Bill Mitchell eta John McDonnell

Bill Mitchell-en A summary of my meeting with John McDonnell in London


(i) John McDonneel-ekin1

(ii) Mitchell-en abiapuntuak2

(iii) McDonnell-en fiskalitateaz3

(iv) Mitchell-en gogorapena (1)4

(v) Jean-Luc Mélenchon-ez5

(vi) Mitchell-en gogorapena (2)6

(vii) Australiaz7

The following graph gives you an idea of the relative size of the Finance and Insurance sectors in total Gross Value Added in Australia and the Britain8.

(viii) Komunikabide sozialez9

Ingelesez: “(…) Today, I will briefly outline what happened last Thursday when I met with Shadow British Chancellor John McDonnell in London. As I noted yesterday, I was not going to comment publicly on this meeting. I have a lot of meetings and interactions with people in ‘high’ office which remain private due to the topics discussed etc. But given that John McDonnell told an audience in London later that even that he had met with me and that I thought the proposed fiscal rule that Labour has adopted was “fine”, I thought it only reasonable that I disclose what happened at that meeting. I did not think the rule was fine and I urged them to scrap it and stop using neoliberal constructs.”

Ingelesez: “As background to my view on the matter, the following blog posts (among others) are relevant:

1. British Labour Party is mad to sign up to the ‘Charter of Budget Responsibility’ (September 28, 2015).

2. The non-austerity British Labour party and reality – Part 2 (September 29, 2015).

3. The full employment fiscal deficit condition (April 13, 2011).

4. Seeking zero fiscal deficits is not a progressive endeavour (June 18, 2015).

5. Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘New Politics’ must not include lying about fiscal deficits (September 15, 2015).

6. British Labour has to break out of the neo-liberal ‘cost’ framing trap (April 12, 2017).

7. British labour lost in a neo-liberal haze (May 4, 2017).

8. When neoliberals masquerade as progressives (November 9, 2017).

9. The lame progressive obsession with meaningless aggregates (November 23, 2017).

10. The New Keynesian fiscal rules that mislead British Labour – Part 1 (February 27, 2018).

11. The New Keynesian fiscal rules that mislead British Labour – Part 2 (February 28, 2018).

12. The New Keynesian fiscal rules that mislead British Labour – Part 3 (March 1, 2018).

13. MMT is just plain good economics – Part 1 (August 9, 2008).

14. MMT is just plain good economics – Part 2 (August 13, 2008).

15. A twitter storm of lies … (August 15, 2018).

I provide links to previous blog posts I have written for two reasons: (a) to avoid detailed repetition; and (b) to help people navigate through related issues on what is now a rather complex body of writing.”

Ingelesez: “JMD made it public that he had met with me when he appeared in a so-called ‘head-to-head’ conversation last Thursday evening (October 11, 2018) with Jenny Manson, who is the co-chair of Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) and is campaigning to become a future Labour MP.

The event was organised by the Momentum Barnet group in Cricklewood, London as a fundraiser for Manson.

The relevant video is available – HERE.

At the 1 hour mark of the video, a banker from the ‘City’ asked an MMT type question with respect to government spending and ‘financing’. His question was good.

JMD replied (I only cite the relevant section that refers to yours truly):

We have introduced a fiscal rule that’s been developed by Simon Wren … Wren-Lewis, one of our key advisers. In which we have said actually, that yes the deficit does matter, debt does matter. The relationship between debt and GDP, that ratio does matter, because it matters in terms of the confidence of the rest of the world in regard to what we are doing in this country itself.

So our fiscal rule is flexible. Basically it means, we have said that we will not borrow for day to day expenditure, we will balance the deficit over a period of time, be a rolling five-year program, and that yes, if interest rates go to what we call the lower bound there will be knockout rule where we can use fiscal policy to stimulate the economy. Now, that was designed in a way which gives us the flexibility of a progressive Labour government coming to power, to raise the resources we need, to have a long-term vision, where we only borrow to invest, so therefore to grow the economy, but the flexibility if we need it, when monetary policy isn’t working.

