 billion twitter dollars today.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 25, 2019 at 12:43 pm

        Garrett, will the $16 billion save the farms, the food they will not grow, or the future families, particularly children now will not have?

    • Ken Zimmerman
      May 25, 2019 at 12:41 pm

      Helen, poverty and the poor exist because cultures for 5,000 years have insisted that the poor and poverty must exist. The reasons vary between cultures. Cultures as different and geographically separated as 21st century USA and 3.000 BCE Mesopotamia share the commonality of poverty and the persecution and exclusion of the poor. The severity and form of poverty, persecution, and exclusion vary, but wherever we look in human history we find all. In some eras it is lack of resources that doom some to poverty. In other eras, it is war that dooms some to poverty. In still other eras, it is racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination. At other times and places, poverty is the result of theft of land, water, and social identity. It seems poverty has served as the solution for many kinds of problems.

      • Rddulin
        May 26, 2019 at 7:58 am

        Ken, The poor and poverty exist because they are excluded from engaging in efficient market exchange due to lack of a method (money) to accurately measure the value of their wares for exchange. Just the same as if they were no accurate length, mass, etc standards would hamper manufacturing and production. Sometimes it is simple.
        I greatly appreciate your historical explanations..

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 27, 2019 at 1:31 am

        Rddulin, I don’t know that anything of what you call “efficient market exchange” ever existed. In fact, I’m not even sure I know what it would look like if it did exist. Money has existed among humans for at least 5,000 years, and some evidence indicates it has existed for even longer. So, money among humans is at least as old as human written history. The Sumerians and most other societies 5,000 years ago had standard measures for the products they traded and for the silver and gold they used as money. What most ancient societies did not have is markets as those are defined by mainstream economics today. So, I guess what you’re asking me to consider is “thought experiments” of alternative histories for our species.

        As I said the poor were poor for lots of reasons through human history, but interestingly, considering all the many differences between the hundreds of cultures that have existed, all had poverty and the poor.

      • Calgacus
        May 29, 2019 at 6:43 pm

        Ken Zimmerman: interestingly, considering all the many differences between the hundreds of cultures that have existed, all had poverty and the poor.
        Taking your meaning as written – that’s an odd thing for an anthropologist to say. I disagree, imho the evidence disagrees and for instance, Karl Polanyi strongly disagreed and said the exact opposite, that it is only in market / monetary societies (or some slave societies) that we see such enormous differences, poverty amidst plenty. Through most of human history, in the village, the tribe – everybody was poor and starving, or nobody was.

        Riddulin is in some ways right. It is simple. The solution for a market/monetary society is obvious, and with sufficient charity, can be seen as creating “efficient market exchange”. Give people a way to earn money. That’s the MMT Job Guarantee. The reciprocity for the imposition of a taxation based monetary economy. Guaranteed to easily cure poverty permanently forever; it has always worked, even in half-hearted versions.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 30, 2019 at 10:20 am

        Calgacus, as I’ve said, we don’t really know how this all worked in human societies (villages, etc.) before writing was invented. Archaeological evidence indicates these small societies were generally egalitarian. Not surprising since 20,000 BCE humans hadn’t yet invented economics or economies. Everyone worked, no one got paid, but everyone had sufficient food, housing, and clothing. Even after the invention of writing information on the earliest literate societies is sketchy at best. However, most of the well known early major societies were monarchies. For example, in 2000 BCE Babylon, Hammurabi’s code was one of if not the first code of laws. A code that emphasizes people are not equal. That there are superior and inferior people. With the code providing the rules for the relationships between the superiors and inferiors. Including the distribution of food, shelter, and other forms of wealth. Long story, short, superiors received more of all these than the inferiors. Monarchies didn’t change much over the next 4000 years. There were exceptions, such as Buddhists and the early Christians. But these didn’t change the general pattern up to this day. Although the names of some of the actors have changed. Monarchs are now CEOs, religious prelates, and entrepreneurs; inferiors now include teachers, MDs, and attorneys. As to changing this by “giving people a way to earn money,” why would this work, unless enforced strictly by democratic government? Otherwise those who have most of the money and want more are likely to do what 19th century industrialists did, pay people just enough so they can subsist and continue working.

