Either you believe in an informed electorate or you don’t…
2019 mai. 25
Bill Mitchell-en Some lessons from the political campaigning literature
At the event in Edinburgh recently, I was asked a question about polling. The question was along the lines of: if the Scottish people had overwhelmingly voted in the June 2016 referendum to Remain in the EU (62 per cent of the 67.2 per cent of eligible voters who voted) then why should the activists seeking independence not endorse joining the EU. Apart from the obvious reasons relating to the concept ‘independence’ and wanting to avoid membership of a neoliberal cabal, I replied by noting that if we conducted a poll about whether people thought taxes funded government spending, then we would find a much larger percentage agreeing with that proposition that the proportion that voted to remain in the 2016 Referendum. I then asked the audience: Would you consider that outcome legitimate or a symptom of a lack of education? The point is obvious. Polls play on ignorance as much as anything. The question of campaigning and polls also came up during the recent Australian federal election, where despite millions being spent on targetted advertising and activism, the results turned out very different to those expected and in most cases the dollars spent were largely ineffective (although note below). Further, there is a growing number of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) groups forming around the world aiming to self-educate and push the public debate away from the mainstream economic narrative. The question that arises in each of these instances is how to actually push a new paradigm, a new way of thinking about concepts that permeate the very basis of our daily existence and have been ingrained in our perception in a particular way that this new way contests. That is no easy task. I have been doing some research and will report on the results in a series of blog posts starting today.
(ii) DTM ikasi eta zabaldu
In one sense, to see these activist groups at work is heartening – when have ordinary citizens given their non-work time to get together and learn macroeconomics, stage events about macroeconomics and form groups to further educate their peers about macroeconomics?
That, in itself, is a pretty incredible part of the upsurge in community MMT action.
As an example, which I have some close connections with, is the great work being done in the UK by the GIMMS team – where a group of women without any particular background in economics have become organisers, writers, film producers, social media activists and lobbyists.
I was really pleased to participate and offer my thoughts on how they can advance their MMT work at a ‘Training the trainers’ workshop in London on May 14, 2019. A video will be available soon of that session.
On the weekend just gone I attended a newly-formed MMT discussion group in Melbourne and a good number of people of all ages gave up their afternoon to learn about and discuss MMT.
To help these groups I have been upskilling myself by studying the research literature on campaigning strategies.
I also have personal misgivings about associating our work with specific campaigning groups in Australia, which run the danger of stereotyping MMT as a fringe, Left idea and closing doors to other groups I am currently working with in the financial markets who are keen to learn more and who have, without doubt, access and influence at the top levels of the political process.
It is not an easy way forward. There is, in fact, no clear blueprint.
No other economic theory or framework has emerged and been developed as a body of work in the academy and then gained support in the general public largely via social media.
And moreover, that is in the context where MMT has not yet gained a dominant position in the academic hierarchy. That process takes a long time, given that PhD students have to be nurtured, gain jobs, and progress in their own careers up the academic hierarchy.
So we are all feeling our way in this endeavour which makes it interesting but also fraught with dead-ends and more.
How to progress?
Well if you are like me, then when in doubt, you do some research – that is, educate (in this case myself). As I will conclude in today’s blog post – education remains the key and is more important than short-term campaigning and polling.
This conclusion is supported by the research literature in the area of political engagement.
If I have 60 minutes I can usually get a person to understand the basics of MMT. But most people demand 2 minute snapshots.
This was raised at the discussion meeting on Saturday. It was stated: We need short, sharp 2 minute videos and primers.
Yet the danger then is that we produce a version of MMT that is so simplistic that we run the danger it just gets converted into the dominant frames (…) and so we get countless newspaper attacks on us claiming MMT is about printing infinite quantities of money so the government can buy whatever it wants.
And at that point we lose the person to the dominant frame. (…)
The HUGE problem in Scotland is the currency experts do know the real dangers of EU membership and talk about it openly behind closed doors.
But instead of educating the voters they have decided to say nothing and do nothing. By doing so they have allowed the political space to be filled with nonsense. What’s so much worse than that is quality control goes right out of the window.
2019 mai. 15
Gehigarriak (Derek Henry):
(a) Derek Henry, Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Excellent Bill !
I can’t wait to read what you write about Scotland leaving the Union and being at the heart of Europe which is SNP policy and the indy at all costs brigade.
The national newspaper all Easter Weekend narrative has been the EU must be the centre piece of Scottish independence. Over 60% of the population will lead them into that nightmare.
A 10 step guide of how to replace one currency master with another – a by far worse master than London.
The Richard Murphy guide of how to attack the deficit rules of the Growth Commission but completely ignore the deficit rules and neoliberal treaties of the EU. That will keep Scotland in a straight jacket.
