Joserra Etxebarria eta dirua egiteko ‘makina’

(Lantxo hau Joserra-ri egindako omenaldi-gisako liburuan azaldu da: Bai, jauna, bai: fisika euskaraz! Jose Ramon Etxebarria irakaslearen omenez, UEU, Bilbo 2018, 325-337orr.)

UEUko hitzaldi baten hasieran izan zen. Joserrak hurbildu zitzaigun, eta bat batean honela esan zigun: “Nik badakit zergatik AEB den inperio nagusia. Makina batekin egiten ditu dolarrak eta gero mundu osoak AEBkoei benetako produktuak eta zerbitzuak ematen dizkie dolar horiek eskuratzearen ordez. Kontua da AEBk nahi duen beste dolar martxan jar dezakeela makinarekin, kostua nulua izanik”, edo oso antzeko zerbait.

Aipaturiko pasadizoa segur aski honelako lanari zegokion: Zertan zetzan Iraken aurkako gerra hura?1

Ikertu nahi genuena hauxe zen: AEBren inperialismoa eta petrolioaren gaineko gerla.

Denbora hartan, eta epe luze batez, Bernard Schmitt ekonomialaria nuen gidari, zirkuitu-teoriaren aitapontekoa2.

Joserra euskara zuzentzaile nagusia izan da UEUn, denbora luzez. Nire lan askotxo eta zenbait liburu zuzendu ditu, goitik behera, berak ongi ulertzeko zertan zetzan gaia eta irakurle potentzialari ulertzeko bidea errazteko asmoz.

Dirudienez, Joserrak erakutsi nahi zigun berak finantza-ekonomia ikasi zuela, eta oso ongi gainera. Bai, makinaren eredua hainbat hitzalditan erabiltzen nuen.

Ez dakit Joserrak makroekonomiaz eta finantza-ekonomiaz ikasi zuen; nik berarekin euskaraz, bai, asko eta era sakon batean ikasi nuen, paragrafo bakoitzeko lerroz lerro, esaldiz esaldi begiratuz eta zuzenduz, harik eta guztia ongi ulertu eta txukundu arte.

Finantzari dagokionez, kontua da dirua ez soilik ez-materialdu dela, ez soilik aktibo/pasibo bat dela, baizik eta orain badakigula ordenagailu baten teklatuaren bidez idazten diren zenbakiak direla gaur egungo dirua, horiek beroriek eta ez beste ezer.

Orain badakigu, zirkuitu-teoria labur samarra geratu dela, bereziki Mosler-ek egindako kritika eta gero3. Halaber, badakigu dirua inprimatzea4 zaharkitu eta desegokia dela gaur egunean, dirua ulertu ahal izateko.

Gainera, eta konkretuki petrolioaren prezioa jartzeko afera ez dagokio inongo inperiori, prezio jartzaileari baizik. Horrela ikasi genuen 2011n: Petrolioaren prezioak: nondik nora?5

Warren Mosler-en hitzez, It’s good to be price setter.”

Diru Teoria Modernoa (DTM6) eta dirua

DTM-k transakzio bertikalak7 eta transakzio horizontalak8 bereizten ditu9.

(a) Osagai bertikala

State (consolidated Treasury and Central Bank)
|

Private Sector–”Warehouse”- (cash, reserves, State securities)

Consumption (Tax Payment)

(Currency Analysis: The Vertical Component)

Adierazpenak10

(b) Osagai horizontala11

Farmer
|
Private Sector – “Warehouse”–>–>–>Credit Activity–>–>–>
|
Consumption (Eating)

(General Commodity Analysis)

Adierazpenak12

(c) Osagai bertikala eta horizontala13

State (consolidated Treasury and Central Bank)
|
Private Sector – “Warehouse”–>–>–>Credit Activity–>–>–>
|
Consumption (Tax Payment)

(Currency Analysis: Vertical and Horizontal Components)

Adierazpenak14

Oharrak:

Estatua da monetaren jaulkitzaile bakarra15

Bankuak Estatuaren eta sektore pribatuaren artean tarteko gisa16.

Monetaren hasierako eskaria, zergak ordaintzeko beharra17

Modeloa eta zirkuitu monetarioa18

Zirkuitu monetarioa eta osagai bertikala19

Kreditua (eragiketa horizontala)20

Billetea zirkulazioan21

Billetea eta bankua tarteko moduan22

Banku gordailuak, maileguak eta eragiketa bertikalak23

Fondoak beti datoz Estatutik24

Enpresaria, produkzioa, mozkina, banku mailegua25

Zergak, aktiboen zergak eta transakzioen zergak26

Estatuak gastatu behar du, zergak ordaintzearren eta sektore pribatuak Estatutik moneta unitatea gehiago lortu behar du, ondasun eta zerbitzu errealen truke27

Sektore pribatuko desio kolektiboa soilik konpondu daiteke osagai bertikalean28

Eragiketa horizontalak ondorioak dauzka, kasu, Estatu defizitaren gastu gutxitze batek deflazioa ekar lezake29

Osagai horizontala osagai bertikal baten palankaz jasotzea (leveraging) da30

Hornitzaile soil baten kasua da estatu-moneta31

Estatuaren kasuan, Estatua bere monetaren prezio jartzailea da32

Estatuaren aukera praktiko bat: stock motelgailu bat kudeatzea33

Estatu defizit gastua eta etorkizuneko zergapetzea34

Ondorioa

Hasiera hasieratik zirkuitu monetarioak Estatuaren rol zentrala kontuan edukiz, eta zirkuitu monetarioan bertan osagai bertikala eta horizontala sartzeak aparteko garrantzi teorikoa izan du Diru Teoria Modernoan garatzean35

Gehigarri gisa, ikus, besteak beste, ondokoak:

Gobernuak sorturiko dirua eta bankuek sorturikoa36; Warren Mosler 1997an: bankuek sorturiko dirua eta gobernuak sorturikoa37 eta Kongresua eta Gobernua (Altxor publikoa gehi Banku zentrala)38.

Nola sortzen da dirua, hortaz?

Teklatuen bidez sortzen da dirua39. Horrek dena aldatzen du: Zer egin bankuekin? FEDtik eta EBZtik Euskal Herrira40.

Izan ere, eta aipatu bezala, orain badakigu bi diru mota daudela edozein ekonomiatan: transakzio horizontaleko dirua eta transakzio bertikaleko dirua. Biak sortzen dira airetik, ezdeusetik, teklatu baten bidez gauzatzen dira. Baina haien arteko diferentzia erabatekoa da.

‘Inperio’aren afera

Orduan, zertan geratzen da ‘inperio’aren afera, zertan datza AEBk daukan abantaila mundu-mailako merkataritza-transferentziatan?

Arazoa argitzeko, Michael Hudson eta Warren Mosler-en arteko eztabaida sakonari so egin behar diogu.

Mosler-en eta Hudson-en arteko eztabaida

Hudson-ek behin baino gehiagotan azpimarratu duenez, AEB ez da inoiz euroaren aurka egon: EBko atzerritar trukeko erreserbak AEBk ikusi ditu bere Altxor Publikoari egindako mailegu gisa; haren ustez, horretantxe datza AEBrentzako bazka librearen giltza. (Hudson-ek Superalismoa izeneko liburua 1972an idatzi zuen, 2003an edizio berria -hitzaurrea, sarrera eta datu berriekin-. 2009ko martxoan, artikulu interesgarri bat plazaratu zuen, gai berberaz41.)

