Jan 28, 2021
Welcome to episode 65 of Activist #MMT. Today is part two of my two-part conversation with third-year MMT activist Hannah Judson. In part one, Hannah described her journey to MMT and her just-begun MMT-informed sociology PhD program at Stonybrook University in Long Island, New York.
Today we talk about a very different topic, which is mental illness and anxiety, and how these things are seen through and informed by MMT. Hannah and I both experienced a traumatic event in our childhood which will remain with us for the rest of our lives. She describes how she came to terms with this, how she manages it today, and how her Christianity influences her anxieties as well as her politics. We share MMT as a lens through which to see the world, our situations, and ourselves.
I end by telling my own story. Regular listeners will not be surprised to hear that I have been strongly influenced by Fred Lee’s 2006 book, A History of Heterodox Economics – which coincidentally was recommended to me by Hannah’s now-housemate and MMTer, Nathan Tankus. The intellectual and academic concepts of economics are only half the picture. The other half is what Lee calls community history: the personal history and behaviors of those who develop, support, and benefit from those academic concepts. The assumptions, maths, and models of neoclassical economics cannot be separated from the century of discrimination endured by those who dare to call it wrong.
In the same vein, the decades of genius comedy by Bill Cosby cannot be separated from the terrible crimes we now know that he has committed. It is not possible to draw a conclusion until one looks at the entire picture. Despite growing up with his comedy, I have decided to not listen to him again.
The clearly-good work that I have done, including this podcast, my large set of MMT resources, and many other things, cannot be separated from my own behavior and the consequences that it has caused. I have certainly committed no crimes and have always done the best that I could. I am also deeply ashamed of how some of my behavior has affected others, and especially how it has pushed away exactly those who I wish to work with and become closer to. I would also be lying if I said that I was not profoundly sad for the many opportunities lost and for how long it will take to even reach the starting line once again.
This conversation with Hannah was one of the more important personal milestones I’ve experienced. I thank her for the space and support that I needed in order for it to happen.