Richard refuses to talk about those. He’s deluded enough to believe Scotland will hold all the aces when they sit down to cut a deal with the EU and wants Scotland to join the customs union and single market anyways. Showing his very little grasp of MMT and how he has bastardised MMT the same way his mainstream friends did to Keynes.
I sincerely hope the Common Weal don’t pay him for his work.
(b) Derek Henry
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Test 4 is where all the Scottish think tanks and the Scottish government end up in a graveyard. That’s both unionist and Indy think tanks.
I would say for the last 3 years I’ve been trying to explain the foreign reserves issue with floating exchange rates they just don’t get it. They all come at it from the wrong point of view and still stick to fixed exchange analysis based around apparent Kaldorian views religiously. I really don’t understand why post-Keynesian’s can’t get their head around the dynamics of floating rate exchange systems.
James Meadway and Simon Wren Lewis suffer from the same problem no matter how many times it is explained to them.
This nails it for me – So as a left progressive I would advocate staying out of the EU cabal.
Brexit is extraordinary we now live in a world where the right has started to act like the left and left are acting like liberals. This has happened because of a complete mis understanding of how monetary systems operate.
If both the left and the right actually knew how monetary systems operate in reality. The left would be running for the exit door and the right would be trying everything they can to stay in. Instead, the left are doing political and economic gymnastics to stay in and the right are trying everything possible to leave. The liberal left and right the (middle ground) that is now in the middle of the right wing spectrum have fell in love with liberalism of the Neo persuasion. The change UK party should just go where they belong and join the liberal democrats with Chuka Umunna as the new Lib Dem Leader.
The EU is fiscal conservatism on steriods that’s handed real resource allocation to the bankers. If you are from the right what’s not to like ? in one word immigration everything else is from the fiscal conservative handbook.
There’s never been a time in British History when so many politcal parties are on the wrong side of the arguement. Fighting against what they actually stand for. Driven by voters who have no idea how the monetary system actually works.
No more so than in Scotland. With so many left wing voters spread right across the country who are proud to be called left wing and progressive. Yet, want to be at the heart of Europe which is liberalism/ fiscal conservatism on Steriods. Yet, at the last Scottish election the Lib Dems only won 7.8% of the vote and 6.8% of the vote in the UK general election.
No Scottish election in recent memory has ever voted for liberalism/ fiscal conservatism on Steriods. Yet, 60% of the population want to be at the heart of Europe. It’s a delusion as a large % of Scottish voters think the EU is a socialist paradise that will save them. Not bind them in neoliberal globalist/fiscal conservative chains. Then send the IMF in and put a technocrat in place to rule them and leave nothing in public hands apart from Bass Rock lighthouse if they are lucky.
Bill Mitchell-en Ridiculous MMT critiques distorting Scottish independence debate
(c) Derek Henry
Monday, May 20, 2019
2. Scotland would have to go through a convergence process to ensure its fiscal and other economic parameters were consistent with the EU Stability and Growth Pact rules.
Which is of course what the Growth Comission was all about it was a blue print for joining the Euro. So the SNP have looked at all of this and lied to their supporters. There can be no other reason why the growth comission was written in the first place. The growth comission was the start of that process.
Nigel Farage rode into Edinburgh last week and I bet he couldn’t believe his luck it was an open goal to him and the Brexit Party.
“Nigel Farage says Scottish independence within EU is ‘most dishonest discourse I’ve ever seen’ ” – The article is in the Glasgow Herald newspaper. Everything Farage says is true.
This is what happens when the Indy movement either lied or stayed Quiet about the real dangers of EU membership. Nigel Farage has stolen the truth and political space right from underneath their noses. The Indy movement was far more concerned in stealing Labour and Lib Dem voters who support the EU to get independence. The ludicrous Indy at all costs strategy.
I warned all of the top Indy think tanks this was going to happen and I also told them this was just going to be the start. How trying to reverse the will of a democratic referendum will play out in the long run is anyone’s guess and I don’t think they are prepared for Small C conservative reaction to it. They have also ignored left wing voters like myself who have wanted out of the EU since Mastricht and the Lisbon treaties. People like me now have nobody to vote for in Scotland.
I suppose now I am a “populist” a working class label I will wear with honour.
Scottish Independence should have always been about getting out of the EU first and the SNP and Indy movement could have used the Tories to do that. They should have honoured the Brexit result it would have been easy.
Then debate with the rest of the UK and tell them if you don’t tell the truth about how the monetary system actually works at the UK level. Then start using it the way they should then Scotland will leave the rest of the UK to set up their own monetary system.
France is a very interesting case as now in France both the left and the right want to leave the Euro. In the long run France could well save the so called progressive left from themselves right across Europe.
(d) Derek Henry
Monday, May 20, 2019
The first Scottish referendum was lost on the currency issue and the fear of change.
The second Scottish referendum (if there ever is one ) will be lost on the EU issue.
The Indy movement will have nobody to blame apart from themselves ( again).