Volatility

August 17, 2011

MMT Housekeeping (The Lost NC Comments)

Filed under: Reformism Can't Work, Sovereignty and Constitution — Tags: , , — Russ @ 1:49 am

>

Sorry to indulge myself, but blogger’s prerogative, reasons of state, force majeure and all:
 
It’s insufferable when NC goes haywire and absolutely refuses to post a comment (and no one ever plucks it out of moderation limbo, where I know this one was). And it’s never what I consider a throwaway comment, but one I consider worthwhile, in this case about the proper use of MMT.
 
Replying to this comment (my other comments are there in the thread) :
 
 

addictedsays:

Except NYT commenters (and readers) DONT know the basics of MMT (and if they did, then this blog post wouldn’t even be necessary). Again, there are a set of regular commenters, who would essentially post the same comment on every blog post of his, nearly every time, claiming, as Krugman states, that deficits don’t matter, without the inflationary qualifier.

But either way, your comment “No matter how much everyone involved knows the basics of a point, unless its advocate explicates each and every one of those basics in each and every comment, its detractor is justified in claiming he doesn’t imply the omitted basics” applies to Yves’ blog post equally.

Bottom line is that Krugman, in this instance (he may have on other instances), wasn’t mischaracterizing MMT. He was correctly characterizing the position explicated multiple times, by “MMT types” in his comments.***

My reply:

Maybe we’re talking about a different line of argument. The fact is, deficits don’t matter, period. And everyone knows it.
 
Can you name anyone whose actions indicate he believes deficits matter? Certainly no one in government or the political class, who all advocate ever-bigger government and ever-bigger deficits, but only for corporate welfare.
 
The “deficits matter” Big Lie is only trotted out to give a pretext for gutting public interest spending. So “deficits matter” is only asserted by deficit terrorists who don’t actually believe it, but are merely lying as part of a political attack.
 
So perhaps these commenters you refer to are merely using MMT to bolster a broader argument. (And why not? Shouldn’t MMT serve some constructive purpose instead of just fueling the fantasies of unreconstructed statists?)
 
Or perhaps, on the contrary, they’re pro-banksters who are merely slandering the MMT idea by intentionally misrepresenting it. (In which case, why would Krugman go along with this sham rather than counterattack it? Unless he actually agreed with it.)
 
Either way, I stand by my initial assessment that the commenters know the basics, and Krugman knows they know.
 
***
 
Same thing next day, this thread.
 
 
My comment quoted part of someone else’s comment to which I was replying:
 
“in MMT we behold yet another ideological motif in the political tendency known as bourgeois reformism, which claims that the evils of capitalism can be mitigated or done away with altogether while keeping intact the rule of capitalism as a system.”
 
Yes, that’s evidently the MMTer psychology. The “theory” is really just a vehicle of unreconstructed statist fantasies. Fantasies of “good government” and so on. It’s another way of zombifying faith in “better elites”. It’s another Special Case economics.
 
But in practice, what they really picture happening or actually propose always falls far, far short of the soaring theoretical potentialities (for example, taken to its logical consummation, MMT is inherently anti-propertarian). Their indelible reformist meagerness comes through in things like proposed “Jobs Guarantees” which would guarantee only minimum wage makework which scrupulously avoids competing with the private sector.
 
Such picayune proposals demonstrate how MMTers are really the same old craven reformists in practice, who merely want to dress up their paucity with a highfalutin “theory”. Show me an MMTer who openly says that MMT means the store of value function is illegitimate, from which it follows that all hoarded property is illegitimate, and that policy should follow from that truth, and I’d say now we’re cooking. But I won’t hold my breath.
 
Any constructive use of the MMT idea will come independently of, and probably counter to, the intentions of the establishment MMTers themselves. But “MMT” as a pseudo-radicalism which will always be used to herd people back toward paltry reformism is a pernicious thing.
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49 Comments

  1. AFAIK NC does not have a comment moderation queue- whenever I submit a comment that goes through (80-90%), it appears immediately. The other 10-20% of the time it just disappears- I assume this is a problem with the NC hosting. Yves’ hosting service seems pretty awful, to be honest. They still haven’t fixed the issue where typing “nakedcapitalism.com” gives a 404 where “www.nakedcapitalism.com” goes to the correct site, which is pretty ridiculous. So I suspect this is a technical issue. I’ve noticed that when I have problems submitting comments, it’s usually during the afternoon when I’m slacking off at work, I don’t know if the load on the server or the fact that I’m behind several layers of a university network has something to do with it.

    Comment by paper mac — August 17, 2011 @ 2:32 am

    • The reason I think they sometimes go into moderation is:

      1. If I try resubmitting the exact same comment I’ll get the message saying “Duplicate Comment: Looks Like You Already Said That”. I thought that indicated moderation, not the spam filter.

      2. At least once (some time ago) I actually saw my comment in the thread, but with the message, “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” That was standard at Baseline Scenario, where they actually have a rigorous moderation policy (which they keep secret for some bizarre reason).

      3. In the past (though not lately) such limbo comments would eventually appear. I took that to mean that somebody approved them out of moderation. (I assumed nobody would bother checking the spam filter for wrongly relegated comments.)

      I’m not sure which % of the time this happens to me. Less than 20% for sure, and probably less than 10. In this case I found it peculiar that I posted several comments over the last several days with no problem, but only the two that were specifically about MMT didn’t go through. Then I recalled that the last time this happened, a week or so ago, it was also an MMT comment.

      This was really annoying to me because I do want to argue this point of view at NC (nobody else seems to be arguing it).

      Comment by Russ — August 17, 2011 @ 3:48 am

      • I’ve never seen any of those messages before. That’s interesting though, so I guess there is a moderation process of some kind. I wonder if Yves does it herself? It wouldn’t surprise me if PP volunteered..

        Comment by paper mac — August 17, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

  2. Yet another uncomment. Here:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/08/philip-pilkington-profits-in-a-capitalist-economy-%e2%80%93-where-do-they-come-from-where-do-they-go.html#comments

    Replying to (he’s replying to my first comment, which did post) :

    Jeff65 says:
    August 17, 2011 at 6:55 am
    attempter,

    I’m usually with you, but you ask too much of MMT. It’s only a description of a state money system. You seem to expect a revolution. If you have a money economy within any sort of political system it will be useful to understand. Of course it can be used to further the status quo. So can any other system ever devised.