  9. Helen Sakho
    May 25, 2019 at 1:40 am

    Good, he might shed some of that pork belly of his then!

  10. Rddulin
    May 27, 2019 at 2:28 am

    Ken, I agree that markets have never been efficient but primarily because the measurement of value is not standardized as the seven basic measuments used today are. It has been a long evolution for the accurate measurements enjoyed by everyone today from length of body parts, weight of stones and the time it takes a candle to burn to the vibration of atoms as standards. Money has units but they are not truly standardized. The purpose of markets is to facilitate the exchange of things of value. Surely this should begin with an accurate method of quantification of value.
    I am simply proposing a careful comparison of measuring with money to known measurment practices that are amazingly successful.
    The poor are poor for many reasons and I believe bad money is a big one.

    • Ken Zimmerman
      May 27, 2019 at 10:35 am

      Rddulin, we are on different wave lengths, to use a measurement analogy. Markets have never been efficient because there are 50 definitions of efficiency, and no one will compromise so we can all use one. As to poverty, let’s look at an example. Typical wages in Cuba range from 400 non-convertible Cuban pesos a month, for a factory worker, to 700 per month for a doctor, or a range of around $17–$30 per month. However, the Human Development Index of Cuba still ranks higher than most Latin American nations. After Cuba lost Soviet subsidies in 1991, malnutrition resulted in an outbreak of diseases. Despite this, the poverty level reported by the government is one of the lowest in the developing world, ranking 6th out of 108 countries, 4th in Latin America and 48th among all countries. Pensions are among the smallest in the Americas, however, at $9.50/month. In 2009, Raúl Castro increased minimum monthly pensions by $2, which he said was to reward those who have “dedicated a great part of their lives to working… and who remain firm in defense of socialism.” Despite the propaganda Cuba is a poor country. Why is it poor? The United States made it poor. Before the Revolution by supporting a dictator, who stole everything from the Cuban people. After the Revolution by cutting Cuba off from trade with the USA and bullying European nations to cease trade with Cuba. Racism, political disputes, and cold war from the USA continues to make Cuba poor today. Nothing to do with precision of measurement, unless you’re measuring the hatred of the USA for Cuba.

      • RDDulin
        May 29, 2019 at 1:57 pm

        Ken, Precision is only one feature of a good measurement system. Repeat ability, low cost, universal access, fairness, traceablity to a standard and uniform distribution are a few that come to mind. These are readily available in the well known system of weights and measures. Have you ever heard of a shortage of tape measures or micrometers slowing down an economy? All “sovereigns” the person or group that have final say in a country and control the money, profit by stealing from the people especially the poor people. Much depends on the productivity of the particular economy and how much theft it can stand. Wars and conflicts are between monetary systems and their controllers not ideology. Ideology is the marching story for the poor people.
        What we are really talking about is the cost of the money.
        Everyday weights and measures have minimum usage cost.
        Sovereigns and their supporters utilize money as if they had a patent on it and were due as much profit as their particular hostage market can bear. They issue money in their own right to pay for what is wanted ( tally sticks) and leave debt money issue to their supporters.
        The point of this is that gaming the money supply for profit only works with non-standardized money and of course the misunderstanding that allows its use.
        The monopolistic pricing of money creates a stratification in an economy between people who can afford to use money to measure and exchange “things of value” and those who can’t.
        Everyone can work and produce, but not everyone can get paid.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 30, 2019 at 9:35 am

