When I was young and heard politicians extol the virtues of “family values” and blame a decline in them on moral atrophy, I wondered how they couldn’t see that it was their economic policies, with deleterious effects on the social safety net and job security, that most undermined these “values”. Then I turned 3, and saw how naïve I had been. They never cared about those values. They just wanted an explanation of social disintegration that exempted from blame their class-interested attacks on the living conditions of general populations the world over.
To make resolutions – let alone follow them – takes derring do, and has never been attempted here at heteconomist. Perhaps it will never be re-attempted. But, what the heck, we only live once, at least in these bodies, as far as I can tell, so let’s see what can be mustered. Incidentally, I will be devastated if others do not add resolutions of their own in the comments. Okay, maybe not devastated, but certainly appalled. No, it is a new year, not even appalled. You can, at the very least, be assured of tolerance. In fact, better than that. I will be blissfully at peace with whatever comes.
Whenever somebody on the street asks me for spare change, which seems to be happening a lot lately, it reminds me of the song Coin Laundry by Lisa Mitchell. Your mileage may vary, but I think it is beautiful.
Last night I was watching an old episode of The Larry Sanders Show, which is one of my favorite shows of all time, along with Seinfeld and Arrested Development. The head writer up to that point, Jerry, is sacked and reacts quite violently – or, at least, erratically – to his misfortune. Prior to that he had been a good humored worker cooperating with the powers that be. It was only once sacked that his attitude changed.
If we needed evidence that Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is open to different political viewpoints, it has been forthcoming lately in the blogosphere. In itself, this is a good thing. To be a useful framework for debate over policy and political alternatives, there needs to be an openness to different perspectives. From my vantage point, one effect of the emerging debates has been to reveal a seemingly large group who want to do less with MMT than the academic developers envisaged, while another (probably much smaller group) want to do more. Needless to say, I fall into the latter category. My concern is that MMT is at risk of becoming just another tool for those who wish to preserve the status quo.
It is remarkable just how wrong neoclassical economists proved to be concerning the “Great Moderation”. By their logic, the global financial crisis was never a possibility, and even in retrospect can’t possibly have happened. Now that it has, the calls for a return to austerity from the neoliberal wing of the still predominantly neoclassical profession are already animated and shrill despite an absence of any sign of a sustainable recovery in global output and employment. It raises the question: Is there anyone in the world less deserving of a Nobel Prize than an economist?