Not all the views expressed in my posts remain strictly within the confines of MMT. This may have become more evident lately. This is of no importance, of course, other than to require a clarification on the purpose and viewpoint presented in the blog. This is especially so because many posts (in fact, most posts on the blog) are written explicitly as introductions to aspects of MMT. I therefore thought it worth clarifying matters so that material on this blog that sometimes veers outside of MMT (though is still intended to be compatible with it) is not interpreted as MMT or mistakenly thought to implicate the MMTers. Regular readers probably have already discerned this over the last month or so, but it might be less clear to newer readers, which is of some concern because readership, though still modest, appears to have risen sharply over the last couple of months.
It goes without saying that the originators of MMT – alphabetically Mitchell, Mosler, Wray – are the ones in a position accurately to define the approach. On their definition, I am not an MMTer. To my knowledge, there is nothing of substance in MMT that I disagree with, but there may be aspects of my own position that, when falling outside the definition of MMT, might be rejected by MMTers. Reading Randall Wray’s fascinating keynote address at a recent conference of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), it is clear that he includes the specific policy prescriptions and theoretical heritage of the academic MMTers as part and parcel of MMT. This might be summarized as:
MMT = (1) an understanding of monetary operations + (2) stock-flow consistency + (3) Minsky + (4) Functional Finance + (5) Job Guarantee
I am in agreement with the MMT analysis in all these areas, although I would prefer the Job Guarantee to be combined with an unconditional basic income. But I am also interested in exploring: (i) the extent to which Marx and Kalecki can be made compatible with MMT; and (ii) the insights MMT might offer in thinking about a possible transition to a post-capitalist society.
Politically, I am left-libertarian or libertarian-communist in some sense. This has nothing to do with MMT or the views of its chief proponents. The leading MMTers want to bring corrupt bankers to account and tighten up regulations, employ functional finance, and introduce a Job Guarantee to deliver full employment with price stability. I agree with these objectives, but am interested in exploring political possibilities that go beyond them.
Needless to say, I find MMT very insightful and helpful, and will continue to draw on it and discuss it in the blog. It is the main reason for the blog’s existence, and will remain its main focus. In terms of the importance to my understanding of economic theory, I consider the key MMT insights right up there with Marx’s explanation of surplus value and the Keynesian/Kaleckian principle of effective demand. In my opinion, MMT constitutes a substantial theoretical stride forward. But the views expressed in my posts should not be taken as synonymous with MMT.