In the comments section to a recent post, some commentators discussed the issue of finding or producing useful resources for disseminating basic MMT concepts, and also possible tactics or techniques that could be used as teaching aids. I think this is an important topic that deserves its own post. I don’t have the answers, so I thought I would just make some brief observations and then commentators can feel free to add their own suggestions. Maybe, over time, people can take stabs at putting together material and posting it here to get feedback or thrash out various aspects of whatever topic is being addressed.
The comments pertaining to teaching methods were initiated by William Wilson, who wrote:
If one wishes to influence popular opinion today and has lots of wealth to expend in such an effort, one can always try to use the MSM, however, that does not strike me as a prudent path for obvious reasons. On the other hand, if you were to pitch your arguments in a way/using a technique that has the possibility of facilitating conveyance of information to a broader audience, such an effort might prove a winner. In this context, I have left comments at several (5-6) blog sites to indicate that visual techniques (especially, animation, cartoons or comic strips) will be noticed and, if done well, will convince; example comments at Warren Mosler’s site:
There have been only a few indications of agreement; however, these types of effort would require background information, time and talent which neither I nor you may possess. On the other hand, should this be read by someone who knows of a suitable candidate, this could be a useful challenge.
I think William makes a very good point that visual presentations would be beneficial. I don’t personally have skills in that area, but as he indicated in his initial comment, maybe there are others reading this who do, or someone who will come across the comment in the future.
I also want to thank the other commentators who responded to William’s suggestion or discussed problems relating to MMT education, including rvm, LED, Anders and Peter D.
As mentioned at the outset, I will give my own brief thoughts on currently available resources, but then hand it over to anyone else who wants to add links to resources or discuss creative possibilities for conveying information.
From my perspective, the material provided by Bill Mitchell, Warren Mosler, UMKC economists and other academics in their blogs (as opposed to their formal academic output) serves numerous important purposes. There is the task of communicating aspects of their formal research in a way that is comprehendible to other non-professional bloggers and commentators (such as myself), so we can respond to often demanding (for us) questions and criticisms on message forums. The importance of these blogs cannot be overestimated in this respect. They provide a window into the formal literature. The posts they provide can never be too long, from my perspective. I need every bit of them.
Then there is the task of providing accessible material for newcomers who may in some cases have no formal background in economics. Maybe these newcomers became interested in the subject because of the crisis. And there is also the task of providing summarized information for any journalists who may not have previously been exposed to MMT.
I would have thought the requirements of the newcomers would be very different from the requirements of economic journalists, who presumably will have some background in economics, even though not in MMT. While an ultra brief one-pager might be feasible for the journalists, personally I think it would be extremely difficult to explain the basics of MMT to a newcomer in one page, but who knows, I may be underestimating the teaching prowess of MMT advocates.
For journalists, I think Bill Mitchell’s short summary (about 1200 words) should be useful:
There is also this introduction at Pragmatic Capitalism:
If a newcomer has read and understood Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds and the billy blog teaching models, I think good follow-up material is provided by the mandatory readings at Warren’s blog and the following series of posts at billy blog:
I’m sure there are many terrific resources I have left out in this very brief list, for which I apologize. Others will hopefully chime in to fill the gaps.
I’ll hand it over to everybody now. If anyone wants to post links to existing resources or to lists of existing resources on other blogs, that would be great. Through discussion, we may be able to categorize the different readings in a format where it is easy, when looking for a helpful link, to pick it out of an appropriate list. If anyone wants to discuss different methods for disseminating information that would also be great.
Addendum November 2011
Since posting, Randall Wray started his ongoing Modern Money Primer. It has already been linked to in a comment below and also in the list of resources in the side bar of the blog, but I thought it should be mentioned in this post for any newcomers to MMT.
Also, here is a link to Scott Fullwiler’s accessible introduction to monetary operations.