Nov 28, 2022
Welcome to episode 136 of Activist #MMT. Today's part two of my two-part conversation with Gabie Bond. Last month, in part one, we talked not about economics, but all about music. Gabie's a classically trained violist and I'm a classically trained singer. Today in part two, we talk about MMT, Torrens University, climate change, and the job guarantee. The Sustainable Prosperity Action Group has written a twenty-five-page report geared to introducing the job guarantee to the general public, and advocating for its implementation in national policy. Since recording this interview, a second version of this report has been released.
Gabie is CEO of Modern Money Lab, which is the owner of the intellectual property – the academic content – of the Torrens graduate program. When another university or organization expresses interest in the program, it's Gabie who receives the call. She talks about her role in how the Torrens program came to be and in its day-to-day operations. Ever since considering applying to the program early this year, up until my most recent class meeting last night, Gabie has been there every step of the way.
Regarding the job guarantee, Gabie and I have come to the conclusion that people should be allowed to choose to not participate, and should receive full benefits such as healthcare and childcare, and a check about half the size of the job guarantee wage. Even if people are legally allowed to not participate, I believe there will be social pressure applied (onto those who are capable of doing so), to participate. Clearly, everyone in the community benefits from the output of the job guarantee program, whether or not they individually participate. Someone has to make the stuff!
That said, I want to clarify that I expect that most of those not wanting to participate in the job guarantee do in fact want to be productive, but are concerned the program would forbid their definition of what it means to be productive. After fifty years of vicious and brutal neoliberalism, it's an understandable concern. (Also, to be clear, Gabie and I both have more to learn, and the most important thing is that the job guarantee's wage and price anchor is not undermined.)Finally, I believe the skepticism of the job guarantee comes from a deep cynicism in the human condition, and the very possibility of the collective us. This has been terribly eroded by a lifetime of abuse at the hands of neoliberalism. Gabie's experience in orchestras and my own in choirs is an example of how it is indeed possible for people to come together and do beautiful things. It is possible to be vulnerable, and to open ourselves to being controlled by others, in a very limited and appropriate fashion. In fact, this kind of collectivism is necessary if we are to survive as a species.
You can financially support this podcast by going to Patreon.com/ActivistMMT. For as little as a dollar a month, all patrons get exclusive, super-early access to several full episodes, they can watch and ask questions live on weekly patron streams with my Torrens classmates, and they also have the opportunity to ask my academic guests questions (like these recent episodes with Dirk Ehnts, John Harvey, and Warren Mosler. In addition to this podcast, patrons also support the development of my large and growing collection of learn-MMT resources, and my journey through the Torrens graduate program. To become a patron, you can start by going to Patreon.com/ActivistMMT. Every little bit helps a little bit, and it all adds up to a lot. Thanks.
And now, let's get right back to my conversation with Gabie Bond. Enjoy.