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Money on the Left

Author: Money on the Left

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Money on the Left is a monthly, interdisciplinary podcast that reclaims money’s public powers for intersectional politics. Hosting critical conversations with leading historians, theorists, organizers, and activists, the show draws upon Modern Monetary Theory and constitutional approaches to money to advance new forms of left critique and practice. Money on the Left is the official podcast of the Modern Money Network’s Humanities Division. It is hosted by William Saas, Maxximilian Seijo and Scott Ferguson and presented in partnership with Monthly Review magazine. Follow us on Twitter & Facebook at @moneyontheleft.
38 Episodes
Hosts Will Beaman & Maxximilian Seijo critique the Enlightenment myth that treats private property as the basis of political economy and they reflect, in particular, on the limits of a contemporary left media ecosystem that unquestioningly relies upon this spurious foundation for analysis & praxis. 
Cohosts Will Beaman, Natalie Smith, and Maxximilian Seijo are joined by historian Dan Berger to reflect on the political economy of abolitionism and its critical importance for the Left.Dan Berger (Twitter: @dnbrgr) is an Associate Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington at Bothell.Music: “Yum” from “This Would Be Funny If It Were Happening To Anyone But Me” EP by @actualflirting
Victor Pickard joins Money on the Left to discuss the public bases and potentials of money and media in The United States. Professor of Media Policy and Political Economy at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, Pickard is a prolific researcher and author of over one hundred articles and six books on the history of media institutions, media activism, and the avowedly political and public foundations of journalism and media policy. Our conversation with Pickard is far ranging. We survey his early work on the postwar settlement for American media, when the fundaments of the current media landscape such as its tendency toward private and consolidated ownership were first put in place. We explore the critical role and shortcomings of political liberalism in shaping that midcentury settlement and all that’s come after. And we identify means for creating resilient and diverse public media infrastructures that are better equipped to help leftists resolve the most pressing political, economic, and ecological crises of our moment. Along the way, we also uncover complementary impulses between Pickard’s vision for the future of public media and the Modern Money Movement’s project to democratize public money. 
Superstructure: Why MMT?

Superstructure: Why MMT?


Cohosts Will Beaman, Natalie Smith, and Maxximilian Seijo reflect on the importance of Modern Monetary Theory for the Left.
Pulling from the archive, Money on the Left presents the second episode of the Superstructure podcast, "The Virus is the Virus." In this episode, hosts Will Beaman and Maxximilian Seijo embark on a deep dive into intersections between the work of philosopher Giorgio Agamben and reductive Marxist discourses around capitalism and nature. In so doing, they uncover a highly problematic historical and political economic lineage for the widely used COVID19 meme: 'Capitalism is the virus'.
Cohosts Will Beaman, Natalie Smith and Maxximilian Seijo discuss Maxx's recent article in the Journal of Environmental Media, titled “Governing media information through a Green New Deal: History, theory, practice."Featuring a special report by Australian Twitter Correspondent @moltopopulare from inside the Superstructure, and a surprise call-in from friend of the show, Liz Bruenig.Music: “Yum” from “This Would Be Funny If It Were Happening To Anyone But Me” EP by @actualflirtingLink to Maxx's paper:…_theory_practice. 
Dipping into the archive, Money on the Left presents the very first episode of the Superstructure podcast. Framed by a cold open from Chapo Trap House's recent Bernie retrospective, hosts Will Beaman and Maxximilian Seijo inaugurate the Superstructure project with a discussion of the failures of a reified left wing imagination. To chart a path forward for an MMT-informed leftist praxis, they critique reductive castigations of spectacle, damaging affirmations of scarcity and zero-sum politics as well as a burgeoning 'anti-woke' left-right coalition.
Will, Naty and Maxx are joined by @moltopopulare to critique the hopeless aesthetic imagination of the Red Scare podcast and related films by Red Scare cohost Dasha Nekrasova.