I think that’s the best way forward at the moment. There is a big discussion which was an M … MMT debate and funnily enough I met Bill Mitchell this morning for a cup of tea and he had a bit of a wrangle with some of my advisers and it was interesting to spectate but there you are.

But actually his view is our fiscal rule is fine. But, he thinks it’s all right for a sunny day, what happens when the clouds darken. I think there is sufficient flexibility to do it.”

Ingelesez: “What follows is not verbatum but rather my recall.

First, I did meet with JMD last Thursday morning at his Embankment office block in London, near the Houses of Parliament. He was accompanied by two advisers, one being James Meadway. I didn’t catch the name of the other participant.

Second, JMD began the meeting by asking me “What are we getting right?” (or similar).

I indicated that I thought that the Labour Manifesto was a progressive agenda, which represented in broader terms the return of a functional oppositional Left force in British politics, after the years of right-wing Blairism (Third Way) garbage coming out of the British Labour Party.

I said that the social democratic parties had let the progressive side of politics down in recent years and that it was good to see this oppositional left capacity coming back into British politics to give people an effective choice.

I noted that this was also happening in France with the launch of La France Insoumise under Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Ingelesez: “As an aside on Jean-Luc Mélenchon (not related to the meeting with JMD), yesterday special French police raided his home and offices searching for evidence of “alleged misuse of funds” in relation to European Parliament elections and the Presidential election campaign.

A report in the Libération news (October 16, 2018) – Perquisition chez Mélenchon : de l’insoumission à l’obstruction – indicated that Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his team resisted the raid by the special anti-corruption police force and indicated that he thought it was a:

coup de force politique, policier et judiciaire contre Jean-Luc Mélenchon et La France insoumise», et une «attaque sur la base d’éléments fantaisistes …

A political, police and judicial coup against him and his party (La France insoumise) – a fanciful attack.

This police unit has also raided other political opponents of French President Emmanual Macron.

Later in the day, the French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe denied in Parliament that the actions were politically motivated:

Il n’y a aucune instruction individuelle donnée au procureur. Les décisions du procureur, celle-ci en l’occurrence, ont été soumises au contrôle d’un juge de la liberté et de la détention, qui est un magistrat du siège, parfaitement indépendant

This, as Macron’s popularity is in sharp decline.

Ingelesez: “Third, JMD then asked me “What are we getting wrong?” (or similar).

I replied that the fiscal rule was a poor choice and that such rules that are defined in terms of narrow financial ratios were neoliberal and likely to give them grief.

I noted that the fiscal ambitions to support the Manifesto should be defined in terms of broad goals such as full employment and price stability rather than whether recurrent spending was matched over a rolling five-year period to revenue.

I also noted that the way in which we divide recurrent and capital spending was problematic, given that significant items of recurrent spending, for example, teachers salaries, nurses, etc delivered benefits that were not exhausted within a 12 month period (the normal definition of a recurrent outlay).

James Meadway (JM) said the fiscal rule was not neoliberal. I disagreed noting that the idea that we pursue a fiscal aggregate, which the government can’t control anyway, that is independent of the behaviour of other sectors was a neoliberal construct.

While JMD claimed in the video above that I said the fiscal rule was fine, in fact, I said nothing of the sort.

What I indicated that it was probable, based on reasonable costing estimates, that the major parts of the Manifesto could be accommodated within the Rule.

But that would require everything else being unchanged and the most optimistic outlook for current parameters.

I suggested that in a downturn the rule would be blasted out of the water by the cyclical impacts on revenue and spending (the ‘automatic stabilisers’) and at that point the British Labour Party would have to do abandon the rule.

I said that this abandonment would come with significant political costs and open the government to accusations that it was financially incompetent.

I thought that the adherence to such a unnecessary rule in the first place was therefore unwise.

They replied that there was flexibility (as JMD notes in the video) and that at the zero bound, fiscal policy could free itself of the rule.

