MMT, Government Deficits, and Douglas Social Credit
While there are significant differences between Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and Douglas Social Credit, Professor Kelton’s talk allows us to turn our attention, for a change, on some of the points of commonality.
If the inflation we are witnessing is cost-push, instead of demand-pull, or insofar as it is cost-push, there is another way of dealing with the problem which governments and their central banks should seriously consider: compensated price discounts. Instead of increasing wages across the board (which will only further increase prices), the same amount of money required for the wage increases could be spent on reducing prices through a universally applied discount (a kind of reverse sales tax). Retailers would be compensated to the extent of the discount (enabling them to meet their costs in full), while consumers would see the purchasing power of their current wages, savings, etc., correspondingly increased. The cost-push inflation would be neutralized and everyone would benefit.
Now, if we can agree that inflation is a bad thing and that we need to address it, i.e., to neutralise it, it is likewise crucial that we can accurately discern what it is, in fact, that is causing the inflation. For there are two basic forms that inflation may take: 1) demand-pull and 2) cost-push. Just as in medicine, successful treatment most likely presupposes a correct diagnosis.