Episode 51: MMT’s Bill Mitchell

Unemployment, Surpluses and Investments

Professor Bill Mitchell is one of the key figures behind the Modern Monetary Theory, a term he coined himself. We talk to Professor Mitchell about the impact of the pandemic on economies, what can be done about the sky-high unemployment rates and why ultimately unemployment is a political choice.

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Overview of Podcast with Bill Mitchell, University of Newcastle

1:00 You coined the term ‘Modern Monetary Theory’?
3:00 Starting to blog: bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/
5:00 More interest from the investment industry
6:00 The Australian economy has collapsed
7:00 Most of the collapse could have been prevented
9:00 We are about $100 bn short of government spending
10:00 Not against the lockdowns
12:00 Much attention goes to MMT’s comments on deficits, but what it says about budget surpluses is much more interesting: it detracts from economic activity.
15:00 What is the role of fiscal policy? It is to ensure that spending in the economy is sufficient to maintain production at levels which will provide jobs for everybody.
16:30 To run a deficit is to undermine economic activity. That is okay in the case of Norway (where the economy runs hot).
17:00 A surplus not only undermines economic activity but it also destroys private sector wealth
22:30 Can we solve unemployment? A very pertinent problem at the moment.
23:30 Mass unemployment like we have today is a political choice
27:00 The Green New Deal or Green Transition.
28:00 If I was the government I would be embarking on large scale investments in renewables, transition technologies, in speeding up the process of carbon elimination.
28:30 Why not use the Hunter Valley culture of high productivity manufacturing to build a renewable energy hub for Australia and create jobs in manufacturing, R&D, et centera.
31:00 What do you want people to take away from MMT?
34:00 Does working from home distort the measuring of worked hours?
35:30 There is a massive distortion in economic data. This is not to blame the statistic agencies, but it is just very hard to measure right now.

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The [i3] Podcast is a conversation with some of the leading institutional investors around the world, discussing their philosophy towards investing, in particular towards portfolio construction and investment strategy. The [i3] podcast is available on iTunesGoogle PodcastSpotifyStitcher or your favourite podcast platform.