If you have "no place to go," come here!

That's Not All!

letsgetitdone's picture

After opposing the Job Guarantee proposal as part of the broader MMT policy program in service of the goals of public purpose, full employment with a living wage and price stability, and for many weeks now, combining with Mike Sankowski and Carlos Mucha to found “Monetary Realism” and also saying:

“You guys see no need for unemployment. I do. I think it serves an incredibly important psychological component to any healthy economy. I’ve feared for my job and been unemployed. Those moments shaped who I am and what I’ve become. They were invaluable in retrospect. If I’d been able to apply for a JG job I might not be half the man I am today. Maybe it’s just personal entrepreneurial experience speaking here, but I know what it means to hunt and kill for ones dinner. Very little, aside from great parenting and education, was handed to me in life. My psychological development through having to earn things has been a building block that no govt program can ever provide. Ever.”

And then later saying that he's for: “prosperity, increasing living standards,” and says that subsidiary goals are innovation, increasing productivity, and a “real goal” of “full productivity.” And also saying that:

“. . . . massive increases in living standards come from increases in innovation and productivity (which are MOSTLY pvt sector and profit driven). So my thinking is rather basic. Why obsess over FE (I am referring to low unemployment here) when the real goal is full productivity (which is a vague concept I know)?”

Cullen Roche, in a post entitled “I Am For Full Employment” says today:

“That's All.”

To which I say: that can't be all because:

The MMT normative structure is: JG in the context of payroll tax cuts, State Revenue Sharing, and selected anti-inflation measures such as higher taxes -> Full Employment at a living wage with price stability -> Public Purpose

while MR's normative structure based on Cullen's various posts appears to be:

Payroll tax cuts, State Revenue Sharing, other as yet undefined productivity enhancing measures, along with selected anti-inflation measures such as higher taxes and interest rate targeting by the Fed -> Innovation -> Full Productivity with Price Stability -> Full Employment -> Increased Prosperity, which appears to be MR's top-level goal.

I think the MMT normative structure posits a much more direct connection between policy and FE with PS than the MR normative structure does. Also, the quotes above seem to indicate that MR values FP, Innovation, and Increased “Prosperity” much more than FE which we should not “obsess over.”

So, with all due respect I'd have to say:

That's not all!

No votes yet


Cullen Roche's picture
Submitted by Cullen Roche on


I am a little surprised that you keep referring to that one comment as if it proves your whole point. The only problem is that I clarified that point and you have since failed to give your readers an honest and full perspective. Here is what I said in immediate response to your comment:

"I shouldn’t have even bothered with the anecdotal. Lesson learned. It totally distracted from my main point which was not to say that we don’t need full employment, but that we should seek full productivity (and hence FE). The personal experience doesn’t prove anything…."

I am really stunned that you keep using that comment to try to prove your argument. It proves nothing and was rescinded in direct response to you because you and others kept taking it out of context.

Please stop misrepresenting other people's positions in what has clearly become nothing more than a personal vendetta....

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

I'm happy to have your amplification above and to acknowledge your further reply.

However, your reply doesn't say that your previous comment about the virtues of UE is wrong or that you prioritize FE over FP and are not advocating a variant of MMT that will not maintain an unemployed buffer stock rather than a full employment buffer stock. Nor do you question my characterization of the MR normative structure above. As I've already said to you in correspondence:

So, here's a challenge. I say that your goal structure as so far stated is as I represented it in my post above. If you think I'm wrong then state what your goal structure is explicitly. Locate FE within it and prioritize FE relative to FP. I'd be very interested in seeing that and if you prioritize FE over FP then I'll be happy tp admit I'm wrong, and agree with you that you favor FE even if you don't favor the JG. Then I'll further admit that you and I have very similar goal structures but only disagree on the means of achieving it.

Then we can go on to argue about means. In making such an argument however, I recommend that you tell us all what you mean by "full productivity." As i said in another post to you:

So far, at least, I've not even seen a definition of FP from you. So how can I possibly tell whether FP will lead to FE, let alone whether it would be more effective than the JG at accomplishing that.

Finally on this bit:

I am really stunned that you keep using that comment to try to prove your argument. It proves nothing and was rescinded in direct response to you because you and others kept taking it out of context.