I noted that this was another neoliberal aspect of the approach. The reason for that conclusion is that the rule as stated requires the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England to indicate to the Treasury that its monetary policy instruments are no longer effective.

So in effect, the elected and accountable Chancellor can only enjoy fiscal freedom when the technocrats in the Bank of England handover the imprimatur to him.

That is a basic Monetarist tenet – that monetary policy has primacy over fiscal policy. That is neoliberal central.

Moreover, the MPC may not indicate monetary policy ineffectiveness, even if the target interest-rate is at zero (the so-called zero bound). As we have seen in the recent years, central banks have been willing to explore all sorts of weird and wonderful policy interventions to remain relevant in the macroeconomic policy sphere.

Further, zero bound outcomes are very rare. Most recessions are not accompanied by zero interest rates at the policy end.

JM responded by claiming that it was likely that the next recession would trigger a zero bound situation.

I replied that that surmise was just a guess and that history suggested such an outcome was rare.

But the very idea that fiscal policy can only enjoy freedom at the behest of an unelected and unaccountable MPC is pure neoliberal thinking.

So while I did concur that under ‘sunny day’ conditions, the British Labour Party could probably introduce key elements of its Manifesto without violating the fiscal rule as stated, it would encounter major difficulties in a recession.

So the obsession with the fiscal rule developed by Simon Wren-Lewis was an unnecessary neoliberal distraction that will come back to haunt them.

They responded by saying that the rolling five-year period gave them flexibility in a downturn.

But as I’ve written many times in the past, if a nation encounters a serious recession that results in a significant deficit, and then within the last years of the rolling window, it may have to introduce major cuts in recurrent outlays in order to move the recurrent balance towards zero.

That is not flexibility.

JMD asked me what I might do differently on the policy front and I said they should announce the intention to introduce a Job Guarantee. We talked about whether the UK was at ‘full capacity’ or not and what that would mean for the fiscal rule.

His advisor (the one I cannot recall his name) said that this would add a lot to total spending. I suggested otherwise.

I said that my assessment was that the UK had idle capacity and so needed a significantly larger deficit anyway. But if it turned out I was wrong, then they would have to increase taxes to squeeze some purchasing power out of the non-government sector to create the space for any extra public spending.

I concluded they were not interested in a Job Guarantee believing their infrastructure spending would be sufficient. That will come back to haunt them I think.

I also noted that JM had declared on social media that MMT was only valid for the US as a result of its reserve currency status. I indicated that that view was incorrect.

He responded by saying that the UK was a special case because its financial sector was so large relative to the size of the financial sector in other nations.

The inference was that the fiscal rule was necessary to placate any hostility that might arise in this ‘large’ sector.

Ingelesez: “I said that Australia was a small and very open economy with a significant financial sector as well.

He disagreed about relative sizes.

Well is as it happens, Sydney and Melbourne are significant financial centres in the world markets.

The Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), which is published by London research Centre and is widely used as an indicator of strength of the financial sector in different nations, ranked London as number one (March 2018 rankings).

Other interesting rankings were Tokyo 5th, Toronto 7th, Sydney 9th, and Melbourne 12th.

8 Ingelesez: “In relative terms (to size of economy), the finance and insurance sector in the UK is broadly similar to the sector in Australia.

So I posed the question, given Australia has run current account deficits of around 3 to 4% of GDP since 1975 about, and fiscal deficits for much of that time, why hasn’t the finance sector rendered the Australian currency worthless?” (Ikus irudia.)


The same goes for Japan. It is run large fiscal deficits, has significant public debt relative to its economic size, and has no problem selling more debt to the bond markets whenever it chooses.

Why hasn’t the yen been dumped and made worthless by these financial markets?

JM said something like the debt is held by Japanese not foreigners and they are running current account surpluses.

So I pointed out the inconsistency.

Japan: current account surplus, debt held locally – no currency dumping.

