Cos’è la MMT?

4 Jun, 2019 at 14:24 | Posted in Economics | 6 Comments

domanda_4MMT è due cose: è una lente di osservazione dei processi di creazione e circolazione del denaro, ed è una ricetta per la piena occupazione e la stabilità dei prezzi. Quanto alla prima, i contributi migliori di MMT sono quelli che, sviscerando i nessi tecnici tra banca centrale, banche e Tesoro, dimostrano che il denaro a disposizione della spesa pubblica proviene sempre, inevitabilmente, dalla banca centrale, e che la differenza tra finanziamento sul mercato e monetizzazione del debito è una distinzione istituzionale e politica. La ricchezza finanziaria di famiglie e imprese, a sua volta, non può che essere alimentata dal credito bancario e dal disavanzo pubblico, ed entrambi sono strumenti che sostengono la crescita e, se sfrenati, causano crisi finanziarie o inflazione. Eppure, le regole di politica economica degli ultimi trent’anni hanno privilegiato unicamente il ruolo della banca centrale che manovrando il costo del denaro può solo incoraggiare o scoraggiare il debito privato.

Gli economisti MMT (e non) che usavano questo modo di vedere già prima della crisi hanno potuto decifrare meglio di altri i motivi per cui, contrariamente al senso comune, il pacchetto fiscale di Obama non avrebbe fatto salire i tassi, l’assenza di una politica fiscale comune europea avrebbe violentemente destabilizzato l’euro, e il Quantitative Easing non avrebbe prodotto inflazione. E ha potuto comprendere meglio di altri perché l’unica opzione sul tavolo per arrestare la frana dell’euro nel 2012 era che la BCE intervenisse ritagliandosi nuovi spazi d’azione che sembravano proibiti dalle regole della moneta unica. Una lente di lettura efficace, dunque: la stessa che il Levy Economics Institute adoperò per criticare, controcorrente, la riduzione del debito pubblico durante l’amministrazione Clinton perché rischiava di diventare la premessa di un’impetuosa crescita del debito privato, come è puntualmente accaduto fino al collasso del 2008. Quanto alle ricette MMT, a qualcuno piace liquidarle un po’ troppo frettolosamente, riassumendole superficialmente nel principio del paese di Cuccagna in cui basta stampare denaro per diventare ricchi. Il punto è evidentemente un altro, ed è quello di spostare l’attenzione dalla dimensione del debito alla qualità della spesa e all’efficacia dell’imposizione fiscale, monitorandone con estrema attenzione le ricadute potenzialmente inflazionistiche. Il disegno è quello di dare massima priorità alla creazione di opportunità di lavoro, sia privato che di utilità sociale, adoperando la politica fiscale in maniera funzionale al raggiungimento del fine.

Andrea Terzi

Another positive contribution of MMT, especially from a european point of view, is also that it makes it transparently clear why the euro-experiment has been such a monumental disaster. The neoliberal dream of having over-national currencies just doesn’t fit well with reality. When an economy is in a crisis, it must be possible for the state to manage and spend its own money to stabilize the economy.

When the euro was created twenty years ago, it was celebrated with fireworks at the European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt. Today we know better. There are no reasons to celebrate the 20-year anniversary. On the contrary.

euroAlready since its start, the euro has been in crisis. And the crisis is far from over. The tough austerity measures imposed in the eurozone has made economy after economy contract. And it has not only made things worse in the periphery countries, but also in countries like France and Germany. Alarming facts that should be taken seriously.

The problems — created to a large extent by the euro — may not only endanger our economies, but also our democracy itself. How much whipping can democracy take? How many more are going to get seriously hurt and ruined before we end this madness and scrap the euro?

The euro has taken away the possibility for national governments to manage their economies in a meaningful way — and in country after country, the people have had to pay the true costs of its concomitant misguided austerity policies.

The unfolding of the repeated economic crises in euroland during the last decade has shown beyond any doubts that the euro is not only an economic project but just as much a political one. What the neoliberal revolution during the 1980s and 1990s didn’t manage to accomplish, the euro shall now force on us.

But do the peoples of Europe really want to deprive themselves of economic autonomy, enforce lower wages and slash social welfare at the slightest sign of economic distress? Are​ increasing income inequality and a federal überstate really the stuff that our dreams are made of? I doubt it.


  1. “The neoliberal dream of having over-national currencies just doesn’t fit well with reality. When an economy is in a crisis, it must be possible for the state to manage and spend its own money to stabilize the economy.”