        RDDulin, good analysis. It helps me understand your position. For anyone who’s spent any time examining the history of money, particularly in the West your statement should not be a surprise. “Sovereigns and their supporters utilize money as if they had a patent on it and were due as much profit as their particular hostage market can bear. They issue money in their own right to pay for what is wanted ( tally sticks) and leave debt money issue to their supporters.
        The point of this is that gaming the money supply for profit only works with non-standardized money and of course the misunderstanding that allows its use.” The problem is sovereigns (of all sorts) and their supporters clearly want this, but they have yet to win this fight. It is a powerful ideology of our time that money is a single, interchangeable, absolutely impersonal instrument-the very essence of our rationalizing modern civilization. Money’s “colorlessness,” as Georg Simmel saw it at the turn of the 20th century, repainted the modern world into an “evenly flat and gray tone.” All meaningful nuances were stamped out by the new quantitative logic that asked only “how much,” but not “what and how.” Money, according to this
        view, also destroys, necessarily replacing personal bonds with calculative instrumental ties,
        corrupting cultural meanings with materialist concerns and eventually destroying whole societies. But it’s just not so. Everywhere we look people are constantly creating different kinds of money. In various and remarkable ways people identify, classify, organize, use, segregate, manufacture, design, store, and even decorate monies as they cope with their multiple social relations. In other words people in general bend money to their cultural needs, whatever those may be. Read the media and we’ll see dozens of monies described. From Gifted Money, to Poor People’s Money, to the Earmarking of Charitable Cash, to many forms of Contested Monies, etc. Money is indeed a cultural device, a cultural tool but it is one of the most flexible and changeable tools ever invented. No one faction of society can ever control it completely, though I agree members of many factions believe their faction has such control.

  11. Craig
    May 30, 2019 at 7:03 am

    How does everyone here resolve the thorny problem that systemic monetary austerity and individual income scarcity are negative and unwanted realities and yet if you inject a lot of money into the economy it causes price and asset inflation? Please, no abstract meandering about and failure to focus. Address these facts and effects. What are your policy suggestions?

    • Ken Zimmerman
      May 30, 2019 at 10:57 am

      First, economists have inflation backwards. Higher wages don’t cause inflation; inflation according to the unions around when inflation indexing was invented cause the “living wage” of the union worker to no longer be a wage the worker and family can live on. In that instance wages must increase to restore that living wage. That is, after all the reason the index was invented. It is similar for asset inflation (e.g., home prices). Most increase for lots of reasons, many of them nefarious. But the effects on workers in similar. If the value of assets increases, this eventually trickles down to increases in prices for workers, whose living wage in once again in jeopardy. Once again wages must be adjusted to the living wage workers have agreed to, based on the currently available data.

      • Craig
        May 30, 2019 at 6:47 pm

        You’re correct that they have it backward. But inflation is not most basically caused by money, but rather by the decision of a commercial economic agent (existing within an enforced scarcity of individual income and systemic monetary austerity) to raise their prices and/or an individual one to pay that raised price.

        The current system parades itself as free when it is actually the kind of enslaved chaotic folly that always results from power without effective ethics, and from an almost complete absence of direct observation of the economic process to perceive where policy may be most effectively implemented.

        In the temporal human universe there is only freedom amongst known and agreed upon barriers, what I refer to as “the beatific chains of ethics”. The current system cries out for control, not as in oppressive tyrannical domination but simply as in start, change and stop with the intention to benefit all. The first (mis)definition of control is what is being enforced on us by the current monetary paradigm of Debt Only and the second is the the new paradigm of monetary grace as in gifting in Wisdomics-Gracenomics….effectively implemented at the single ending, summing and terminal factor expression point of retail sale with the policy of a 50% discount/rebate at that point along with the rest of its policies, regulations and structural changes.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 31, 2019 at 2:14 am

        Craig, what you describe is certainly one way that inflation can be used to hurt the lives of some while benefit or hold neutral the lives of others. It’s certainly a common way in our heavily bureaucratic and capitalist societal structures today.

        In the history of humans there have been hundreds of ethical codes. Some benefited (aided) human survival while some clearly did not. But in most instances we don’t know how an ethics will play out when it first begins. Nazism extolled family life and strong community bonds, then used those rules to murder millions of people and destroy half the planet. Any ethics can be turned in either of these directions, depending on the people who hold and use the ethics. That is, ethics is not self explanatory. Any rules of ethics requires interpretation in use by humans. And humans are anything but consistent or emotionally neutral in making these interpretations.