    My reply:

    I don’t ask anything of MMT which I don’t ask of anyone else. All I ask is that if it does go beyond mere description to explicit prescription, that it refrain from bogus and pernicious statist prescriptions which we know cannot work.

    Even if an MMTer was too timid to draw the more “radical” (really common sensical) conclusions from the idea, for example its anti-propertarian implications, his proper prescription would be something like:

    “I’ve explained why bank money can’t work, and how if it were possible to have the non-corrupt State of the civics textbooks, then the best way* to handle money would be to have the State directly issue it according to the capacity of the true economy.

    Since such a State is an impossibility, it follows that we cannot constructively have a centralized command-economy currency at all, and must look for alternatives to that.”

    That’s the conclusion MMT helped me achieve.

    *That’s given the typical MMTer’s statist and pro-capitalist predilections. Needless to say some of us think there are far better ways than that, even if reformism could work.

    Comment by Russ — August 17, 2011 @ 7:25 am

    • That’s cool Russ, I agree that if you are an ant-statist there is little to like about MMT. It’s a description of state money at its root. Read the original literature by Innes:

      http://moslereconomics.com/mandatory-readings/what-is-money/

      One thing though, MMT demonstrates there is no such thing as a non-centralised or neutral currency. If you don’t want a centralised money system you’re stuck with barter. This is where it might be useful to know about state money systems even if you are an anti-statist.

      Jeff

      Comment by Jeff65 — August 17, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

      • If you don’t want a centralised money system you’re stuck with barter.

        It’s a fallacy that barter somehow underlies a centralized money system. Barter is not a natural regression from money — that’s a myth of economics.

        Credit systems predate state money by thousands of years. The fairy tale of barter imagines a scenario in which two parties don’t know each other, intend to establish no relationship, and expect their interaction to never recur. Compare to actual human societies in which people know their neighbors, like to pay back favors, and keep track of basic things like who owes whom a Christmas card or a dinner. Slightly more complicated or statist versions add standardized units of measure and conversion ratios.

        Comment by reslez — August 17, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

      • reslez,

        Yes, I know – the article I linked says as much. But even with credit added to it you still have what amounts to a barter economy.

        Comment by Jeff65 — August 17, 2011 @ 7:51 pm

      • How is it a barter economy if transactions are denominated in a standardised credit form? The mesopotamian use of weights of silver to denominate transactions in which no silver ever circulated, or the medieval use of Roman and Carolingian currencies to denominate transactions long after those currencies stopped circulating, can’t reasonably be described as “barter”, unless your definition of “barter” is “any transaction utilising a non-state currency”, which strips the term of any real meaning.

        Comment by paper mac — August 17, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

      • “any transaction utilising a non-state currency” -> any transaction not using a state-issued currency

        Comment by paper mac — August 17, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

      • But even with credit added to it you still have what amounts to a barter economy.

        You’re using a unique definition of barter. Most definitions say barter is a “direct exchange of goods” without an intermediary like credit or money. A barter economy + credit is not a barter economy, but then there are no barter economies nor ever were. Maybe you’re conflating centralized money with centralized equivalencies or units of measure. They don’t have to coincide.

        People looking for alternatives to the mainstream economic system have latched onto “barter” as a catch-all term for any transaction that doesn’t include money. For example a time bank is not a form of barter because it has an internal currency — units of time in hours worked — and because it creates a system of credits to disintermediate time. That is, when you perform work you receive a credit which you can redeem later. Trading a TV set for a bicycle at a swap meet would be a barter activity. If your time bank involved an explicit agreement with your neighbor to paint his house in exchange for him mowing your lawn, maybe that would be a barter transaction, but on the other hand you wouldn’t need a time bank to facilitate it.

        If the word “barter” is used for branding purposes, to encompass all alternatives to state capitalism, then it may be worth sacrificing some exactness of meaning. Further discussion is semantics and boring, and at any rate an excessive return to a two sentence comment.

        Comment by reslez — August 17, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

      • Only a state-like entity can enforce a persistent, standardised credit form. You know there was the equivalent of a modern state in Mesopotamia, don’t you?

        It is possible for a small group of people to agree without coercion at a particular point in time that they will use a standard form of credit, but subsequent to that there must be a form of coercion to maintain it – that is a state like authority at least (a king, or religion, or tribal lore, etc).

        Such credit systems are never neutral, and that was my main point. There is no such thing as neutral money or equivalences or standard forms of credit.

        Comment by Jeff65 — August 17, 2011 @ 10:47 pm

      • Only a state-like entity can enforce a persistent, standardised credit form.

        This is incorrect. There are numerous historical examples of societies using credit that were both persistent and standardized and were not enforced by a state. Probably the most significant for this discussion are the popular-credit systems in 16th-17th century England, where local communities conducted internal and external trade on credit. These transactions were not enforced by the state. They were enforced by relations of community trust. Craig Muldrew has been publishing on this stuff for two decades, his work is instructive. Likewise, the examples I gave of medieval peasants trading on credit denominated in the currencies of defunct empires (Roman, Carolingian) are obvious, historically documented cases of individuals using credit systems in the absence of any state enforcement.

        You know there was the equivalent of a modern state in Mesopotamia, don’t you?

        No, I don’t know that. The equivalent of a modern state? What does that mean? Certainly in Sumerian times, during which the silver-weight credit system was used, it seems odd to refer to a loose agglomeration of temple-cities that neither issued currency nor enforced contracts as “the equivalent of a modern state” in this respect.

        It is possible for a small group of people to agree without coercion at a particular point in time that they will use a standard form of credit, but subsequent to that there must be a form of coercion to maintain it – that is a state like authority at least (a king, or religion, or tribal lore, etc).

        Subsequent to what? After some point in time, bonds of social trust suddenly disintegrate and you need a coercive state? In any case, it’s nonsense to define “tribal lore” as a coercive “state-like authority”- that would mean that literally any agglomeration of humans is under a “state-like authority”. I’m not sure what your point is here.

        Such credit systems are never neutral, and that was my main point. There is no such thing as neutral money or equivalences or standard forms of credit.

