Friday, May 28, 2021

Yes, Senate Democrats DO understand the urgency of the moment

Mike the Mad Biologist thinks that Senate Democrats Do Not Understand the Urgency of the Moment.

He's wrong.

It's tempting to invoke Hanlon's Razor, but after a point, the hypothesis of stupidity becomes too unlikely to support. And the alternative here is not really "malice".

The billionaire class does not like democracy. Why should they? It's not so easy to maintain an oligarchy when just nyone can vote, and just anyone can credibly run for office.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties serve the billionaire class. Where do you think they get their money?

The Democrats and Republicans barely defeated Bernie Sanders. Increasing democratic voting rights will just give socialists even more opportunities. That ain't gonna happen. 

Remember, the fundamental Democratic slogan is always "Better Trump than Sanders." They rolled those dice twice, and won the second time only because Trump mishandled the pandemic. (And Obama won only because Bush and McCain mishandled the global financial crisis.)

The billionaire class doesn't really want a fascist dictator, but they believe they can survive a fascist dictator; they don't believe they can survive socialism. Most if not all of the big German corporations survived Hitler.

This point bears repeating: the Democratic party has One Job: protect the billionaire class from socialism at any cost.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

A fatal flaw?

Ekosj writes a surprisingly less-bad article at the conservative site Richochet, "Modern Monetary Theory: Wishful Thinking or Exposing a Fatal Flaw at the Heart of Neoclassical Economics?" The author includes the obligatory ideological swipes at MMT, but points out an interesting feature of contemporary macroeconomics.

The supposed "fatal flaw" is that with superficially reasonable assumptions (notably the natural rate of unemployment and rational expectations), the quantity of money drops out of our macroeconomic models.

Well, yes. This feature is more-or-less by design. Economics is usually concerned with the real economy, the goods and services that provide actual utility to consumers. Economists usually view money as a "neutral veil" over what is essentially a barter economy. And, of course, a barter economy needs no money.

Economists do look at money too, but the constrained choices about money are almost, but not quite, completely unlike the constrained choices of an abstract real (barter) economy: a theory of the real economy works doesn't tell us much about how to set up a money system. Very different social systems could, in theory, coordinate a complicated real economy, and the simplifying assumptions are equally weird in every system.

We have to understand money on its own terms, not as something that emerges from real economic analysis. Ironically, when you study money on its own terms in a capitalist, fiat currency context, you get MMT.