Australia: current account deficit, debt not held exclusively by locals – no currency dumping.

The claim of relative sizes of the finance sector was at that point reasserted.

Somewhat frustrating given the data.

We broached several other issues, which I won’t comment on here.

Ingelesez: “The last part of the discussion centred on the use of social media. I indicated that the British MMTers who were strong supporters of JMD and the Labour Party in general were regularly vilified by JMD’s advisers on social media.

JM said that the MMTers were rude to him and that I should control them. I said something like it was not a cult under my control and that I had actually noted at the MMT conference in NYC that a more respectful dialogue on social media should be the aim of both sides.

But in finishing I told JMD that is was counterproductive to abuse his support base for discussing MMT.

I also said something about the dangers of Groupthink and living in an echo chamber where one’s advisers are the only (neoliberal) voice he listens to.

That is more or less what transpired.”

Iruzkinak (2)

  • joseba

    For MMT
    Thomas Fazi
    Bill Mitchell
    Leading proponents of Modern Monetary Theory respond to Tribune’s recent article on the topic, arguing that socialists should not be afraid to “seize the means of production of money.”

    Tribune recently published an article unequivocally titled ‘Against MMT’, written by James Meadway, former advisor to the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. He joins a coterie of economists and policymakers–Kenneth Rogoff, Larry Summers, Paul Krugman and others–who have attacked modern monetary theory (MMT). This campaign reached its apex when Republican senators proposed a resolution in Congress denouncing it–one of the first times an economic theory has been condemned in this way. 
    More surprising is the fact that MMT has also been the subject of fierce criticism by left-wing economists and commentators, such as Doug Henwood and Paul Mason. In the last year or so, the critiques of MMT have accelerated as its public profile has risen, partly due to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s promotion of the theory in relation to her endorsement of a ‘Green New Deal’ (GND). 
    This was to be expected: MMT not only threatens powerful vested interests in our societies, but also challenges the hegemony of mainstream macroeconomists who have been able to dominate the policy debate for decades using a series of linked myths about how our fiat monetary system operates and the capacities of currency-issuing governments within such a system. 
    MMT allows us to break out of the illusory financial constraints that for too long have hindered our ability to imagine radical alternatives and to envision truly transformational policies, such as the Green New Deal, in the knowledge the issue is not whether we can ‘afford’ a certain policy in financial terms but only whether we have enough available resources–and political will–to implement it. This is a massive paradigm shift. 
    MMT and Fiat Money
    Our response to Meadway’s Tribune article provides a simple (though limited) understanding of what MMT actually is–rather than what its critics often accuse it of being. MMT describes and analyses the way in which ‘fiat monetary systems’ operate and the capacities that a government has within that system. It explains how monetarily sovereign states–that is, states that issue their own currency, float it on international markets and only issue liabilities in that currency–can never run out of money or become insolvent. That is because, unlike households or businesses, which use the currency, the state issues the currency. 
    Currency-issuing governments can purchase whatever is available for sale in that currency, including all idle labour. They spend first–the central bank simply credits the relevant bank accounts to facilitate the spending requirements of the treasury–and collect taxes after. Taxes thus do not fund spending. Issuing debt does not increase the capacity of such a government to spend. Indeed, a monetarily sovereign government could run fiscal deficits without issuing debt at all: this policy has been called overt monetary financing (OMF), although the terminology is problematic. 
    Does this mean that taxes are not necessary or that we shouldn’t ‘tax the rich’? Of course not. Taxes reduce the purchasing power of the non-government sector, allowing the government to purchase goods and services without inflation. We are all for taxing the rich. But not to get their money. Rather, to deprive them of their purchasing power, which translates into economic and political power. 