        Well, you explicitly stated that there’s no such thing as a non-centralised currency, and that if you don’t want centralised currency, you’re stuck with something called “barter”. But pretty clearly there are numerous examples of non-centralised credit systems- humans have been using them for far longer than they’ve been using centralised command currencies. I’m not sure what you mean by “neutral money”, but if you mean “money without political content”, I’m pretty sure everyone here would agree. That isn’t really the point, though- it’s that monetary systems don’t actually require coercive state power, and that’s demonstrably true.

        Comment by paper mac — August 18, 2011 @ 12:42 am

      • I’m clearly guilty of not consulting the literature and not being careful with words and generally talking out my arse in this exchange. Part of this is due to being in a hurry and part is due to thinking I knew more about the historical aspect of this than I actually do. My apologies to everyone.

        Is there any study regarding the degree of exclusiveness in your historical examples? History is written by the winners. I would like to know the answer to the question “who lost?” This is what I meant by “neutral” – no losers. If your home grown currency is commodity based, you’ve already got built in winners and losers depending on the circumstances.

        One thing I overlooked as a good alternative: a gift economy.

        Comment by Jeff65 — August 18, 2011 @ 1:41 am

      • Sorry I’m getting back so late to this. I was gone all day yesterday and slept in this morning.

        Jeff –

        Reslez and paper mac said it well, the pejorative reference to “barter” as something unworkable always assumes non-contextually plunking barter into the middle of an otherwise globalized, “capitalist” environment (sort of like the “tragedy of the commons” scam, which assumed predatory capitalism in general and then plunked an unmamged commons in the middle of it) . But I’m a relocalist. I challenge the entire globalization context, not just its command currencies.

        And “barter” is an insufficient term anyway, if it’s supposed to mean nothing but direct exhange of good and perhaps services.

        reslez says:

        If the word “barter” is used for branding purposes, to encompass all alternatives to state capitalism, then it may be worth sacrificing some exactness of meaning. Further discussion is semantics and boring, and at any rate an excessive return to a two sentence comment.

        Yes, although being so reductive also would strip the various alternatives of precise meaning, and even play into the hands of the enemy. Because we all know ahead of time that “barter doesn’t work”, right? (Not to mention that it’s technically taxable, and a pro-tax argument would love to be able to call time banking and such “barter”.)

        For example a time bank is not a form of barter because it has an internal currency — units of time in hours worked — and because it creates a system of credits to disintermediate time. That is, when you perform work you receive a credit which you can redeem later. Trading a TV set for a bicycle at a swap meet would be a barter activity. If your time bank involved an explicit agreement with your neighbor to paint his house in exchange for him mowing your lawn, maybe that would be a barter transaction, but on the other hand you wouldn’t need a time bank to facilitate it.

        This is a good clarification. Yesterday even our time bank’s web administrator, in response to some basic questions from an interested member of the public (a customer at the farmers’ market), lapsed into the “barter” terminology, making me wince. He knows it’s not barter.

        So Jeff, time banking is one example of a mode of organizing the true economy which involves neither command currencies nor barter. It’s new to history and we can’t yet know how well or at what levels it will work going forward. I see it as transitional toward truly cooperative economies myself. But who knows how widely applicable the basic form may turn out to be?

        And then we have the many examples of social credit which existed prior to capitalism. To paper mac’s account I’ll add that not only was the subsequent development of the State not necessary to help this decentralized credit system “evolve”, but in fact this State was the mechanism of destroying these decentralized systems, either centralizing them or obliterating them completely. We know what happened to the 16-17th century English peasants. They sure didn’t willingly leave their lands and their local/regional economies.

        Comment by Russ — August 18, 2011 @ 6:14 am

      • I’m clearly guilty of not consulting the literature and not being careful with words and generally talking out my arse in this exchange. Part of this is due to being in a hurry and part is due to thinking I knew more about the historical aspect of this than I actually do. My apologies to everyone.

        Don’t worry about it, my introduction to many of these topics was last week, LOL. The examples I gave are from David Graeber’s “Debt: The first 5000 years”, which we’ve been discussing here and which I heartily recommend. I’ve been following up his sources and it looks like the vast majority of the discussion on these topics has been in the historical and anthropological literature- economists have basically ignored all of it for decades.

        Is there any study regarding the degree of exclusiveness in your historical examples? History is written by the winners. I would like to know the answer to the question “who lost?” This is what I meant by “neutral” – no losers. If your home grown currency is commodity based, you’ve already got built in winners and losers depending on the circumstances.

        The credit systems I mentioned above weren’t commodity based- even in the case of the silver-weight system, while there was silver kept in Sumerian temples, the silver literally never left the temples. The total amount of silver-debt in the markets never had anything to do with the amount of physical silver in the vaults. The “imaginary money” credit markets of the Medieval times were purely trust-based, there was never any underlying commodity or anything like that. Likewise with the English credit markets. As far as “who lost”, it was the people using the credit markets themselves that ultimately lost, generally because those markets were violently suppressed by states who required taxes to be paid in hard currency, etc.

        One thing I overlooked as a good alternative: a gift economy.

        Yep, this is a good point, although I think your point about certain types of exchange working better in small groups is more applicable to gift economies than it is to credit economies.

        Comment by paper mac — August 18, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

      • How can a time bank work in a non-primitive economy? How would, say, software development, or medical research fit in where there is no tangible product delivered for years and perhaps not at all?

        Also, a time bank is not neutral. People with lots of time banked can put it to use in rent seeking activities. How do you prevent this without a state?

        The medieval credit economy evolved into what we have now. How do you stop that?

        All solutions involve people making decisions. If we assume good decisions, what’s wrong with a state? If we assume bad decisions, what’s going to work? Nothing I can see. What am I missing?

        Comment by Jeff65 — August 18, 2011 @ 9:55 pm


      • How can a time bank work in a non-primitive economy? How would, say, software development, or medical research fit in where there is no tangible product delivered for years and perhaps not at all?

        Yes, that’s the inherent dilemma of child care and education, yet bizarrely people still think those things are worth doing however far off the “tangible payoff”.

        All solutions involve people making decisions. If we assume good decisions, what’s wrong with a state?

        1. If someone’s not pointing a gun at me, I don’t have to rely as much upon his good decisions as I’d have to if he were.

        2. The State, like all concentrated power and wealth, is inherently corrupting.

        3. The State necessarily means coercion. That in itself is a major demerit, bordering on a dealbreaker, for anyone who cares about freedom and human dignity.

        4. The State necessarily must suck up and destroy a large amount of the social production which could otherwise be put to actual use by those who produced it.