Money on the Left is thrilled to introduce the latest project by our growing collective over at the Modern Money Network Humanities Division: Superstructure. Superstructure is a new podcast hosted by Will Beaman, Natalie Smith, and Money on the Left’s own Maxx Seijo.   Debuting in late Spring 2020 via Soundcloud and other platforms, Superstructure builds on the sensibility Money on the Left has made legible, but it does so through a daring new model of left podcasting which combines high-octane critical theory with biting wit.  The gambit of Superstructure speaks through its title. Vulgar Marxisms past and present have reduced political economy to supposedly direct material relations known as the “base.” Such approaches then cast off the remote or abstract relations of language, aesthetics, government and law as mere second order phenomena called “superstructure.” In contrast to such reductive and polarized suppositions, the Superstructure podcast insists on the superstructure’s constitutive and fundamentally generative priority for any monetary economy. It places language, aesthetics, government and law at the very heart of critical efforts discern and transform the ways money mediates social production and participation. Superstructure is an integral contribution to the evolving Money on the Left project--so much so that going forward we plan to release both archived and new Superstructure episodes through the Money on the Left podcast feed.     To kick things off, we present episode 6 of Superstructure, released formerly under the title, “Beyond The Bellows." Framed by a new introduction from Money on the Left host Scott Ferguson, "Beyond The Bellows" serves as an apt entree into Superstructure since it nicely encapsulates the program's overall argument, tone, and stakes. Please help us spread the word about Superstructure by following @Superstruc on Twitter and  sharing episodes in your networks.  
Transcript:úl Carrillo, organizer for economic justice and scholar of law, race, and money, joins Money on the Left to explore the promise of the public money framework for advancing antiracist, anti-imperialist, and democratic politics across the world. We discuss how the public money or MMT perspective shapes his work as an attorney fighting against predatory finance and for an international, rights-based approach to full employment. A significant portion of the conversation is devoted also to Raúl’s ongoing critique of the “taxpayer money” trope in U.S. political culture. In both his recent article for the UCLA Criminal Law Review and a 2017 piece (coauthored with Jesse Meyerson) for Splinter, Raúl persuasively shows that the myth of “taxpayer money” is not only incorrect in operational terms. It is also a significant threat to marginalized communities and a major rhetorical obstacle for progressive politics. Raúl Carrillo is an attorney, chair of the board of the Modern Money Network, Research Fellow with the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity, and member of the advisory board at Our Money. You can read his article for the UCLA Criminal Law Review here: Read his article on “The Dangerous Myth of Taxpayer Money” here: Transcript by Rich Farrell; Graphics by Meghan Saas; Production by Alex Williams; theme music by Hillbilly Motobike.
Economist, musician & Money on the Left audio engineer, Alex Williams, joins the podcast to discuss money, music and method in light of Modern Monetary Theory and heterodox economics. At the outset, we chat about methodology and the riddles of “administrative capacity” that drive so much of Williams’ work. Next, Williams guides us through his proposal for arts and culture provisioning under a federal Job Guarantee by way of a critique of the anti-money, laissez-faire DIY music scene in which he came up. Finally, we turn to Williams’ much-touted master’s thesis & recent popular work on stabilizing state and municipal balance sheets during crises like the coronavirus health emergency. Check out some of Williams’ important work: “The Job Guarantee and Cultural Equity: Gatekeeping and Popularization,” Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity, Working Paper 127, 2020.Intragovernmental Autonomous Stabilizers, Master’s Thesis, Bard College, 2020.“Structuring Federal Aid To States As An Automatic (and Autonomous) Stabilizer,” Employ America, 2020.Find Alex on Twitter: @tragicbios