Eztabaida Hudson-en Dollar Hegemony and the Rise of China artikuluaren inguruan da42. Hudson-en iritziz, “Orain AEBko Altxor Publikoak 4 x 1012 dolar zor dizkie atzerritar banku zentralei.”

Aldiz, Mosler-ek dioenez, Fed-en (AEBko Erreserba Federala) betebehar bakarra azaltzen da Altxor Publikoko bono horiek (4 x 1012) epemuga eguneratzen direnean, ordainkizun bilakatzen direnean. Fed-ek banku zentralaren bonoen kontua kargatu egiten du Fed-en eta banku zentralaren erreserba-kontua abonatu egiten du Fed-en. Ez dago beste ezer gehiagorik egiteko.

Hudson-ek: “Banku zentral gehienek beren truke-tasak baxu edukitzen dituzte beren dolar-sarrerak birziklatuz AEBko Altxor Publikoko IOU-ak erosteko.” Baina Mosler-ek: Erosten dituztenak AEBko finantza-aktiboak dira, Altxor Publikoko bonoak bezala, eta haiengatik ordaintzen dute beren moneta propioan.

Hudson-ek gaineratzen duenez, “birziklatze horrek ahalbidetzen dio AEBri bere atzerriko gastu militarra eta bere barneko aurrekontu-defizita finantzatzeko 1950etik. Hortaz, Europak eta Asiak beren atzerritar truke mozkinak erabili dituzte polo bakarra den AEBko base militarrak finantzatzeko…

Mosler-ek, aldiz: AEBko dolar-gastua ez dute sarrerek mugatzen. Banku zentralek AEBko dolarrak erosten dituzte beren esportazio-industriak babesteko, beren kaltetan. Mosler-en iritziz, AEBko 4 x 1012 dolarreko kanpo-korra dolarretan da izendatua, ez atzerriko monetan. Hortaz, ez dago inolako arazorik ordaintzeko (alderantziz, atzerriko monetan izendatua izan balitz, AEBk arazoa izango zukeen.)

Are gehiago, dolarren atzerritar birziklatzeak AEBko Altxor Publikoko bonoetan ez dauka inongo zerikusirik AEBk bere inperialismoa finantzatzeko, zeren AEBk nahi duen beste moneta kopuru jaulki baitezake. Izan ere, AEBko gobernu-gastu guztia ‘banku kontuetan zenbakiak markatuz’ lortzen da, aspaldian ez dena Bernanke-k argitu zuen moduan43. Beraz, Hudson-ek ez dauka arrazoirik, birziklaturiko dolarrek ez baitituzte AEBko atzerriko abenturak finantzatzen.

Ordainketa-balantzaren kontuei dagokienez, hona hemen bien arteko elkarrizketa.

Hudson-en aburuz, atzerritarrek ez badituzte beren dolarrak birziklatzen AEBko tituluak erosiz, orduan beren monetak altxatuko dira. Mosler-en iritziz, kausatze-prozesua pixka bat desberdina da. Hasten da AEBri ondasun edo zerbitzu bat saltzearekin, atzerritar konpainia dolarretan ordaindua izanik. Ordainketa hori kreditu bat da AEBko banku-kontu bati dagokiona, beren izenean, zuzenki edo zeharka. Normalean, konpainia horrek gero dolar horiek salduko lituzke bere moneta propioak lortzearren, moneta propioen obligazio lokalak betetzeko. Haren balantze-orria normalki moneta propioan dago, non atzerritar monetaren jabetzak espekulatiboak kontsideratuko bailirateke. Dolar horien salmentak moneta propioaren altxatzea kausatzen du. Baldin eta banku zentralak ez badu nahi bere moneta propioa altxatzea, berak erosiko ditu dolarrak eta edukiko bere Fed-eko kontuan. Hortaz, atzerritar bankuek dolarrak erosten dituzte beren truke-tasak baxu edukitzeko. Haiek uste dute hori beharrezkoa dela beren esportatzaileak lehiakorrak izateko, eta ondorioz, beren esportazio-sektorean langabezia alboratzeko.

Mosler-ek dioenez, normalki atzerritar banku zentralak bere Altxor Publikoko tituluak AEBko Altxor Publikotik erosten ditu dolarren bidez, zeinak merkatuan jadanik erosi baititu. Ez ditu egiten atzerriko transakzioak AEBko Altxor Publikoarekin. Atzerritar banku zentralek ez dituzte AEBko Altxor Publikoko tituluak moneta propioan.

Izan ere, banku zentralek dolarrak erosten dituzte beren esportazio-industriak babesteko, eta hori egiten dute beren makroekonomien konturako. Transakzio horiek egitean, atzerritako herrialdeak ongi ezagutzen du zer-nolako terminoetan eta baldintzetan arituko den, berak ondasun errealak eta zerbitzuak AEBri saltzen dizkionean, Fed-eko dolar balantzaren trukean.

Atzerriko banku zentralen dolarrak ez dira birziklatzen AEBko aurrekontu federalaren defizita finantzatzeko, Hudson-ek uste duen bezala. Kasu, AEBko sektore militarrak gastatzen duenean, ondasun errealak eta zerbitzuak erosten dizkie saltzaileei merkatu-prezioetan. Munduko herrialde askotan gauzatzen dira eragiketa horiek eta herrialde gehienek ez dituzte Banku Zentralean metaturiko dolar-balantzak44. Sektore militarrak gastatzen du gainontzeko gobernu-sektoreek egiten duten antzera –Fed-i esanez saltzailearen Fed-eko kide bankuko (edo dagokioneko) kontua kreditatzea-.

Egia esan, atzerritar sektoreak dolar aktibo finantzarioak metatzeko desioak ahalbidetzen du gobernu-defizita handiagoa izatea, baina ‘inflazioa’ sorrarazi gabe.

Paul Krugman Nobel saridunak ez du ulertzen prozesu hori45. Esportazioak kostu errealak izanik eta inportazioak onura errealak, AEBk aparteko abantailak lortzen ditu merkataritza defizitetik. Hori dela eta, gainontzeko herrialdeek AEBra esportatzen dutenean, hori egiten dute beren makroekonomien konturako.

Hortxe dago desberdintasuna: AEB-ren defizita AEB-rentzako onuragarria den bitartean, gainontzeko herrialdeen esportazioa herrialde horien kalterako da.

(Eztabaida osoa ondoko linkean46 ikus daiteke.)

PS: Mila esker Joserra, erakutsitako eskuzabaltasunagatik, euskararen jakituria dela eta. Plazer handi bat izan da zurekin lan egitea, eta ikastea!


Ikus Quantum Macroeconomics: The legacy of Bernard Schmitt: https://books.google.es/books?id=-Q4xDQAAQBAJ&pg=PT19&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

Ingelesez: MMT; alegia, Modern Money Theory.