    Neither does this mean that a nation can or should run ‘enormous deficits and … sustain extraordinary trade deficits’, as Meadway puts it. Fiscal deficits in themselves are neither good nor bad. Any assessment of the fiscal position of a nation must be taken in light of the usefulness of the government’s spending programme in achieving its national socio-economic goals and the savings desires of the non-government sector. Typically, in the presence of an external deficit–that is, if a country imports more than it exports, causing a leakage in domestic demand–the government will have to run a fiscal deficit to maintain spending sufficient to keep all resources fully employed. If this condition is not met, growth will necessarily have to be sustained by an expansion in private debt. 
    Finally, despite showing that currency-issuing governments don’t face a financial constraint, MMT doesn’t claim that a nation faces no spending constraints whatsoever; rather, it shows that the real constraints faced by governments are the real resources (plants, machines, workers, etc.) available to the nation either locally or through trade. It follows that the real limit to government spending is the capacity of the economy to absorb it without generating runaway inflation. 
    However, the core MMT developers do not, as Meadway claims, consider a ‘hierarchy of currencies’ with the US dollar at the top, nor do they assume that non-dollar currencies have only limited currency sovereignty. All currency-issuing governments enjoy monetary sovereignty, as outlined above. Of course, issuing one’s own currency doesn’t make a nation ‘rich’. A nation with limited access to real resources will remain materially poor. Sovereignty, though, means that it can use its currency capacity to ensure that all available resources are always fully employed. Therefore, Meadway is mistaken to assume that ‘[i]f you can’t issue the dollar, MMT isn’t going to work’. That is a fundamental misunderstanding. 
    In fact, MMT is not a regime that you ‘apply’ or ‘switch to’ or ‘introduce’. Rather, it is a lens which allows us to see how our fiat monetary systems already work. How you decide to use that understanding depends on the value system or ideology you apply to it. It thus makes little sense to talk of ‘MMT-type prescription’ or an ‘MMT solution’. Indeed, governments already operate according to the framework offered by MMT, regardless of what they may claim in public (and the accounting smokescreens they may employ). 
    Citizens are constantly told that the government cannot afford to invest more in education, healthcare, infrastructure, welfare and other public services. Yet, there is never a lack of money when it comes tax cuts for the rich, bank bailouts, military activities and other programmes that benefit our political and economic elites. As of March 2006, approximately £4.5 billion had been spent by the UK in Iraq, enough to pay for the building of around 44 new hospitals and to fund the recruitment and retention of over 10,300 new teachers for ten years. Yet, there was never any debate about how the UK would ‘fund’ the war. 
    Unfortunately, the mainstream macroeconomic narrative continues to plague large swathes of the left, particularly in Europe. Meadway’s article is representative. It concentrates ‘on the practical and political implications [of MMT], why they are wrong–and why Labour’s own economic programme makes more sense’. In that sense, he is really talking about a conception of the application of MMT according to a certain value set, rather than MMT itself. 
    MMT and Inflation
    The knee-jerk reaction to MMT is that government deficits will be inflationary, especially if they are not accompanied by debt issuance. Critics characterise MMT as being about ‘monetary financed deficits’–and usually slip the word ‘printing’ in there, even though there are no printing presses involved. Meadway recognises that ‘modern governments do not have to collect taxes before they can spend: they can also borrow the money, or create and spend that money directly’, but says that this ‘does not apply over the longer term’. Why? Because ‘issuing money … will lead to a general rise in prices, known as inflation’–a point that Meadway claims is ‘readily acknowledged by academic MMT supporters’. There is no such acknowledgement. 
    Meadway’s claim can be distilled down to the discredited Monetarist assertion that increasing the ‘money supply’ in the economy reduces its value via inflation. In truth, there is nothing intrinsically inflationary about a growing supply of currency. It is the government spending itself that carries the inflation risk, regardless of whether the deficit is matched with debt-issuance or not. Indeed, all spending (private or public) is inflationary if it drives nominal aggregate spending faster than the real capacity of the economy to absorb it. But if the net government spending is purchasing real goods and services that are available for sale, then such spending is unlikely to trigger inflation. A growing economy requires a growing volume of currency. Issuing debt does not reduce this risk. The funds in question represented saving and were not being spent anyway. 
