The value of Billy’s humanity…
A fascinating post at Billy Blog – a proponent of Modern Monetary Theory – on the issue of the drive toward austerity in Europe and the United States.
We quote a particularly interesting section: an imagined conversation between an economist and her poet husband.
“But the government cuts will cause more workers to lose their jobs”, he said, trying to relate the issue back to his value of humanity, “and then they are calling to cut the protections that we give the unemployed”.
“It is necessary to realign the budget parameters”, she said.
“Will the bond traders lose their jobs and lose their protection”, he said, and added “I read that the bankers are now making record profits”.
“No-one likes anyone losing their jobs”, she replied, “but what do you mean by “their protection?”
“Well didn’t you say the bonds that the government issues give the bond traders a risk-free asset?”, he said, “that is protection”.
And, continuing, he said, “And the government provided plenty of spending to save the jobs of the bankers”.
She replied, showing signs of being a bit disoriented by the lateral thinking that wasn’t in the textbooks, “The government has to issue debt”.
“No they don’t, they issue the currency”, he said (having just read a MMT blog), “So the bond traders will continue making record profits, using the funds that the workers saved, but want the workers who saved the funds in the first place to be unemployed and their unemployment benefits cut”.
“The governments have run out of money”, she retorted, now thoroughly disoriented.
“No they haven’t, they control the money”, he said.
“They would just cause inflation”, she said.
“But the financial news said that we have problem[s] of deflation. Isn’t that the opposite of inflation”, he said.
“The bond markets are just the canaries”, she said.
“Then they should be kept in cages”, he said, trying to be empathetic to the values his wife was displaying. Never for one moment would the poet want a free bird caged. He cared.
The agenda ahead is clear. The conservatives are pushing austerity for all they are worth because they see it as an effective vehicle to finish of[f] their “program”.
For three decades, the neo-liberals have been trying to undermine the welfare state and reduce the size of the public sector. They have had considerable success in this “program”. But they were not fully successful and important social protections still remain.
Now they have the opportunity to exploit this major economic crisis which their market-oriented policies created in the first place to complete their demolition [ … ] agenda.
Having proven beyond all counter-argument that the debased dollar is only fictitious money, and, moreover, only a weapon wielded by Wall Street to bludgeon the worker into submission – to threaten her with starvation should she not reduce her consumption beyond already intolerable limits – our simpleton proponents of MMT, whose stupidity apparently knows no bounds, and who treat the entire world of money as if it were as simple and stupid as they are – who, apparently, cannot conceive what lies plainly in their sight: that money is and has always been a weapon of class domination – propose to use this weapon, which has only ever been used against the worker, on the worker’s behalf!