7 Vertical transactions: “MMT labels any transactions between the government sector and the non-government sector as a vertical transaction. The government sector is considered to include the treasury and the central bank, whereas the non-government sector includes private individuals and firms (including the private banking system) and the external sector – that is, foreign buyers and sellers. (“Deficit Spending 101 – Part 1 : Vertical Transactions”, Bill Mitchell, 21 February 2009)

In any given time period, the government’s budget can be either in deficit or in surplus. A deficit occurs when the government spends more than it taxes; and a surplus occurs when a government taxes more than it spends. MMT states that as a matter of accounting, it follows that government budget deficits add net financial assets to the private sector. This is because a budget deficit means that a government has deposited more money into private bank accounts than it has removed in taxes. A budget surplus means the opposite: in total, the government has removed more money from private bank accounts via taxes than it has put back in via spending.

Therefore, budget deficits add net financial assets to the private sector; whereas budget surpluses remove financial assets from the private sector. This is widely represented in macroeconomic theory by the national income identity:

G − T = S − I − NX

where G is government spending, T is taxes, S is savings, I is investment and NX is net exports.

The conclusion that MMT draws from this is that it is only possible for the non government sector to accumulate a surplus if the government runs budget deficits. The non government sector can be further split into foreign users of the currency and domestic users.

MMT economists aim to run deficits as much as the private sector wants to save and for real resources to be fully used e.g. full employment. As most private sectors want to net save and globally, external balances must add up to zero, MMT economists usually advocate budget deficits.

Further information: Sectoral balances.

Horizontal transactions: “MMT economists describe any transactions within the private sector as “horizontal” transactions, including the expansion of the broad money supply through the extension of credit by banks.

MMT economists regard the concept of the money multiplier, where a bank is completely constrained in lending through the deposits it holds and its capital requirement, as misleading (“Money multiplier and other myths”, Bill Mitchell, 21 April 2009 ). Rather than being a practical limitation on lending, the cost of borrowing funds from the interbank market (or the central bank) represents a profitability consideration when the private bank lends in excess of its reserve and/or capital requirements (see interaction between government and the banking sector).

According to MMT, bank credit should be regarded as a “leverage” of the monetary base and should not be regarded as increasing the net financial assets held by an economy, with only the government or central bank able to issue high powered money with no corresponding liability (“Money multiplier and other myths”, Bill Mitchell, 21 April 2009). Stephanie Kelton argues that bank money is generally accepted in settlement of debt and taxes because of state guarantees, but that state-issued high-powered money sits atop a “hierarchy of money” (Kelton, Stephanie (Bell) (2001), “The Role of the State and the Hierarchy of Money” , Cambridge Journal of Economics (Cambridge) (25): 149–163).”

Ikus W. Mosler eta M. Forstater (1998) “A General Framework for the Analysis of Currencies and Commodities”, in P. Davidson and J. Kregel (eds.) Full Employment and Price Stability in a Global Economy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. (http://www.mosler.org/docs/docs/general2.htm) eta A General Analytical Framework for the Analysis of Currencies and Other Commodities.

10 Ingelesez: “The tax liability lies at the bottom of the vertical, exogenous, component of the currency. At the top is the State (here presented as a consolidated Treasury and Central Bank), which is effectively the sole issuer of units of its currency, as it controls the issue of currency units by any of its designated agents. The middle is occupied by the private sector. It exchanges goods and services for the currency units of the state, pays taxes, and accumulates what is left over (State deficit spending) in the form of cash in circulation, reserves (clearing balances at the State’s Central Bank), or Treasury securities (“deposits” offered by the CB). For comparative purposes later in the paper, this accumulation will be considered “warehoused.” The currency units used for the payment of taxes (or any other currency units transferred to the State), for this analysis, is considered to be consumed (destroyed) in the process. As the State can issue paper currency units or accounting information at the CB at will, tax payments need not be considered a reflux back to the state for the process to continue. In fact, the assumption of such reflux would imply a function of that process that this analysis emphasizes does not exist.

This completes the basic vertical component. Agents are said to participate in vertical activity if they obtain the unit of account from the State, pay taxes to the State, or intermediate the process. Central bank policy determines the relative distribution of the accumulated currency units of the private sector between cash, reserves (clearing balances), and Treasury securities. State (deficit) spending determines the magnitude of those accumulated financial assets.”

11 Ingelesez: “The horizontal component concerns the broad category of credit. In contrast with the vertical component, gross expansion of the horizontal component is endogenous, and nets to 0. The majority of circuit analysis begins and ends with the horizontal component. Even when the State is introduced, it too is assumed to behave horizontally. State taxing and borrowing are treated identically to private sector selling and borrowing. Though this treatment of the State may not be technically incorrect, the use of the vertical component adds a characterization of State activity previously ignored.

Any commodity has at least a vertical component. Horizontal activity represents leveraged activity of a vertical component. For analytical purposes, a unit of a currency is a commodity with no cost of production, no substitution, no inherent storage costs or transaction costs, and no product differentiation. Corn can be used to specifically demonstrate how a currency lends itself to the same analysis as commodities.”

12 Ingelesez: “With corn, the farmer can be considered at the top of the vertical component, and consumption (eating) at the bottom. The private sector remains in the middle, and transfers non corn (generally units of a currency) up to the farmer who sends down the corn in exchange. If the private sector purchases more corn than it immediately consumes, the difference is warehoused (accumulated). If we were to use the same language with corn as we do with currency, we would say that when the farmer exchanges more corn to the private sector than the private sector consumes, the farmer is engaging in the deficit spending of corn.”

13 Ingelesez: “The corn futures market is a leveraging of physical corn. There is a short position for every long position. Likewise, the creation of bank loans and their corresponding deposits is a leveraging of the currency, and every short position, or borrower, has a long position, or depositor, on the other side of the ledger. The futures market also happens to be a market that leverages the currency, as corn, for example, is exchanged for units of the currency. Thus the horizontal component for currency analysis can be indicated by introducing credit into the picture.”

14 Ingelesez. “This model is consistent with the Post Keynesian notion that reserve imbalances can be reconciled only by the central bank. In this model, the horizontal activity always nets to 0. Reserves are clearing balances that can only come from vertical activity. Furthermore, in the US system, the Fed controls the mix in the “warehouse” and can, for example, by purchasing securities on the open market, decrease securities held by the private sector and increase reserves of the private sector (clearing balances). Because of deposit insurance, in effect the Fed guarantees that inter-bank checks will clear when presented at the Fed. This means that if the banking system doesn’t have sufficient reserves as required by the Fed, at least one bank will be showing an overdraft at its account at the Fed. Such an overdraft is, of course, a loan from the Fed, and an example of vertical activity. So, in the US system, required reserves come from the Fed in one form or another on demand, and the Fed sets the terms of exchange–interest rate and collateral–for the transaction.

15 Ingelesez: “The State is effectively the sole issuer of its currency. As Lerner and Colander put it, “if anything is a natural monopoly, the money supply is” (1980, p. 84). This means that the State is also the price setter for its currency when it issues and exchanges it for goods and services. It is also price setter of the interest (own) rate for its currency (Keynes, 1936, ch. 17) The latter is accomplished by managing the clearing balances and securities offered for sale. The corn farmer, however, is generally not the single supplier of corn, and therefore is not a price setter. In addition, as there is no central warehouse, or its equivalent, the “own rate” for corn is 0% or negative, reflecting only a cost of storage and a cost of short selling.”

