Monday, January 21, 2019

Bill Mitchell — Why progressive values align more closely with our basic needs

Thomas Fazi and I have been discussing the shape of our next book and I think it will be an interesting and worthwhile followup to Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World (Pluto Books, 2017). We hope it will be published some time late in 2019. One of the angles that will be delved into is the way in which neoliberal narratives and constructs have permeated individual consciousness. Yes, sounds a bit psychological doesn’t it. But there is a strong literature going back to well before the recent period of neoliberalism that allows us to draw some fairly strong conclusions on how the process has worked. It also allows us to make some coherent statements about the dis-junctures that are going on across the world between the people and their polities, which have spawned the support for Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, the popularity of far-right movements, the electoral demolition of the traditional social democratic political parties, the election of the new Italian government, and the on-going trouble that the Gilets Jaunes are causing the mainstream political processes in France (and Brussels). The literature also provides a guide as to how the Left might break out of their current malaise based on their tepid yearning for cosmopolitanism, identity and their fear of financial markets to reestablish themselves as the progressive voice of the people. That is what I am writing about at present and here is a snippet....
Bill goes "there," where "there" is philosophy in the best sense as "the study of the wholes in terms of wholes," that is, in terms of systems and subsystems. Economics cannot be approached on than on a simplistic basis without considering its relationship to society. Society is a network of networks, and these networks are dynamic rather than static. That implies that history counts, which includes culture, traditions, and institutional arrangements that are fluid.

Without taking into consideration the considerable knowledge that has been developed in the various disciplines, the social sciences in particular, economics doesn't have much to say about society that is of any worth practically. And the world is looking for practical solutions to pressing challenges.

In other words the mechanistic models based on physics that assumes that human being are like atoms obeying laws of nature and that assume ergodicity are barren with respect to practical application. Reality is not like that idealized world, which is mathematically tractable but non-representational. The social world is non-ergodic; uncertainty and asymmetries are facts of life.

As managers of our lives and environment, we humans need appropriate models to approach human problems efficiently and effectively, and devise workable solutions to pressing issues of the day. The paraphrase management guru Peter F. Drucker, "Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things." Business people figured out long ago that conventional economic theory is of little usefulness in management. Go figure.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Why progressive values align more closely with our basic needs
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia


Konrad said...


I never read Bill Mitchell’s blog posts. I only skim them, because Mitchell is too long-winded. He would put speed addicts to sleep. Mitchell thinks that excess verbiage makes his blog posts seem “academic.” In reality it turns readers off. Somebody get Mitchell an editor.

All of you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Bill Black is just as bad.

In verbal interviews, Black is candid, concise, and succinct. I love it.

In writing, Black is insufferable.

AXEC / E.K-H said...

MMT’s virtue-signaling distracts from failure/fraud

Comment on Bill Mitchell on ‘Why progressive values align more closely with our basic needs’

Bill Mitchell: “One of the angles that will be delved into is the way in which neoliberal narratives and constructs have permeated individual consciousness. Yes, sounds a bit psychological doesn’t it.”

Yes, economists love to dwell upon Human Nature/motives/behavior/action since Adam Smith/Karl Marx. Bill Mitchell remembers: “When I was a student … and studying the works of Marx in depth, I was continually confronted with the claim that socialism is against human nature, which apparently is competitive and dog-eat-dog in form.”

The scientific incompetence of economists consists of the fact that it is beyond their means to realize that NO way leads from the understanding of Human Nature/motives/behavior/action to the understanding of how the economic system works. The point to grasp is that economics is NOT a science of behavior but a system science.#1

Economics, though, has defined itself as social science. The result is nothing less than complete scientific failure. The major approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/formally inconsistent and all got the foundational economic concept ― profit ― wrong. In other words, there is NO such thing as scientifically valid economics. MMT fits into this pattern.

MMT is three things: theory, policy, activism. These three elements are constantly mixed in the public debate and this guarantees never-ending confusion.

Fact is that MMT theory is provably false, i.e. materially/formally inconsistent.#2 MMTers do not get the objective structural relations of the monetary economy right. Because of this, MMT policy proposals have no sound scientific foundations. This, though, does not matter much for the MMT activists because these folks present themselves as the can-do good guys, the real Progressives, the benefactors of WeThePeople.

Whether all MMTers understand it or not does NOT matter. What matters are the economic consequences of MMT policy. And these are disastrous with regard to distribution. Socially, the effects are the exact opposite of what MMTers claim. In a word, MMT policy benefits the one-percenters and NOT the ninety-nine-percenters.

Either MMTers do not understand their own theory and mislead the general public unwittingly or they purposefully push the agenda of the one-percenters and deliberately deceive the general public.#3, #4, #5 Bill Mitchell falls into the latter category.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 Economics is NOT about Human Nature but the economic system

#2 For the full-spectrum refutation of MMT see cross-references MMT

#3 MMT: From science to agenda-pushing to story-telling to fraud

#4 MMTers are NOT Friends-of-the-People

#5 Stephanie Kelton’s legendary Plain-Sight-Ink-Trick

Noah Way said...

Don't feed the troll.