      • RDDuiln
        May 30, 2019 at 7:03 pm

        Ken, I didn’t realized that sovereigns most probably created money as a way to collect taxes until you mentioned it some time ago. Thanks

    • RDDulin
      May 30, 2019 at 6:34 pm

      Craig, As we have been discussing the first thing to understand about money is that it is owned and controlled by a select (very small) group of people. After a conquest, the leader of the winning side assumes ownership of all property of the winning side. I repeat ALL property freedom, lives and everything. He divides the spoils among his (trusted) supporters and has the option of killing the vanquished foe or enslaving them so they can keep producing more things of value. Anything the slaves produce is automatically his so why not let them live. Practically slaves require a lot of management. Slaves are clever, they can produce things. Far better to let them have tools and means of production and let them think they are free but keep the means to measure (the money) the value of their production.
      This insures a steady stream of cash income to keep his supporters paid and plan the next war. Lending is permitted because the lender receives the hate of the people of being screwed by the money. Also lenders are a quick source of cash for the sovereign if needed. It is his money anyway. Taxes are used for daily maintenance and the interest for profit.
      So it is not so much the mechanics of how the money works as it it just not your money.
      Because of this unspoken fact everyone (especially economists) have ignored monetary theory. I tried to keep it direct.
      Policy suggestion. Learn how money can work by observing other measurement systems.

      • Craig
        May 30, 2019 at 6:58 pm

        RDDulin,

        Yes, and that is why it is necessary to make the money system a public utility that frees rather than oppresses by graciously and intelligently distributing money in sufficient quantities into “the many hands of the individual” that the economy flows freely, ethically abiding commercial agents can prosper and every man “shall sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid.”

    • RDDulin
      May 30, 2019 at 6:57 pm

      Sorry Craig I did not address your first question properly.and it is a good one.It has evolved that almost all buying power Money x Velocity is created by lending money and charging interest for the service there by using the same money multiple times and earning interest. The included interest has to be included in the price of goods sold. This price is not necessarily “paid” by the next buyer of that particular good but is passed along until someone has no choice to pay it. Traditionally this is labor because most laborers are price takers not price makers. This is always reinforced by keeping money supply low in relation to the potential of a particular society so there are always out of work laborers who will work cheaper because the like to eat and feed their children TODAY. When you give these out of work laborers a break they will not work as cheap so there is less money available to service loans.
      So the answer is that the present system used almost universally around the world depends on austerity.

  12. Helen Sakho
    May 31, 2019 at 12:30 am

    Austerity has turned into starvation. The rate of inflation in Venezuela is 130,000 per cent! Reminds of a time in Hitler’s Germany when by the time you finished a cup of coffee, you could no longer afford to pay for it.

    • RDDulin
      May 31, 2019 at 1:14 pm

      Helen, Austerity or forced poverty is a necessary characteristic of using debt to create, distribute and profit from money. It is not rich people vs poor people or capitalist business practices. If anyone is to blame besides the money sovereign, it is economic academia for neglecting to study the nature of money but playing like they have.
      Random people are forced to pay the costs incurred by others. A more destructive and evil system could not be devised by the devil himself.
      Inflation is always associated with debt money but goes wild when not balanced with the proper amount of austerity. Inflation is caused by cost of interest, or debt created negative externalities circulating in the economy waiting for someone to pay them.

      • May 31, 2019 at 5:01 pm

        RDDullen, I see your direction of thought as being pure economic reasoning from textbook constructs.

        My take on austerity is it is a very old and stable policy forced on a population to create insecure workers willing to work for whatever they can get.

        The inflation in Venezuela is a result of rightwing US attempts to destroy a democracy that could be superior to the capitalist representative system that represents capital instead of people.

  13. Calgacus
    May 31, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    While an accounting ledger may show sufficient money to settle certain third party debts, the ledger itself cannot settle those debts.

    Completely wrong. Not at all what happens in the real world. Ledger entries are very often the only physical things evidencing a debt settlement, hold up in court etc.

    The money described in the ledger must exist somewhere — bank, strong box, digitally inside a computer, someone’s pocket, etc. — be removed from that place and handed over to settle the debts.
    Or an “accounting ledger”. All of these “other ways” (NOT) are just other ways of writing an accounting ledger. With the “inside a computer” that is particularly obvious – how else are accounting ledgers are written these days? Focusing on one over the other is like saying what is written in purple ink is real, a real payment, but what is written in yellow ink is not. Meaningless distinctions.

