Modern Monetary Theory

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Millennie Al
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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by Millennie Al » Sat Aug 28, 2021 3:05 am

basementer wrote:
Fri Aug 27, 2021 4:18 pm
There's a short essay by Larry Niven in which he suggests deliberately making the coinage radioactive, which would encourage people to spend rather than hoard and thus stimulate the economy.
That's an example of demurrrage.
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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by Martin_B » Sat Aug 28, 2021 3:31 am

lpm wrote:
Fri Aug 27, 2021 2:38 pm
Of course, during the past 57 years none of the gold in Fort Knox has moved anyway. It's not like the gold has been used for anything useful like electronics. They might transfer a block or two from the UK pile to the France pile but physical portability is irrelevant, same as the Rai stones.

The economics is very different from how Goldfinger imagined.
Not sure why you think this. Exact figures are (understandably) difficult to come by, but the gold reserves held in Fort Knox have reduced to about 25% of the reserves held at the peak (in 1941). That included some gold reserves belonging to other nations (mainly the UK and France), but even if you remove that sum the current reserves are only about a 1/3 of the reserves held in the 1950s. Gold does get moved about, for various reasons, not all of which are purely monetary.

In Fleming's book, Goldfinger was just going to steal the gold. The filmmakers came up with the idea of irradiating it (using a Chinese bomb, to add international elements to the plot). Arguably Fleming knew that the film's plot was rubbish, but he seems to have not cared terribly about re-writes of his book's plots.
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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by lpm » Sat Aug 28, 2021 7:42 am

Has any gold been used? Moved from one vault to another is irrelevant to anything, let alone the price of gold.
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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by dyqik » Sat Aug 28, 2021 1:10 pm

Some of the reserves moved out of Fort Knox will have (eventually) entered the industrial and jewelry markets (or the high end speaker cable and Trump Inc. toilet market...), rather than moving permanently into other vaults. It's an open market, after all.

Vaguely related, Fort Knox's silver reserves got turned into magnets by the Manhattan project to make accelerators for separating U235 from U238, before before recast into ingots.

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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by Gfamily » Sat Aug 28, 2021 2:14 pm

dyqik wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 1:10 pm
Some of the reserves moved out of Fort Knox will have (eventually) entered the industrial and jewelry markets (or the high end speaker cable and Trump Inc. toilet market...), rather than moving permanently into other vaults. It's an open market, after all.

Vaguely related, Fort Knox's silver reserves got turned into magnets by the Manhattan project to make accelerators for separating U235 from U238, before before recast into ingots.
Fascinating.
More was returned than was taken out.
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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by Millennie Al » Tue Aug 31, 2021 3:53 am

dyqik wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 1:10 pm
Vaguely related, Fort Knox's silver reserves got turned into magnets by the Manhattan project to make accelerators for separating U235 from U238, before before recast into ingots.
They would have used copper except for the wartime shortage. Silver is actually a (slightly) better conductor than copper, but is not normally used due to the relative cost of the two metals.
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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by IvanV » Tue Aug 31, 2021 2:11 pm

Millennie Al wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 2:51 am
US notes used to contain an explicit promise. See, for example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US-$ ... 1-Fr.1.jpg which says "The United States promise to pay to the bearer 5 dollars on demand". There were also gold certificates, which were records of gold which were promises to provide the gold on demand - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_certificate

Then came the Gold Reserve Act in 1934 in which the US confiscated all their citizens gold and broke the promises of gold certificates (in fact, went much further than that in not only refusing to honour the promise to supply gold on demand to a cerficate holder, but also required holders to surrender their certificates). In the light of that, it might be seen as too hypocritical even for the US to again issue notes with explicit promises.

The Bank of England still honours its promise on the notes - though not in the form that would be satisfactory to people 100 years ago - in that if you go to the Bank of England with a note, it will redeem it, but for a replacement note. This is not, however, a worthless promise as it covers notes which are no longer in circulation, have ceased to be legal tender, and are not generally accepted as money. This is not the case for other currencies. For example, Italian lira notes are no longer valid at all, so are only of value to collectors. For example,
https://www.leftovercurrency.com/exchan ... aravaggio/
is an offer of £3 for a note with a face value equivalent to €51.65.
We didn't always have "fiat money", that's a relatively modern invention. The first money was commodity money - an actual gold or silver coin certificated to contain a specific quantity of metal of a uniform quality. Then after that, there were notes which were in effect a certificate of a gold deposit, so you didn't have to lug the actual metal around. You could redeem it for gold from the issuer. That was gold-backed money. It stopped being gold-backed when you couldn't get your gold, as the BoE behaviour indicates.

