99 episodes

Welcome to Activist #MMT. A podcast about real-world economics including Modern Money Theory, and how life changes when you discover it.

Activist #MMT - podcast Jeff Epstein

    • Education
    • 4.6 • 13 Ratings

Welcome to Activist #MMT. A podcast about real-world economics including Modern Money Theory, and how life changes when you discover it.

    Ep130[1/3,4/6] John Harvey on exchange rates and neoclassicism [guest host: Johnathan Wilson]

    Ep130[1/3,4/6] John Harvey on exchange rates and neoclassicism [guest host: Johnathan Wilson]

    Welcome to episode 130 of Activist #MMT. Today's part four of a six-part series with Texas Christian University (TCU) economics professor and Cowboy Economist John Harvey. Parts four through six are also the first main interview of Activist #MMT hosted by someone other than me. Today's guest host is my own former guest, MMT researcher, Texas lawyer, and pmpecon.com author, Jonathan Wilson. (Jonathan and I spoke in episodes 106 and 107.)
    (A list of the audio chapters in this episode can be found at the bottom of this post. Here's a link to part one in this six-part series with John, which contains a link to all other parts. For a link to every Activist #MMT interview with John – plus the full audio of every Cowboy Economist video – go here.)
    This three-part interview with John and Jonathan is wide ranging and in-depth. They start by discussing the difficulties nations face managing their currencies, such as during major conflicts, natural or man-made disasters, and in the global south. They also discuss these things from the perspectives of holders of various currencies, both in and out of a country.
    In part two, they continue this conversation. In the second half of part two, John gives his extended thoughts on a recent critique of MMT by Drumetz and Pfister.
    Finally, in part three, they focus on some of the core assumptions and ideology of mainstream economists. They also discuss how some assume inflation to always caused by too much demand and too high wages, despite clear empirical evidence that it's caused by something else.
    You'll find links to many resources, as mentioned by John and Jonathan throughout these three parts, in the show notes.
    And now, onto Jonathan's conversation with John Harvey. Enjoy.
    Resources 2004 book by Ilene Grabel and Ha-Joon Chang: Reclaiming Development: An alternative economic policy manual 2017 book by Ilene Grabel: When Things Don't Fall Apart John Harvey, intermediate macro, 30 lectures (discusses problems with general equilibrium models) Paul Romer "post-real" paper, The Trouble with Macroeconomics and Trouble with Macroeconomics, Update - Paul Romer George DeMartino (Ilene Graebel's husband) 2013 , Professional Economic Ethics: Why Heterodox Economists Should Care Megacorp. an oligopoly by Alfred Eichner (John: somewhat outdated but still important) Steve Keen 1995 paper in Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Finance and economic breakdown: modeling Minsky's "financial instability hypothesis" 2011 post by Warren Mosler, Proposals for the Banking System Audio chapters 3:30 - Video games 7:12 - We need an MMT game 10:58 - The plan 11:31 - What happened to the ruble and domestic inflation in Russia this year? 15:02 - How does Russia manage the price of the ruble through, Gasprom, which is a privately owned bank? 17:00 - What are foreigners who held rubles before the war now doing? 19:53 - Timeline of Russian management of the ruble through the conflict 21:38 - Russian versus non-Russian holders of the ruble 23:08 - Bank of International Settlements (BIS) tri-annual survey of international transactions 26:07 - What might happen after the war? 28:11 - Strong currency as a cause versus as an effect. 33:24 - Ilene Grabel 34:21 - Decrease in price drives demand up, but not enough to drive the price back up to the original level. (No perpetual motion machine) 38:36 - Holding foreign currencies as a form of portfolio diversification. 49:57 - Should countries force others to purchase things in their home currency? 53:55 - Hierarchy of currencies, 1-5 58:59 - What is a low-value exporting country to do? 1:04:35 - The deficit can be evidence of an external desire to save 1:08:16 - Currency markets are driven by financial capital flows, not trade flows. 1:12:00 - Duplicate of introduction, with no background music (for those with sensitive ears)

    • 1 hr 13 min
    Modern Money Doughnuts, seas2-ep10: Con Michalakis (audio podcast)

    Modern Money Doughnuts, seas2-ep10: Con Michalakis (audio podcast)

    Welcome to season 2, episode 10 of Modern Money Doughnuts (MMD), hosted by Steven Hail and Gabrielle Bond. MMD is an international show about modern monetary theory and ecological economics. This week, Steven and Gabie talk to Con Michalakis. Con is the Chief Investment Officer for Statewide Superannuation, South Australia's biggest retirement pension fund. He is also the Chair of Modern Money Lab. We will ask Con about how he came to understand MMT, and about his role in launching our suite of postgraduate courses with Torrens University.
    (All episodes of Modern Money Donuts can be found on this page by Modern Money Labs.)
    Here's the video from which this audio comes from. (The audio is unedited.)
    MMD is hosted by Kerberos Media, and the audio podcast is, for now, hosted by Activist #MMT. So if you'd like to be automatically notified of each new MMD episode, then subscribe to Activist #MMT on your favorite podcast platform.

