That’s Not All!

After opposing the Job Guarantee proposal as part of the broader MMT policy program in service of the goals of public purpose, full employment with a living wage and price stability, and for many weeks now, combining with Mike Sankowski and Carlos Mucha to found “Monetary Realism” and also saying:

“You guys see no need for unemployment. I do. I think it serves an incredibly important psychological component to any healthy economy. I’ve feared for my job and been unemployed. Those moments shaped who I am and what I’ve become. They were invaluable in retrospect. If I’d been able to apply for a JG job I might not be half the man I am today. Maybe it’s just personal entrepreneurial experience speaking here, but I know what it means to hunt and kill for ones dinner. Very little, aside from great parenting and education, was handed to me in life. My psychological development through having to earn things has been a building block that no govt program can ever provide. Ever.”

And then later saying that he’s for: “prosperity, increasing living standards,” and says that subsidiary goals are innovation, increasing productivity, and a “real goal” of “full productivity.” And also saying that:

“. . . . massive increases in living standards come from increases in innovation and productivity (which are MOSTLY pvt sector and profit driven). So my thinking is rather basic. Why obsess over FE (I am referring to low unemployment here) when the real goal is full productivity (which is a vague concept I know)?”

Cullen Roche, in a post entitled “I Am For Full Employment” says today:

“That’s All.”

To which I say: that can’t be all because:

The MMT normative structure is: JG in the context of payroll tax cuts, State Revenue Sharing, and selected anti-inflation measures such as higher taxes ? Full Employment at a living wage with price stability ? Public Purpose

while MR’s normative structure based on Cullen’s various posts appears to be:

Payroll tax cuts, State Revenue Sharing, other as yet undefined productivity enhancing measures, along with selected anti-inflation such as higher taxes and interest rate targeting by the Fed ? Innovation ? Full Productivity with Price Stability ? Full Employment ? Increased Prosperity, which appears to be MR’s top-level goal.

I think the MMT normative structure posits a much more direct connection between policy and FE with PS than the MR normative structure does. Also, the quotes above seem to indicate that MR values FP, Innovation, and Increased “Prosperity” much more than FE which we should not “obsess over.”

So, with all due respect I’d have to say:

That’s not all!

Update: After I posted this Cullen replied, in part by pointing out that he had “rescinded” the first quote I provided above in reply to a comment of mine saying:

“I shouldn’t have even bothered with the anecdotal. Lesson learned. It totally distracted from my main point which was not to say that we don’t need full employment, but that we should seek full productivity (and hence FE). The personal experience doesn’t prove anything….”

And he went on to claim that I was taking him out of context by not noting his reply. My response was and is:

I’m happy to have your amplification above and to acknowledge your further reply.

However, your reply doesn’t say that your previous comment about the virtues of unemployment is wrong, or that you prioritize FE over FP and are not advocating a variant of MMT that will not maintain an unemployed buffer stock rather than a full employment buffer stock. Nor do you question my characterization of the MR normative structure above. As I’ve already said to you in correspondence:

So, here’s a challenge. I say that your goal structure as so far stated is as I represented it in my post above. If you think I’m wrong then state what your goal structure is explicitly. Locate FE within it and prioritize FE relative to FP. I’d be very interested in seeing that and if you prioritize FE over FP then I’ll be happy tp admit I’m wrong, and agree with you that you favor FE even if you don’t favor the JG. Then I’ll further admit that you and I have very similar goal structures but only disagree on the means of achieving it.

Then we can go on to argue about means. In making such an argument however, I recommend that you tell us all what you mean by “full productivity.” As i said in another post to you:

So far, at least, I’ve not even seen a definition of FP from you. So how can I possibly tell whether FP will lead to FE, let alone whether it would be more effective than the JG at accomplishing that.

Finally on this bit:

“I am really stunned that you keep using that comment to try to prove your argument. It proves nothing and was rescinded in direct response to you because you and others kept taking it out of context.”

Readers can judge above whether your comment above “rescinded” your previous comment or not. I do not consider it taking back your previous comment that:

“You guys see no need for unemployment. I do. I think it serves an incredibly important psychological component to any healthy economy. . . . “

That part of your comment says that unemployment is needed, and implies that an unemployed buffer stock is more valuable than an employed one. I see your reply comment as saying that your anecdotal statement was a tactical error which distracted from your main point that we “should seek FP (and hence FE).” You have not shown us in anything you’ve written that FP implies FE either logically or empirically. That, right there, is a main point of the disagreement between us.

At this writing, Cullen and his new MR group have not clarified the goal structure of their MR knowledge claim network (KCN) nor have they explained why they think that FP leads to FE either logically or empirically.

Comments are closed.