16 Ingelesez: “The model allows for two primary paths in the vertical component of a currency. The first is described above (Ikus Dirua: transakzio bertikalak eta horizontalak (2)) , and the second exists because it will be assumed that the State allows bank deposits to be used for payment of taxes. Therefore banks are allowed to automatically function as intermediaries between the State and the private sector. This happens whenever a bank draft (check) is used for payment of taxes. The banking system is simultaneously obligated to accept funds from the State on terms dictated by the State to cover clearing balances debited when such checks clear.”

17 Ingelesez: “Initial demand for the currency- that which is necessary to pay taxes- originates with those with tax liabilities. When analyzing an economy, knowledge of the type of tax liabilities in force is fundamental to understanding its operation. For example, an asset tax, such as a property tax, will yield different results than a transaction tax, such as a sales tax, value added tax, or income tax.”

18 Ingelesez: “We now proceed with an example of how this model can be integrated into an analysis of the monetary circuit. In this example, we begin with the following assumptions:

1) The State has levied an equal head tax on all individuals.

2) The State hires only labor.
3) There is no net desire to save net financial assets (no deficit spending and no corresponding involuntary unemployment- …).
4) The State does not hire all the available labor (there is a private sector).
5) Producers qualify for bank credit.
6) Consumers have no access to credit.”

19 Ingelesez: “The monetary circuit begins with the vertical component, when the State describes that which it will accept for payment of taxes. The head tax is payable only in units of that currency. This causes taxpayers to offer goods and services in return for units of the currency. The State is now able to use its currency to purchase goods and services. This process results in the monetization of transactions in the State’s currency. Taxpayers are continuously offering goods and services for sale, and soon other private sector agents who desire that which is offered for sale, seek the means of obtaining units of the currency demanded by the sellers. The forces at work in the vertical component are sufficient to cause sellers of goods and services to denominate their offers in units of the State’s currency. There follows an exchange in the unit of account from the State to the private sector, and from the private sector to the State, as the State spends and the taxes are paid.”

20 Ingelesez: “Credit (horizontal activity) arises when a buyer desires to make a purchase by borrowing that which the seller demands. The buyer could borrow directly from the seller. This would result in the transfer of the items sold in exchange for a promissory note of the buyer, denominated in the State’s currency, accepted by the seller. This note can be considered a form of money, depending on one’s definition of money. The note presumably has value, or the seller would not have accepted it. But clearly any value is subject to change, as the buyer’s financial condition may vary. There is also no reason such a note could not be negotiable, and circulate in the economy, as each new holder of the note attempts to use it to purchase from other sellers. Reflux could occur either when the original issuer of the note obtains it back via a sale of goods or services, or when the original issuer of the note retires it by exchanging it for State currency.”

21 Ingelesez: “Notice that while the note was circulating, it was not an acceptable means of tax payment. The note was, however, an example of the leveraging of the State currency. It was endogenous horizontal activity. The holder of the note had a “long” position and the issuer a “short” position. The net was always 0. The note was, however, denominated in units of the State’s currency. Horizontal activity is always denominated in units of a vertical component.”

22 Ingelesez: “The same transaction could have been intermediated by a bank. Perhaps the seller did not want to accept the note of the buyer, but would accept a bank deposit. The buyer could then go to a bank and request a loan. If approved, the result would be that the bank would hold the buyer’s note, and grant the seller a deposit in the bank. Banking thus assumes the credit risk of the buyer (presumably expressed in the interest rate charged). Banks undertaking this type of business activity are similar to insurance institutions, managing risk through analysis and diversity. Again, this is horizontal activity.

23 Ingelesez: “Bank deposits are the accounting records of loans. There is gross expansion of financial assets, but the net is always 0. For every deposit there is a loan from which it originated. Do note, however, that as bank deposits are acceptable for tax payment, they may function as part of the vertical component. Again, the banks acting in this capacity are, in the case of deposits being used for tax payment, intermediating vertical activity.”

24 Ingelesez: “Tax payers not wishing state employment, or who don’t qualify for State employment, will seek other, alternative means of obtaining currency. Directly or indirectly the needed funds must, given the above assumptions, ultimately come from someone employed by the State. In the simplest case, individuals offer goods and services to those employed by the state in return for some of the currency originally earned from the State.

Non taxpayers, too, are apt to become monetized, as when they see goods and services for sale they, too, desire units of the State currency of denomination. They may, for example, sell their labor to those employed by the State, and then, with the currency units thus obtained, make purchases from tax payers not employed by the State.

25Ingelesez: “At some point, an entrepreneur may arise and attempt to organize production, with the objective of making a profit, which can then be used to make personal purchases. This may begin by borrowing from a bank to pay the wage bill, and end with the recovery of expenditures and profit through sales of  final output. The example of this paragraph is representative of existing circuit analysis. But now we can go further, as even the most complex of the interactions of firms, consumers, taxpayers, and the State are readily examined in the context of our model.

26 Ingelesez: “This example assumed a head tax. It could have assumed a transaction tax, such as an income tax. Note, however, that an income tax on income earned by the private sector from State employment will not drive the model. Working for the State, one would simply get a net payment of currency units for which there would be no further use. What would be required is an imputed income tax on transactions within the private sector. These transactions–private sector employment–would then generate a net private sector tax liability that would require sales of goods and services to the State. Note that this would have to include an imputed tax, otherwise the private sector would (continue to) trade in some other medium of exchange.

It is also clear that transactions taxes have the effect of discouraging those transactions subject to the tax. Thus the model lends itself to the analysis of the differences between various asset taxes and transactions taxes.

27 Ingelesez: “From inception, the State must spend or otherwise provide that which is necessary to pay taxes. And, for all practical purposes, the private sector will be willing to obtain more currency units from the State in exchange for real goods and services than the minimum required for its current tax liability. The extra currency units accumulated are called net private sector savings of financial assets denominated in the unit of account. I have elsewhere used the term H(nfa) (Mosler, 1997-98). This is analogous to the private sector buying more corn from the farmer than just the exact amount of current consumption.”

28 Ingelesez: “If the State (or Farmer) does not offer to provide the amount desired by the tax payer (or consumer), there is, by definition, a shortage. Horizontal activity cannot provide for any net accumulation. A collective desire in the private sector can only be resolved in the vertical component. As Moore (1988) argues, only the central bank can resolve a reserve imbalance. In a similar vein, Keynes demonstrated that, except in the unlikely case of an “accident,” actual and desired net savings will only be equal at full employment “by design,” i.e., the State running a budget deficit (Keynes, 1936, p. 28).”

29 Ingelesez: “This is not to say that horizontal activity cannot effect a change in the desire to net save. For example, a rise in the price of corn on the futures exchange due to a shortage could certainly reduce the desire to net save corn. The corn market may stabilize at a higher price. Such stability occurs when the actual net savings of corn equals the desired net savings of corn. Likewise, a reduction in State deficit spending could result in a deflation that stabilized when prices fell enough for private sector agents to lower their collective desire to net save, and make purchases either through spending net savings or incurring new debt.”

