Dec 25, 2019
Welcome to episode eight of Activist #MMT. Today I talk with ninth year MMT activist and London resident, Christian Reilly. Christian is a standup comedian and musician, and the creator and co-host of MMT Podcast, along with my recent guest, Patricia Pino (parts one and two).
In this two-part episode (this is part one), Christian and I first talk about Christian himself: his comedy, how he got there, who inspired him, and the nature of his standup. He describes how his fiancé won a modest but important victory for England’s disabled population.
We also discuss how Christian discovered MMT, the concepts of libertarianism and anarchism, how UBI and its flaws can be boiled down to its essence, and how the government sets the floor for not just jobs but also the value of money. We also briefly touch on my experience originally introducing MMT to Graham Elwood in June of 2018, and Christian’s current MMT introduction show which is a work in progress.
Most importantly, however, we talk about the concept of permission marketing. Permission marketing, an idea originated with Seth Godin, is the idea of maximizing the impact of your hard work and core message by preparing your audience for it. This means properly introducing its concepts, and providing background and context before presenting the work itself.
It also means getting to know your audience – and critically, letting them get to know you. This is a bit of a life lesson for me. I have always had confidence in my work as a singer, activist, writer, and MMT-er. At the same time, I have always felt a struggle getting my work to be listened to. My flaw was thinking that “if I only work even harder, if only my work was even better, then surely more people would listen to it.“ I now realize that I have, to a significant degree, not gotten that permission from my audience, and instead have neglected them by diving even deeper into my work.
This is also true with those you work with. If you don’t get to know your colleagues and let them get to know you, your work will never be shared or built upon, and you won’t be asked to build upon theirs.
I choose for my podcast to be not just about MMT, but about the MMTers themselves. If Christian and I had only discussed the academic concepts of MMT, we never would have encountered this topic and I would not have had this realization – a realization that will have a direct impact on my relationship with MMT.
In addition to being the truth, this is MMT’s (and all of heterodox is) trump card: understanding the non-intellectual, non-academic concepts that provide the background and context, in which the academic concepts exist. This is the lesson I take from Fred Lee’s 2009 book, A History Of Heterodox Economics (which I am currently halfway through): That the community history of economics is actually more important than its intellectual history.
MMT will succeed because it is relaxed and flexible and can see – and adapt to – the world around it. Mainstream neoclassical economics can rely exclusively on its flawed intellectual concepts because, despite the world melting around them, it serves the powerful and therefore preserves themselves. Although that brute force and white knuckling may work for them, at least a little while, it does not work for MMT and heterodox.
And for the first time, I realize that it definitely does not work for me.
For $5-and-up patrons, there is a "patron only remix" of this interview available only to you. It contains audio files (spliced in) that for copyright reasons, can never be released to the public. However, it sounds so amazing, I can't not share it! So welcome to a new patron-only bonus feature (for $5 patrons and up) that I'm calling "patron remixes." If I didn't have to worry about copyrights, what would this episode sound like? Here's your answer!
For an overview of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) with many reliable sources to learn more, here is a good place to start:
We shouldn't have to beg,
but we do have to beg.
So it's not *that* we beg,
but *who* we beg.
I am choosing to beg you, my listeners, to financially support this show.
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