At least that is the conclusion I’ve pretty much come to since the idea that the government has no money seems to be shared, not only by the obscurely financed Taxpayers’ Alliance, but also by Marxists.
In this linked ‘Medium’ article, which though undeclared, seems to be heavily reliant on Paul Mason’s thinking, it is asserted that:
What the MMT-ers [Modern Monetary ‘Theory’ supporters] have uniquely done is elevate a theory of money into a theory of value: the state, by creating money, creates value. If this were true it would annul all the risks involved in the biggest peacetime borrow-and-spend programme ever attempted. It would also, …. provide a neat way to abolish capitalism without class struggle.
Marxists believe value is created by human labour in conjunction with nature, not by the state issuing dollar bills. Profits and savings don’t come into being at the command of the central bank but via a process of exploitation, in the workplace, the marketplace and the finance system….. value is created in the private sector, we take very seriously the spontaneous and uncontrollable outcomes of state intervention and expropriation.
This criticism of Modern Monetary thought is quite mistaken. MMTers seem, to me at least, to assert that value is a joint endeavour. It needs the state to regulate just as much as the private sector or individual to offer the goods and/or services. We know that the state offers the rule of law so taxes can be paid – and indeed money is of the right denomination.
So state intervention is a necessity. Private provision of anything never works without state rules and the framework around it. Now it is true that there was less of this at the time of Marx’s writing than there is now but it was by no means non-existant. And this has been the format – especially when you include temples as local ‘rulers’ – or at least regulators – since pre Christian times.
The idea that there is a “project to achieve socialism through money artistry instead of class struggle is not new on the American left — but it invariably leads nowhere” is not true of the MMTers, as the concept, far form being money artistry, actually explains what happens in the here and now!
As for “Generating inflation is easier than collecting taxes“, I’m, really at a loss. Most of that ‘inflation’ will on its own create taxes!
We also have half a trillion pounds of Quantititaive Easing yet no significant inflation (except in stocks and shares which was designed in) and in any case hyperinflation is actually an indication of government collapse not overspending with a legally coherent tax regime.
That, I fear, was a delusion encouraged by neoliberal thought. And with Margaret Thatcher in the vanguard, husband, Denis Thatcher must have surely wondered how those Marxists gave quite so much assistance….