My previous post seems to have been interpreted by some Modern Monetary Realists and supporters as a personal attack. Included among the offended parties appears to be Cullen Roche for whom I have much respect. Hopefully it is clear to readers here that I meant no offense in my post. In retrospect, I should have avoided any reference to politics, and kept strictly to the economic arguments that were my focus.
In an attempt to clarify my intent, I put up a comment [link no longer available] in the relevant thread at Pragmatic Capitalism. However, I was late to the party, so it could easily be missed. Rather than have ill feeling potentially simmer, I thought I would reproduce it here as well:
I am sorry to see that you considered my recent post to be a personal attack. I can assure you that this was not my intention.
My argument – rightly or wrongly – focused on two aspects: (i) the effects of full employment on productivity; and (ii) the prospects of non-inflationary (true) full employment in the absence of a job guarantee or socialized investment.
I had hoped it would be clear that I was not criticizing your political perspective, whether right-leaning (as I incorrectly perceived) or centrist, which is of no concern to me in any case.
By way of clarification, in the term “right-libertarian” as per the Political Compass, the first word refers to economic stance and the second word refers to social stance. The term right-libertarian does not necessarily indicate Randian ideology, although extreme values on both scores might.
My (incorrect) impression of your political perspective was based on your previous statements that you were a fiscal conservative and social progressive. That tends to suggest the right-libertarian quadrant (though not necessarily) without in any way suggesting extremism. In fact, your “test result” indicates that, strictly speaking, I was only one square off the correct quadrant. 😉
Obviously, if I had my time over, I would not include any discussion of political perspectives in my post, as it only served to side-track the discussion.
More generally, given our political differences, which are due to my far left-libertarian tendencies in relation to the political center, it may not be readily apparent just how much in agreement we seem to be in many ways.
Correct me if my impressions are wrong, but based on my interpretation of your writings, we appear to have the following in common. We are both social progressives. We both think full employment or GDP measures do not necessarily ensure high quality of life. We both think there should be less emphasis on inflation, provided it is mostly moderate. We both accept the MMT insights on monetary operations, the importance of stock-flow consistency, and many other matters.
It may not be apparent that I also remain somewhat undecided on the external sector arguments, as discussed in the past by Ramanan, although I provisionally side with MMT. (I used to have to tutor on the “BOP constraint” in a former life, long before my exposure to MMT. It is a familiar idea in at least some lines of Post Keynesian thought.)
Anyway, I hope it is obvious that I have great respect for you and the major role you are playing in disseminating a correct understanding of monetary operations. I consider this to be the most important task. Once people understand that, they can make up their own minds on policy and politics.
On a personal note, I visit pragcap all the time. It is first rate.
In addition, perhaps I should stress for the benefit of newcomers that anything written here at heteconomist is not synonymous with Modern Monetary Theory. The views expressed in the posts are mine only, and I would imagine quite frequently at variance with the views – which I am not privy to – of the leading Modern Monetary Theorists. (See this post for more details.)
I hope this clarifies matters. Apologies to anyone who was offended.
Best wishes to all.
Cullen has kindly responded [link no longer available] to my comment. As he says, water under the bridge.
I’ve amended the title of this post to draw attention to the involved discussion on external sector issues that has followed it. Thanks to everyone for their ongoing contributions.