How did you find MMT?

I thought I would ask everyone a question – how did you find MMT? IMO it is really important to understand what draws people to MMT in the first place. I’m sure that such experiences can be used identify strengths and weaknesses in how MMT is being disseminated into the public.

I’ll start off with my not too interesting introduction to MMT.

I’m sure everyone remembers the ‘Debt Crisis of 2011’. I was having a discussion with some friends regarding which party is more ‘fiscally responsible’ in paying down the debt. I was looking at some graphs showing the growth of Debt for the last 50 years. Basically it showed that the debt grew the fastest under Republicans. Anyway,  I looked at the same graph except with an overlay of GDP growth. Interestingly there appeared to be no relationship – not even an inverse one – between debt levels and GDP growth. I thought WTF! What is all the fuss over? Why wasn’t this an issue when Bush raised the debt-limit 7(?) times? Obama was only raising it once.. Off to YouTube I went, searched for ‘American-debt’ or something similar. Noticed a video titled ‘US Debt is a myth’. Interesting I thought……

falling down the rabbit hole ever since..

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7 comments

  1. Tom Hickey

    I stumbled by chance on a longish comment that Ramanan left somewhere that I can no longer recall. At first I thought it sounded quirky, but Ramanan seemed knowledgeable and he provided references, so I followed up on them.

  2. Clonal Antibody

    It was late in 2009, and looking at the causes of the Crisis, led me to Steve Keen’s views on debt. However, no matter how I tried, I could not get Government Debt to fall into the same category as private debt — this led me to Bill Mitchell’s site, from there to Frank Ashe’s A Kindergarten guide to modern monetary theory and to Selise’s 2010 Fiscal Sustainability Teach-in and from there to UMKC. By Fall 2010, I was firmly in the MMT camp – because that was the only academic discipline that could adequately explain Government Debt.

  3. Senexx

    I followed Club Troppo since about 2003/4 and that led me to Peter Martin and that in turn led me to Bill Mitchell.
    I had looked at the main three schools of economic thought and was in the process of falling for the Austrian market clearing wage line as I was unemployed at the time and ready to give up but then all the obscure terms used by Chicago, Austrian and Neoclassical (including Keynesians & New Keynesians here) schools had the veil lifted when I read Bill Mitchell and everything made intuitive sense.
    All the bulldust terms were exactly that – bulldust.

    Aside: There’s an audio to Frank Ashe’s Presentation?

  4. Tschäff Reisberg

    I first encountered it in Geoffrey Ingham’s book, The Nature of Money. At the time 50% of what was written in the book went completely over my head. A few years and many college econ courses later, I re-read it and comprehended it far better. Then the economy crashed and Dirk Bezemer wrote a paper “No one saw this coming. Understanding financial crisis through accounting models” that listed economists who got it right. MMT and other heterodox economists were well represented. From there I read books (many of those economists instantly became famous and wrote books for the lay public) or papers by each economist listed (except Peter Schiff). I read Bill Mitchell’s entire Fiscal Sustainability 101, and Deficit spending 101. It took a while to get through them but it was worth it. This rabbit hole was deep, I kept going, consuming “Understanding Policy in a Floating Rate Regime” by LR Wray, “Interest Rates and Fiscal Sustainability” by Scott Fullwiler, “The Hierarchy of Money” and “When Exports Are a Cost and Imports Are a Benefit” by Stephanie Bell and Innes “Credit Theory of Money.” Each of these papers taught me something new or cleared up confusion I had about what they were saying. I have re-read each at least four times by now. As the MMTers blogged through the crisis, they had a wonderful track record of making accurate predictions, often counter to conventional wisdom, and many of the MMT developers were kind enough to respond to the confused and critical in the comments section of their blogs.

  5. Andy CFC

    For me it was a rhetorical question on a blog which asked “why do governments borrow except in wartime as it doesnt make sense” and then rambled on about government waste etc etc. But the question intrigued me so went looking for an answer, first come across Rodger Mitchells blog which then led me on to MMT. Changed everything for me.

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