But cryptocurrency isn't money. At least not the stuff that isn't backed by anything, I don't know enough about stablecoins and other reserve-backed cryptocurrency. Maybe they could potentially be money, if they manage to avoid the other main flaws of crypto. There are many tradable things that have value, including commodities that are uniform and standardised. But most of them we call assets, most of them are not money. Cryptocurrency is clearly an asset, but I don't think it is money.

The point of money is that it is a convenient method of paying for stuff. That includes not just the ability to press a button and it's paid for, which cryptocoin normally satisfies. But there are two more key tests. One is being stable enough you can post a price in it for typical traded goods and services, that has some persistence. And the transaction cost is low, so you don't lose much by holding it and using it. Typical cryptocurrency fails these two tests. It is incredibly unstable, such that no one is going to be printing the price on a tin of tomatoes in bitcoin. And the transactions costs are enormous. That's covered up by the clever trick of getting a "miner" to pay those costs. The miner then gets an issue of the currency, which is in effect diluting the value of the stock of the asset.

Then there's the fact it isn't an IOU like other (ETA) fiat money we know. Maybe at this point we can change our mind and say that the description of fiat money as an IOU became wrong when cryptocurrency came into existence. But ultimately there's nothing behind cryptocurrency (excluding the reserve backed ones.) It's pure confidence. At least a country has an income base, a business plan, a history, and will accept it in redemption of debts to itself. At least a lump of gold has alternative uses it can be melted down and put to use as. There's more to it than just confidence. There is a fundamental, too.

I once acted as on a panel expert adjudicators of a student debate on "Crytocurrency is the money of the future", put on by the economics dept of a reputable university. The Opposers failed to make even the more obvious arguments I have sketched above, and so lost. We were unanimous.

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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by dyqik » Tue Aug 31, 2021 2:43 pm

IvanV wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 2:11 pm
But cryptocurrency isn't money. At least not the stuff that isn't backed by anything, I don't know enough about stablecoins and other reserve-backed cryptocurrency. Maybe they could potentially be money, if they manage to avoid the other main flaws of crypto. There are many tradable things that have value, including commodities that are uniform and standardised. But most of them we call assets, most of them are not money. Cryptocurrency is clearly an asset, but I don't think it is money.
I tend to think of it as shares in a corporation with no assets and no turnover (particularly BitCoin, which has a fixed limited number of shares). They have value as long as other people want to accept them in exchange for money, goods or services.

The fixed number of BitCoins, in particular, seems like an attempt to generate a new gold standard, with all the attendant issues with a gold standard.

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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by monkey » Tue Aug 31, 2021 3:47 pm

dyqik wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 2:43 pm
IvanV wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 2:11 pm
But cryptocurrency isn't money. At least not the stuff that isn't backed by anything, I don't know enough about stablecoins and other reserve-backed cryptocurrency. Maybe they could potentially be money, if they manage to avoid the other main flaws of crypto. There are many tradable things that have value, including commodities that are uniform and standardised. But most of them we call assets, most of them are not money. Cryptocurrency is clearly an asset, but I don't think it is money.
I tend to think of it as shares in a corporation with no assets and no turnover (particularly BitCoin, which has a fixed limited number of shares). They have value as long as other people want to accept them in exchange for money, goods or services.

The fixed number of BitCoins, in particular, seems like an attempt to generate a new gold standard, with all the attendant issues with a gold standard.
It is. Whatitsface who started it was fairly explicit in that he didn't trust states not to debase the currency (print too much of it), which is very much the sort of thinking you get from people who want to return to the gold standard. Bitcoin Inventor just limited the number of bitcoins there could be, rather than limiting it to how much stuff you have. I don't think this ends up working exactly the same, but either way, you have scarcity.

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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by IvanV » Tue Aug 31, 2021 4:17 pm

dyqik wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 2:43 pm
IvanV wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 2:11 pm
But cryptocurrency isn't money. At least not the stuff that isn't backed by anything, I don't know enough about stablecoins and other reserve-backed cryptocurrency. Maybe they could potentially be money, if they manage to avoid the other main flaws of crypto. There are many tradable things that have value, including commodities that are uniform and standardised. But most of them we call assets, most of them are not money. Cryptocurrency is clearly an asset, but I don't think it is money.
I tend to think of it as shares in a corporation with no assets and no turnover (particularly BitCoin, which has a fixed limited number of shares). They have value as long as other people want to accept them in exchange for money, goods or services.