    • 37 min
    Ep129[2/2]: Dirk Ehnts: Raising interest rates is like blowing up the garden to weed it

    Ep129[2/2]: Dirk Ehnts: Raising interest rates is like blowing up the garden to weed it

    Welcome to episode 129 of Activist #MMT. Today's part two of my two-part conversation with Dirk Ehnts. Last week in part one, Dirk described his journey from a PhD in mainstream economics, to discovering and accepting MMT. Today, I ask questions circling around his new co-authored piece for the Gower Initiative, called Raising interest rates is like blowing up the garden to weed it. It starts with some very basic questions about how and why the central bank maintains the stability of the payment system. I then ask the specific mechanics of the central bank's raising its overnight target rate, and how it ultimately results in millions more becoming unemployed – and therefore more exploitable. I continue to struggle with these concepts, but after this conversation, I feel like the questions have become more clear.
    If you like what you hear, then I hope you might consider becoming a monthly patron of Activist #MMT. Patrons have exclusive access to several full-length episode, right now. A full list is here, each with a brief highlight. Patrons also get the opportunity to ask my academic guests questions, like in last week's episode with Dirk, my previous interview with John Harvey, and my recent episode with Warren Mosler. They also support the development of my large and growing collection of learn MMT resources. To become a patron, you can start by going to patreon.com/activistmmt. Every little bit helps a little bit, and it all adds up to a lot. Thanks.
    And now, let's get right back to my conversation with Dirk Ehnts. Enjoy.
    Audio chapters 5:13 - Start of academic questions 5:35 - What is the nature of a catastrophic failure of the payment system? 12:12 - Central bank versus Blockchain, a financial justice system 14:59 - Warren Mosler story about company accidentally receiving millions extra from central bank. 15:24 - Central banks and reserves, parents and food for the kids, power struggles 21:36 - Increasing interest rates- the mechanics and its effects (dis-employing people) (transmission channels of monetary policy) 29:07 - The MMT view of interest rate targeting 36:53 - I try to restate 44:44 - Germany are Greece are both currency issuers, but with different power 50:48 - The difference in power between Germany and Greece 56:23 - Goodbyes and Levy summer session 1:01:02 - Duplicate of introduction, but with no background music (for listeners with sensitive ears)

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Ep128[1/2] Dirk Ehnts: From mainstream to MMT

    Ep128[1/2] Dirk Ehnts: From mainstream to MMT

    Ep128[1/2] Dirk Ehnts: From mainstream to MMT https://youtu.be/m0uyelaD4uA https://make.headliner.app/project/5cca5c19-38ae-4aa6-8da8-b241d449689b
    Welcome to episode 128 of Activist #MMT. Today I talk with Dirk Ehnts, about his personal journey to MMT, which happened only after obtaining a PhD in mainstream economics. One of Dirk's first hints that something was wrong, was discovering that Paul Krugman's 1991 new trade theory was not representative of the world in which we actually live. He was also told by his professors that what is obviously true must be ignored, which only serves to further diverge the theory from the world it purports to explain. Only after receiving his PhD did he discover MMT which finally put all the pieces together. It did so in a way that is falsifiable, which means its main assertions are provable or disprovable by empirical evidence.
    (Here's a link to part two. I also interviewed Dirk in episodes 66 and 69. A list of the audio chapters in this episode can be found at the bottom of this post.)
    Today in part one, Dirk and I also talk about how microeconomics and macroeconomics relate and are ultimately inseparable. We end with a question from Activist #MMT patron Chiel Harmsen, on the problems of the Eurozone and how to address them. Next week in part two, I ask Dirk questions circling around his new co-authored piece for the Gower Initiative, called Raising Interest Rates Is Like Blowing Up The Garden To Weed It. I start with some very basic questions about how and why central banks maintain stability of the payment system. I then ask him to describe the specific mechanics of how the central bank raising the overnight interest rate target results in millions becoming unemployed – and ultimately more exploitable.
    And now, onto my conversation with Dirk Ehnts. Enjoy.
    Audio chapters 3:49 - Hellos, terrible fives, new paper summarizing UK exchequer 6:22 - Can you tell your personal story from mainstream to MMT? 9:29 - Paul Krugman's new economic geography theory 15:14 - Knapp's state theory of money and "reading between the lines" 17:45 - The issuer is above, and creates, economic law 20:54 - Did mainstream feel off while you were in school? 25:29 - No macroeconomic accounting in mainstream macroeconomics 28:31 - When did you read Keynes and how did it affect your education? 30:47 - Did you have an instinct that something was off, or did something specific trigger your skepticism? 32:12 - "I have to incorporate money", second time 33:32 - MMT is falsifiable (where does money come from?) 35:04 - Companies move where wages are (and demand is) high. (Fallacy of composition) 37:14 - Macroeconomics is the study of the systemic effects of microeconomic behavior 39:28 - The desire to lower wages is microeconomic but is so impactful it threatens our species. So how is that not macroeconomic? 43:13 - The consequences of accepting MMT 44:45 - Anti-MMT sentiment in Europe 49:00 - Positive consequences of accepting MMT 52:17 - Patron question from Chiel Harmsen: Problems in the EuroZone. 1:00:35 - Start of academic questions 1:04:06 - Duplicate of introduction, but with no background music (for listeners with sensitive ears) Ep129[2/2] Dirk Ehnts: Raising interest rates is like blowing up the garden to weed it https://youtu.be/hhgI7ubfXW4 https://make.headliner.app/project/fd8e62e9-db28-4b2b-9e3b-12cf0c765bc1
    Welcome to episode 129 of Activist #MMT. Today's part two of my two-part conversation with Dirk Ehnts. Last week in part one, Dirk described his journey from a PhD in main stream economics to discovering and accepting MMT. Today, I asked question circling around his new co-authored piece for the Gower Initiative, called Raising Interest Rates Is Like Blowing Up The Garden To Weed It. It starts with some very basic questions about how and why the central bank maintains the stability of the payment system. I then ask the specific mechanics of the central bank's raising its overnight target ra