30 Ingelesez: “The horizontal component is a leveraging of a vertical component. This implies price sensitivity to supply and demand changes that may originate in the vertical component. Changes in fiscal balance are analogous to changes in the expected harvest or mine output. Changes in taxation are analogous to changes in consumption demand. Fiscal balance occurs only when the State runs a fiscal policy that allows actual H(nfa) to equal desired H(nfa) (Mosler, 1997-98). With most other commodities, the market is allowed to maintain this balance. Price changes are continuous as inventories rise and fall for the various commodities.”

31 Ingelesez: “The State currency, however, is a case of a single supplier. (…).”

32 Ingelesez: “In the case of the State as single supplier of its currency of issue, the State is in the position of price setter of its currency. It can unilaterally set the terms of exchange that it will offer to those seeking its currency. Ironically, no State currently seems to recognize this. To the contrary, states act as if they were in competition with other buyers when conducting purchases with their own currency. They believe and act as if they must raise revenue through taxing or borrowing to fund spending. They have chosen the option of setting the quantity of their currency they wish to spend via a budgeting process, and then exchanging that currency at market prices for desired goods and services. Like the water monopolist, spending too much will drive up prices (reduce the value of the currency) and spending too little triggers a deflation (increase the value of the currency). In addition, there is no long term “right amount” as the (world wide) desire to net save that currency may be constantly changing. Hence a fluctuating NAIRU, removing most practical value from the concept.”

33 Ingelesez: “The other practical option for the State, as single supplier of its currency, if it wishes to maintain a market economy, is to administer a buffer stock. Gold has traditionally served this role. The State would set the price at which it would buy or sell gold, and then conduct monetary and fiscal policy such that the buffer stock remained credible. Graham (1937) long ago proposed that commodities other than gold might serve a similar function. In “Full Employment and Price Stability” the option to use labor as the State’s buffer stock was presented (Mosler, 1997-98). Clearly, when administering a buffer stock, purchases made at the designated price are not inflationary. They do prevent deflation below that level. Nor are sales from the buffer stock deflationary. Rather, they serve to inhibit inflation.”

34 Ingelesez: “It has been continuously argued and widely accepted that State deficit spending represents future taxation. Our model, however, clearly demonstrates that this is not the case. For example, if farmers sell more corn than the population will consume that period, they can be said to be deficit spending corn which will sit in the warehouse. Does that imply either that consumption must go up some day, or that future production will be curtailed? Not necessarily. It may be argued that the future value of corn will fall some day, but that would depend on the desired inventory in the future. In fact, corn traders carefully watch the inventories. They have some conception of the “right” size, consistent with stable prices. That “right” amount will naturally fluctuate with population size, availability of substitutes, etc. In the case of the single supplier, like the water monopolist who sets price and lets the market buy all it wants, sales in excess of current consumption again do not necessarily either mean future increases in consumption or lower future output. Nor do they necessarily mean a fall in future water prices.

The same is true for the State as issuer of its currency. The State does not force anyone to exchange goods and services for its currency. The exchange is with willing sellers who desire the currency. Deficit spending occurs only if the private sector is desirous of accumulating units of the currency in order to net save. Hyperinflation is the condition in which the private sector no longer desires the currency unit (as reflected in the price level).

35 Ingelesez: “This paper outlines an alternative way of viewing the monetary circuit that takes into consideration the central role of the State from the beginning of the analysis. Vertical and horizontal components of the monetary circuit were introduced and their relation analyzed. It was shown that this framework is applicable not only to currency, but to any commodity. This is because, while currency does not obtain its value by virtue of its status as a commodity, once endowed with value a tax driven currency can be analyzed like any other commodity. In addition to debunking the myth that deficits imply future taxation, it was also shown that such a framework is highly applicable to the current Asian financial crisis.”

44 Liburuan hauxe zegoen: Munduko herrialde askotan gauzatzen dira eragiketa horiek eta herrialde gehienek ez dituzte Banku Zentralean metaturiko dolar-balantzak.” Mosler-en hitzak, alta hauexek dira: “Munduko herrialde askotan gauzatzen dira eragiketa horiek eta herrialde gehienek ez dituzte dolar-balantzak metatzen dituzten Banku Zentralak” (ikus, Mosler-en eta Hudson-en arteko eztabaida).

Erantzun bat “Joserra Etxebarria eta dirua egiteko ‘makina’” bidalketan

  1. Stop Using The Term ‘Printing Money’
    (http://www.realprogressivesusa.com/news/economic-issues/2018-07-25-stop-using-the-term-printing-money)

    Ellis Winningham

    Try to understand: The public tends to view dollars/pounds in terms of a physical object that travels in an eternal circular flow. 
     
    I: Introduction – The Errant, Fantasy View of Currency
     
    People tend to view “money” as though it were a precious stone. It’s always been here since the beginning of time. It was discovered by the private sector and put to use as a medium of exchange. This makes barter easier. “Money” is a store of value. “Money” is scarce. There are different types of precious stones too. 
     
    The Australian dollar, the US dollar, the Canadian dollar, and the New Zealand dollar all might be called “dollar”, but they are very different types of precious stones. The Pound Sterling is a special type of rock. The reason why the United States uses the US dollar is that everyone in the private sector agrees to use it. The same goes for the UK – Everyone agrees to use it. National governments are forced to compete with the domestic private sectors of their nations for their respective currencies. For example, the US government is forced to compete with US private sector entities for the scarce supply of US dollars. 
     
    If these governments tire of competing for the scarce supply of “money”, or in a fit of irresponsibility they wish to spend wildly beyond what they can collect in taxes or borrow, they start “printing money”. The act injects fake, monopoly money into the economy diluting the “money supply”, devaluing the “money”. 
     
    In very simple terms, people view a dollar as a diamond and government “printed money” as cubic zirconia – a fake diamond. So, there is no entry point into the economy and no exit point. It just circulates forever and ever. Of course, you will hear people say that a dollar only leaves the economy temporarily when the paper bill “gets too worn out”, but it is replaced with a new one. In saying that, they unwittingly admit that their view of “money” is wrong – a total fantasy. Who replaces the dollar bill? The government does. How the hell does a precious commodity get “too worn out”, and how does the government manage play God by conjuring into existence a scarce commodity called the “US dollar” to replace the old “worn out” commodity if the government can’t do anything right, and the government cannot create real “money”?
       
    But, that’s beside the point. The point is that when you use the term “printing money” to describe government spending, you are perpetuating the above nonsensical view of currency with the general public. It must stop. Another thing that really gets to me is when I hear people say, “The government CAN always print money to pay its bills.”
     
    Can? OMG! Can? First, people employ a term that has no application to the real world, then they want to double-down on delusion through their choice of verbs. How does “can” double-down on delusion? Think about it. By using the term “printing money” you are telling the public that there are real dollars and fake government-printed dollars, and then by using the verb “can”, you are telling the public that the government doesn’t need to spend real dollars because, if it so chooses, it CAN print fake dollars: 
     
    “Don’t worry about Social Security going broke. It can’t go broke because the government CAN simply ‘print money’ (Can = If the need arises).” 
     
    I do not care if that is not what you mean by “printing money”; that is what the public will hear and think you mean. MMT novices tend to use the term frequently, and the reason why they do is that they themselves do not know what currency is. How can that possibly be? The problem unintentionally stems from the MMT activist community’s method of outreach.
     