The fixed number of BitCoins, in particular, seems like an attempt to generate a new gold standard, with all the attendant issues with a gold standard.
Yes, that's exactly what it is. And the fundamental value of a share in a company with no assets or turnover is....

All companies have a fixed number of shares, with strict regulation of new share issues and share destruction (buy-back) to protect the interests of the other shareholders. Because if you issue new shares, that "dilutes" the value of the enterprise across the enlarged shareholding. So existing shareholders generally only permit that if they believe the new capital raised will be well used to increase the value of their shares.

What makes bitcoin seem a bit like gold is that clever use of the word "mine". But it's a false analogy. Because mining gold actually produces new gold, independently of the existing gold. Whereas bitcoin "miners" aren't mining at all. They are performing necessary and onerous accounting and security data processing, and getting paid in new issue bitcoin.

Also the association between mining and gold is actually unhelpful if you think about it. Mining expands supply. With gold, there isn't much that is easy to mine, and demand grows as population grows. But other things suffered when large extractable reserves were discovered, notably silver. Silver used to be a lot more valuable, relative to gold, than it is today. Silver coins used to be a reasonable way of transporting a large amount of value. Not any more.

ETA: so why not use, say, Microsoft shares as money? They have more fundamental value, like real money. Their quantity is restricted more strongly than bitcoin. All you need is an app to enable it, and it probably doesn't require that very wasteful blockchain either. Though share trading is more strongly regulated than pyramid-coin, And less anonymous so less useful for money laundering, which of course is the main point of bitcoin. In my opinion, Mr libel-lawyer.

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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by lpm » Tue Aug 31, 2021 4:35 pm

IvanV wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 4:17 pm
dyqik wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 2:43 pm
I tend to think of it as shares in a corporation with no assets and no turnover (particularly BitCoin, which has a fixed limited number of shares). They have value as long as other people want to accept them in exchange for money, goods or services.
Yes, that's exactly what it is. And the fundamental value of a share in a company with no assets or turnover is....
The fundamental value is clearly zero, but the timeframe when it returns to zero is very unclear.

Will Bitcoin be worth zero in a hundred years? A thousand?

Human belief structures can be very long lasting. Hinduism is 3,000 years old, Judaism 2,500.

On the other hand, classic bubbles like tulip mania and the South Sea Company only lasted a handful of years before spectacular collapses.

I think there's a disadvantage to rational analysis, as shown by GameStop and the other meme stocks. They've stayed 10x overvalued for months. You can get rich by cynically never underestimating the extent of collective human stupidity.
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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by dyqik » Tue Aug 31, 2021 5:06 pm

lpm wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 4:35 pm
IvanV wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 4:17 pm
dyqik wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 2:43 pm
I tend to think of it as shares in a corporation with no assets and no turnover (particularly BitCoin, which has a fixed limited number of shares). They have value as long as other people want to accept them in exchange for money, goods or services.
Yes, that's exactly what it is. And the fundamental value of a share in a company with no assets or turnover is....
The fundamental value is clearly zero, but the timeframe when it returns to zero is very unclear.

Will Bitcoin be worth zero in a hundred years? A thousand?

Human belief structures can be very long lasting. Hinduism is 3,000 years old, Judaism 2,500.

On the other hand, classic bubbles like tulip mania and the South Sea Company only lasted a handful of years before spectacular collapses.

I think there's a disadvantage to rational analysis, as shown by GameStop and the other meme stocks. They've stayed 10x overvalued for months. You can get rich by cynically never underestimating the extent of collective human stupidity.
Contact Mike Lindell and Alex Jones for details.

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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by IvanV » Tue Aug 31, 2021 5:43 pm

lpm wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 4:35 pm
IvanV wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 4:17 pm
dyqik wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 2:43 pm
I tend to think of it as shares in a corporation with no assets and no turnover (particularly BitCoin, which has a fixed limited number of shares). They have value as long as other people want to accept them in exchange for money, goods or services.
Yes, that's exactly what it is. And the fundamental value of a share in a company with no assets or turnover is....
The fundamental value is clearly zero, but the timeframe when it returns to zero is very unclear.
And buying them, hoping to make money, is a gamble on the shape of that return-to-zero curve. As you say, it is extraordinary how long these things can go on, and how suddenly and quickly they can crash.