    For that to occur with the greatest credibility only governments and their agents should be allowed to issue money, collect taxes, and pay national debts.

    Depending on how this is interpreted, this is either automatic and what is always done, or a social impossibility. Only governments can issue government money, only their agents (banks) can issue government-backed money, bank money. Of course only governments can impose/collect taxes and they only accept bank money (temporarily), but only government money for permanent final settlement.

    But on the other hand, anyone can issue money, the problem is getting it accepted (Minsky). So anybody can create money. If one is a trustworthy fellow, others can trade your IOUs. That is money, period. It is not the same as government money, but neither is government X’s money the same as government Y’s. Not for any mystical reason, but because government X is not the same as government Y.

    To make a distinction between money and debt-money, as you and others do here is completely wrong, and shows you have fallen into a very common, but crucial error. (The error is probably more prevalent among MMT fans even than the truth)

    People make such crazy distinctions frequently, but they’re just not speaking English. They need to pause and listen to what they are saying, and if need be, consult a dictionary and reflect on common usage. If something – say a greenback, a dollar bill (is/represents) money – then it always (is/represents) a credit/debt relationship.

    In English and other languages Credit = Debt. They mean the same thing, They describe a unique relationship between two persons, but they’re just describing it from two different directions, one or the other person’s perspective. And money is a type of credit/debt, a type of credit/debt relationship. Money precisely means transferrable credit/debt relation. If there’s a transferable creditary relationship, there is money.

    Above all, money is an immaterial social, moral relationship. As Alfred Mitchell Innes said “The eye has never seen, the hand has never touched a dollar.”. People handle dollar bills, write accounting ledger entries all the time. But these are money-things, things that represent or instantiate money, but are not money. Confusing them with money is like confusing a marriage certificate or a wedding ring with the marriage itself. The Money/Credit/Debt is the marriage, not an accepted physical evidence of it.

    Thinking you can touch money and hand it over, as mystically opposed to changing ledger entries is like thinking you can touch Red or Loud, rather than see red things or hear loud things. It is being on an LSD trip. As Aristotle said of Anaxagoras, before him, thinkers spoke like they were drunk. That’s what completely understanding the correct, MMT/Mitchell Innes / McLeod story is – being sober.

    • Craig
      May 31, 2019 at 9:50 pm

      Currently money is only created as debt. That is the current monetary paradigm, i.e. Debt Only. If you integrate the new monetary paradigm of Direct and Reciprocal Monetary Gifting into the debt based system at the terminal ending point for every consumer item or service via a 50% discount to consumers all of which discount is rebated back to the enterprise gifting the consumer you immediately double the purchasing power of everyone, and as retail sale is the terminal summing of all costs including profit for every item or service you eliminate any possibility of inflation. And in fact you (miraculously so far as current orthodoxy is concerned) you beneficially integrate price deflation into profit making systems. These are empirical, mathematical and temporal universe facts.

      Does anyone dispute them?

      • Calgacus
        May 31, 2019 at 10:12 pm

        Yes. You are not using or understanding the word “debt” correctly according to its dictionary definition if you claim you can create money that is not debt, not credit. This is simply not understanding the meaning of Mitchell-Innes sentence “Money is credit and nothing but credit.”

        At most it is declaring a taboo – any money ever created is a credit/debt social moral relationship, but for mystical reasons must not be classified in the natural and correct way. It is like saying parenthood/childhood or marriage are social relationships, but the relation of uncle to nephew is too sacred to call a social relationship. Wuuhhh?

        I don’t think your schemes can work. I’ve said your deflationary mechanism is highly inflationary. But this misunderstanding of language is at a much more basic level than any such criticism of them. Even if they could work, all those things don’t change the fact that the money “in your paradigm” is credit/debt, according to the appropriate ordinary English NON-financial meaning. Using highly complicated and derived concepts does not hide or negate this very simple fact.

