Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

This Time Is Different: Wray on Modern Monetary Theory

Michael Stephens | February 4, 2019

Public interest in Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is undergoing a new growth spurt, and progressive politicians are playing a key role in the current phase. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez recently referenced the heterodox framework to push back against the assumption that her ambitious policy proposals must, as a matter of financial necessity, be made budget-neutral (an assumption, as Brendan Greeley of the Financial Times pointed out, that is informatively selective:  “When Washington wants something … it appropriates. And so arguments about balancing budgets aren’t actually about constraints. They’re about priorities. Important programs get appropriations, full stop. Unimportant programs need to be paid for with taxes.”)

The growing interest in the MMT view of fiscal constraints does seem to be part of a broader softening of attitudes toward public debt and deficits in our policy discourse. Ken Rogoff, for example, managed to write the following in The Times yesterday:  “To be frank, it has never been remotely obvious to me why the UK should be worrying about reducing its debt–GDP burden, given modest growth, high inequality and the steady (and largely unexpected) decline in global real interest rates.” This time is, indeed, different.

L. Randall Wray recently presented in Berlin at an event marking the release of the German translation of his book Understanding Modern Money. The presentation (in English) may be seen below, including responses by Doris Neuberger and Dirk Ehnts.

Wray begins with a brief history of the development of MMT and his role in that development. He then lays out his version of the central points that constitute MMT (at 27:24).

And for those who have been following the reactions in popular media, in which the conversation has shifted to the dangers of inflation, a segment that begins at 35:05 will be of interest. Here Wray discusses his view, following his reading of Minsky, that the job guarantee is crucial for achieving full employment without generating inflationary pressures or financial instability.

 

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New Book of Essays in Honor of Roncaglia

Michael Stephens | February 20, 2018

Director of Research Jan Kregel is one of the editors and contributors for a new collection of essays devoted to the work of Alessandro Roncaglia:

Classical Economics Today: Essays in Honor of Alessandro Roncaglia is a collection of essays that pays tribute to Alessandro Roncaglia whose research is based on Schumpeter’s dictum that good economics must encompass history, economic theory and statistics, and therefore does not generally take the form of elegant formal models that are applicable to all and everything. In this direction, Roncaglia is inspired by the Classical economists of the past and becomes a model for present-day Classical economists. A perceptible family air imbues the essays: all the contributors are friends of Roncaglia and see his personality and his interests as a common point of reference.

View the table of contents below the fold:

continue reading…

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JM Keynes Writings Project

L. Randall Wray | August 22, 2016

JMK Writings Project Flyer

A crowdfunding campaign starting October 2016, on Indiegogo:

Overall aim:  To complete the publication of all of Keynes’s remaining unpublished writings of academic significance.

Only about one third were published in the Royal Economic Society edition. A huge quantity of valuable unpublished material remains, scattered across 60 archives in 6 countries.

Aim of this campaign:  Preparation of the Eton and early Cambridge volumes.

Campaign start:  11 October 2016.

To locate project: Google ‘JMK Writings Project Indiegogo.’

It is also planned, with publisher cooperation, for the campaign to assist selected universities in developing countries.

How you can help:

  1. Spread the word prior to the campaign launch – to academic colleagues (in economics or elsewhere), students in classes, conference participants, policy-makers, parliamentarians, philanthropists etc.
  2. Make, and encourage, donations, of ANY size, according to your situation. Especially on the first or second day of the campaign. Experience shows that strong starts are correlated with strong finishes.

Editor: Professor Rod O’Donnell, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.

Contact:  jmkwritingsproject@gmail.com

See also https://www.uts.edu.au/staff/rod.odonnell

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New Book: Rethinking Capitalism

Michael Stephens | July 21, 2016

A new book edited by Michael Jacobs and Mariana Mazzucato and featuring contributions from Joseph Stiglitz, L. Randall Wray, Stephanie Kelton, and others will be released tomorrow:

Rethinking Capitalism Cover

The TOC is below:

Rethinking Capitalism TOC

You can download the introductory chapter here (pdf).

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Why Minsky Matters and Boom Bust Boom

Michael Stephens | February 25, 2016

Screening and Book Signing_Minsky Matters_Boom Bust Boom

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Why Minsky Matters, Reviewed in Times Higher Education

Michael Stephens | January 13, 2016

L. Randall Wray’s recently published book on the work of Hyman Minsky (Why Minsky Matters: An Introduction to the Work of a Maverick Economist) was reviewed by Victoria Bateman for Times Higher Education. Here’s a taste:

Having experienced the pain of a new Great Depression, the very least we should expect is that economists try to learn from it. Unfortunately, still too few of them understand the importance of what Minsky had to say …. While Minsky is now quite well known, his contributions are still widely ignored or misunderstood.