    II: Problems Specific to Novices
     
    The goal of the MMT activist community is to break through wrong thinking by starting discussions concerning the one thing that the public gets hung up on: Taxation.  There’s nothing wrong with this approach per se. Whether the approach is wrong or not depends entirely on what the goal of the activist is: To teach MMT, or to raise awareness of what MMT implies in order to effect meaningful change. Oftentimes, people who have been exposed to MMT by an activist will mistake the activist for a teacher of MMT. Even worse, many times they will mistake the activist for a professor, or they will call the activist “an economist”. The same mistake is also applied to actual teachers too. 
     
    Just because the person is a teacher of MMT, that doesn’t mean he or she is or was a professor or even an economist. What if they are financial analysts? What if they are econometricians or statisticians? What if they are bond traders? What if they are lawyers? What if they are intelligent people who have studied MMT for 10 years and are more than qualified to teach the basics on social media? What if they are sociologists? What if they are university students pursuing a degree in economics? So, that’s another thing that novices need to forget about – status and credentials. Krugman’s credentials mean about as much to economics as a banana peel lying in a mud puddle does to medical science. There are MMT academics out there. They are the core team. Rely on them and their body of work 100%. 
     
    I’m getting off track here, so let me put this as bluntly as I can so that I might close out this point with zero misunderstanding:
     
    A novice cannot teach MMT to anyone. 
     
    A novice can help spread the word, but he or she cannot teach. The very idea is dangerous. The words “beginner” and “novice” make this point obvious. 
     
    novice (noun): A person new to or inexperienced in a field or situation.
     
    Further, it is insensible and thoroughly meaningless for a novice to pursue the status of teacher. The novice should be spending his or her time learning, and when I say “time”, I don’t mean two, three, or six months max to teacher status. I mean time as in “years” spent educating yourself. Now then, can a person who has diligently studied MMT for 2-4 years teach the basics? Yes, more than likely they can. If they have the knowledge, then it will all boil down to their teaching skills. I know some actual tenured professors who know their subject, but they suck as teachers. However, less than 24 months? No. 
     
    Can a novice be an MMT activist? Absolutely; right off the bat. So, to sum up: A teacher teaches, and an activist reaches. A teacher teaches methodically, even if those methods are highly unorthodox, and an activist raises awareness. A teacher can be an activist, but an activist isn’t necessarily a teacher. 
     
    I have great faith that Bill Mitchell’s MMT University (www.mmtuniversity.org) which opens this October will help to sort things out.  
     
    Teaching has everything to do with knowledge of the subject matter, a certain mastery of that subject, or parts of it thereof, and the potential for those who do not possess the knowledge required to mislead others, or at the very least, make the novice look silly occasionally. A novice doesn’t have the knowledge to teach, and if he or she tries their hand at it, they will inevitably confuse people at some point and then I and others will have to undo it. This makes things more difficult for people like myself, and for those who are genuinely trying to learn. Which, then, brings me back full circle to the use of the ubiquitous term “printing money”. Time for a deep dive.
     
    III: What Currency Is
     
    As I mentioned, the activist reaches people and to do that requires a very deliberate attack on a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of a national government’s taxation efforts. Oft repeated in the US is the phrase, “Federal taxes don’t fund federal spending”. Beginners think that this is the beginning of MMT; the fundamental insight – It is not. 
     
    Firstly, the taxation issue is halfway through the beginning. It skips over the question “what is currency”. Hence, most who are new to MMT do not begin at the beginning and are left with the same errant view of currency that the public has, and they attempt to debate and discuss the subject from the standpoint of “money” being a medium of exchange. This makes things harder for the novice because, now, they have to back up and start over with what is a very abstract concept – abstract, but reality nonetheless – given their errant view of “money”.  I will address this concept with an overview momentarily. 
     
    Secondly, the fact that the national government doesn’t tax to fund its spending is not a fundamental insight of MMT. The fundamental insight of MMT is that the national government has flexible policy space because it does not have a hard financial constraint on its spending. Technically, as Bill Mitchell says, the government budget constraint is an ex-post accounting identity, not an ex-ante financial constraint as the mainstream errantly views it. This realization allows the government great flexibility in pursuit of its social agenda. And, as a side note for beginners, this is precisely what the national government’s “budget” is – an agenda. Through fiscal policy, the government sets its social agenda for the nation. This is why the word “budget” when applied to a currency-issuing national government is misleading and should not be used.  The term “fiscal agenda” is more appropriate. The term “budget” is not synonymous with fiscal policy.
     
    All that being said, I will use part of an article that a wrote in March 2018 to provide you, the beginner, with a brief overview of the concept of currency and debt to demonstrate why the use of the term “printing money” makes no sense and must stop.
     
    Using common terms to facilitate understanding with the general public, the dollars required to pay federal taxes do not come from the private sector. They do not come from the rich, the middle class, the working class, the poor, large corporations, medium-sized businesses, small businesses, nor do they come from foreign entities such as China. All dollars used by the US private sector to pay federal taxes come from the US federal government. In short, you do not fund the US government, the US government funds you.
     
    IV: The Unit of Account
     
    In the US, the unit of account is the US dollar. In the UK, the unit of account is the pound sterling. In Australia, it is AUD. The US government owns and controls the unit of account in the United States. The US dollar is not a piece of paper or a coin. It is a unit of measurement just like kilometers is a unit of measurement. But what is it that the US dollar is measuring? To answer this question, let’s take a look at the different ways that we measure things.
     
    V: Units of Measurement 
     
    Let’s ask the question, “How far is it from Chicago to Miami?”
     
    The distance from Chicago to Miami is 2,216.
     
    Hey, that’s great. But 2,216 what though? Clearly, the number alone is not enough information. We need to know the unit of measurement before we can know the distance. Is the number 2,216 miles, light years, meters, feet, or astronomical units? In this case, 2,216 is the distance measured in kilometers. To know the distance in miles we must change the unit of measurement. We must now convert kilometers to miles which will then result in a different number:
     
    The distance from Chicago to Miami is 1,377 miles.
     
    Now, let’s look at measuring size. We ask the question, “How tall is Bob Behunia?”
     
    Bob Behunia is 180.
     
    That’s great for Bob, but not so great for us. 180 what? Again, we need to know the unit being used to measure Bob’s size. In this case, the unit is centimeters. Bob is 180 cm tall. To know Bob’s height in feet we must change the unit of measurement. We must now convert centimeters to feet:
     
    Bob is 5 foot 11. 
     
    In both of these cases, we are measuring something that is physically real. But now, let’s measure something that isn’t physically real: The size of an obligation. In this case, we will have a real object but we are going to measure something imaginary that is attached to the real object.
     
    VI: Measuring the Size of an Obligation
     
    An obligation is a debt, whether that debt is service related such as labor charges to fix a car, or satisfied over a long-term such as with a mortgage, or is satisfied immediately when you buy groceries. Like distance, length, and size, to measure the size of an obligation we first need a unit of measurement. When it comes to economics, we measure the size of obligations by denominating them in a particular unit of account. In other words, we price things. So, when we measure the size of an obligation attached to a good or service, we are pricing that good or service. For example, consider an iMac:
     
    A 27 inch iMac is 1,799. 
     