      • Craig
        May 31, 2019 at 10:45 pm

        Monetary gifts satisfy the exchange obligation aspect of debt without incurring any additional cost to an economic agent or obligation to repay, and in fact as I showed in my last post strategically applied at retail sale they can reduce costs with incredible benefits to both producer and consumer. There is no need to be dominated and hypnotized by the monetary paradigm of Debt Only.

        Intelligently integrating monetary gifting into the economy resolves the long standing agreed upon problems of individual income scarcity, systemic austerity and inflation and opens up “knock on” benefits in more than the economy that no one currently even dreams are possible.

      • Craig
        May 31, 2019 at 10:47 pm

        Please explain how reducing the the price of every consumer product at retail sale where production becomes consumption by 50% would be inflationary of current prices.

      • Craig
        May 31, 2019 at 10:52 pm

        Please explain how a 50% discount to current retail prices which is the ending point of the entire economic/productive process where production becomes consumption can possibly be inflationary?

      • Calgacus
        June 1, 2019 at 6:31 am

        Craig: I’ve explained before to my own satisfaction at least that your scheme is inflationary and impracticable. You disagree. Fine. But this disagreement is far more fundamental.

        Your “Monetary gifts” seems to bear the normal meaning. Just meaning a gift of money. Like your uncle gives you on your birthday, say. If a government prints a dollar bill and drops it from a helicopter, that is a monetary gift to the guy who gets it, no?

        Because it is money, such a “monetary gift” looks like a debt, swims like a debt, and quacks like a debt. So it is a debt of the government. Government money is government debt and vice versa, basically.)

        Retail, production, discounts, gifts whatever is just a complicated and irrelevant distraction at this basic level. Is there anything at all you can buy with this “money”? If the answer is yes, it is/represents a debt, as a matter of logic, consistency and definitions.

        The only problem is the weird taboo – especially among those who have partially understood monetary theory – against using the word “debt” or equivalents “credit” or “obligation” – even when common financial parlance does so, correctly!

        So when people say that some kind of money is not credit or debt etc – they just aren’t speaking English. In normal English, your or anyone else’s claimed notadebt money IS debt, because they are forms of the universally understood concept of debt/credit etc. because they look/ swim/quack etc.

      • Calgacus
        June 1, 2019 at 6:51 am

        I’m not even sure whether or how you disagree. Reading you again – you start with “Monetary gifts satisfy the exchange obligation aspect of debt”

        But “satisfy the exchange obligation aspect of debt” means “is a debt [/credit etc]” – or is completely unintelligible, to me at least, and I daresay anybody else. There is no non-obligation aspect of “debt”.

        So “monetary gifts” are credit/debts. It’s all in the accounting. And we don’t disagree at all, except that I suggest that you be more direct and not use so many entirely superfluous and confusing words.

      • Craig
        June 1, 2019 at 7:57 am

        I’m sorry, but you are the quibbling over words not me. I couldn’t care whether you called monetary gifts debt as in obligated legal tender money, which it is, or whether you called it zippidy do da. All I’m interested in is its ability to resolve what all heterodox economists say are the deepest and most thorny problems of the current paradigm….which strategically implemented is exactly what it DOES do.

        You have not explained how a 50% discount to the price of every consumer item could possibly become inflationary….even if you had some bad actors before retail sale inflating. You’ll never get garden variety inflation higher than single digits without an oil embargo or a war where you lost, all of your productive capacity was destroyed and onerous reparations were forced on you and then your central bank was compliant with speculators leveraging them up to short the currency.

        High tech capital intensive economies are costly. That’s why 30% gross profits become 2-3% net profits. And competition is still alive in most industries and business models so if you increase your prices by 10% and your competition doesn’t raise their prices, or with the tax cost savings monetary gifting will provide every enterprise, your competition lowers their prices you’re going to lose market share. Furthermore even if you got inflation up to 10% the consumer still gets 40% deflation and then all you’d need to do is tack on another 10% discount and everybody’s purchasing power would still double. Then you tax hell out of those bad actors who raised their prices even after the amount of their potential business revenue was graciously doubled and and we cut their taxation costs and then get the president to get up and say: Corporations A, B, C, D and E tried to greedily and anti-socially destabilize and diminish the over 100% raise we gave all of you. Now what are you going to do about That??