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Ep127 [3/3,3/6]: John Harvey: MMT, the UK, and pound sterling

    Ep127 [3/3,3/6]: John Harvey: MMT, the UK, and pound sterling

    Welcome to episode 127 of Activist #MMT. Today's part three in a six-part series with Texas Christian University (TCU) economics professor and Cowboy Economist, John Harvey. The first three parts are hosted by me, the final three by MMT researcher, Texas lawyer, and my previous guest, Johnathan Wilson. Jonathan and John talk about how MMT can apply to nations outside the US, using Russia as an example, and also some of the core theoretical and ideological differences between MMTers and mainstream economists, focusing on a recent critique of MMT by Drumetz and Pfeister. (You can hear my own interview with Jonathan in episodes 106 and 107.)
    (A list of the audio chapters in this episode can be found at the bottom of this post. Here's a link to part one, which contains a link to all six parts in the series. For a link to every Activist #MMT interview with John – plus the full audio of every Cowboy Economist video (!) – go here.)
    Today in part three, John and I finish our conversation about his chapter in the upcoming book called Modern Monetary Theory: Key Insights, Leading Thinkers. The book will be published by the UK-based Gower Institute for Modern Money Studies, or GIMMS; it's edited by L. Randall Wray and GIMMS; and is scheduled for January 2023 release. John is one of 15 authors. John's chapter is called "Modern Monetary Theory, the UK, and pound sterling". It addresses the following criticism of MMT (this is a quote from the chapter): "MMT-inspired policies will cause high rates of price inflation which will, in turn, lower the international value of a domestic currency – perhaps catastrophically." This conversation discusses the three major false assumptions underlying this criticism.
    We end on two mostly unrelated topics. The first is how, when it comes to those we directly interact with, on a day-to-day basis, mainstream economic theory is not in fact, a massive conspiracy. Therefore we should almost always err on the side of being diplomats instead of assassins. Or as I like to put it: rage against the system, be kind to individuals. Most who agree with mainstream theory genuinely believe it to be accurate. As I mention, I do believe it takes a lot of shutting out of dissenting views and of those that hold them, in order to enable this true belief. However, that filtering always occurs at the level above, starting with those who rank the economic journals and universities. Another important example relevant to my own experience, are those who moderate extremely large social media discussion groups, who prevent dissenting thought from ever appearing in the first place.
    The second is the good and bad of math in economics. Basically, there's nothing wrong with math, just as there's nothing wrong with any tool. All that matters is how you use it.
    If you like what you hear, then I hope you might consider becoming a monthly patron of Activist #MMT. Patrons have exclusive access to several full-length episodes, right now. A full list is here, each with a brief highlight. Patrons also get the opportunity to ask my academic guests questions, such as my recent episode with Warren Mosler, last week's episode with John, and my next interview with John Harvey. They also support the development of my large and growing collection of learn MMT resources. To become a patron, you can start by going to patreon.com/activistmmt. Every little bit helps a little bit, and it all adds up to a lot. Thanks.
    And now, let's get right back to my conversation with John Harvey. Enjoy.
    Audio chapters 5:43 - Purchasing Power Parity 10:11 - Purchasing Power Parity: Follow-ups 15:47 - "Mainstream economic theory is one big conspiracy." 26:17 - Hans Visser and Keynes' gloomy view 27:29 - Conspiracy, rage against the system, be kind to individuals. Every higher level shuts out dissenting thought 34:53 - The good and bad of math in economics 45:18 - My responses 50:24 - Levy summer session and goodbyes 57:26 - Duplicate of introductio