    And just like the examples measuring distance and height, we are stuck with the same question: 1,700 what? Again, the number isn’t enough information to go on. We need to know the unit of measurement (the unit of account). In this case, we are talking about US dollars:
     
    The size of the obligation attached to a 27 inch iMac is $1,799. That is its price, or in other words:
     
    The obligation attached to a 27 inch iMac is 1,799 US dollars in size when measured in US dollars. 
     
    If we wish to know the price of the iMac in the UK, we must change the unit of measurement (unit of account) to pound sterling. Just like kilometers to miles, and centimeters to feet, we must convert US dollars to pound sterling:
     
    The obligation attached to a 27 inch iMac is now 1,285 pound sterling in size when measured in pound sterling.
     
    In short, the price of the iMac is now £1,285.
     
    The iMac itself is real, the obligation attached to it – the price – is an idea and so is the money used to purchase it. And because the obligation is an idea, the price is highly elastic and can change (inflation/deflation) even though we are using the same unit of measurement. We need not convert to another unit of measurement to change its dimensions. If you are in the United States and you want one, then you are obligated to pay one thousand, seven hundred ninety-nine US dollars. If you are in the United Kingdom, then you are obligated to pay one thousand, two hundred and eighty-five pounds. 
     
    And so, that is what ‘money’ is. Money is not a scarce commodity or a medium of exchange. Money is a credit denominated in a particular unit of account that offsets a debt (obligation) denominated in the same unit of account. When we are talking about currency and national government tax liabilities, we are talking about State currencies and what makes them the most widely-accepted monetary instrument in their respective nations. 
     
    VII: The National Government as the Currency Monopolist
     
    If the national government in question declares a unit of account, denominates its tax liabilities in that unit of account, and then issues tax credits (currency) also denominated in that unit of account, floating on an exchange free of a currency or commodity peg, then the national government in question is a sovereign currency-issuing government and it is the monopoly supplier of currency for the nation that it sits in authority over. As the monopolist, the national government sets the price level of all goods and services by denominating all obligations in its chosen unit of account. It achieves this by first imposing tax liabilities that are denominated exclusively in its chosen unit of account, and then issuing tax credits that are also denominated in its chosen unit of account, and then demanding them back as the only means to settle the tax obligation. Attached to the tax liability is a prescribed punishment for not paying the tax. The threat of punishment is the key; it is a sufficient condition to cause a demand for the government’s currency. In other words, the force of taxation causes people to need the government’s money to pay their taxes to avoid punishment. Entities within the nation find themselves in a position where they are required to do something to obtain the government’s money. What is that something? They must either:
     
    1.) Offer their goods and services to the national government, or
     
    2.) Offer their labour to the national government.
     
    Hence, national government taxation drives goods/services and labour power to the national government. Taxation is what allows the government to supply itself with the things necessary for it to function as government. 
     
    As the national government is the currency monopolist, it is the only supplier of currency for the nation. In other words, since the government is in a position of authority to declare a unit of account, to impose tax obligations denominated in that unit of account, and to determine the ‘money thing’ that it will accept as payment for taxes, and to issue the ‘money thing’ denominated in its chosen unit of account that people need to pay their taxes, and to prescribe punishment for not paying the tax, the private sector is not in a position to demand a price in that unit of account from the national government for its goods and services, or for its labour. The national government determines the price that it is willing to pay for goods and services and for all labour offered to it. 
     
    Put simply, because the national government is the currency authority, it alone denominates (prices) all obligations in its unit of account. 
     
    The private sector now brings its goods/services and its labour to the national government, and the government declares that it will pay so many dollars for the goods/services and labour. The private sector can do nothing but accept what the government is willing to pay because there is no other means available of obtaining the tax credits necessary to extinguish the tax liability. The national government then generates its own money thing (tax credit) denominated in its chosen unit of account and “pays” the private sector for the goods/services and for the labour. It does this by crediting bank accounts: Making numbers larger.
     
    Treasury will credit an individual bank account which then compels the central bank to add reserves to the bank’s reserve account which is maintained at the central bank. Treasury credits a bank account by simply ordering the bank in question to make the numbers in the account larger. The central bank then adds reserves to the bank’s reserve account in the same way: By making the numbers in the account larger. Both activities are accomplished through keystrokes. There is no gold, nor paper notes, nor coins backing the keystrokes. The keystroked numbers are mere credits that are denominated in the US government’s chosen unit of account, and those keystrokes are called “US dollars”, “Pound Sterling”, “Australian dollars”, etc., though most of the general public is unaware of this fact. The reserves emitted by the central bank are “government money” (high powered money, or HPM for short) which is necessary to allow payments to clear. 
     
    An individual bank account is a bank statement; a record of how many central bank liabilities the account holder has a claim on. When you spend $35 with your debit card, what you are doing is merely subtracting the number 35 from your bank statement. In doing so, you are also adding the number 35 to the bank statement of the person from whom you purchased something. When your employer pays you, he/she/it is doing the same thing: Subtracting numbers from their bank statement and adding numbers to yours. The important thing to note here is that the payments between the banks have not cleared and cannot do so without government money being subtracted from one reserve account and added to another. To clear the payment, the central bank deletes the number 35 from your bank’s reserve account and then keystrokes the number 35 into the reserve account of the bank where the seller has an individual account. The payment is now settled. 
     
    Reserves are central bank liabilities denominated in the government’s chosen unit of account and they are the highest form of monetary instrument. The reason why is because the government has declared that central bank liabilities are the only thing which can settle all tax liabilities owed to the government. Because treasury credited bank accounts and because the central bank emits government money (reserves) into reserve accounts, the private sector now has the central bank liabilities necessary to settle its tax obligations owed to the government. Put simply, when the national government spends, it is actually issuing tax credits. If the government issues more tax credits than it taxes away, then the private sector as a whole realises an income.
     
    The important insight from this that the novice should obtain is that the US dollar, the Pound Sterling, the Australian dollar are units of measurement, just like “meters”, “feet”, ‘inches” that measures the size of obligations. When the government spends, what it is doing is employing a social tool to measure the size of obligations – the entire price level of all goods and services. As the monopoly issuer, it alone chooses when to adjust that measurement up or down. Hence, inflation/deflation is, as Warren Mosler says, a function of the national government’s price-setting capacity as the currency monopolist. Continuing with an example from Mosler, if last year, the government measured (spent) $1 trillion, but this year, the government measures (spends) $0, that’s some serious deflationary force unleased. 
     
    VIII: The Term “Printing Money” Has No Connection to the Real World
     
    Now to the meat of it. I touched on some of what follows in the introduction, but essentially, the novice who uses the term “printing money” is saying that:
     
    1.) The national government prints paper cash to spend. 
     
    2.) The dollar is a precious, rare commodity and the national government has none of these dollars. 
     
    and that’s what the public will hear because that is what the misinformed public believes.
     
    The typical misinformed person believes that there are real dollars that are scarce, found only in the private sector, and then there are these fake dollars that government prints and spends into the economy. So, when the government “prints money” it dilutes the supply of real, all-natural, wholesome dollars with monopoly paper money, devaluing the dollar and it will eventually create hyperinflation. 
     
