Using Healthy Communication to Educate About Modern Monetary Theory
In a time when truth seems to be fiction and fiction seems to be truth, communication has never been more important. In a society where people are so incredibly money focused, yet opportunities to earn that money are slipping away for more of us by the day, being able to successfully communicate about intricate issues with those who have differing perspectives is critical. Our current political climate makes it painfully obvious how we must improve our communication skills if we are to all agree on a successful path forward.
It wasn’t until I took a Human Communications class at a local community college that I realized how communication is not a skill automatically inherited through genetics. You would think since humans have the ability to speak that we’d all be impeccable communicators but that is most certainly not the case. In fact, there’s research which highlights much of how humans behave and function biologically is dependent on environmental factors, especially during our developing years. Communication is a skill that we all learn as life goes on, but how well we learn that skill varies by individual and depends on several factors.
One of the skills that is taught in a Human Communications class is something called the Rogerian Method. According to R. Nordquist at Thought Co., “Rogerian argument is a negotiating strategy in which common goals are identified and opposing views are described as objectively as possible in an effort to establish common ground and reach agreement.” In a political system where there are only two major political parties, it is imperative that we communicate in such a way if an agreement is what we seek.
This is even more important when it comes to discussions that take place on social media services such as Facebook and especially Twitter. When we have a limited amount of characters to communicate an idea, it seems to dumb down conversations very easily and causes people to blow up at each other. Thanks to the two-sided labels like Democrat/Republican, conservative/liberal, and right/left, people tend to develop misplaced anger toward complete strangers out of ignorance and inability to communicate. Whether it be the person lacking the skills or the medium exchange preventing such communication, the result is the same.
One of the consequences of having a political system with just two parties is that most issues become politicized along party lines and not by differing approaches to finding an actual solution. Instead of immediate action being taken on urgent issues, it seems many politicians simply want to use them as campaign platforms. When push comes to shove, they always fail to follow through. Whatever the reason is, the people of this country are tired of being fed old, neoliberal ideas to fix our problems.
One concept that can help people dispel neoliberal economic myths is Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). For as long as I can remember, the explanation by many politicians for why we can’t have nice things is because “we don’t have the money.” MMT makes this claim sound asinine! MMT explains how the federal government issues a fiat currency and taxes are not used to fund programs as many politicians often claim. Simply put, our money is not backed by something like gold so we can always issue more if we choose to do so, but, if there is more money than there are resources to be purchased in the economy, then money must be destroyed through federal taxation to prevent demand-pull inflation. However, if we could economically empower people on a local level through programs such as the Federal Job Guarantee (FJG), the worries about inflation would be moot.
With evolving technology that’s becoming accessible to more people by the day, it should be a goal of ours to have every man, woman and child have access to renewable energy, clean drinking water, and nutritious, locally grown food. The ideas of what people 'need' vs what they 'want' seem to be different in this country compared to elsewhere in the world. Thanks to most every medium of communication being inundated with advertisements, many people feel they need the things they want and don’t want the things they really need.
Considering the corporate news media has advertisers which benefit from continuing the myth of taxes funding federal programs, it really shouldn’t be a surprise that so many people are unaware of Modern Monetary Theory. While it's technically true that investors could conceivably divest their assets away from US Dollar liabilities, this perspective is more than a little out of touch with the reality most Americans face while working full time and still living in poverty. People worried about paying rent and keeping food on the table aren’t even thinking about investing in the stock market. According to R. Wile at Time, 84 percent of stocks are owned by just 10 percent of the population.
If we keep using the priorities of Wall Street to fix our economic issues, then the solutions will only ever benefit the investor class and not the majority of Americans. It is clear we are in the middle of a communication breakdown in this country and our road forward must be led by creative people with innovative ideas, not career politicians with regressive austerity measures. Understanding Modern Monetary Theory is how we can achieve this, and communicating that understanding is key.