This Thanksgiving, don't have a political argument, have a "structured organizing conversation"

Union organizers don't have arguments with workers, they have "structured organizing conversations" -- conversations in which the organizer asks someone to think about what change they want to see, what the obstacles to that change are, and then asks them to think about whether that change will come about unless they form a union. Read the rest

Profile of Mariana Mazzucato, the economist who's swaying both left and right politicians with talk of "the entrepreneurial state"

Mariana Mazzucato (previously) came to prominence after the publication of her 2013 book The Entrepreneurial State, which described the way that robust state spending on large-scale R&D was critical to the kinds of commercial technological "breakthroughs" that the private sector liked to take credit for, and argued that the decades-long drawdown in public spending on the theory that governments were bloated and inefficient had stalled economic growth and technological progress because private firms systematically underinvest in research. Read the rest

A layperson-friendly introduction to MMT, a heterodox school of economics that could finance a Green New Deal

Modern Monetary Theory (AKA MMT) is the latest incarnation of a long-running current in economic thought, once called Chartalism, which has gained prominence in recent years as an alternative to austerity economics, whose dictates have immiserated millions, destabilized world politics, and threaten the extinction of the human race thanks to climate inaction in the guise of "fiscal restraint." Read the rest

AOC really plays in Iowa

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is campaigning with Bernie Sanders in Iowa, generally considered a conservative, red-state kind of place -- so much so that Iowa GOP operators made a series of public predictions that she would be laughed out of the state. The state party chairman Jeff Kaufmann called her "Doctor Ocasio-Cortez" and Sanders "Crazy Bernie": "She’s got a problem with our cows here!" while Iowa Senator Joni Ernst predicted that the pair would be booed offstage. Read the rest

Massive spike in young people registering to vote in the UK

The announcement of a UK General Election on Dec 12 -- the third in less than five years! -- was attended by predictable rises in the numbers of people registering to vote, but as official statistics show, the end of October saw a massive spike in voter registration among under 45s, led by under-25s and 25-34 year olds. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders and AOC, in conversation

The Intercept's political editor Ryan Grim chaired a 10-minute, backstage conversation between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders at a rally in Queens last weekend, just before AOC endorsed Sanders' bid for the Democratic Party's nomination for the 2020 presidential race. The pair describe their theory of change and how they can get their agenda enacted. (I am a donor to both Bernie Sanders' and Elizabeth Warren's campaigns) Read the rest

Crowdfunding a symposium on a green, postcapitalist economics in Brussels, Nov 11

On November 11, the Edgeryders nonprofit assocation is bringing me to Brussels for a day-long event called The Science Fiction Economics Lab, where I'll be jointly keynoting with Edgeryders economist Alberto Cottica, a lifelong science fiction fan, about radical futuristic economic ideas for a more cooperative, sustainable future. Read the rest

"The People's Money": A crisp, simple, thorough explanation of how government spending is paid for

Modern Monetary Theory is an economic paradigm that treats money as a utility that governments issue and tax in order to mobilize resources needed to provide the services that the public wants; it explains why some kinds of government spending leads to inflation while other kinds do not, and how sovereign states use different levers to control inflation, even when they're spending extraordinary sums, as in WWII. Read the rest

Washington establishment freaks out as Modern Monetary Theory gains currency

Modern Monetary Theory (previously) is an economic philosophy based on the idea that all state spending is "deficit" spending, since money comes into existence when the government spends it, and when the government raises taxes, it does so in order to take that money out of existence, both in order to control inflation and to limit the concentration of power in the hands of the wealthy. Read the rest

On Fire: Naomi Klein's book is a time-series of the shift from climate denial to nihilism to Green New Deal hope

My latest LA Times book review is for Naomi Klein's new essay collection, On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, which traces more than a decade of Klein's outstanding, on-the-ground reports from the pivotal struggle to begin the transformational work needed to save our species and the rest of the Earth's living things from a devastating, eminently foreseeable, and ultimately avoidable climate catastrophe. Read the rest

My MMT Podcast appearance, part 2: monopoly, money, and the power of narrative

Last week, the Modern Monetary Theory Podcast ran part 1 of my interview with co-host Christian Reilly; they've just published the second and final half of our chat (MP3), where we talk about the link between corruption and monopoly, how to pitch monetary theory to people who want to abolish money altogether, and how stories shape the future. Read the rest

My appearance on the MMT podcast: compelling narratives as a means of advancing complex political and economic ideas

I've been following the Modern Monetary Theory debate for about 18 months, and I'm largely a convert: governments spend money into existence and tax it out of existence, and government deficit spending is only inflationary if it's bidding against the private sector for goods or services, which means that the government could guarantee every unemployed person a job (say, working on the Green New Deal), and which also means that every unemployed person and every unfilled social services role is a political choice, not an economic necessity. Read the rest

We could fund the transition to green energy with 10-30% of the world's fossil fuel subsidy

A new report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) estimates the cost of subsidizing a full transition to clean energy, and comes out with a figure that is only 10-30% of the subsidy presently given to the planet-destroying fossil fuel industries. Read the rest

Shahid Buttar: the civil rights cyberlawyer and community organizer who's challenging Pelosi from the left #ShahidVsPelosi

I endorsed Shahid Buttar's primary challenge to Nancy Pelosi in 2018, and I'm proud to do so again for the 2020 primary, especially as Pelosi has allowed herself to be played by Trump on American concentration camps and mass ethnic-cleansing raids. Read the rest

Countries with higher levels of unionization have lower per-capita carbon footprints

In Is Labor Green? (Sci-Hub mirror), three Oregon sociologists investigate the correlation between high rates of trade unionization and low carbon footprints. Read the rest

You can't recycle your way out of climate change

Mary Annaise Heglar of the Natural Resources Defense Council is tired of her friends confessing their environmental sins to her, like using disposable containers; as she points out, climate change is a systemic problem, not an individual one, and the Ayn-Rand-ish framing of all problems as having individual causes with individual solutions is sheer victim blaming. Read the rest

All weekend, California Democrats booed neoliberal would-be presidents who talked down the Green New Deal and Medicare for All

John Delaney (a finance friendly millionaire) wants to be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, and he thinks he knows how to win: "Medicare for all may sound good but it's actually not good policy nor is it good politics." It's an idea so unpopular with California Democrats that it attracted a full minute of heartfelt boos when he assayed it last weekend. Read the rest

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