Basic Ideas – Explainers

MMT is a big departure from conventional economic descriptions. It starts from the observation that the rules that govern currency issuers i.e., governments that control their own currency, differ from the rules that govern currency user, like you, me, states, provinces, EU members and the private sector.

As appreciation for MMT grows, so does enthusiasm for explaining it. Informed enthusiasm comes from folks within and beyond the circle of principal academic economists. Here are samples of a growing body of work describing, explaining and otherwise clarifying how money works in monetarily sovereign nations.

Note: regardless of whether a piece describes how things work in the U.S., the U.K., Australia or any other nation acting as a currency issuer — having a sovereign, fiat currency and no foreign currency debt — the basics are the same. Among these pieces, there is some redundancy and approaches differ. Our favorites may not be yours. We recommend you begin with the first several links on this page. Following those, the rest are sorted chronologically.

Why we need to debunk the ‘deficit myth’
— Stephanie Kelton BBC Reel June 29, 2020 (05:09)


— Stephanie Kelton Aug 13, 2016, (02:13)

MMT on a Postcard

— Lambert Strether, NakedCapitalism, May 29, 2014

— @DeficitOwls @SamHLevey

What is MMT?
— L. Randall Wray Real-World Economics Review Blog (@RealWorldEcon), Oct 10, 2019

Modern Money Theory Explained | Interview with Pavlina Tcherneva – PART 1
acTVism Munich June 2, 2020

How Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) Actually Works (w/ Warren Mosler)

— Ed Harrison, Warren Mosler (@WBMosler) RealVision Finance (@RealVision) May 29, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a fan of a geeky economic theory called MMT: Here’s a plain-English guide to what it is and why it’s interesting
Jim Edwards (@Jim_Edwards) Theron Mohamed (@Theron_Mohamed) Business Insider (@BusinessInsider) March 30, 2019

“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jim Kavanaugh (@ThePolemicist_) The Polemicist Sept 18, 2018

— L. Randall Wray New Economic Perspectives, June 24, 2014.

The Basics of Modern Money. A nation’s currency is a wonderful, powerful thing. Learn how countries like the U.S.—which issue their own sovereign currency—can afford to use that currency to serve their citizens. Get inspired about our untapped potential, and learn to be less worried about the so-called “national debt”!

A Beginners Guide to How Modern Economies Work

— Geoff Coventry, Modern Money Basics, Jan 2018

Modern Monetary Theory & Economic Education | Q&A with Stephanie Kelton — Part 1 AcTVism Munich • Information that Moves — March 21, 2018 (16:00)

Congress can give every American a pony (if it breeds enough ponies),
— Stephanie Kelton, LA Times, Sept. 29, 2017.

Government debt versus household debt: ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ debt explained
— Steven Hail, (@StevenHailAus) ‏ Independent Australia, May 3, 2017.

L. Wrandall Ray – Modern Money Theory: Intellectual Origins and Policy Implications — International and Comparative Law Center (ICLC) Seminar Series Oct 2015 (1:45:32)

Randy Wray: Modern Monetary Theory – The Basics, NakedCapitalism, June 28, 2014

Warren Mosler: Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds Of Economic Policy MoslerEconomics,
— Warren Mosler (@wbmosler) Dec. 10, 2009

Episode 1: MMT for Beginners, Q&A with Steve Friedman

— Adam Rice (@adamarice) May 6, 2018

Intro To Modern Money Theory • 22 short videos. MMT is partly a description of how our modern fiat, floating exchange rate currencies actually work, and partly a prescription of what we ought to do with this knowledge. MMT includes the realization that many of the constraints we place on our money system today as well as many of our models for understanding it are actually holdovers from the era of gold-standards and fixed exchange rates that no longer apply.
— Deficit Owls, Deficit Owls, Last updated Aug 2, 2017.

The Basics of Modern Monetary Theory,
— Alex Little, A Little Econ: There is an Alternative, June 3, 2014

The Rock-Star Appeal of Modern Monetary Theory: The Sanders generation and a new economic idea Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, The Nation, May 8, 2017

Modern Money Mechanics, MMT Simplified, Senexx, MMT simplified

Explainer: what is modern monetary theory?
— Steven Hail, (@StevenHailAus), The Conversation, Jan 30, 2017

Government debt versus household debt: ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ debt explained,
— Steven Hail, (@StevenHailAus) May 3, 2017

It’s taxpayers’ money….er no, it’s not!
— John Kelly, The AIM Network, Oct. 9, 2017

Warren Mosler: What Modern Monetary Theory Tells Us About Economic Policy
New Economic Thinking July 23, 2013

Explaining Money with Fadhel Kaboub from Conor Millen on Vimeo.

Modern Monetary Theory in a Nutshell
— Larry Kazdan The Johnsville News , June 29, 2011

MMT Primer,
— L. Randall Wray, New Economic Perspectives