If we needed evidence that Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is open to different political viewpoints, it has been forthcoming lately in the blogosphere. In itself, this is a good thing. To be a useful framework for debate over policy and political alternatives, there needs to be an openness to different perspectives. From my vantage point, one effect of the emerging debates has been to reveal a seemingly large group who want to do less with MMT than the academic developers envisaged, while another (probably much smaller group) want to do more. Needless to say, I fall into the latter category. My concern is that MMT is at risk of becoming just another tool for those who wish to preserve the status quo.
Lately, I find myself somewhat distant from the world view many (though certainly not all) MMTers seem to espouse. The debate over the job guarantee (JG) can serve as one illustration of what I have in mind. There are other examples I could have selected, but this one seems topical....
Read it at hetecnomist.comWill MMT Become Part of the Problem?
by Peter Cooper
I've had these thoughts from the beginning of my encounter with MMT. However, I don't think that attempting to improve the existing system from within excludes the larger intention of overhauling the system.
Generally, overhauls only occur at the point of breakdown, and we aren't quite there yet. I'm OK with MMT putting off the breakdown for some time, since I am not a liquidationist. I don't see the gain in destroying existing structures, even though they may be dysfunctional, with the hope that they can be replaced with something better without a clear plan. Societal change is much safer when it is incremental and in response to current needs felt by a large number of people. I believe that this is in the process of unfolding.
I would like to see an alternative development, or wing, of MMT that aims to replace replace dysfunctional institutions with functional ones suitable for the challenges of this century instead of remaining stuck in the last century, even though that is better than returning to the 19th century as some seem to want.
Institutions generally become dysfunctional as they become obsolete. In my view, the present configuration of "capitalism," was is not really capitalism anyway, is in its late stages if it hasn't already entered obsolescence. We need to be thinking forwardly rather than trying to preserve a system that has served its purpose. It's time to move on.
MMT is a tool for showing the way to create a material life-support system for a global meta-economy of the 21st century that recognizes that business and finance are now predominantly transnational. The challenge is preserving democracy in this transition to new economic forms that threaten to centralize power and decision-making in the hands of a few.