    Use of the term “printing money” by an novice MMT proponent is a case of too much too fast: A novice wanting to spread the word and “teach” (A novice “teaching” – God give me strength) others before they have the knowledge to do so and their use of the term stems from a fundamental misunderstanding as to what the dollar is. 
     
    Again, the dollar is not a commodity. It is not a physical thing. It is not an object. The novice believes that it is these things, which is why they ask the question, “If we don’t print our own money, then how does the government create money to spend?” You can see this incorrect understanding manifesting itself in a meme circulated by MMT novices showing sheets of paper currency being printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing with a caption informing everyone that this is where the government gets its money to spend. That meme is utterly embarrassing. 
     
    Further, it is quite clear that the misinformed public believes printing money will devalue the currency. Wrong for two reasons:
     
    1.) Devaluation only occurs in a fixed exchange regime, not in a free float, inconvertible fiat regime. Currency depreciates in the latter arrangement. 
     
    2.) As there is no gold pegged to the dollar, which would require that the government ensure that the level of circulating currency is commensurate with the supply of gold at the fixed exchange rate, increasing the net money supply cannot possibly “devalue” the currency already in circulation. 
     
    To be clear, what these unfortunate people mean by “devalue the currency” is creating inflation. Some novices have no solution for dealing with the devaluation argument as they are unaware that inflation is what the person is talking about. Other beginners are aware, but then when the subject of inflation is brought up, it is common to see the novice who uses the term “printing money” reply:
     
    “Inflation is too much money chasing too few goods”
     
    which, believe it or not, is nothing more than the QTM viewpoint! Yet another “God give me strength” moment for me. But I digress. 
     
    Hopefully as you can clearly see, the term “printing money” has no connection to the real world because currency is not a physical object, or even a digital one. It is a social construct; an IOU; an idea. The names “US dollar”, “Pound Sterling”, and “Australian dollar” are units of measurement that are controlled exclusively by their respective national governments. “US dollar” is the name of the “money thing”. The “money thing” is the credit issued by the US government. A paper $10 bill is just the physical representation of what is actually a mere idea; a social construct; an IOU issued by the US government. 
     
    So then, ask yourself:
     
    When you measure the length of a driveway, are you “printing meters”? Are you “printing feet”? When you measure the distance between Chicago and Miami, are you “printing miles”? Are you “printing kilometers”? When you have a good idea, are you “printing ideas”?
     
    No. That’s silly. And when the government bypasses the private sector and sells bonds directly to the central bank, it is not “printing money”. When the government runs off dollar bills at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, it is not “printing money” so that it can spend. Government “spending” is the measuring of things. The “US dollar” is the name of the unit of measurement, and the numbers represent the size of the obligation that the government is measuring. 
     
    Do you see how silly this “printing money” business is?  
     
    Novice: “I tell people that the government prints its own money, but people keep on telling me that government is devaluing the dollar!”   
     
    And that’s because when you use the term “printing money” you are telling people that you agree with them. You might not be agreeing with them, but they think that you are because that’s what they are hearing. 
     
    “Money” is a vague, very bad term to fling around. I only use it for the sake of familiarity when I assume people might not understand me, and when I do use it I place it in quotes, unless I forget to do so. Hey, shit happens. “US dollars” or “British pounds” are also other potentially misleading terms, though not as bad as just plain old “money”. And yes, I do have to explain this. 
     
    We say “ten US dollars”, or “one hundred British pounds” because anything that measures in size greater than the number one obviously must be plural. What you might not be aware of is that this does not mean that $2 is two separate physical or digital objects combined. It’s just $2 and it will always be $2. If you spend fifty cents, then the $2 doesn’t break into smaller bits. The number $2 is just replaced by the number $1.50.
     
    For example, because the obligation attached to an iPhone is larger than the number one when measured in US dollars, we pluralize and say, “Four hundred and ninety-nine dollars”, but not because 499 individual real, physical or digital objects used as a medium of exchange are required in trade to purchase an iPad. You’re not trading anything; you are extinguishing an obligation by measuring out credits in terms of US dollars. 
     
    A number is not a physical object. 10 is just 10, 5 is just 5, 100 is just 100. You cannot reuse the number 100 or move it to another destination. Once you type it or write it down, it is brought into existence and it exists in that one spot. Once it is deleted, if you need it back, the only thing you can do is type another separate instance of the number 100.  When you subtract 100 from 1,000, the number 100 doesn’t move to some holding tank. The number 100 merely tells us that this subtraction operation will cause the number 1,000 to be replaced by the number 900. 
     
    IX: What the Monetary System is and the Fundamental Problem with Mainstream Economics 
     
    The monetary system is nothing but a system of credits canceling debts, both denominated in the same unit of account, controlled by the national government. And the entity that keeps track of all of the credits canceling obligations is the central bank. The market activity of buying and selling goods and services is a secondary activity to the main activity which is credits cancelling debts. Being a seller or a buyer of goods/services is just one way of many that a person can become a creditor or a debtor. But this is the activity that orthodox economics holds as fundamental, and it is the activity which the orthodoxy asks you to pay exclusive attention to. Why? Because orthodox economists believe that pure barter is how economies worked prior to the introduction of “money”, and they believe that “money” is a commodity used as a medium of exchange to make barter easier.  Hence, orthodox economists believe that barter is the underlying activity called “the economy”, and that markets preceded kings, authorities, and governments.
     
    Flat wrong!
     
    The truth is that mainstream economics has everything upside down: Governments, by issuing currency, create the conditions necessary for markets to develop. You cannot possibly have the buying and selling of goods and services priced in US dollars, let alone the more fundamental activity of credits extinguishing debts both denominated in US dollars unless the US dollar exists, and the only way that it can exist is if the US government first declares the US dollar to be the unit of account and denominates its taxes in it, so that the private sector will offer up goods and services to the government, enabling the government to price the goods and services in US dollars, and then issue the tax credits denominated in US dollars!
     
    See that? That is the fundamental error of orthodox economics, and from that core error, nothing but total nonsense flows. The entirety of mainstream economics is pure fantasy. 
     
    And that is the beginning of monetary theory. Abstract perhaps, but nevertheless, reality. 
     
    X: Conclusion
     
    So, I hope that you can now better understand why the term “printing money” should not be used unless you know what you are doing. A better term for novices is “net issuance of currency”, or “issuing currency”, or you could just say that the government spends by crediting bank accounts with its IOU.
     
    Also, hopefully you now have a better understanding of currency, although I’ve provided a mere overview and there is much, much more to study regarding the concept. It should be enough to get you thinking in the correct way. 
     
    “Printing money” is not a valid shortcut. It should not be used by novices at all. It will only perpetuate mainstream nonsense, unless the person has sufficient knowledge to explain the difference between what the mainstream means by “printing money” and what the MMT proponent means by the phrase. And note, it requires an explanation of some length. There is no bumper sticker version of MMT, and there never will be one. Neophytes should stop looking for one. Many concepts are simply going to require lengthy explanations, and that requires knowledge of the subject matter, which means, homework time for beginners. This is precisely why I always urge beginners to spend their time learning.This doesn’t mean you can’t be an activist. You can. Go for it. Spread the word. But please, spend much of your time learning, don’t try teaching, and don’t use the term “printing money”.

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