    Meadway claims that the only solution proposed by MMT to deal with inflation is to use taxes to take ‘money’ out of circulation, thus reducing the amount of money chasing goods–something which allegedly places MMT in ‘a place remarkably similar to the hated mainstream of economics’. There is nothing mainstream about dealing with inflation; on the other hand, obsessing about it, like Meadway does, is very mainstream indeed. MMT acknowledges that if the inflation is due to excessive growth in aggregate spending (which is just one of many ways inflation can arise), then that growth has to be attenuated. There are a number of ways that attenuation can occur, tax rises being one of them. Furthermore, an MMT understanding also requires governments to be continually analysing real resource constraints ex ante and avoiding stimulus beyond those limits. 
    But if there is a need to attenuate spending growth in the economy, MMT demonstrates the superiority of an employment buffer stock approach–the Job Guarantee–over the current unemployment buffer stock approach to inflation control. Instead of creating unemployment to discipline wage demands, MMT proponents advocate that the government would, instead, offer a public sector job at a socially- inclusive minimum wage to anyone who seeks to work. Redistributing labour from the inflating sector to the fixed price sector would ensure price stability and avoid costly mass unemployment. 
    MMT and Deficits
    Contrary to Meadway’s assertions, MMT has nothing in common with mainstream economics. If anything, his defence of Labour’s ‘Fiscal Credibility Rule’ (FCR) betrays his own sympathies for the kind of neoliberal thinking that got us into the mess we’re in. The FCR, which Meadway helped to design as advisor to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, comprises ‘a strict set of rules [that Labour has adopted] for how a future government will manage its finances’. Meadway claims that these rules are consistent with ending austerity. 
    MMT shows this claim to be false. In the presence of an external deficit, the government will have to run a fiscal deficit to maintain spending sufficient to keep all resources fully employed. Since Britain has run an external deficit since the 1970s, and is not likely to generate large external surpluses in the foreseeable future, it follows that the only way private debt–and the power of financial institutions over society–can be brought under control without driving the economy into recession is for the government to run persistent and substantial fiscal deficits. 
    This reminds us that steering the economy towards full employment, something socialists should aim for, doesn’t just require ‘fine-tuning’–some extra spending when the economy slumps–and public investment. It requires constant control of its movement through fiscal policy. The FCR–which includes a commitment to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio at the end of a five-year period–would fail in a deep recession. And the suspension clause in the Rule, where the Bank of England would cede policy control back to Treasury, would not have been invoked during the financial crisis, even with interest rates at 0.25 per cent. 
    The technical justifications offered by Meadway for such binding fiscal rules are even more puzzling. Meadway believes that ‘clear and credible [fiscal] targets’ are necessary to keep government borrowing rates down and the ‘bond vigilantes’ at bay. This is simply false. First, the government could stop issuing debt altogether if it wanted. Second, the central bank can always control yields in the bond markets, regardless of the overall debt level, as Japan is demonstrating. 
    Meadway’s irrational fear of financial markets is particularly evident when he talks of current account (balance of payments) deficits. In the article, he repeats the oft-stated claim that countries with a current account deficit such as the UK ‘will always be vulnerable to demands for foreign currency that they cannot immediately meet’ and that this represents ‘a significant impediment to sovereignty’ if speculators lose faith in the policy settings of the nation and sell off the currency causing its value to collapse. It follows, he claims, that countries should eschew current account deficits and ‘MMT-like prescriptions’. 
    Meadway also alleges that MMT understates this point, claiming that this represents a significant flaw in the theory. But in our book Reclaiming the State we dedicate an entire chapter to the balance of payments issue. MMT does not deny and has never denied that crises, particularly pertaining to currencies, can occur. Indeed, it is fully cognisant that a currency can become, under certain extreme conditions, worthless. There are many reasons why this could happen. Running a fiscal deficit is not one of them: there is simply no robust statistical evidence linking fiscal deficits to currency crises. 
    A well-governed country with a government committed to building and maintaining a first-class infrastructure, high quality public services (energy, transport, health, education, training, etc.) and a highly-skilled labour force would be a magnet for productive investment. The case of Australia–which has has run sizeable external deficits for the last fifty years and fiscal deficits in most of those years–exemplifies this. And Australia’s financial sector contributes about the same to value added as Britain’s financial sector. 
