This critical response to @dlondonnyu's recent @DissentMag article not only mischaracterizes MMT. It also reifies the deep orthodox assumptions MMT exposes to be at once epistemologically nonsensical & politically reactionary. 1/…
Bottom line: MMT rejects any approach to political economy that begins with a self-subsisting market where finite values must be recycled by private & public actors. It also rejects the notion that "money printing" is an exceptional & always-potentially inflationary excess. 2/
From an MMT perspective, such assumptions are flatly false. Money is routinely "printed" from nothing all the live long day. This occurs through federal appropriation & legally charted financial institutions. Money creation, then, is nothing like an exception; it's the rule. 3/
MMT also insists that markets, far from self-subsisting entities that governments may or may not tax, regulate, etc., are actually fully conditioned by government & law from start to finish. 4/
For these reasons, MMT concludes, money is irreducible to markets & neither money nor markets operate as physical or even quasi-physical systems, as Phillip Mirowski has also made abundantly clear. 5/…
Because money truly is not a thing but rather a social relation [cough cough], it is *physically* impossible to recycle it. Credit always comes first, revenue second, & when one credits an account from previous revenues that action is no sense an act of material recycling. 6/
Orthodox assumptions have so thoroughly penetrated modern &, yes, most leftist language that it has become almost impossible to resist the lure of imagining balance sheets literally "redistributing" money, as if moving little private chits of value from here to there. 7/
In truth, however, such money physics are entirely bogus & they actively undermine left projects. 8/…
Take the erroneous notion of the "price level," which the "printing press" is allegedly supposed to disturb. This entire framework naturalizes corporate control over the production process. 9/…
While endless money-printing for capitalists looks like a natural amount or "level," public money creation appears like a transgression against the natural order & value of things. Such thinking is endemic to patriarchy & white supremacy. 10/…
At this point, no one should be able to get away w/ accusing the MMT community of not wanting to tax the rich. From the very beginning, prominent MMTers have argued: to tax the rich--tax them hard. But do so for political reasons, rather than for revenues we do not need. 11/
MMTes have also expressly argued that pegging left or progressive projects such as the Green New Deal to wealth or transaction taxes perversely incentivizes the very capitalist activity we want to shut down. 12/
There is nothing in MMT that offers an easy out or fix for political struggle. Literally no MMTer says this. It's a fantasy perpetuated by anti-MMT leftists projected onto a domain they do not adequately comprehend. 13/
In actuality, MMTers are out here screaming that political struggle is hard as hell, but that it has nothing to do with money recycling. 14/
This is not because we want to avoid taxing billionaires out of existence. It's because redistribution is never, ever how things really work. So, let's be realistic & get to fucking work. 15/end

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More from @videotroph

21 Nov 20
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
Read 19 tweets
6 Nov 20
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 20
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 20

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

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