        5. The State is unnecessary. So even if 1-4 weren’t true, the question still wouldn’t be “why not have it”, but “why have it?”

        Comment by Russ — August 19, 2011 @ 3:59 am

      • “2. The State, like all concentrated power and wealth, is inherently corrupting”

        Private sector is more corrupting because there is very limited, if any, oversight and control. It is enough to look around.

        “3. The State necessarily means coercion”

        Private sector is coercing the absolute majority of population into work for food. No work = no income = no food -> you die. Alternatively we can roll back the progress and go back to agricultural economy.

        “4. The State necessarily must suck up and destroy a large amount of the social production”

        The (democratic) State performs functions delegated to it by the electorate. This by definition means that electorate is happy about it. Calling it “sucking up and destroying” is a blind ideology which has no relevance in this universe.

        “5. The State is unnecessary”

        The State is the recognition of the fact that human beings are societal animals which try to organize themselves. Saying that “the state is unnecessary” denies this fact and this right.

        Comment by Sergei — August 19, 2011 @ 4:21 am

      • Now you’re being intentionally obscurantist, and in quite the wrong place, as one of the fundamental propositions of this entire blog is that power is power, that the distinction between “public” and “private” is a superstition at best and more often a divide-and-conquer lie. I’ve explicitly said so several times in this very thread, and I’ve demonstrated the same thing in dozens of posts.

        Many of them are collected here, just for starters.

        https://attempter.wordpress.com/series-on-corporatism/

        So if you want to keep peddling your “let’s you and him fight” lies about there being some distinction between state and corporate power (to say it for the nth time in this thread alone, corporations and “capitalism” in general are only extensions of government power), you’d better take them elsewhere.

        Private sector is coercing the absolute majority of population into work for food. No work = no income = no food -> you die. Alternatively we can roll back the progress and go back to agricultural economy.

        And you’re the one calling “Private sector is coercing the absolute majority of population into work for food. No work = no income = no food -> you die” progress!

        I don’t know where to start with the historical and scientific ignorance displayed in that short passage. Historically both decentralized agriculture and even hunting-gathering afforded more freedom and a better material life than statism-capitalism. As Paine wrote, “civilization” makes most people worse off than they were before. Click here to learn something:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanty_town

        Meanwhile, by now agronomy has proven that smallholder agriculture outproduces corporate agriculture even now, and this advantage will only widen as we enter energy descent, and become infinite once corporate ag collapses completely, as it must inevitably do. This is true both on account of the physics of energy (industrial ag is completely dependent upon cheap and infinitely growing supplies of fossil fuels) and the corrective mechanisms of biology (the soil is already zombified by the synthetic fertilizer regime; the regime of massive application of pesticides and herbicides is already generating superbugs and superweeds against it; CAFOs, which are really unregulated bioweapons factories, shall inevitably produce lethal pandemics; the GMO paradigm, on the bare genetic level, intentionally renders the entire structure of agriculture and the general food supply as vulnerable, unresilient, and collapsible as possible).

        And then there’s the fact that the full democratic restitution of the land is imperative in order to carry out the agricultural transformation necessary to keep feeding ourselves. The transformation of the economy to a foundation of autonomous and cooperative agroecology can be done only on a democratic basis in the first place. And this economic democracy in turn can provide the basis for true political democracy, which is both our right as human beings, and the only political system which can provide freedom and human dignity anyway.

        Which leads to your final point, your triple lie about “representative” false democracy. It’s triply a lie because:

        1. It was always an elitist scam meant to preserve the wealth class in the first place. Madison admitted as much in the Federalist.

        https://attempter.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/federalism-and-the-corporate-gangs-madisons-federalist-10/

        https://attempter.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/madisons-federalist-51-corporate-power-vs-the-naked-citizen/

        2. It never worked and always failed at providing an ever improving level of material prosperity, social stability, and true political participation (as opposed to the sham ritual of “voting”). We’ve now reached the nadir for all those things. Representative government is a proven failure.

        3. Even if it could in theory still work, what human being would consider that desirable? Are you morbidly infantile, that you want us to forever remain swaddled infants helpless under the care of “elites”. I have a higher opinion of humanity than that. It never ceases to amaze me how those who call themselves “progressive” want humanity to remain in this permanent state of clinical retardation. How can one believe in “progress” at all if one doesn’t think the workers will ever be able to run the economy themselves, and if one doesn’t think the citizens will ever be able to rule themselves?

        But we know that we the people are not only capable and ready to rule ourselves, we know that we’re far more capable than your false idols of government and corporation. Your “elites” have a perfect record. They’ve never done anything but fail, steal, and destroy. And you actually call this barbaric free-fire zone a “society”.

        But like you said, you consider it “progress” where:

        Private sector is coercing the absolute majority of population into work for food. No work = no income = no food -> you die

        Comment by Russ — August 19, 2011 @ 6:19 am

      • Russ, it is typical of your “class” to take bad examples, make them worse and draw infinite conclusions about human beings and society. You are blind to admit that there are good examples. And you are stubborn to admit that we the people are free to take those good examples and make them better. This is what people generally call progress. Instead you prefer to shout that you are right and therefore everybody else is wrong. And you have no room whatsoever for doubts. You are worse than even the current system. You are worse because your only intention is to destroy and only for the purpose of your own believes.

        Comment by Sergei — August 19, 2011 @ 6:36 am

      • It’s funny that someone who just wants the option to live outside of the structure of a state, which they never consented to be a member of in the first place, is considered a dangerous, destructive radical, but someone who insists that everyone must live inside that coercive structure, because they’re afraid of what might happen if people they don’t know and never interact with in any case have a stateless society in some community they would probably never deign to visit, is the reasonable moderate.

        Comment by paper mac — August 19, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

      • Yes, all I want is democracy and community, freedom and prosperity, and that means that “all I want is to destroy”. It looks like I hit a nerve, that the statist realizes that I do indeed want to put an end to his destructiveness, but that beyond that negative minimum (the level to be dictated by the elitist destroyers themselves), all I want and would do is to work and create.

        Hmm, “good examples”. Maybe I’d acknowledge them if I saw any, but the pickings are pretty slim. In fact, I can’t think of any. (If you respond, Sergei, be careful not to adduce anything constructed on the backs of slaves or at the expense of environmental destruction and the poisoning of the Earth. I of course will deny those are good.)