Readers can judge above whether your comment above "rescinded" your previous comment or not. I do not consider it taking back your previous comment that:

“You guys see no need for unemployment. I do. I think it serves an incredibly important psychological component to any healthy economy. . . . "

That part of your comment says that unemployment is needed, and implies that an unemployed buffer stock is more valuable than an employed one. I see your reply comment as saying that your anecdotal statement was a tactical error which distracted from your main point that we "should seek FP (and hence FE)." You have not shown us in anything you've written that FP implies FE either logically or empirically. That, right there, is a main point of the disagreement between us.

Please stop misrepresenting other people's positions in what has clearly become nothing more than a personal vendetta....

First, this is not personal. It is about a policy difference and it's also about your continual fuzzing up of the distinction betwen the MMT point of view and the MR point of view, which led you to declare MR as a distinct approach in the first place.

Second, I'll leave it to others to decide whether I've been misrepresenting you or not.

And third, I think you've been misrepresenting my motives in critically evaluating your writing.

There is no personal vendetta here. There is only a desire to point out the actual differences between MMT and MR reflected in your own writing. These differences are in black and white. There are multiple quotes above. You've replied to my comments on only one of these references, and unpersuasively at that, in my view. But, again, I'll leave that to others to judge.

Submitted by Hugh on

Full employment provides a discernible social good. What social good is provided by full productivity, other than lining the pockets of rich rentiers who ultimately own and profit from the means of production? Or to put it another way, if Cullen Roche was unemployed, let's say long term unemployed, would he still be saying we don't need full unemployment? Would he still be advocating policies that principally benefit the rich?

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

But, I really don't know what he means by "full productivity." Can't get him to say. He claims "FP (hence FE)." But I can't see that unless he's got a strange definition of FE.

Anyway he has a following over at his blog cheering him on. So, it seems MMT has split into MMT and MR. That's OK with me, because I'd like MMT not to be identified with people who aren't committed to FDR's unfinished business.

Submitted by lambert on

... is MR backed by anything other than a coterie at a blog? Any academic work at all?

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

on its differences from MMT. Cullen's done a very good paper on Inflation; but it's not about the JG and why it won't work or is counter-productive.

Submitted by Hugh on

MR reminds me of trickle down economics. Both involve not attacking problems directly but rather faith (and money) invested in a rentier run deus ex machina (in MR this would be full productivity) which will solve them for us. While making rentiers richer there is no indication that these schemes deliver the promised goods to the rest of us.

If someone is a rentier or identifies with them, I can see why they would support Monetary Realism, but if you belong to the 99%, this looks like another con. And what's up with the appeal to realism? It seems more than a bit strange, and propagandistic, given that it relies so much on a faith that creating general conditions will lead to specific results, that is sending money to the rich will somehow benefit the rest of us.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

think it's another dodge. One of the most attractive things about MMT is its establishment of an entitlement to a job offer at a living wage, MMTers may differ on the speed with which they'd bring the JG wage up to a living wage, but all are agreed on establishing the entitlement to a job offer at a living wage for anyone who wants to work.

MR would maintain the unemployed buffer stock and "hope" that FE would trickle down. More hopey-dopey for us plebs.

On the "Realism" bit, that's about two things. First, that they agree with the MMT construction of how the monetary and financial system currently works and they think that construction is "reality."

And second, that they don't agree with MMT's adoption of the goals of FE at a living wage with PS, and think that the JG and other policy prescriptions of MMT are "theory" while its description of monetary "reality" is "fact."

So the name "Monetary Realism" is both a positive branding promotion of their position along with an implied slam against MMT as "unrealistic" because it is too "theoretical," as in "unlike MMT, MR is realistic because it talks only about established fact, not "untested theory."

Of course, the contrast between "theory" and "fact" is an overdrawn one, and also reveals the methodological naivete of the MR principals, assuming of course, that they really believe the distinction they're making. See my piece here.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

Since I wrote this post, the big three of MR decided to revise its name to Modern Monetary Realism or MMR. Actually, I wondered why they settled on MR in the first place, since MMR vs. MMT is catchier. But now they've seen the light.