This post contains a variety of good first things to read, watch, and listen to, each of which provide a good (layperson) introduction to Modern Money Theory, or MMT. You certainly can read/watch/listen to all of these things if you like, but you don’t have to. Any one will do. Just pick one and go!
What is MMT? MMT is an accurate description of how our economy actually and already functions at the federal level. It replaces false financial constraints (debt!, deficit!!, China!!, inflation!!!* and HoWrEyOuGoNnAPaYFoRiT???), with real constraints: our ability to utilize human labor in order to obtain, produce, and do what we need to survive and thrive.
(*Inflation the Boogeyman, not inflation in reality.)
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Disclaimer: I am a layperson who has studied MMT since February of 2018. I’m not an economist or academic and I don’t speak for MMT. The information in this post is my best understanding but I don’t assert it to be perfectly accurate. In order to ensure accuracy, you should rely on the expert sources linked throughout. If you have feedback to improve this post, please get in touch.
Good first things to listen to, in order to learn MMT
- A hypothecated tax for the NHS?: Patricia and Christian explain why we don’t need a hypothecated tax for the NHS (the healthcare system in the U.K.: the National Health System), and why it’s so damaging to believe that we do.
- Monetary Sovereignty: What does it mean to be monetarily sovereign and why does it matter? Patricia and Christian discuss how some erroneous mainstream economic concepts are confusing us and undermining our understanding of world economic problems.
- Why we can always afford a war: Patricia and Christian discuss government ‘debt’ and explain why politicians never ask “how are you going to pay for it?” when it comes to war.
Good first things to read, in order to learn MMT
- Single-article explainers:
- 2017 by Steven Hail: Explainer: what is modern monetary theory?
- 2019 by John Harvey: MMT: Sense or Nonsense?
- A brief introduction to Modern Monetary Theory by the U.K.’s Gower Initiative for Modern Money Studies.
- 2014 by Jacobin multimedia editor Rebecca Rojer: The World According to Modern Monetary Theory (Rebecca edited this important explainer video on the Job Guarantee by Pavlina.)
- 2014 by Alex Little: The Basics of Modern Monetary Theory
Finally, a 2018 article by Jim Kavanaugh that explains why learning MMT is so critical to the progressive movement: “Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Good first things to watch, in order to MMT
Various quick recommendations: A three-minute video explainer of MMT by The Courier Mail. Here is a set of twenty-two short videos curated and edited by Deficit Owls, that serve as a great crash course for learning #MMT. A five minute video explainer from June 2020, by Stephanie Kelton, on the BBC.
Here is the video I recommend first and foremost: An excellent hour long lecture by economist Stephanie Kelton called Angry Birds and Deficits.
“Modern Money Theory for Beginners.” Lecture by American economist L. Randall Wray.
“Most Progressives are Neoliberals in Disguise.” Lecture by Australian economist Bill Mitchell.