        Comment by Russ — August 19, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

  3. How many bankers do you know who know that (private bank) loans create deposits and not the other way round?

    That is enough of truth which comes out of MMT but goes against your anti-statist hysteria. Your cries about statist MMT just reveal how little you understand of MMT and therefore you belong to the ignorant crowd of Krugman and other commenters.

    Comment by Sergei — August 17, 2011 @ 7:44 am

    • Well, it’s true that I can’t figure out what your comment means, other than that you’re implying you’re a statist. But I think my anti-statism has been articulated clearly and dispassionately enough, unlike your fulmination. And how do you confound me with the pro-government Krugman? Make up your mind – am I hysterically anti-statist or hysterically statist?

      I’d bet that all bankers know they don’t create money out of anything but thin air.

      Comment by Russ — August 17, 2011 @ 7:55 am

      • I do not care whether you are a statist or not. But you simply have no clue about what you are critiquing and yet you try to critique. So on this basis you fall into the crowd of Krugman and others. MMT is not statist or anything. It is politically absolutely neutral. It states facts about our reality whether you like it or not. In this sense it does not say whether for instance a nuclear power is good or bad. Nothing of the sort. What you really-really like to read from MTT are the political views of people who support MMT. And political views are, you know different. And there are no right or wrong ones. By definition. You can like nuclear power and you can hate it. Full point.

        And you lost your bet because most of bankers (if not all) are dead sure that they need deposits before they can give loans.

        Comment by Sergei — August 17, 2011 @ 8:25 am

      • And there are no right or wrong ones.

        Some might gather I don’t agree with that.

        It is politically absolutely neutral.

        1. Even if that were true, that’s supposed to be a good thing? In our present situation? And about money of all things? (Money itself is of course a politically derived arfitice. So by definition any concept of money is inherently political. You are aware of that, aren’t you? Or maybe not.)

        2. But it’s not true. All political prescriptions I’ve seen from MMTers adhere to the following:

        *They fall far short of drawing its full implications.

        *They assume the necessity and desirability of continuing with the State; indeed of strengthening it.

        *They assume the necessity and desirability of continuing with capitalism.

        (And most of them are also craven in detail, like the way Auerback’s proposed “jobs program” was designed to be as demeaning and unproductive as possible, and would scrupulously undertake to “not compete with the private sector”. A starve-the-beaster who wants to see big government liberalism discredit itself couldn’t have done any better.)

        Given the fact of this pattern, it seems clear that MMT is prone to attract a particular type of ideologue who will make a particular type of prescription. That proves its inherent political tendency. Otherwise I wouldn’t be such an outlier in drawing very different conclusions from it.

        I’m not warning against MMT itself. I’m warning against listening to any prescriptions from the MMT establishment.

        Comment by Russ — August 17, 2011 @ 9:33 am

      • Being politically neutral means that you can overlay any views you like and then sell them to the electorate. It is up to you and not Auerback. However do not complain that because Auerback is more successful than you are then the whole concept is wrong. Besides there are plenty of hard-core conservatives within MMT. However, noone has ever argued for any make-up work. Any government, regardless of political views, provides certain public goods. And public goods by definition mean absence of competition with the private sector. So now go and sell your view on public goods but stop going hysterical only because your view is different from someone else including Auerback.

        Bottom line repeated: you have no clue about MMT but nevertheless think that have full right to critique their opinion. You are just one from the ignorant crowd a-la Krugman. Better not embarrass yourself publicly like other so-called economists do in droves.

        Comment by Sergei — August 17, 2011 @ 10:18 am

      • Being politically neutral means that you can overlay any views you like and then sell them to the electorate.

        That sounds more like being, shall we say, “creative” with the truth. Being truly neutral means you have no belly at all to really lay out anything.

        Auerback is more successful than you are

        At what?

        Besides there are plenty of hard-core conservatives within MMT.

        Who?

        Actually, I agree with that statement, but probably not in the way you mean it. In this post:

        https://attempter.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/progress/

        I describe how by now liberals are actually just another kind of conservative:

        “While it’s true that to hold a faith, any faith, is normally a source of strength, progressivism is by now not in fact a faith in the future, but another kind of conservatism. A strong proof of the political progressives’ lack of faith in the future is their characteristic desperation to grab any crumb they can get right now, their inability to ever gamble the possibilities of the moment in expectation of a much bigger payoff down the road, and their delusions which turn the most empty words and the simulation of “access” into actual achievements. In all this, the progressives are even more focused on short-term gain than the banksters. (Of course the actual gains made in that short term are rather different between the two.)

        So there’s one piece of evidence, from the political world, that the faith in progress itself is dying, even as so many still profess a superficial attachment to it. So what’s the nature of this continued attachment? I’ve already said it – it’s another kind of conservatism. “Progress” is another form of the ideology of clinging to what little one has and trying to prevent any change at all. Thus progressivism joins conservatism as a clod in the way of change, and also joins it in the paradoxical consent to the destructive rampage of capitalism which as part of its totalitarian wave of change shall submerge them both.”

        However, no one has ever argued for any make-up work. Any government, regardless of political views, provides certain public goods.

        This one’s trying to change that. It’s trying to innovate a form of government which is nothing but bagman and thug for the big corporations, but otherwise provides no services and enforces no rule of law. The globalization regime is the form of the future, if the top kleptocrats get their way. The US government will be exactly the same kind of administrative mechanism as the WTO. NAFTA and proposals like the FTAA and the SPP represented steps toward that.

        But by now it looks like the corporations will mostly just convert the government directly rather than through a convoluted tangle of “treaties”.

        And public goods by definition mean absence of competition with the private sector.

        Not where the public sector can do something better than the private sector (which is pretty much everywhere). In that case, for the public sector to vacate the competition field is simply another subsidy, another form of corporate welfare.

        Just for you, here’s links to my MMT posts.

        https://attempter.wordpress.com/2010/11/20/guns-bonuses-and-butter-money-deficits-and-mmt-1-of-2/

        https://attempter.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/guns-butter-and-bonuses-mmt-money-and-deficits-part-2/

        Comment by Russ — August 17, 2011 @ 11:45 am

      • “It is politically absolutely neutral.”

        LOL. Renaming “political economy” to “economics” sure did strip out the politics, by golly!

