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Everybody Loves to Hate Modern Monetary Theory

Marxists, Austrians, and Keynesians agree on nothing … except that they don’t like MMT.

In 1853 the French writer Gustave Flaubert wrote, “You can calculate the worth of a man by the number of his enemies, and the importance of a work of art by the harm that is spoken of it.” By that standard, Modern Monetary Theory must be both worthy and important; it’s the economic school of thought that everybody loves to hate.

A new book by one of MMT’s leading proponents, Stony Brook University economist Stephanie Kelton, attempts to take back MMT from its critics and present it in simple language to a general audience. The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy is a work of persuasion, not formal scholarship. There’s fun stuff like comparing the federal government to the banker in a game of Monopoly, who by design can never run out of money. She even quotes from the official Monopoly rules: “The Bank never ‘goes broke.’ If the Bank runs out of money, the Banker may issue as much more money as may be needed by writing on any ordinary paper.” That’s a brilliant analogy.