Feb 13, 2022
Welcome to episode of 108 of Activist #MMT. Today I talk with Wesley Wiles about the false historical modes of production and how they relate to MMT. The primary source of this information is the 700 page 2021 book, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by the late anthropologist David Graeber and archaeologist David Wengrow.
Essentially, Graber and Wengrow reject the myth that, as civilization becomes larger and more complex, it must necessarily also become more unequal. This myth, and its false modes of production, asserts that ever-increasing inequality is "unfortunate but necessary". In the same vein, mainstream economics' assertion that a federal deficit is always bad, a balanced budget always better, and a surplus always best; means that the government's budget position is more important than the real-world condition of millions of human beings. This in turn implies that austerity, too, is "unfortunate but necessary".
The truth is that the only reason inequality or austerity is "unfortunate but necessary", is if we choose for it to be that way. We can choose differently. The real challenge is to stand up to those who benefit greatly from these things not changing. Because in both of these cases, it's a matter of life and death, for us as individuals and as a human species.
Wesley's provided some other valuable video lectures and panels, links to which you can find in the show notes. They include a panel discussion on the book The Dawn of Everything, with Wengrow, Stephanie Kelton, and others. There's also an excellent panel discussion on rentier capitalism with Graeber, Guy Standing, and Michael Hudson, filmed only days before Graeber's untimely death.
And now, onto my conversation with Wesley Wiles. Enjoy.