      • Craig
        June 2, 2019 at 5:36 am

        (Partial) List of universal benefits of the policies of Wisdomics-Gracenomics:

        50% discount/rebate policy at retail sale: Doubles everyone’s purchasing power and doubles actually available business revenue for every enterprise, completely eliminates possibility of price and asset inflation by integrating beneficial price deflation into profit making systems

        $1000/mo universal dividend beginning at age 18 for life:

        Creates economic democracy and ends poverty. Enables students to live comfortably while attending college and to pay off their tuition as they attend thus eliminating the student debt build up problem. Enables the elimination of all transfer taxes for welfare, unemployment insurance and social security.

        A $100,000 personal debt jubilee: Greatly reduces indebtedness, cancels debt deflation decline and ultimate systemic if not national and international economic collapse.

        Institutionalization of publicly administered national banking, financial and monetary system. The end of private finance’s money creating powers. They can intermediate and aggregate already created money and savings, but will no longer create money. All enterprise borrowing and consumer loans are 0% interest.The national bank/central bank funds itself and the federal government.

        A new and additional ending point of the economic process at note signing where an additional 50% discount/rebate policy is implemented.

        All renewable energy consumer and capital product loans and any innovation reducing the carbon footprint will also be able to partake of this second 50% discount/rebate policy.

        The idiocy of partisan standstill regarding government funding and the national debt will forever end, and an objective look at what the government funds will finally be enabled.

        Infrastructure re-build and retrofit can begin immediately as well as any project reducing carbon footprint and/or energy output.

        Individual and corporate income taxes can be reduced with the proviso that all enterprises will submit to a monthly examination of their accounting books and a pledge to not increase their prices unless they have sustained legitimate additional costs that exceed the cost savings the policies of WisdomicsGracenomics has granted to them. Legal sanctions and punitive taxation for fraud and ignoring these rules will be swiftly applied, and if repeated by the officers of the enterprise will result in the loss of their discount/rebate privileges. Tere is no end to history, and even paradigm changes require regulation for stabilization.

        There are additional beneficial policies and projects.

    • Ken Zimmerman
      June 1, 2019 at 2:35 am

      Calgacus, what you miss is the importance of the act. If I give you my ledger (computerized, etc.) and tell you, “my debt is paid in full,” it’s not likely that you as my debt holder will accept the ledger as payment. Our culture expects an “act of payment of money from debtor to debt holder.” I agree that today often accounting for money and money are mixed all over the place from social media to advertising and from the law to art and literature. But that does not change our culture, where the act of paying is deemed essential. And that act can appear as simple as you suggest, the distinction between purple ink and yellow ink. That distinction can be as significant as the differences between murder on the street and execution in a prison. The first is a serious crime, the second is not. You say meaningless; our culture makes that determination, not you.

      Even in monarchies or oligarchies government is the only central organizing body. Its actions often consider all parts of society. If all factions within a society can perform central functions, such as issuing money soon there is no society, only factions arguing and fighting over all the basics. IOUs are money only if they are accepted society-wide for payment of third-party debts. That is unlikely to happen in societies with multiple monies in circulation. The US of the 19th century is good example. During that period multiple monies issued by the government were in circulation (e.g., gold certificates, silver certificates, Greenbacks, etc.). This created quite a mess.

      Finally, as a cultural invention, money is certainly based on all the elements of that culture, some of which are intangible. But money in the everyday sense is certainly not intangible. It is how commodities are made and bought, how families secure food, clothing, and shelter, and how wealth is counted. In one sense, money is just a way to keep score. In another, it is the basis of fundamental parts of each of our lives. That money is used for credit and debt is merely an historical accident going back to money’s earliest use to pay taxes to governments and religious institutions. In an alternative history money might have first been used to gift life to all the residents of a region. Then money would be known as the protector of life.

