So, I can tell you that Warren Mosler at least is formulating the theory a bit differently. He starts with the fact, or the claim, that taxes are the primary driver of demand for a Fiat currency. I argued with him about this point. Economists with other views to balance out MMT.
So, I can tell you that warren Mosler at least is formulating the theory a bit differently. He starts with the fact, or the claim, that taxes are the primary driver of demand for a Fiat currency. I argued with him about this point. But if you except it, then it follows that taxes create a scramble by many participants in the local economy to obtain enough money to pay those taxes. Then the government prints the very money that everyone is scrambling to obtain. Warren Mosler concludes by saying that the government is not constrained in how much debt it can take on because a dollar and a treasury bond for a dollar are just two different types of accounts that exactly balance each other. To me this is ignoring everything outside the system. It’s like saying a bank can leverage its reserves as much as it wants because every loan it gives are just assets and liabilities on different sides of the ledger. MMT always acknowledges inflation matters, but it seems to be lip service.
I have come to describe the macroeconomics of the USA very simply:
1. Every country fights to protect its exports because that’s what lets its citizens import everything they need. Russia will fight to export natural gas. And so on.
2. After Bretton Woods, our chief export is not even Music and IP, it’s DOLLARS. We print them, and for decades everyone arouns the world produced goods and services for us, in exchange for dollars.
3. Our dollars and treasuries are used as reserves by banks. Also we engage in petrodollar warfare. We used to buy oil from Saudis, and now we sell weapons to them for the same money we gave them. And so on.
4. The USA is unique in its immunity to inflation and printing. Most countries cannot sustain such high debt to GDP ratios without their treasuries becoming devalued. USA treasuries may eventually face competition from China etc. but we still have a lot of demand for our export, by the world banks and consumers.
5. Being able to print your own currency and run your own monetary policy is essentially the power to impose a flat tax on your local economic activity. When PIIGS countries had their own currencies, they could finance public parks etc. When they joined the Eurozone, they lost a lot of that power and their public infra got bought by German banks. Greece, the “originator” of DEMO KRATIA (power of the people) lost power to foreign capitalists. People and jobs emigrated, capital flight ensued. This also happens in the USA on a city level (Detroit) and state level (Illinois and Puerto Rico).
6. Conclusion: Having your own money supply allows you many chances to print your way out of debt, and also run monetary policy. That always leads to stronger local communities vs the foreign capitalists. But doing too much causes capital flight and an increase in money velocity, ie devaluation of your local currency from an outside perspective.
7. MMT correctly advocates, like Keynsians, issuing money to pay for infrastructure and Universal Health Insurance / Food / Basic Income. Because it can lead to more real economic activity. It’s like a startup that spends correctly on the things tht make it grow and provide a return on investment. More coins chase more goods and services so there is no inflation. In fact, it attracts real capital to the community. But if there is malinvestment and bad bets, too many of those cause inflation.
8. Inflation isn’t just redistributing from the lenders to the borrowers. It also makes the wage earners who aren’t immediately investing their currency into something else the losers. It makes a hot potato hotter and hurts those who don’t have great wealth management.
It seems to me that’s kind of half-a-loaf MMT. Or, to borrow from The Matrix trilogy, it's the spoon-bending level.
Where the full loaf (“there is no spoon”) is: Government is not constrained to take on debt at all to finance an excess of spending the over revenue. The idea that, if the State chooses to create net new tokens in the economy (remember, the key points of MMT is that fiat money is created by the issuing government spending and destroyed by the issuing government recovering it), it must seek the permission of someone with a surplus of existing tokens willing to sacrifice them for a greater number of future tokens, after which the government's pet (but “independent”) token-issuing body will see to the issuance of additional tokens is kind of bonkers, but that seems to be how MMT would view the current relation between fiscal and monetary policy.
The status of fiat being legal tender for all debts is what makes lenders unable to demand other currencies but they can execute forward contracts of X versus a basket of commodities for example.