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Activist #MMT - podcast

Mar 11, 2020

Welcome to episode eighteen of Activist #MMT. Today I talk with PhD political scientist, author, and MMT-er Joe Firestone. In this two-part conversation, Joe and I talk about the core differences between Modern Monetary Theory and Monetary Reform. Monetary Reform is a movement represented and promoted by organizations such as Positive Money in the U.K. and the American Monetary Institute (AMI) in the United States.

MMT and Monetary Reform disagree strongly on both how to define the problem and its solution. Monetary Reformers believe that because of the outsized influence that private banks hold over our governments, our monetary system is irredeemably flawed and must be completely overhauled. AMI's recommended version of Monetary Reform is the NEED Act, a 2011 bill introduced by former Ohio representative Dennis Kucinich. The bill had no co-sponsors and was not introduced on the floor of the House for a vote.

In 2010, the United States Green Party adopted Monetary Reform into its bylaws, making it as important a priority as policies such as single payer healthcare and a Green New Deal. A proposal for the Green Party to instead recognize MMT was sponsored by the Nebraska Green Party and written by Nebraska Green Party member Shane Fry, along with Firestone and economist Fadhel Kaboub. The proposal was unfortunately soundly defeated in December 2018. Here are Firestone's thoughts on the subject.

Today's episode is actually the first in a larger four part series comparing MMT with Monetary Reform. Parts three and four are with prominent Monetary Reform advocate Dan Sullivan. This episode was recorded in January 2019 and was part of a month of research, the goal of which was to write an article explaining the core differences. I actually finished the article at that time but it was never released. It is now published to accompany this first episode with Joe.

Finally, it is clearly not possible for both MMT and Monetary Reform to be correct. I believe and trust the work of the MMT economists when they say that MMT is right and Monetary Reform is wrong. Doing this research and writing this article is my effort to better understand and define the problem, so someday I can make the decision for myself.

My conversations with Joe were recorded as episodes of his own Facebook video program "In Depth with Joe Firestone." [A link to the original livestream is in the show notes.] Here is a link to the original livestream.


For an overview of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) with many reliable sources to learn more, here is a good place to start:

  • On the web: My layperson intro with many expert sources listed at the bottom.
  • On Twitter: My massive pinned tweet with expert sources and layperson tutorials.
  • On Facebook: Follow this podcast :) The pinned post contains the above web-article. Also, the pinned post on Modern Monetary for Real Progressives contains a wealth of information.

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