        Comment by paper mac — August 17, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

      • A powerful diagnosis of terminal progressivism, a sad case of morphing into one’s own enemy and dying from a profound loss of faith, love, and imagination. Your reply, worthy of Chris Hedges, is an elegant example of aikido, deflecting the force of a charging opponent by effortlessly side-stepping the frame designed to trap you. Nicely done.

        Comment by Doug Terpstra — August 17, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

      • (The last reply was in response to Russ’s 11:45 comment)

        Comment by Doug Terpstra — August 17, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

  4. @Sergei,

    Let me try a different angle that won’t feel like such an attack on your belief system.

    1. MMT has a lot of valid things to say;
    2. Notwithstanding 1, MMT is built on the same rotten foundations as orthodox economic doctrines and, therefore, shares several of the same flaws as the current orthodoxy;
    3. The flaws of orthodox economic doctrines are, in fact, willful lies (they’re features, not bugs) that MMT, by its very design, is incapable of recognizing, let alone addressing;
    4. By perpetuationg the willful lies of the current economic orthodoxy, MMT will be used to perpetuate the very evils that it seeks to address through its incremental reformism.

    That’s basically Russ’s criticism of MMT. And it is certainly mine. This has nothing to do with either “progessive” or “conservative” politics. To the extent that people like Russ and I bag on self-labeled “progressives,” it’s because they are oxymorons: how can you create progress by insisting on holding onto 99.994% of rot of the past? Incremental “reform” of a rotten system is not reform, and it is not progressive. It merely enables the rotten system to survive longer. Conservatives are a different species of oxymoron, but they are less worthy of scorn because they don’t hide their delusion behind a veil of “rationality” premised on a foundation of self-professed intellectual superiority that clearly doesn’t exist.

    It’s not that MMT is completely devoid of good things. Indeed, MMT’s development clearly was motivated with good intentions, but you know what they say about the path to Hell, right?

    By the way, while I fully understand that money is created by the private extension of debt (i.e., we have a private, debt-based money system, not a state money sytem like MMTers have confused your buddy Jeff65 into believing), mainstream MMTers purposefully avoid having that conversation because politically they hope to draft of the ignorance of the true nature of our money system and rely on the lie that government prints money in order to effect their policies. While I accept the decision to use the lies of orthodox economics against it, when MMTers are perpetuating the lie of sovereign money, which does not exist in this country today, MMTers cannot blame anybody for being ignorant of the true nature of our money system, even Jeff65. (I can, though.)

    Comment by Tao Jonesing — August 18, 2011 @ 12:39 am

    • Tao,

      You’re the one who’s bought the Tea Party / Austrian lie that the Federal Reserve Act makes a private system. A system created by an act of law always makes for a state system. A private system would need no government to create it. I would think this an obvious point to someone capable of following simple logic.

      Comment by Jeff65 — August 18, 2011 @ 2:48 am

      • Jeff, I say all the time that corporations are extensions of the government and basically vacuum up abdicated government power. Tao, I think, agrees with this. So when we distinguish between public and private in this context, we’re merely referring to the presence of private rent-seekers, in this case banksters. We’re not referring to some mystical distinction between “public” and “private” power. We recognize no such distinction. That’s part of our attack upon liberals and conservatives, that to the extent they really believe their moronic ideologies, they go in for such superstitions about power, when they’re really both the dupes of power as such. (The imbecility of thinking there’s a difference between Dems and Reps is, intellectually, just a microcosm of this.)

        Comment by Russ — August 18, 2011 @ 6:25 am

  5. Tao Jonesing, MMT is built not on rotten foundations of anything but on the comprehension of operational realities of the current institutional economic system. From this understanding different people can draw different conclusions about their desired design but it is a different matter because different people have their own independent views of the perfect world. For instance, there is nothing in MMT which requires you to have a job guarantee. Zero. Russ should not be running around scared and screaming “bloody statists”. However, once you understand the operational realities you will also have to realize that it will be your task as a system designer to “sell” the justification of unemployment to your electorate. If you are a good salesman then green light to you. But saying that MMT is super liberal and therefore rotten to the degree of 99.994% simply reveals ignorance and complete lack of understanding of MMT, its foundations and its prescriptions.

    “Sorry to indulge myself, but blogger’s prerogative, reasons of state, force majeure and all”

    Everybody who has two hands and access to keyboard + internet thinks he is an expert in everything. But he is NOT. Including Krugman.

    Comment by Sergei — August 18, 2011 @ 1:18 am

    • However, once you understand the operational realities you will also have to realize that it will be your task as a system designer to “sell” the justification of unemployment to your electorate.

      Rationalists can’t sell their ways out of a wet paper bag. That’s why rationalists will lose control over MMT, which will be adapted to serve the interests that folks like you think you are combatting. Your whole incrementalist approach admits defeat from the get-go.

      Seriously, dude, people like Palin, Bachman and Perry are being considered as viable presidential candidates. Bufoonery clearly sells a lot more than the pap that rationalists like you buy, so in the body politic, who is the real buffoon? You just can’t win because you don’t understand people or what they want. Instead, you have an abiding belief in your ability to convince people through reason to accept your vision of the world. You’re wrong.

      But saying that MMT is super liberal and therefore rotten to the degree of 99.994% simply reveals ignorance and complete lack of understanding of MMT, its foundations and its prescriptions.

      If you actually think I said “MMT is super liberal,” then you have exceedingly poor reading comprehension skills. I can’t even imagine thinking something as stupid as that, let alone saying it. What I think is that the current proponents of MMT, regardless of their politics, are fools because their rationalist ideas will be co-opted by realists and perverted to their ends. If you believe that being a fool means being a “super liberal,” that’s on you, not on me.

      The rot of MMT does not arise from the politics of its proponents but from their validation and perpetuation of the rot their theories do not acknowledge let alone address. That is precisely why MMT will be the next economic orthodoxy that perpetuates all the evils of capitalism that current MMTers think their theories will destroy. You guys are total tools who have no understanding of the evil you’re actually going to visit upon the world. The religious zealotry of MMTers tells me all I need to know about how (an who) MMT will end.

      Your rationalist dogma prevents you from being rational. You are lost.

      Comment by Tao Jonesing — August 18, 2011 @ 2:45 am

      • Tao Jonesing: Your rationalist dogma prevents you from being rational. You are lost.