One of the biggest threat to them, in the longer run, must be the regulation of money laundering. They are god's gift to money launderers, and quite obviously so. But at the moment, I don't see it convenient for the big powers to have any kind of proper crackdown on money laundering. China has banned cryptocurrency internally, because they see it as a way of ripping off the state, and the wrong people getting rich. But it isn't necessarily convenient for their own dodgy international business dealings to clean up international money flows.

So many people in this world made themselves rich with a very large dose of good luck. They are no kind of general example on how to get rich. But often misunderstood as such. And if you do have in mind to get rich quick by devising an essentially worthless asset that people will spend a lot of money for, well you'll need to be very lucky and/or clever, because so many other people tried and failed.

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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by monkey » Wed Sep 08, 2021 4:33 pm

A friend just posted this one (he was pointing out that MMTers argue against wealth taxes in a discussion about the NI increase) clicky

Reading it, I can see where the impression that people think that MMT is "just printing money" comes from. It comes from prominent MMTers writing articles.

To summarise the article - The rich don't like paying taxes, we don't need to tax them anyway cos we can just create the money, so why bother trying and things will be better for everyone anyway?

It misses out a key bit of MMT, that you have to destroy money too, as a way of controlling the supply. If you miss that bit out all you have is running the (metaphorical) printing press.

It also implicitly acknowledges that controlling the money supply via taxation is going to be difficult because people don't like taxes.

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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by discovolante » Sat Sep 11, 2021 1:00 am

monkey wrote:
Wed Sep 08, 2021 4:33 pm
A friend just posted this one (he was pointing out that MMTers argue against wealth taxes in a discussion about the NI increase) clicky

Reading it, I can see where the impression that people think that MMT is "just printing money" comes from. It comes from prominent MMTers writing articles.

To summarise the article - The rich don't like paying taxes, we don't need to tax them anyway cos we can just create the money, so why bother trying and things will be better for everyone anyway?

It misses out a key bit of MMT, that you have to destroy money too, as a way of controlling the supply. If you miss that bit out all you have is running the (metaphorical) printing press.

It also implicitly acknowledges that controlling the money supply via taxation is going to be difficult because people don't like taxes.
This isn't really related to MMT specifically but it is kind of interesting (maybe) how hung up we have got on different ways of working out how to keep very rich people happy (beyond the obvious money=power incentives that are partly why people like to be rich in the first place). I've listened to other discussions about taxing the rich suggesting that part of their resistance comes down to hurt feelings - 'how could you say I haven't earned all this, why are you saying I'm not a good person, this is so upsetting!'. I'm not suggesting that's necessarily an accurate assessment (although I don't see why it couldn't play a part) but god damn we have a bit of a problem with those guys. Anyhoo just some late Friday night ramblings.
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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sat Sep 11, 2021 9:14 am

The left should do what the right does: propose something extreme and unpleasant that causes outrage, then backtrack and do what you wanted to do in the first place.

So, the obvious solution to the rich people problem is to hang them and redistribute all their wealth to the needy. But I suppose, if that proved unpopular or difficult to implement, we could just raise a wealth tax.
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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by sheldrake » Thu Sep 16, 2021 3:09 pm

The short answer is contained in examining this one clause:

"and the only thing they need to worry about is inflation"

That can be a big serious thing.

The temptation with funding job-creating projects by creating new currency without expecting a financial return is that you will always be tempted to create more; having no investors or creditors to pay back takes away the 'breaks' on your money creation and you're no longer forced to consider the economic return of a project. New airport? it will create jobs in construction if we build one? ok build it. Don't worry about whether or not it will get used etc...

This is how countries get into Zimbabwe-like situations. The currency detaches completely from real economic activity and becomes worthless in a chaotic way that means running a normal business or household becomes very hard.

Even people who want to ratchet up the % of GDP spent by the state are constrained by the actual wealth which is available to tax.

Now, if you trust the panel of elected officials or appointed technocrats to create the currency in a sensible way carefully balanced against other economic data then maybe it can work (we kind of rely on private banks to do that now, it's just that they get to siphon off debt interest from the economy as their fee for doing it, and the access to new credit is not equitable on lots of axes, so I understand completely people who want to take that out of the equation).

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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by lpm » Thu Sep 16, 2021 4:00 pm

MMT came out of the economics of the 1980s.

In 1945 Keynes ruled economic thought, because it was based on the 1930s deflationary slump. In the 1930s there were loads of skilled and eager unemployed workers, so very easy to stop them doing A (sitting at home) and B (wandering the streets asking for work) and get them doing C instead (building roads and schools).

