In our present-day societies, which neglect to guarantee either full employment or an unconditional income, unemployment benefits are a necessary safety net. Having evolved an economic system in which most of us must offer to work for a wage or salary to get by, majorities routinely vote for politicians who promise to make this impossible for a sizable portion of the workforce at any given time. Despite the current necessity for unemployment benefits, prevailing attitudes toward the policy seem largely hostile. Opposition does not solely – or even mainly – come from the powerful and wealthy. Many members of the working class (who, at least until recently, have deluded themselves into imagining they are "middle class") appear to be hostile to benefit payments as well. They are hostile, that is, until they themselves need them, in which case their new-found altruism lasts for about as long as their jobless episode. A recent study* indicating that winning the lottery significantly influences winners' political views, with one-fifth converting to conservatism pronto, may partly explain the prevalence of what is clearly intended to be self-interested behavior. The operative word is "intended". Such people are trying to look out for number one, yet are mostly too clueless even to pull that off.
Donna D'Souza (Trixie) has created another cool video, this one based on J.D. Alt's excellent E-book of the same title. Enjoy.
A recent post introduced the income-expenditure model, a staple of introductory courses in macroeconomics. In this post, a closely related model of the sectoral financial balances is considered at a similarly introductory level. The 'sectoral financial balances model', or 'SFB model' for short, has been discussed in the blogosphere by a number of Modern Monetary Theorists, including Bill Mitchell, Robert Parenteau, Eric Tymoigne, Daniel Conceicao and Scott Fullwiler, prompted by a post of Paul Krugman's which contained a useful diagram. Analysis of the sectoral financial balances proved insightful in understanding both the lead up to the global financial crisis and its aftermath. This claim will be substantiated once the basic model has been outlined.
Infamous footage of Paul Samuelson, posted by Mike Norman, explaining why we can't be trusted with the truth. Just believe the scary bedtime story about the big bad Budget Deficit and stay asleep now. There's a good child.
It is well known that for Keynes the demand for investment goods, as for labor services, is a derived demand. The demand for investment goods ultimately depends on the extent to which they are needed to produce items of consumption. Certainly, one investment good may be required in the production of a second investment good which, in turn, is needed to produce the first investment good. Iron gets sold to steelmakers who sell some steel to iron makers in a circle that never makes direct contact with the production of consumption goods. But this occurs because such maintenance of iron and steel works enables, indirectly, the supply of investment goods for the production of items of consumption.
In a recent talk based on a paper by Louisa Connor and Bill Mitchell, Mitchell considers the way in which the mainstream framing of the economy serves the neoliberal ideological agenda and how the framing could be altered to suit progressive viewpoints. Among the examples he gives are the terms "government spending" and "budget deficit".
This is a follow-up to a recent post on the income-expenditure (IE) model and is at a similar introductory level. Some knowledge from the previous post is assumed, so for those unfamiliar with the model, it would be best to read that post before this one. The purpose is to explain how the model can be represented graphically in a two-panel diagram. The top panel shows equilibrium and disequilibrium adjustments in terms of income and planned expenditure. The bottom panel shows them in terms of planned leakages and injections.
Warren Mosler's contributions to the MMT Round Table in Sofia required a translator for the Bulgarian audience. As an alternative to watching the videos (see here), some might find it convenient to read transcripts of his talk and Q&A session. Repetitions of phrases due to the translation process have been edited out, and a word or two not deciphered, but apart from that the transcripts are as spoken. In the talk, Warren briefly discusses Professor Hanke's view of the currency board before explaining: (i) the basics of establishing a sovereign currency; (ii) determinants of the value of the currency; and (iii) the dynamics of the currency board. In the Q&A session, he discusses what would be involved in getting off the currency board and reviving the economy, making comparisons with Argentina's experience under similar circumstances. As always, Warren speaks with great clarity and is worth watching or reading. Unfortunately I am unable to transcribe the talks by Pavlina Tcherneva and Ryan Markov due to the language barrier.
Ryan Markov has posted a couple of excellent videos from the MMT Round Table that was held in Sofia, Bulgaria on 9 November 2013. The presenters were Warren Mosler, Pavlina Tcherneva and Ryan. The latter two spoke in Bulgarian. Warren spoke in English. The first video is of the main presentation. The part in English takes up the first 53 minutes or so. The second video is of answers to questions. The part in English comprises the first 25 minutes. The Round Table focused on fundamental aspects of sovereign currencies, the benefits of going off a currency board and the steps to take in doing so.
This is intended as an introductory post to explain the Keynesian (and Kaleckian) view of causation between desired investment and desired saving in particular, and desired injections and desired leakages in general. Initially, the argument is presented with reference to a simple two-sector income-expenditure model of a pure private economy. The model illustrates the Keynesian view that provided the economy is operating below full employment and there is idle capacity, desired investment generates desired saving via income adjustments rather than being financed by that saving. The second part of the post employs a four-sector model with government and external sectors included to draw out a couple of points emphasized by modern monetary theorists.