Can you guess who said that?
Something that I have focused on in my Classical Economic Theory and the Modern Economy, but which is an otherwise unknown consequence of the Keynesian Revolution, was the shift in emphasis from the real side of the economy to the monetary side. If one is to understand the operation of an economy it is essential firstly to look at the actual real level of activity and only then look at the monetary side that lies above it and largely outside of it. Every classical economist understood the point. Virtually no modern economist does, and certainly no one without a serious study of economics ever does, which really does mean that near enough no one at all any longer understands this even slightly. Which leads me to this: Pandemic moves Modern Monetary Theory from the fringes to actual US policy.
[Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)] has received increased publicity over the past three years as politicians realized there was not a plausible plan to raise the funds necessary to fund “Healthcare for All,” the “Green New Deal,” free college and other initiatives through taxes alone.
The core principle of MMT is that sovereign governments with sovereign currencies can “print” or “coin” money to support full employment or essentially any government program that would benefit society in the here and now. Critics have labeled it the “Magic Money Tree Theory.” Those detractors include Keynesian and Monetarist economists, who cite Hungary in the 1840′s, Brazil in the 80′s, Mexico in the 90′s as examples of where easy money policies led to hyperinflation.
Warren Mosler was one of the founders of MMT, and what is known as `Mosler’s law’ states: “No financial crisis is so deep that a sufficiently large increase in public spending cannot deal with it.” These words fundamentally represent the actions our policy makers have taken in response to the virus. This pandemic has moved MMT from the fringes to the dead center as the actual monetary policy of the United States.
These are people with PhDs in economics who will comprehensively ruin us, and on this let me quote Keynes with absolute approval:
Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security but [also] at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth….
As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery.
Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.
It was Lenin who said it, but quoted by Keynes as a warning to us all. Are you that one in a million who sees the point? Well if you are, there are then the other 999,999 who do not, which includes every single political leader heading every single government across the Western world today, each one of whom is engaging “all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction”.