In 1983 we had a similar problem of long term unemployment, with plenty of scope to get people doing C instead of queuing for the dole. But it also came after the 1970s problems which were as Sheldrake describes - the 1970s saw loads of crappy jobs artificially propped up without proper consideration of true economic returns. So economists were generally reluctant to prescribe more government programs that were detached from real economic activity.

Even in Cambridge economics at the time, the greatest bastion of Keynesian thought, the importance of public expenditure control was stressed by people like Wynne Godley. Left wing post-Keynesian economics was all about getting people into work, sure, but with a big dose of puritanical self-constraint recommended as well. It was like a partial MMT - we can borrow what we like but better be careful about what on.

I think it was the post-2008 austerity disaster that caused MMT to mutate away from this basis and return to something much more similar to 1930s Keynesian prescriptions. Austerity was clearly counterproductive, driving down private business investment as well as government investment. Strong programs with high long term economic returns were thrown away for foolish ideological reasons. The austerity excuse was always "we're run out of money". So MMT emerged to state, correctly, that this is nonsense. Public sector austerity led to private sector deleveraging, when what we want is for the private sector to move the other way - take advantage of low interest rates to make long term investments and thrive or fail according to their decisions.

But now in 2021 we have a labour shortage, with few eager workers sitting at home or wandering the streets. Covid has obviously jolted things around. But unemployment in 2019 was around 1.3 million, plus unknown "left the labour force" people. Vacancies are currently over 1 million. To be brutally honest, a lot of the unemployed are really low quality workers (although there's still the old geographical factors lingering on). We don't really have much of an untapped well of people with enough intelligence or diligence to be nurses, lorry drivers and home insulators.

Hence the MMT temptations are particularly unsuited to the current situation. I've got serious doubts that elected officials and appointed technocrats would make the appropriate investments, despite the fact that we urgently need a hell of a lot of government investment and redirection of private investment. When government can't/doesn't even bother to prevent house building on flood plains or goes ahead with new runways, why would we expect them to do well on other long term investments?
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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by sheldrake » Thu Sep 16, 2021 4:13 pm

lpm wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 4:00 pm
When government can't/doesn't even bother to prevent house building on flood plains or goes ahead with new runways, why would we expect them to do well on other long term investments?
Because people are suspicious of the profit motive, and they're right to be. They just shouldn't forget that the profit motive also exists in government bodies as described by Public Choice Theory, and so carefully pick whether something should be public or private depending on which option will make it most accountable to the people who have to use it and live with it.

The problem with permanent free money is that there just aren't credible feedback loops to prevent people from creating it too fast or giving it to the wrong projects, as far as I can tell.

Over the long-term, I disagree with the idea of a Labour shortage though. I think the UK has a lot of misallocated labour working on low-return activity. I am comfortable with the idea of lorry drivers and nurses getting paid more to incentivise people away from low-value tertiary education that leads to low-value clerical work, for example. Perhaps 5% of the working age population is really in a bad way and can't be recovered, either through mental or physical illness. I don't think there's much that can be done for many of them other than providing enough welfare for a basic humane quality of life. I'm more interested in pulling people out of the specious admin roles by paying more for useful work.

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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by lpm » Thu Sep 16, 2021 5:01 pm

Yes, agree 100%. The misallocation of labour was more obvious in 1979, with industries structurally dead and hard work being wasted.

Today it's hidden, scattered across companies and regions and sectors. Which makes the transition a lot easier as there won't be entire towns joining the dole queue on a single day. But it's a harder managerial to shake them loose.

The current Covid shake up and burst of inflation should help. For example eating out is more expensive and coffee shops are failing - inflation changes business models. Companies doing their 2022 budgets are pencilling in high wages and recruitment costs for some parts of the business and compensating by starting up "restructuring" projects in other area. Offshoring is going to return in a big way because us office workers have accidentally proved our jobs can be done remotely 5 days a week.
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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by sheldrake » Fri Sep 17, 2021 10:29 pm

I think there's a lot of mileage in a detailed examination of why 2008 happened, even moreso than 'what were the effects of 2008'.

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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by plodder » Sat Sep 18, 2021 6:52 am

lpm wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 5:01 pm
Yes, agree 100%. The misallocation of labour was more obvious in 1979, with industries structurally dead and hard work being wasted.

Today it's hidden, scattered across companies and regions and sectors. Which makes the transition a lot easier as there won't be entire towns joining the dole queue on a single day. But it's a harder managerial to shake them loose.

