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Activist #MMT - podcast

Feb 6, 2022

Welcome to episode 107 of Activist #MMT. Today's part two of my three-part conversation with lawyer and independent economics researcher Jonathan Wilson, on the reality of the petrodollar or reserve currency, focusing on his unique and easy-to-understand "Cool Stuff" hypothesis. Jonathan's article on the topic can be found on Here's a direct link: The Cool Stuff Hypothesis Versus the Petrodollar. Jonathan’s post is featured in this new #MMT resource post, which debuts today: The reality of exchange rate determination (sources to learn more).

The Cool Stuff hypothesis is a realistic look at how and why a country's currency is desired, spent, and saved by people both in and out of the country. The playful phrase "Cool Stuff" was inspired by Stephanie Kelton and her 2020 book The Deficit Myth, which takes twenty-five years of MMT academic scholarship and boils it down for a popular, non-academic audience.

In part one, Jonathan summarized his hypothesis and today he continues that summary. We then connect the hypothesis to the ridiculous and hyperbolic theory of the petrodollar.

In part three, we drastically change subjects. For the past nine months, Jonathan has assisted me in developing a full and free online course that's not directly MMT, but is critical for those who want to better understand it. It's based on the work of Asad Zaman (who was my guest in episodes 56 and 57) and is titled Historical Context for Real-World Economics. The course is produced by Activist #MMT, and hosted by Bill Mitchell's MMTed and Esha Krishnaswamy's Historic-ly.

But for now, let's get right back to part two my conversation with Jonathan Wilson. Enjoy.

Audio chapters

  • 7:44 - Canada Japan example
  • 12:43 - John Harvey, exchange rate determination
  • 19:43 - "The dollar's going to plummet/collapse"
  • 22:30 - The theory of the petrodollar
  • 30:26 - Pakistan example
  • 35:13 - Twitter conversation with neoclassical economist
  • 39:37 - Cool Stuff doesn't necessarily mean GOOD.
  • 44:58 - Outsourcing; components here, assembly there; components there, assembly here
  • 48:17 - Coercion is always bad, not necessarily low-for-high
  • 49:43 - The reality of the petrodollar
  • 54:19 - Petrodollar as global surveillance
  • 57:25 - Final words on petrodollar- cascade of liabilities and "Cool Stuff"