“We are committed to a non-scarce, non-zero sum politics and relationship to culture, social forms, and aesthetics, and MMT resonates with that.”
Where conservatives, liberals, Marxists, and fascists alike cast politics as a distributional fight over scarce resources, the MMTers are more concerned with the political and legal frameworks that structure money creation, credit, and debt. In other words, politics and the economy aren’t fundamentally defined by the exchange of stuff or the mastery of nature; rather, what matters are peoples’ obligations to one another. The terms of those social obligations can be more or less productive, equitable, or sustainable. Crucially for the MMTers, because credit, debt, and money are political and legal creations, they can be changed through political processes without limit. As MMN Humanities codirector Scott Ferguson put it, “We are committed to a non-scarce, non-zero sum politics and relationship to culture, social forms, and aesthetics, and MMT resonates with that.”
Nathan Tankus, the research director for the Modern Money Network, has championed the broader ways that MMT can be applied to political questions. Tankus insists it’s a mistake to understand current political and economic fights as primarily determined by supposedly objective material constraints. Rather, resources are “always constructed by our social understandings of the world, subject to very different interpretations,” Tankus explained. “This isn’t to say that MMT has a more ‘idealist’ account or something like that, but to reject the idealist/materialist dichotomy all together.” In layman’s terms: We collectively decide just what counts as a resource, economic base, or productive work. Though Tankus is best known for his technical analyses of Federal Reserve policy, his own thinking here draws as much on ancient history or anthropological research into religion and kinship as cold, hard economics.
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