The MMT Uptake Problem

Proponents of the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) approach to macroeconomics have had many successes since the approach was first synthesized in coherent form by Warren Mosler. There have been successful predictions of economic conditions: much work showing that the historical record accords with the MMT point of view, rather than the views of other approaches and paradigms, and also many instances where representatives of other approaches to economics have suddenly begun to use economic views first put forward by MMT economists.

So, it’s surely true that MMT has been making progress in its quest to become the dominant economic paradigm guiding macroeconomic and fiscal policy in nations. But for some of us writing about issues relating to MMT progress seems painfully slow. A big part of the reason for slow progress is the difficulty of getting MMT views into the mass media consistently, which is seen as a necessary step in getting them popular currency.

This has been difficult, in large part, because the media, including newspapers, major television and radio networks, and major cable networks provide access only to journalists and economists who occupy a relatively narrow spectrum of economic thought encompassing various shades of neoliberalism. When MMT is taken up in media environments, it is written about by journalists or economists who don’t agree with MMT views, and some who approach the subject with the pre-conceived notion that MMT is faintly ridiculous. Naturally, that kind of coverage always contains less than accurate commentary about what MMT writers believe, regardless of whether the articles involved are explicitly critical or purport to be doing a “news” piece on MMT.

MMT economists don’t often break through these filters and get a chance to educate large audiences about MMT, and until this happens I think MMT doesn’t have much chance to become part of the mainstream. MMT will have more successes in the future, and many of its ideas will filter into the mainstream, but I suspect that before MMT ideas are adopted as a basis for policy making in the US, at least, many years will pass.

Certainly, this won’t happen during the Obama Administration, and given her apparent orientation toward “fiscal responsibility,” I think it’s doubtful that MMT will gain a foothold in what is likely to be a coming Hillary Clinton Administration. If that comes to pass, and if the second Clinton period last 8 years, the earliest possible time when MMT might be able to contribute its insights to ending economic stagnation will be no earlier than 10 years from now, a painfully long time, when we consider the 25 million people still lacking full time employment who would like to gain it.

For the sake of those people, for the sake of ending economic stagnation, for the sake of people who need enhanced Medicare for All who won’t be able to have it because “we can’t afford it”, and for the sake of the rapid transition to renewable energy sources, the re-invented infrastructure, and the first class educational system the US badly needs, MMT proponents need to find a way to diffuse our views more rapidly to larger and larger groups of people.

The Re-inventing Democracy Project and the IVCS

Recently, I’ve been writing about development of the IVCS by the Re-invent Democracy Project. The objective of the project is to develop a platform that will provide a bottom-up solution to the growing global democracy crisis. This crisis is a process of gradual takeover of the world’s leading democracies by wealthy corporations and elites driving a globalization process, including the formation of supra-national constraints (such as NAFTA, CAFTA, TPP, TTIP and other trade agreements) on nations, and the people who are supposed to control national policies through political democracy.

The re-inventing democracy project proposes to change this by creating a web platform based on two technology patents specifying an Interactive Voter Choice System (IVCS). As Nancy Bordier puts it:

Oxdown Diaries

Oxdown Diaries