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Ep126[2/3,2/6]: John Harvey: MMT, the UK, and pound sterling

    Ep126[2/3,2/6]: John Harvey: MMT, the UK, and pound sterling

    Welcome to episode 126 of Activist #MMT. Today's part two in a six-part series with Texas Christian University (TCU) economics professor and Cowboy Economist, John Harvey. The first three parts are hosted by me, the final three by MMT researcher, Texas lawyer, and my previous guest, Johnathan Wilson. Jonathan and John talk about how MMT can apply to nations outside the US, using Russia as an example, and also some of the core theoretical and ideological differences between MMTers and mainstream economists, focusing on a recent critique of MMT by Drumetz and Pfeister. (You can hear my own interview with Jonathan in episodes 106 and 107.)
    (A list of the audio chapters in this episode can be found at the bottom of this post. Here's a link to part one, which contains a link to all six parts in the series. For a link to every Activist #MMT interview with John – plus the full audio of every Cowboy Economist video (!) – go here.)
    Today in part two, John and I continue our conversation about his chapter in the upcoming book called Modern Monetary Theory: Key Insights, Leading Thinkers. The book will be published by the UK-based Gower Institute for Modern Money Studies, or GIMMS; it's edited by L. Randall Wray and GIMMS; and is scheduled for January 2023 release. John is one of 15 authors. John's chapter is called "Modern Monetary Theory, the UK, and pound sterling". It addresses the following criticism of MMT (this is a quote from the chapter): "MMT-inspired policies will cause high rates of price inflation which will, in turn, lower the international value of a domestic currency – perhaps catastrophically." This conversation discusses the three major false assumptions underlying this criticism.
    Surprisingly, however, my the main insight I take from this conversation with John is a much clearer understanding of inflation in general. As promised in the intro to part one, here's that insight:
    Inflation is not a disease or even a symptom, but rather a potential measurement of some problem somewhere. Similarly, a thermometer says you have a fever. A fever means your body is fighting off something. Sure, you could take an ice bath to reduce your fever, but that will do little if anything to cure the underlying sickness.
    Further, while a thermometer measures something simple and definitive – your body temperature – the measurement of inflation is, and can only be, socially defines and executed. As John says, if used cars are heavily weighted in the consumer price index (a primary survey used to measure inflation), then the price of used cars skyrocketing (such as for a shortage of microchips) will increase overall inflation. But for the majority who have no plans to buy a used car, this particular inflation means little to them in real terms. However, this same inflation is used to stoke fear in everyone, regardless what they want to buy or not buy.
    Further still, inflation is a measurement. The idea of "reducing inflation" (such as by the Fed raising interest rates) is targeting something that serves as nothing more than a distraction from the real world and the underlying problems the measurement is referring to. Targeting low inflation is very similar to targeting a low deficit ("we must reduce deficit!"). This is targeting a measurement and sacrificing those at the bottom, in the real world, in order to do it. This is example of Goodhart's law: when a measurement becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measurement. The difference is that a deficit is never inherently a bad thing, where inflation is generally, genuinely referring to a real problem in real world. However, targeting only the inflation measurements itself, almost always results in the underlying problem(s) being ignored and exacerbated.
    Basically, is your goal to lower the temperature on the thermometer, or to not be sick?
    And now, let's get right back to my conversation with John Harvey. Enjoy.
    Audio chapters 6:28 - Back to inflation 12:25 - Do

    • 1 hr 2 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
13 Ratings

13 Ratings

adthhufb ,

MMTree

I just love the musical intro, as well as the content, it is so inspiring. Thanks for your work Jeff.

Rinisaurus ,

Excellent resource for MMT activists or just MMT-curious

Jeff is an MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) activist on his own journey of learning the down and dirty, nutty-gritty operational realities of money in a digital fiat currency system. He works tirelessly to educate himself as well as his peers, bringing experts and fellow activists to the table week after week to keep MMT at the front of our minds. He is a passionate, tireless advocate for economic justice in the same vein as Steve Grumbine and Geoff Ginter. He is also a dedicated organizer, and volunteered for the Bernie Sanders 2016 and 2020 campaigns, and is now helping other progressives find a way forward after Bernie’s latest capitulation to the Democratic Party establishment. I highly recommend that all MMT activists (and experts!) listen to this podcast and support Jeff’s efforts to bring this information to progressive organizers all over the world. -@valleygeist, 2-year MMT student and activist

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