Martin Wolf zu MMT

 Martin Wolf beschäftigt sich in der FT auch mit dem Thema MMT. Liegt ja nahe. Wenig verwunderlich – auch er ist skeptisch:

  • Money is a creature of the state. Modern monetary theory, a controversial account of this truth, is analytically correct, so far as it goes. But where it does not go is crucial: money is a powerful tool, but it can be abused.” – bto: Und das wissen wir nur zu gut aus der Geschichte. Der Staat hat Geld immer wieder missbraucht und die Möglichkeiten dazu kannte schon Goethe.
  • „(The) ideas in Modern Monetary Theory (…) have the following fundamental elements. First, taxes drive money. This doctrine is called ‘chartalism’. Governments can force their citizens to use the money it issues, because that is how people pay their taxes. The state’s money will thus become the money used for domestic transactions.” – bto: Deshalb ist es so interessant, was die Italiener mit den Mini-BOTs machen. Kann man damit Steuern bezahlen, hat man ein neues Geld im Land.
  • “Banks depend upon the government’s bank — the central bank — as lender of last resort. The IOUs of banks — the predominant form of money in today’s economies — are imperfect substitutes for such sovereign money. They are imperfect, because banks may become illiquid or insolvent and so may default. That is why banking crises are common.” – bto: Auch das spricht gegen eine Privatisierung des Geldes, weil wir dann entsprechend zahlreiche Lender of Last Resort brauchen. Natürlich kann man argumentieren, dass Wettbewerb und Transparenz kontrollierend wirken. Die Erfahrung stützt das meines Erachtens allerdings nicht.  
  • “Second, contrary to conventional wisdom, no mechanical relationship exists between holdings of central bank liabilities by banks (that is, reserves) and creation of bank money. Since the financial crisis, central bank balance sheets and bank reserves have grown hugely, but broader monetary aggregates have not. The explanation is that the dominant driver of the money supply is the (risk-adjusted) profitability of lending, which is high in booms and low in busts. The weakness of credit also explains why inflation has remained low.” – bto: in Verbindung mit der gesunkenen Umlaufgeschwindigkeit.
  • “Third, governments need never default on loans in their own currency. The government does not need to raise taxes or borrow to pay its way; it is possible for it to create the money it needs. This makes it simple for governments to run deficits, in order to ensure full employment.” – bto: Bei diesem Punkt von MMT kommt man ins Zweifeln. Es führt dazu, dass unter Umständen zu viel Geld geschöpft wird mit den bekannten Problemen.
  • “Fourth, only inflation sets limits on a government’s ability to spend. But, if inflation emerges, the government has to tighten demand, by raising taxes.” – bto: Huber hat gezeigt, dass durch Besteuerung das Geld nicht wieder verschwindet, deshalb bleibt es im System und damit auch der Inflationsdruck.
  • Martin Wolf ganz klar: “This analysis is correct, up to a point. (…) A sovereign government can always spend in order to support demand. Again, expansion of the central bank balance sheet does not make high inflation likely, let alone inevitable.” – bto: Man kann also direkte Geldschöpfung für den Staat betreiben, ohne Inflation zu erzeugen.
  • “What then are the problems with MMT? These are twofold: economic and political. An important economic difficulty, clear from painful western experience in the 1970s, is that it is hard to know where ‘full employment’ lies. (…) A still more important economic mistake is to ignore the expectations that drive people’s behaviour. Suppose holders of money fear that the government is prepared to spend on its high priority items, regardless of how overheated the economy might become. (or they) fear that the central bank has also become entirely subject to the government’s whims (which has happened often enough in the past). They are then likely to dump money in favour of some other asset, causing a collapsing currency, soaring asset prices and booming demand for durables. This may not lead to outright hyperinflation. But it might lead to a burst of high inflation, which becomes entrenched.” – bto: und vor allem schwer steuerbar, weil es die Umlaufgeschwindigkeit treibt.
  • “If politicians think they do not need to worry about the possibility of default, only about inflation, their tendency may be to assume output can be driven far higher, and unemployment far lower, than is possible without triggering an upsurge in inflation. That happened to many western countries in the 1970s. It has happened more often to developing countries, especially in Latin America. But the economic and social consequences of big spikes in inflation can be very damaging.” – bto: eben, weil es die Erwartungen oder besser gesagt, dass Vertrauen beeinflusst, und zwar negativ.
  • “(…) in managing a modern monetary economy, one has to avoid two gross errors. One is to rely on private sector demand too much, since that can all too easily end up with highly destructive financial booms and busts. The opposite error is to rely on government-led demand too much, since that may well generate destructive inflation booms and busts. The solution, nearly all of the time, is to delegate the needed discretion to independent central banks and financial regulators.” – bto: also die Beibehaltung des Status quo. Früher hatte Wolf übrigens für Vollgeld plädiert.
  • “(…) proponents of MMT are right that during a period of structurally feeble private demand (as in Japan since 1990) or a deep slump, a sovereign government must and can act, on its own or in co-operation with the central bank, to offset private weakness. There is then no reason to fear the constraints. It should just go for it.” – bto: Nur, dazu brauchen wir keine neue Theorie …

→ (Anmeldung erfordrlich): “States create useful money, but abuse it”, 28. Mai 2019