Effect on the Mind of the Words “Spending” and “Investing”

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”.

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Currency Viability In a Pure Income Tax Regime With a Basic Income

The notion of tax-driven money is easiest to understand in relation to an exogenous tax such as a property tax or simple head tax. Demand for a state money is most effectively driven by exogenous taxes, not endogenous ones such as income taxes. Even so, in a hypothetical system with a tax imposed solely on income, the tax would still drive demand for a state money. It is worth considering why this is the case, because it also indicates why some level (but not any level) of a basic income would also be consistent with currency viability.

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Graphical Representation of the Income-Expenditure Model

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.

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Transcripts of Warren Mosler’s Talk and Q&A session in Sofia, Bulgaria

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.

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Theory of Free National Currencies – MMT Round Table in Bulgaria

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.

Planned Investment/Saving and Keynesian Causation

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.

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More on Unemployment as Policy Choice

The previous post drew some interesting responses including a post by Cullen Roche over at Pragmatic Capitalism. (H/t to Trixie.) This response started as a comment and got too long, so I thought it would be better to turn it into a new post. First, I will respond to a question posed by Philippe. Second, I will respond to Edgaras. But there will be some overlap. The points can also be considered in relation to Cullen’s argument, since the comments were motivated by his post. Finally, I’ll respond to an aspect of Cullen’s post that didn’t crop up in the specific responses to Philippe and Edgaras.

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Unemployment is a Government Policy Choice

A common misconception is that if everybody was prepared to take awful enough jobs, unemployment would be eradicated automatically, at least eventually, irrespective of the government’s fiscal stance. Embedded in this argument is a misconception that unemployment, overall, can be eliminated through lower wages or deteriorating working conditions. In a capitalist monetary economy, this is not true. To think otherwise is to succumb to a fallacy of composition.

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Experimenting With the Blog’s Visual Format

Don’t freak out. I can change back to the previous theme if this one doesn’t work out. In the short term, some of the formatting in posts might be a bit iffy. This will be fixed “soon”, although loyal readers will be aware that heteconomist time to world time is as human years to dog years. Apologies for being slack in responding to recent comments. As you can see, I have been “busy” with the experiment.

MMT in Simple Parables

Modern monetary theorists have employed parables or simple teaching models to illustrate how sovereign currencies work. Usually the parables are used to drive home the most fundamental aspect of state or chartal money; namely, the manner in which a tax obligation underpins demand for the currency. It can be instructive to explore the parables in depth. For example, Bill Mitchell has provided a series of posts (here, here and here) adding layers of meaning to a ‘business card model’ initially due to Warren Mosler in which parents represent government and their kids represent the non-government. A similar exploration is presented in Parable of a Monetary Economy. These treatments can get fairly elaborate in terms of the numerical calculations, even though the calculations themselves are elementary. This is fine for reading purposes, but when it comes to explaining the basics to a friend or colleague in a social situation it will sometimes be better to avoid numbers and tell a simple verbal story. For this purpose, another variant of Warren’s parable, which he sometimes uses as an opener in seminar presentations, seems especially suited to the purpose. It is possible to delve into the story as deeply as is likely to be necessary in most informal situations.

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