    I think it is a little bit more complicated than that. The degree to which an economy can have such autonomy comes down to things like power and the balance of payments positions of countries. The Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates and the Gold Standard contributed to the industrialisation of countries like Germany (a la Frederick List), Japan, the recovery of Western Europe and the industrialisation of East Asia. This is something understood by Marxists. In fact it allowed many of these countries to pursue import substitution policies, contrary to the neo-liberal narrative. There were good reasons why Greece and Italy wanted to join the Euro and abandon the Drachma and Lire. They saw it as a means of getting out of their endless cycles of inflation, balance of payments crises and deflation, and finally a means to get on the growth curve and overcome their structural terms of trade crises. Countries with reserve currencies like the US can inflate their way out of problems, even with balance of payments deficits. This does not apply, however, to countries that are trade dependent, especially dependent on essential inputs such as fuel and do not have the political and economic power that backs up a currency like the dollar. In ancient Rome, the currency was continually debased (literally the silver content reduced). It did not matter if Ceasar’s head was on it and he said it was worth what it said it was and as long as he and his army was in charge.

    Something both mainstream economists and MMT don’t talk about: POWER.

    You are an expert in linguistic philosophy. What does currency mean? It is both a noun and an adjective. How does a currency have currency?

    Europe is many ways a project that has pushed forward socialist ideals and is a force for tolerance. A big cause of problems was the liberalisation of capital flows – it did not escape the influence of neo-liberalism – while banking and fiscal unification were delayed (made more complicated by the rushed expansion eastwards).

    I understand your concerns, but a powerful social Europe is now more important than ever. The answer is a European wide Marshall Plan directed at the Southern periphery. But this requires institutional changes whereby capital can be directed towards specific projects.

    • Whether a social Europe is needed or not, what they have is a neoliberal Europe. Politically futile efforts to institute a fiscal policy along impossible lines just further secure the neoliberals.
      When the Troika were rescuing the German Landesbanken and calling it a bailout of Greece, the German people were told Germans were sacrificing to help the Greeks recover from the consequences of Greek profligacy. Cheerleading help from the north for the southern periphery is likely to be subverted into lending with a dark shadow.
      Europe, to recover space for democratic self-reliance, needs to find ways to de-centralize the fiscal capacity.
      If i were asked (and no one is likely to), i would suggest modifying the integrated, harmonised VAT to permit countries to impose effective tariffs within the EU, as a way of managing trade and capital flows as well as securing the funds to make national debts risk free again. Of course, that is throwing the neoliberal “four freedoms” b.s. over board.

    • They saw it as a means of getting out of their endless cycles of inflation, balance of payments crises and deflation

      Not sure the endless cycle of crisis and austerity has actually been better for them

  2. MMT with its orientation to functional finance does lend credibility to a critique of the Euro as a neoliberal design to disable democratic use of fiscal policy.
    Another economic problem, which MMT in its current doctrinal formula neglects, but which is gradually becoming more acute, is the need for “zero-risk” sovereign securities to anchor the banking and payments system. The Euro made the several national debts of Euro countries risky, potentially destabilizing their banking systems and opening the door to escalating interest service costs for national budgets.
    The Greeks were made to submit to the Troika by the prospect of the banking and payment system collapsing. Cyprus was forced into a bail-in of its banks. Italy’s banking system is gradually sliding toward oblivion as slow growth sinks the viability of business loans and the huge Italian national debt threatens to create a drain on payments.

  3. Neoliberals don’t take MMT seriously because everyone knows the private sector creates net financial assets. MMT’s naive sectoral balance sheet dogma ignores real-world balance sheets.

  4. Concordo,aldilà delle spiegazioni si dovrebbe intervenire a livello politico istituzionale con interventi legislativi che correggano lo squilibrio del debito pubblico e in generale della moneta emessa dalla banca centrale,io mi sono permesso di sviluppare una mia teoria che interpreta lo squilibrio sulla base dello scompenso della massa monetaria emessa e quella richiesta di fatto , lo esemplifico nel esempio riducendo il sistema a due soggetti su un isola deserta : il primo soggetto diciamo presta dieci monete al secondo e gliene chiede undici di restituzione ,ora essendo l’isola deserta e non esistendo l’undicesima moneta il debito non potrà mai essere restituito ..,la correzione a livello politico dovrebbe obbligare l’emettitori di moneta a mettere in circolazione in qualche modo anche la quota di moneta che poi viene richiesta….più che un quantitatieasing un quantitativefree…more on

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