  14. helen Saakho
    June 1, 2019 at 1:36 am

    And how do we explain stagflation? How do we explain the overproduction of cheapened goods and services by exploited even slave labour, or the coexistence of overconsumption by many with underconsumption by greater numbers?

    Money is not a neutral medium of exchange. It never was. The moment you treat Economics as a very sophisticated, complex science that explains it all, it begins to explain nothing and more.

    Academics, for sure, have a lot to answer for. And ultimately one must insist that without political accountability (almost everywhere now) nothing really matters or counts for progress.

    So, perhaps the first lesson of each lecture/textbook should be something like: Why is Economics meaningless without Political Accountability? And should the latter include addressing issues such as a restructuring of systems of governance (national and international)?

    These really are some of the burning issues of our times.

    • June 10, 2019 at 2:02 am

      Thank you.

      What is this fixation on representative government that represents capital?

      Accelerating evolution is as real as accelerating cosmic expansion.

      I suggest a seven facet non hierarchical form of government with the leaderless constituent assembly all powerful once activated.

  15. lobdillj
    June 1, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    The unknowable future…dreams of a desired future…fears of a possible future…how to prepare for it… Whether it is an immediate need or desire or one that may appear on the horizon tomorrow, this is the problem all humans must deal with. Money in hand is insurance for future problems unforeseen now. Whether it be sustenance later today, a new baby later this year, a desired career, a devastating health issue…whatever. Money in hand to satisfy the future need is the surest way to prepare. When the unknowable future arrives in the present, it is necessary to pay. If savings are insufficient, debt is the answer…an obligation, with interest, that a lender may or may not offer. The outcome of the immediate problem hangs in the balance, and it may be a life or death issue.
    A diverse economy cannot function without money. The money is created and issued by the sovereign or its franchisee. Acceptability of the money is guaranteed by the requirement that users pay their taxes in that currency. MMT says that this is why taxes are imposed. Taxes have no other purpose. They do not fund government expenditures. All government expenditures are funded by simple creation of money and/or money borrowed from the government’s franchisee at interest. All government income is simply extinguished after crediting the payee with payment. (Borrowing at interest is necessary only if the government has voluntarily agreed not to use its sovereign power to create and spend money…and why would the government do that?)

  16. Craig
    June 9, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    Just listened to an excellent video on Steve Keen’s patreon site. The search for alternative energy resources is so important and yet economists and climate theorists seem stumped by the high costs of green technologies. This is simply old/current monetary paradigm thinking. With a non-profit publicly administered national banking system and the monetary policies of Wisdomics-Gracenomics you could immediately reduce the costs of green technology consumer products by 75% and with the stakes being so high (species and planetary survival) the costs of developement of green technologies could be virtually eliminated so progress toward survivable carbon footprint could be accelerated tremendously.

    It’s really just a matter of getting one of finance’s feet off the individual’s neck and the other one off the costliness brake toward green research and technology.

    It’s so frustrating to know the new paradigm concept and its aligned policies and see economists being ignorant of them.  We have prosperity and the fast forward march toward ecological survival if they would simply awaken to them.  Meanwhile finance is saying, “No, you have no right to end our monopoly paradigm of Debt Only for the sole form and vehicle for the distribution of money/credit. We have every right to dominate everyone, every legitimate and actually productive business model, buy or cow every ignorant  and/or ethically challenged  politician and declare ecological survival “too expensive”.

    Just look at it. It’s stupid to not make the cost reducing and eliminating policies of paradigm change in Wisdomics-Gracenomics the immediate reality.

  17. Helen Sakho
    June 10, 2019 at 12:00 am

    Please see the latest edition of TNI online:

    World Environment Day on June 5, and World Oceans Day on June 8 come this year against a backdrop of escalating climate movements and an ever escalating crisis. As the impact of climate change becomes increasingly apparent, some wealthier nations, who owe their industrialisation to climate-wrecking dirty energy, continue to shirk their responsibilities.

  18. lobdillj
    June 10, 2019 at 12:05 am

    What is TNI?

  19. Helen Sakho
    June 10, 2019 at 12:08 am

    The Transnational Institute. It is a wonderful reporter of key global issues. It is published in different language, but English is common.

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