In this ep of @thedigradio, Wendy Brown & Dan Denvir insist that the left needs to confront the "age-old question of socialism": How can we radically empower people through the state, when the state itself must rely on exploitative capitalist growth? 1/x…
The unquestioned assumptions here are: 1) Private capital is/can be the only agent of production, 2) the capitalist mode of production is the sole source of extant value, & 3) the left today can only ever hope to redistribute extant value in the form of progressive taxation. 2/x
This framing is false. It undermines all left projects. And it also reveals the bankruptcy of most left accounts of political power. 3/x
This is precisely why there's so much more at stake in the left MMT project than simply proclaiming the bare technocratic fact that state funding is never limited by tax revenues or borrowing. 4/x
For us at @thepublicmoney, @moneyontheleft & @Superstruc, "taxes don't fund spending" is not only an ontological claim. It's a radical assertion about power's composition & historical causality. 5/x
This assertion sees power as constitutively mediated & endogenously distributed via governance & law as well as through public & private production. 6/x
It furthermore sees value as actively & fraughtly pro-visioned, not passively & inevitably extracted & recirculated like a finite quasi-physics. 7/x
With this, we reject the whole metaphysics of redistribution as ontologically false & politically concessionary. 8/x
Folks on the left are always haranguing MMT & its supporters for their tHeOrY oF pOwEr. Well, here it is. And there's no radically democratic way forward for the political demands of class, race, gender, sexuality, animality, & ecology without it. 9/x
Crucial for this left MMT theory of power is our rejection of the Enlightenment vision of the social set forth by Brown in this episode, specifically what I call its topology of "externality" or "adjacency." 10/x
The social is not a "web" of contiguous groups. It is rather takes the form of nested & contested dependence. @USPS, eg, is not simply an arm of capital, nor is it an external or adjacent "force." The dependency here implies an internal, messy & entangled relationality. 11/x
My colleague @MaxSeijo & I are fond appealing to the figure of the "cascade" to describe this nested dependence, knowing damn well that no analogy is univocally representative of any marco-size structure. 12/x
This nested topology matters because it both discloses the actual conditions under which power operates *and* de-essentializes the specific form of causal power presumed by the question: How can we democratize the state, when it relies on capitalist growth? 13/x
In truth, the sate does not rely on capitalist growth in some total, mono-causal or unidirectional sense. 14/x
Now for us, of course, this revelation does not magically make radical democratization simple or easy. Nor does it offer a technocratic elixir for political antagonism. 15/x
Instead, it clarifies the genuine obstacles the left faces, while simultaneously expanding the bounds of what is variously legible, imaginable & realizable. 16/x
Final point: like Brown, we too neither fetishize the state nor ignore its centrality for left transformation. The difference, however, is that we in the left MMT project do not take the bourgeois-cum-neoliberal state at its word about its own constitution & capacities. 17/x
Only by radically challenging the self-image of the state, we argue, can we ever hope to politically transcend it. Only by rejecting this ideological construction can we establish democratic governance on socially & ecologically just premises. 18/x
P.S. No, MMT does not call for or depend upon autarky.

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More from @videotroph

6 Nov
I wish someone would hook you up with some good eats while I explain that this folk theory of MMT is incorrect. It is a common mistake to presume MMT only applies to the U.S. due to its military-backed dollar hegemony. 1/x
MMT's argument is that money is not & has never emerged from private barter-like exchanges. Money is, rather, a creature of governance & law, understood in a very broad sense that includes e.g. Incan "knot" accounting as well as the medieval Church's taxation & banking. 2/x
Money on MMT's analysis, then, is a credit/debt instrument that is widely receivable & can be used to settle public debts first, private second. In the nomenclature, we say "taxes drive money" or "money is a tax credit." 3/x
Read 18 tweets
18 Jul
I had a great time yesterday participating in the Manchester Summer Academy on Law, Money & Technology: Transforming Political Economy. I typed out my own short remarks summarizing my research & 2018 book.

Here they are in 25 tweets: 1/25
Over the last several years, I've sought to rethink the critical theory and aesthetics inaugurated by the Frankfurt School and carried on in diverse ways by many others by re-grounding this project in the public money approach developed by Modern Monetary Theory (or MMT). 2/x
Historically, critical theory has upheld various versions of the Marxist ontology of money. 3/x
Read 26 tweets
1 Jan

One of the amazing things about this moment is witnessing several self-avowed leftists such as Doug Henwood explicitly defend and lean further into the reactionary logics of sound finance against Modern Monetary Theory. 1/9…
As @NMarxism has been pointing out, this gesture is taken to a new self-flagellating extreme in the above piece by @meadwaj, former economic advisor to @UKLabour's Shadow Chancellor @johnmcdonnellMP. 2/9
In opposition to "plenty of 'Keynesians' out there" (read "MMT"), Meadway claims that Labour must frame their message to voters in zero-sum and tightly-costed terms in order to win future elections. 3/9
Read 9 tweets
20 Oct 19
THREAD on #decolonialMMT:

Vital for any decolonial MMT/Green New Deal project will be to problematize entrenched binary oppositions between modern Western and indigenous peoples, particularly concerning money and various contrasting modes of governance. 1/x
Of course, we must both critique & resist the modern West's instrumental rationality & systemic exploitation of social & ecological relations. 2/x
When it comes to the social & ecological ontologies that ground such contestation, however, we cannot take the modern West's word for it, as if what it says about its own modern monetary societies actually coincides with how modern money is structured, what it does & can do. 3/x
Read 16 tweets
9 Oct 19
A thread on what #MMT has to say re: small, non-hegemonic or so-called "developing" countries, a vital topic for any truly global & decolonial political economy. @FadhelKaboub has been working on this for decades. But recently many MMTers & fellow-travelers r now taking it on 1/x
Let's review MMT basics: fiscally speaking, any currency-issuing gov't with a floating exchange rate & productive infrastructures can afford to mobilize available persons & materials in order to serve communities & the planet. MMT terms this "monetary sovereignty." 2/x
According to MMT, monetary sovereignty is neither absolute, nor an all-or-nothing condition. Instead, monetary sovereignty comes in many qualities & degrees. Here is a good introductory talk on the topic by my colleague @NathanTankus at @law_uom. 3/x
Read 18 tweets
14 Sep 19
It's bonkers we moderns always ask what "backs" money, or where it "gets its value." Wishing away money's embedded macro foundations, we fret that money arises without broader sociopolitical supports & material connections & then try to anchor it yet another place or thing. 1/4
The absurdity of this becomes clear if we ask the same ridiculous question about other media. What "backs" books & radio, I wonder? Whence arises the "value" of films and websites? The premises of such questions are as nonsensical as any answers one might offer in response. 2/4
The point is not that we should stop considering and critiquing the production of social value. 3/4
Read 4 tweets

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