Economist Benjamin Wilson joins Money on the Left to discuss heterodox approaches to place, participation, and the politics of university finance. Associate professor of economics at SUNY Cortland, Wilson received his interdisciplinary Ph.D. from University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), where he took courses with some of the leading lights of heterodox economic theory, including Stephanie Kelton, Mathew Forstater, and Fred Lee. In both his research and his pedagogy, Ben combines his commitment to local democratic participation with a deep, MMT-driven understanding of social provisioning to create some of the most compelling community currency projects ongoing today. We chat at length with Ben about the intellectual, historical, and practical frameworks for these projects, which intervene in spaces ranging from the college classroom to the state and regional levels. We also talk with Ben about our collectively authored #Unis4All university currency project, which derives from many of the principles of Wilson's previous work to argue that college and university systems ought to leverage their considerable provisioning capacities in order to reject austerity and provide for the health and welfare of all in their communities. You can read more about this proposal on Monthly Review Online and at Public Seminar.Check out some of Wilson's important papers:"An Interdisciplinary Narrative: Oncology, Capital & Solidarity," American Review of Political Economy, 2018. "A Dirigisme Approach to a Monetary Policy Jobs Guarantee and the Green New Deal," Available at SSRN, 2019."Housing, Health & History: Interdisciplinary Spatial Analysis in Pursuit of Equity for Future Generations," Intergenerational Responsibility in the 21st Century, 2018.Theme music by Hillbilly Motobike.* Thanks to the Money on the Left production team: Alex Williams (audio engineering), Richard Farrell (transcription) & Meghan Saas (graphic art).
In this episode, Maxx and Scott speak with legal scholar Sanjukta Paul about imagining alternative and more just forms of economic association in ways that denaturalize the 20th-century monopolistic firm. The key, Paul argues, is to reveal and contest the public “coordination rights” that legally structure all economic activity.  Sanjukta Paul is Assistant Professor of Law at Wayne State University. Her current research and writing involves the intersection of antitrust law and labor policy. She is currently writing a book tentatively titled, Solidarity in the Shadow of Antitrust: Labor & the Legal Idea of Competition, which will be published by Cambridge University Press. Her scholarly work has appeared in the UCLA Law Review; Law & Contemporary Problems; The Berkeley Journal of Employment & Labor Law; and The Cambridge Handbook of U.S. Labor Law.See here for the important paper we discuss in this episode, "Antitrust as an Allocator of Coordination Rights" (UCLA Law Review, Vol. 67, No. 2, 2020).   
Rohan Grey and Nathan Tankus join Money on the Left to discuss the flurry of debate about Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) arising out of the Coronavirus crisis. We focus, in particular, on the Modern Money Network’s multi-pronged efforts to illuminate and remedy the resulting economic devastation. At the center of our conversation is Rohan’s contribution to Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s “Automatic BOOST Act.” Known by the popular hashtag #MintTheCoin, Tlaib’s proposal calls on the U.S. Treasury to mint two trillion dollar platinum coins in order to deliver direly-need cash assistance via preloaded public debit cards for all—no exceptions. In response to dismissive critiques of the proposal as a gratuitous “gimmick,” we affirm #MintTheCoin’s political significance as a gimmick—whether as a critical parody of sound finance trickery or as a meaningful pedagogical ritual that makes public money creation visible. Along the way, we delve into Nathan’s now widely-hailed Substack newsletter: “Notes on the Crises: The Pandemic-Induced Depression from a Monetary Political Economy Perspective.” We reflect upon the inadequacy of Congressional action, paradigm-smashing moves by the Federal Reserve, and MMT’s strategic importance for the future of leftist struggle, both in the near- and long-term.For more information about Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s “Automatic BOOST Act” and #MintTheCoin, see here, here, and here. Sign up for Nathan’s Substack here. 