    Of course, capital markets may decide to dump the pound to put pressure on a radical Labour government. But that has nothing to do with following ‘MMT-like prescriptions’, nor is a tight fiscal stance going to avoid that if the underlying motive is political. Furthermore, if that should occur, a government can insulate the economy from those effects. Look at Iceland, which endured the worst financial collapse in history in 2008: it has successfully locked up the funds of some large international hedge funds using capital controls and its currency has strengthened as a result. Ultimately, progressives should understand that financial markets are not as all-powerful as they would have us believe. 
    MMT and Politics
    The true problem with the FCR is not technical but political. By embracing a neoliberal framing about ‘fiscal responsibility’, Labour is setting itself up for failure. Meadway states that ‘[s]eeking to close a government deficit is not in itself neoliberal’. This might be true under certain circumstances, such as in the case of a country running a large trade surplus. However, the framing used by him and John McDonnell–and encapsulated in the FCR–is indeed neoliberal. The official FCR document says that ‘everybody knows that if you’re putting the rent on the credit card month after month, things need to change’, while the Labour manifesto reminds us that the FCR ‘is based on the simple principle that government should not be borrowing for day-to-day spending’. 
    Furthermore, John McDonnell went on record saying that Labour accepts that ‘we are going to have to live within our means and we always will do’. This is a neoliberal framing. Which begs the question: if Labour is trying to break out of such narratives, why use these constructs? Meadway claims that one of the main reasons for adopting this framework is that ‘it allows Labour to put together a coalition of support for its programme’, ranging from mainstream economists to City professionals. 
    This is far-fetched. The support of mainstream economists and financial operators for certain theories and policies doesn’t stem from a sincere belief in their virtue, but from the fact that they promote the interests of the dominant forces in society. The idea that a socialist government could guarantee itself the support of the economic establishment simply by adhering to the ideological framework that its members claim to believe in, with the aim of deploying mainstream theories and policies for progressive ends, is naïve. 
    Moreover, Meadway neglects the fact that the power of the capitalist establishment derives as much from its command of the state and means of production as it does from its capacity to frame the narrative. The primacy of these fiscal rules is a key part of the way in which the economic establishment censures governments that might be intent on redistributing national income or improving welfare services and the like. 
    Ultimately, the ideology of scarcity of money is integral to the maintenance of our deeply unequal relations of power in society. If there’s anything the establishment fears more than the working classes seizing the means of production, it’s the working classes seizing the means of production of money (or more precisely, of currency). You would think that socialists would understand that. 
    Labour should prioritise building a narrative that will advance the socialist cause for the decades to come. It should reject the ideology of ‘sound money’ outright and educate the public about the capacities of a currency-issuing government and the opportunities those capacities provide. It should explain to citizens that the purpose of fiscal policy is to advance broad welfare concerns, which pertain to wages, employment, equity, price stability, environmental sustainability and the like, not to achieve financial balance between revenue and outlays or to achieve a particular debt ratio. 
    In other words, Labour should strive to shift the Overton window–what is accepted in public discourse–rather than passively submitting to it for perceived (and highly dubious) short-run political purposes. This is precisely what MMT is doing, and why a growing number of people on the left find it so empowering. 
    MMT gives us the power to imagine truly transformational politics, without getting caught up in meaningless debates about whether we can ‘afford’ it or not. This is also why it is being attacked so fiercely. Not because of its theoretical foundations, but because of the range of economic and political possibilities that it opens up. The bottom line, however, is that MMT is here to stay. The Labour Party can choose to stick to an old neoliberal fiscal paradigm–or it can join the revolution.  

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