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Activist #MMT - podcast

May 29, 2022

Welcome to episode 120 of Activist #MMT. Today I talk with Australian MMT economist Steven Hail, about the new and unprecedented graduate program in economics of sustainability. The program, which starts in September 2022, will be run by Torrens University, is backed by Modern Money Lab, and is primarily developed by Steven and Australia's leading ecological economist, Phil Lawn.

(Here's a link to part two. A list of the audio chapters in this episode can be found at the bottom of this post.)

Today in part one, Steven talks about how the program came to be, the potential resistance expected from the classical economics departments, and the basics of ecological economics. Next week in part two, Steven gives an overview of the curriculum and potential degrees students can pursue, from a graduate diploma to a PhD.

Until now, this podcast has served as my way to give myself, as close as possible, the education I convinced I would never be able to return to. This is because of the potential cost, student debt (again!), and the impossibility of forsaking income and uprooting my family. I have two little boys, my wife has a job as an elementary school teacher, and we just purchased our first home in summer 2021.

Torrens changes everything. At $2,200 of course (given the current AUS-US exchange rate), it's expensive, but an entire degree at Torrens is about the cost of a single year in the predatory education system in the United States. Also, Torrens provides online access for those outside of Australia, recording the lectures for those whose time zones and work hours are incompatible with an in-person schedule. This makes it possible for anyone, anywhere, with any work schedule, to take any and all of these courses. Direct in-person interaction with professors and fellow students will be scheduled multiple times each week, and there's always direct access to administrators when needed.

Needless to say, I am very excited.

You can find out more about the economics of sustainability graduate program in Torrens by going to

Finally, before we begin, I want to clarify: I very clumsily asked a question which Steven understandably misunderstood. What I mean to say was: Con (Costa) Michalakis is the second wealthy person that I'm aware of, to care enough about MMT, to use his own resources – and to encourage those in his network to pool theirs – in order to further develop and spread MMT. (I also meant to say that the truly elite benefit from the masses not understanding how the economy works.)

And now, onto my conversation with Steven Hail. Enjoy.


Both these links are available via the courses website.

  • Modern Money Lab and Torrens University "Economics for a new era" brochure.
  • Fill out this form to express your interest in the program.

Audio chapters

  • 5:25 - Half time zones
  • 5:43 - How Torrens came to be (Con Michalakis and Stephanie Kelton)
  • 20:24 - Con Michalakis
  • 21:56 - Second wealthy person wants to help with MMT (clumsily stated) Question
  • 23:33 - MMT is popular in the finance sector
  • 24:16 - The Australian superannuation (retirement) system.
  • 27:02 - There is resistance in some quarters- mainstream economic profession (especially academia)
  • 30:18 - Mainstream economics is replete with myths
  • 33:25 - Putting a price on carbon as the EXTENT of government action
  • 34:14 - A very brief introduction to ecological economics
  • 42:27 - Torrens' curriculum, and how it overlaps with the knowledge of moderately experienced laypeople
  • 48:15 - Duplicate of introduction, but with no background music