This month’s Money on the Left episode departs from the show’s regular interview format to reflect on the past, present and future of the Money on the Left project as a whole. We focus, in particular, on a recent special scholarly journal issue dedicated to Money on the Left, which was published by Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies and guest-edited by our friend Andrés Bernal. The issue joins archival text, audio and video with fresh essays about institution building, history, and media composed by co-hosts Billy Saas, Maxximilian Seijo and Scott Ferguson, respectively. Recorded in what now seems like a very different context before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, the episode additionally discusses the graduate student workers’ ongoing “cost of living adjustment” (COLA) strikes in the University of California system and U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley’s powerful appeal to our colleague David Stein’s scholarship on the Civil Rights struggle for full employment in a recent House Financial Services Committee meeting. Finally, we ponder Money on the Left's future efforts, including our upcoming second bi-annual conference titled, Money on the Left: The Green New Deal Across the Arts and Humanities. Originally scheduled for April 24 – 26 at Louisiana State University, the conference has recently been postponed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.You can check out Money on the Left’s special issue of Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies here:    
Reverend Dr. Delman Coates joins Money on the Left to discuss why the politics of public money creation are essential for social and spiritual liberation. Dr. Coates holds a Master’s in Divinity from Harvard and a Ph.D. in New Testament & Early Christianity from Columbia University. He currently serves as Senior Pastor at Mount Ennon Baptist church in Clinton, Maryland, and is founder of OUR MONEY, an organization fighting to restore democratic control over public money. In this episode, we speak with Dr. Coates about how he teaches Modern Monetary Theory to the over 10,000 members of his congregation; about his call for a new “theology of economics”; and his efforts to unite the traditions of the black church and the Civil Rights movement with the fiscal & policy frameworks of MMT. For more on Dr. Coates’s efforts, check out his essay, “The Unfinished Work of the Civil Rights Movement,” published recently in Sojourners magazine. Also, see to learn about his organization’s work and how to get involved.
Alexandra Scaggs joins Money on the Left to discuss her experience covering the ongoing paradigm crisis in mainstream economics, central banking and finance--and why leftists should be paying close attention. Alexandra is presently a senior writer at Barron’s, where she covers markets and fixed income. Giving credit to Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) for turning her toward left politics, Alexandra has proven an important contributor to the MMT project through her critical financial journalism and online commentary. During our conversation, we discuss Alexandra’s recent reporting on the complex topic of “repo markets.” We also talk about the inordinately powerful role played by so-called “primary dealers” in concealing money’s political constitution and possibilities. Ultimately, we stress the need for leftists to seize the moment in order to reverse the unjust neoclassical and monetarist consensus that has organized neoliberal political economy since the late 1970’s.Find Alexandra’s reportage at Barron’s ( and follow her on Twitter (@alexandrascaggs).
This December, we bring you a special Christmas episode of our program, featuring the enigmatic operator behind the increasingly popular Twitter account known as “Neoclassical Marxism,” or @NMarxism. @NMarxism is a deeply satirical Twitter project, which deploys Modern Monetary Theory and some very dark humor to critique the neoclassical economics and neoliberal assumptions that unconsciously organize a lot of present leftist discourse. Our mystery guest agreed to speak with us out of character, so long as we promised to disguise their voice. The episode is a funny but also quite penetrating conversation between @NMarxism and Money on the Left’s Maxximilian Seijo (@MaxSeijo). Given @NMarxism’s problematic proclivity to reduce socialist politics to crass consumerism, we thought what better way to present our dialog than in the form of a Christmas Special.
In this special live episode of Money on the Left, artist and researcher Vienne Chan joins us to talk art, politics, and money—and how Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) reconfigures the boundaries between all three. Recorded at the Third Annual International Conference on Modern Monetary Theory held at Stony Brook University, our conversation focuses specifically on Vienne’s recent efforts to combine MMT principles with diagrammatic visual design to fundamentally reimagine how to build and sustain democratic housing communities. Vienne holds an MFA in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies from Bauhaus Universitat Weimar. Her work has been shown at NGBK in Berlin, Plataforma Revolver in Lisbon, CCA Tel Aviv, Kunsthaus Dresden, and the Armory Center in Los Angeles.
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