        I have a strong belief that Americans enjoy suffering and enjoy watching others suffer. Before you draw conclusions about what is rational and what is not please pay attention to the reality of life in the rest of the world. Your definition of “being rational” is very skewed to “dogs eat dogs” view of the universe. You are blind and stubborn because your *ir*rational desire “to take bad examples, make them worse and then claim a victory” proves nothing but your ideological views. But life is not how YOU see it. Life is what people make out of it. And there are plenty of examples of what people can really make out of it for the benefit of people.

        Comment by Sergei — August 18, 2011 @ 3:36 am


      • “Sorry to indulge myself, but blogger’s prerogative, reasons of state, force majeure and all”

        Everybody who has two hands and access to keyboard + internet thinks he is an expert in everything. But he is NOT. Including Krugman.

        That was meant to be some self-deprecating humor, Sergei. I thought it was a little self-indulgent to make a post out of some fugitive comments I wasn’t even sure were all that worthwhile. But it turns out I was wrong – this has been a fantastic comment thread.

        Tao sums up even more concisely and cogently than I what I’ve long been saying – MMT as an idea may have its constructive uses, but it’s never going to be applied the way its currently established proponents (what I call “the MMTers”; that’s not my term for people in general who are interested in MMT) claim to want. To whatever extent the idea is applied, this will be done based on politics, not on ivory tower rationalism.

        Therefore, MMT is (maybe) too important to be left to the MMTers. We can either do our best to apply it politically to the struggle for true economic democracy, or we can leave it to the kleptocrats to apply it (or suppress it completely) in their own way.

        Comment by Russ — August 18, 2011 @ 6:39 am

      • I have a strong belief that Americans enjoy suffering and enjoy watching others suffer.

        More arrogance. Americans, like all human beings, are people. No human being enjoys watching others suffer, which is why I’m trying to wake up MMTers to the suffering their dogma is bound to cause.

        Before you draw conclusions about what is rational and what is not please pay attention to the reality of life in the rest of the world.

        I understand reality quite well. I understand that the abiding religion of rationalism enables the power-addicted realists to subjugate the masses, who really don’t care and who need to be protected from the “clash” of elites. Elites, whether rationalists or realists, insist on making reality something that it isn’t, and the rest of us will always suffer as a result.

        Your definition of “being rational” is very skewed to “dogs eat dogs” view of the universe.

        With all due respect, you are a complete idiot. The last thing that I believe is that we live in a dog eat dog world. But I know that others do. What you can’t wrap your tiny little brain (which you think is quite huge) around is that there are people out there who actually do belive we live in a dog eat dog world and are looking for some dogs to eat. You actually seem to believe that your belief in the inherent goodness of humanity overcomes and cancels out the belief of others that humanity is inherently evil. Because I understand reality, I accept that there are three kinds of people: the rationalist, who believes that people are inherently good; the realist, who believes that people are inherently evil; and people like me, who know that what a person believes about people generally is what they believe about themselves.

        You are blind and stubborn because your *ir*rational desire “to take bad examples, make them worse and then claim a victory” proves nothing but your ideological views.

        I’m neither blind nor stubborn. I am impatient with self-congratulatory fools who insist they are smart. I have no ideology except an abiding belief in the inherent worth of human beings, regardless of their origins or actions. I even value you, Sergei, as much as you refuse to pay attention to what I’m saying. I’m actually capable of distinguishing between you as a person and the stupidity of your actions.

        But life is not how YOU see it.

        Actually, life is no more and no less than how the individual perceives it. That’s why rationalists can’t sell their ideas. They seem to believe that life is how you THINK it.

        Life is what people make out of it.

        How idyllic. But in reality, most people don’t make their lives, they deal with them. And MMT is just going to be used to make it that much harder for the vast majority of people to deal with their lives.

        And there are plenty of examples of what people can really make out of it for the benefit of people.

        Okay. Let’s name all of the examples: MLK, Ghandi . . . .

        I hear crickets chirping.

        These two stand out for the simple reason that they rendered the powerful powerless. They did not advance the interests of the masses through their ideas, but through their actions. MMTers are proving themselves to be Monday morning intellectuals who think a lot but do not act. That’s why your ideas will be co-opted and become the next economic orthodoxy to subjugate the masses you claim you want to benefit (read this sentence three times to make sure you understand what I’m saying). MMTers are thinkers, not doers, which means the enemies of MMTers will figure out how to use MMT to their own advantage.

        Take a deep breath, Sergei. Think what I’ve said all the way through.

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — August 19, 2011 @ 2:05 am

      • Tao Jonesing: MLK, Ghandi… jeez… To give you a small hint without any hope that it will open your eyes. Google a Mercer study on the best cities in the world. Each and every year top 3 places go to the same cities. You do not know people who make this happen. Your 99.994% of the world does not know this people. But this happens right there right now in other places which you ignore where dogs do not eat dogs and people respect each other. You can also google Mittelstand in Germany and then try to understand why American dream is the reality in another country and what happened to your american dream.

        These are just two example which Americans will never be able to replicate. You are so stubborn and blind that I am not going to keep discussing it. Are you a tea party type?

        Comment by Sergei — August 19, 2011 @ 2:19 am

  6. Russ,

    I read your two linked articles on MMT. I agree with much of what you say. Why is it surprising that most MMT advocates are not radicals? Most people are not radicals.

    Where I disagree is that MMT will be the new orthodoxy. Most MMT advocates would get rid of govt bond issuance. I can comfortably say that will never happen. Bonds are a massive subsidy to corporations, banks and wealthy people in general. If Krugman ever groks MMT in public, he will be axed from his NYT gig the next day.

    MMT is subversive. How else could such obvious ignorance as the conventional view persist for 40 years? If the MMT label ever gets applied to an orthodoxy it will be exactly like Keynes is to Keynesians, a complete bastardisation. Mark my words.

    Comment by Jeff65 — August 18, 2011 @ 3:12 am

    • Did I say it’s going to be a new orthodoxy? I find that very unlikely, since the kleptocracy already has the ideology it wants, and MMT is in principle either partially or completely subversive of it (depending on how far one wants to go with the logic).

      On the other hand, we see every sign of the attempt to turn it into an element of “progressive” orthodoxy in order to keep the sheep ineffectually within the herd.

