At Business Insider, Jim Edwards and Theron Mohamed do a good job explaining MMT in, “MMT: Here’s a plain-English guide to ‘Modern Monetary Theory’ and why it’s interesting.”
They begin with these bullet points:
- MMT is a big departure from conventional economic theory. It proposes governments that control their own currency can spend freely, as they can always create more money to pay off debts in their own currency.
- The theory suggests government spending can grow the economy to its full capacity, enrich the private sector, eliminate unemployment, and finance major programs such as universal healthcare, free college tuition, and green energy.
- If the spending generates a government deficit, this isn’t a problem either. The government’s deficit is by definition the private sector’s surplus.
- Increased government spending will not generate inflation as long as there is unused economic capacity or unemployed labour, MMT proposes. It is only when an economy hits physical or natural constraints on its productivity — such as full employment — that inflation happens because that is when supply fails to meet demand, jacking up prices.
- MMT proponents argue governments can control inflation by spending less or withdrawing money from the economy through taxes.
- Needless to say, traditional economists have some issues with all this.
Just ONE quibble with that, where they write, “It proposes governments that control their own currency can spend freely.” They should have written It EXPLAINS, not that it “proposes.” Big difference.
MMT EXPLAINS that governments that control their own currency can do a lot of things.