In terms of name recognition or casual citation, there’s been a lot of progress made in raising Minsky’s profile. As for comprehension of his vision of economics and public policy (or the influence of that vision on policymaking), there’s a tremendous amount of work ahead. Here’s hoping the book helps us move a little further along that path. Read the entire review here.

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Review: Minsky Matters and the Next Minsky Moment

Michael Stephens | December 2, 2015

From Edward Chancellor’s review in Reuters Breakingviews of L. Randall Wray’s Why Minsky Matters:

Minsky, who taught economics at the University of Washington in St Louis before ending up at the Levy Institute at Bard College, had little time for conventional economics with its emphasis on equilibrium, rational expectations and the view that money and finance were largely irrelevant: “Nobody ‘up there’ understands American capitalism,” he once contemptuously wrote. […]

When the credit crunch arrived, it provided posthumous support for Minsky’s economic vision. Subprime mortgages were revealed as a classic form of Ponzi finance. Losses of securitized debt cascaded through the financial system, prompting a liquidity crisis, exactly as described in Minsky’s work. The Great Moderation gave way to the Great Recession, and the Lehman bust became known as the ultimate example of a “Minsky moment.”

As a result, the crisis made Minsky something of a household name beyond strictly economic circles. Unfortunately, Minsky in the original isn’t an easy read. “He needs to be translated,” writes Wray, in the preface to “Why Minsky Matters.” As a former teaching assistant of Minsky’s and colleague at the Levy Institute, Wray is perfectly positioned to perform that task. Few people understand Minsky as well as Wray. Written in clear prose, with Minsky’s idiosyncratic ideas and language patiently explained, Wray provides the best general introduction to Minsky’s economics.

Read the whole thing here.

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New Book on EU Financial Regulation

Michael Stephens | November 11, 2015

A new volume on EU financial regulation edited by Rainer Kattel, Jan Kregel, and Mario Tonveronachi:

kregel_bkcvr

Have past and more recent regulatory changes contributed to increased financial stability in the European Union (EU), or have they improved the efficiency of individual banks and national financial systems within the EU? Edited by Rainer Kattel, Tallinn University of Technology, Director of Research Jan Kregel, and Mario Tonveronachi, University of Siena, this volume offers a comparative overview of how financial regulations have evolved in various European countries since the introduction of the single European market in 1986. The collection includes a number of country studies (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Estonia, Hungary, Slovenia) that analyze the domestic financial regulatory structure at the beginning of the period, how the EU directives have been introduced into domestic legislation, and their impact on the financial structure of the economy. Other contributions examine regulatory changes in the UK and Nordic countries, and in postcrisis America.

You can read an excerpt (which includes the Introduction and part of Chapter 2) at Routledge.

Table of contents below the fold: continue reading…

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“Why Minsky Matters” Now Available

Michael Stephens | November 4, 2015

“Hyman Minsky is the most important economist since Keynes, yet it’s virtually impossible to find any books about him.”

That’s from Michael Pettis’s blurb for Randy Wray’s new book Why Minsky Matters, which is now shipping:

Minsky Matters Cover

Hyman Minsky’s name has appeared in the popular press a lot more since the financial crisis, but often without much more elaboration of his ideas than a paragraph noting (to the bewilderment of non-economists) that his economic research stands out because of the way in which it takes into account the significance of the financial sector and the possibility of financial crises.

And as Wray points out, reading Minsky can be a challenge (though one you won’t regret embracing: you can browse through the digital archive of his papers here). This book is a guided tour of Minsky’s work, covering everything from his views on the inherent instability of the financial dynamics of capitalism to his work on poverty and full employment policies.

The book’s introduction is available for download (pdf), and Arnold Kling (who declares himself “not completely converted”) just posted a nice review.

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Second Edition of the Modern Money Primer

Michael Stephens | September 7, 2015

The second edition of L. Randall Wray’s Modern Money Theory: A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems, an updated and expanded version with new chapters on tax policy and inflation, is now available for order and will be released September 23rd:

Modern Money Theory Primer_2nd edition

“This book synthesizes the key principles of Modern Money Theory, exploring macro accounting, monetary and fiscal policy, currency regimes and exchange rates in developed and developing nations. Randall Wray addresses the pressing issue of how misunderstandings about the nature of money have caused the current global financial meltdown, and provides fresh ideas about how policymakers around the world should address the continued weaknesses in their economies.”

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