      Most people aren’t radicals, but MMT is a potentially radical idea. That’s part of the reason it’s been generating such excitement – it appeals to a pre-radical impulse in a lot of people.

      I say “pre-radical” because, as we’ve seen, few are willing to really take the idea and run with it, either by drawing out its own full radical implications, or by adapting it to some other radical context. In practice, MMTers are still the same old, tired big government liberals as they’ve slouched along since the 70s – obnoxious in principle, paltry and meager in proposed practice.

      So it turns out that pseudo-radicals have been just playing around with a potentially radical idea. That’s why I referred above to the pseudo-radicalism of MMTism.

      Comment by Russ — August 18, 2011 @ 6:50 am

      • Russ,

        There is value in understanding how things really work. Your typical MMT advocate may not be fully aware of the politics (a lot of them mistakenly think that incorrect thinking persists because policy setters are poorly informed), but one subversive thought can lead to another.

        One charge from Tao and others that I do not understand is that MMT advocates are somehow unthinking and dogmatic. I find this bizarre. Is it the language and algebra used? The reason for this is the experience of being dragged into pointless discussions by people who insist on using their own definitions for things like “money” and “savings”. You can’t have a meaningful discussion about anything without agreeing on terms, but there are many people who don’t seem to get this.

        Comment by Jeff65 — August 18, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

      • One charge from Tao and others that I do not understand is that MMT advocates are somehow unthinking and dogmatic. I find this bizarre. Is it the language and algebra used? The reason for this is the experience of being dragged into pointless discussions by people who insist on using their own definitions for things like “money” and “savings”. You can’t have a meaningful discussion about anything without agreeing on terms, but there are many people who don’t seem to get this.

        The dogma arises from MMTers’ belief that logic wins over emotion. You naively believe that having the best idea means that you win. But that is not how the world works.

        And your algebra? Yeah, I understand that, too, but algebra isn’t the problem, it’s the boundary conditions you use to define the algebraic models you construct. The problem is not that the boundary conditions are false today, but that because they have been announced, “financial innovators” will find a way to make them false tomorrow. This is what Minsky taught us. Rationalists love to show all their steps, but the problem is that economics is not like physics, which has laws that make the underlying assumptions immutable.

        Economics is politics. Nothing more. Nothing less. There is no algebra in economics that cannot and will not be corrupted to serve the needs of those who MMTers name their enemies.

        I believe that all economic theories are lies, or at least “innocent frauds.” Still, I pay close attention to Post Keynesians (Minsky, Keen), as well as old school Institutionalists (Verblen, Galbraith Pere, Myrdall, etc.) I abhor neoliberal schools of thought such as the Chicago and Austrian Schools. I just happen to believe that the world is not quite ready for the Austrian school, and that MMT is the next choice for economic orthodoxy because it is the only hope to stop the rapid debt deflation that will wipe out the wealth of the true elites.

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — August 19, 2011 @ 2:23 am

      • Tao,

        It’s not about having the best idea or about winning for me, it’s about understanding.

        The Austrian school is demonstrably wrong about almost everything. Keen does good work on private debt but doesn’t understand accounting and makes up his own. I think that perhaps the reason Keen doesn’t grok MMT is he subconsciously fears his work on private debt is subordinate. Private debt bubbles can be prevented by removing bad incentives. There isn’t any need to twist up the money system to stop them.

        At least MMT is consistent with the facts and the evidence. It’s quite obvious the US already practices MMT part time – it’s MMT for the banks and the military and the gold standard for health care and social security. I call it “MMT for me, gold standard for thee.”

        I also think you may confuse MMT with the prescriptions made by it’s advocates. The algebra doesn’t need any corruption to serve ill purpose. It directly applies to the corrupt system we have now. This is why I said that Russ may be asking too much of MMT. It’s just an operational description.

        What is truly needed is an accountable political system or some kind of reset button. If we don’t get that the state / corporate machine is going to roll over us all regardless of the economist de jour.

        Comment by Jeff65 — August 19, 2011 @ 4:35 am

      • Hi Tao,

        “MMT is the next choice for economic orthodoxy because it is the only hope to stop the rapid debt deflation that will wipe out the wealth of the true elites.”

        I was coming to this exact conclusion a couple of days ago. Indeed, the part of me that has time for grand conspiracies felt MMT was a set of manipulatable ideas purposefully laid on ice for the end game we are hobbling through right now. It’s being wheeled out in various ways like an expanding orchard of pretty Venus Fly Traps. For a while, when I started studying it, I thought it had enormous potential for real change (which it does). For me the biggest tell is how easy the solutions are; gov just has to print dosh, get people to work, control those bastard bond vigilantes and the whole world will be hunky dory. That and the bizarre “nets to zero” label they tag on the ‘private’ banking sector, as if commercial banks are these ineffective nobodies because their credit money is not “high powered”. That said, I’m going to study it in greater depth in coming months.

        Actually, the only thing that can prevent debt destruction is growth, and since nothing can deliver that, maybe not even all-out war, this system is dying and only dying. The challenge is to generate a sufficiently viable nascent alternative to catch civilization as it falls. Shrink the economy, grow the commons. Demote money, promote wealth.

        Anyway, excellent discussion here. Shame I didn’t catch it earlier, when it was live.

        @paper mac: Graeber’s “5,000 Years of Debt” looks like a cracking read. It’s now next on my list. I find Graeber more interesting the more I read and hear of him.

        Comment by Toby — August 22, 2011 @ 5:49 am

      • Shrink the economy, grow the commons. Demote money, promote wealth.

        Yes indeed. I’ll add, conceive and use those terms as alternatives to both government and capitalism, “public” and “private” (where “public” means “the public sector”). The commons, the core economy, the true economies and polities (vs. the false ones of corporatism and representative government), community and democracy. Here lies the human future, if we’re to have a future at all.

        Comment by Russ — August 22, 2011 @ 7:36 am

    • MMT is subversive.

      Yes, and no. The vast majority of MMT is old hat. A few elements of MMT are subversive. On the whole, MMT is very orthodox.

      Comment by Tao Jonesing — August 19, 2011 @ 2:08 am

      • The vast majority of MMT is old hat.

        Sure it is. (Did I say anywhere that it’s new?) Why can’t old hat be subversive? 🙂

        I think the Golden Rule would be extremely subversive if people started believing in it and acting upon it.

        Comment by Russ — August 19, 2011 @ 4:08 am


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