I have been reading a series of essays by the Australian economist Peter Cooper on the alleged compatibility between Marx’s labor theory of value and modern monetary theory, which he has given the title, Marx and MMT. In particular I have been studying this particular essay, Part 1: Three Kinds of Macro Variables, which purports to show consistencies between Marx’s approach and modern money theory.
Needless to say, I am not impressed.
Peter borrows heavily from the TSSI school, who employ the so-called MELT approach to money as a substitute for Marx’s own theory of money. Here is the problem with the so-called monetary expression of labor time employed by the TSSI school as a substitute for Marx’s theory of money:
In the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, during the month of May, 2019, approximately 162.6 million workers were employed. The BLS also estimates that, on average, these employed workers worked about 34.4 hours each week. This amounts to a total of 5.6 billion hours of labor time per week.
Does this mean that the value produced by these workers amounts to the equivalent of 5.6 billion hours of labor?
The post is actually from February 2016. As things so often happen, it is only now coming to my attention. I came across this piece from the internet the way I come across most things I come across on the internet when it popped up on my blog as a link.
I usually ignore these referrals, but this one contained three words I cannot resist: Marx, Fiat and Money. So I went to investigate. The post began with a quote from one of my old posts and it seems the writer thinks my take on fiat money is wrong. My error appears to have something to do with my misunderstanding of modern monetary theory.
At the top of the page there is a category titled, “Marx + MMT“. Although I think MMT is a crock, I was intrigued by what possible connection this group thought existed between Marx and the modern money school. So I decided to check it out.