The current Covid shake up and burst of inflation should help. For example eating out is more expensive and coffee shops are failing - inflation changes business models. Companies doing their 2022 budgets are pencilling in high wages and recruitment costs for some parts of the business and compensating by starting up "restructuring" projects in other area. Offshoring is going to return in a big way because us office workers have accidentally proved our jobs can be done remotely 5 days a week.
First offshoring, then AI. I work with quite a few people whose job is essentially to be a list, and the time consuming effort of getting them onboard in meetings etc is basically just a matter of not hurting their feelings.

If the (small) amount of value added by these roles was mechanised I’m not sure my role shouldn’t become proportionately more easy as a result. It’s never been clear to me why mechanisation etc continually means people have to work harder, longer hours etc when the exact opposite should be true.

Why the hell should we all have to be “productive”? The reason for the creation of these b.llsh.t jobs in the first place needs to be examined. If they’re unnecessary then let people off the hook to do fun things instead.

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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by Woodchopper » Sat Sep 18, 2021 8:10 am

plodder wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 6:52 am
lpm wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 5:01 pm
Yes, agree 100%. The misallocation of labour was more obvious in 1979, with industries structurally dead and hard work being wasted.

Today it's hidden, scattered across companies and regions and sectors. Which makes the transition a lot easier as there won't be entire towns joining the dole queue on a single day. But it's a harder managerial to shake them loose.

The current Covid shake up and burst of inflation should help. For example eating out is more expensive and coffee shops are failing - inflation changes business models. Companies doing their 2022 budgets are pencilling in high wages and recruitment costs for some parts of the business and compensating by starting up "restructuring" projects in other area. Offshoring is going to return in a big way because us office workers have accidentally proved our jobs can be done remotely 5 days a week.
First offshoring, then AI. I work with quite a few people whose job is essentially to be a list, and the time consuming effort of getting them onboard in meetings etc is basically just a matter of not hurting their feelings.

If the (small) amount of value added by these roles was mechanised I’m not sure my role shouldn’t become proportionately more easy as a result. It’s never been clear to me why mechanisation etc continually means people have to work harder, longer hours etc when the exact opposite should be true.

Why the hell should we all have to be “productive”? The reason for the creation of these b.llsh.t jobs in the first place needs to be examined. If they’re unnecessary then let people off the hook to do fun things instead.
Over the centuries and in aggregate automation and mechanisation has led to vastly increased consumption, shorter working hours and much higher overall employment.

We’ve introduced computers into the workplace over the past 60 years or so and incomes and employment are at higher levels in 2021 than they were in 1961. Some jobs get replaced by machines but those people move on and find other work. Many of the roles for secretaries and bookkeepers working in 1961 were made redundant by wordprocessors and spreadsheets as their employers learnt to do their own typing and financial management. But in aggregate bringing computers into the workplace didn’t reduce overall employment. I don’t see why AI should be any different.

However ’in aggregate’ hides the huge costs of transition for many people. People can’t just retrain and relocate overnight. It also obscures all the people who are unable to find as good a job, or even a new job at all. So there will be huge social costs and personal tragedies, just as there have always been.

sheldrake
Catbabel
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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by sheldrake » Sat Sep 18, 2021 9:31 am

plodder wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 6:52 am
If the (small) amount of value added by these roles was mechanised I’m not sure my role shouldn’t become proportionately more easy as a result. It’s never been clear to me why mechanisation etc continually means people have to work harder, longer hours etc when the exact opposite should be true.
Because the economic benefit of the machines goes mainly to the customers of what they produce and to the machine's owners. If you do not own shares in machine-using companies, you are not fully in on the action.

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Woodchopper
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Re: Modern Monetary Theory

Post by Woodchopper » Sat Sep 18, 2021 9:55 am

sheldrake wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 9:31 am
plodder wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 6:52 am
If the (small) amount of value added by these roles was mechanised I’m not sure my role shouldn’t become proportionately more easy as a result. It’s never been clear to me why mechanisation etc continually means people have to work harder, longer hours etc when the exact opposite should be true.
Because the economic benefit of the machines goes mainly to the customers of what they produce and to the machine's owners. If you do not own shares in machine-using companies, you are not fully in on the action.
Hitherto, when machines have been introduced throughout the economy the population has benefitted in aggregate* from the improved productivity. The money gets spread around (eg gets distributed to shareholders as dividends, spent by the newly rich, or paid in tax and then spent by government). Though, as you write, very profitable multinational corporations that pay little or no tax are a problem.




*See the above qualification.

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