After Bill Mitchell successfully coined the Modern Monetary Theory in the 1990s, many people have been drawn to understand the underlying monetary policies and monetary sovereign governments. A monetarily sovereign government represents a government with its own central bank, currency, floating exchange rates, and no significant foreign currency debt. Such government issues currency when desired and abstractly, can never run out of cash.
Economists and politicians have a deviated view on this unlimited supply of money that never runs out. While economists have been showing concerns about the current financial systems and overall economic management, politicians avoid the allegations of excessive money printing stating it is not sustainable.
Who prints the money?
The central banks of the nations hold the authority to print money. In the case of the United States of America, it is the Federal Reserve. Even though these banks are portrayed as independent organizations, the government of many of these nations takes charge of them. It can be observed in major developed economies like the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan.
When there are spending requirements, the government asks central banks to address the needs by issuing the required money in the market. The underlying question is “Is there a limit for such Issuance?” Such releases of money are recorded as credits in the name of the government or the projects that are run by the government. The deficit of funds for budget spending is what justifies the issuance of such money and the government/people at the helm approve of such decisions.
What about payback?
One might argue that there certainly is paying back, isn’t there? However, it is important to understand that the central bank remains the property of the government. Therefore, the question of owing money to oneself appears shallow and the paying back concept thus remains void. In any practical sense, how can you owe money to yourself? This loophole in the system is studied in modern monetary theory.
What do experts say?
Economists like Stephanie Kelton, Randall Wray, Waren Mossler, and Bill Mitchell have been highly vocal about the modern monetary theory. Likewise, US Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has openly talked about this on multiple media platforms. She highlights the notion that the government prints money when desired especially to power wars and nuclear researches. However, people at the helm of central banks defend this allegation stating that the idea of unlimited money is unsustainable and therefore invalid.
Tracing the taxes we pay:
Another important question that might arise is “what about the taxes that the general public pays to the government?” Ideally, the money collected in the form of taxes is what must be used for government expenses. Interestingly, such taxes are found to be only a small portion of the money supply in the market by the government.
When evaluated rationally, there is always a deficit in the economy. And in order to cover deficits, more money is printed and released into the system. For example, if a government plans to spend 2 Billion and 1 Billion comes from taxes, the remaining 1 Billion is printed by the central bank. The nation registers a fund deficit and such issuance is carried out stating it is in the favor of the nations’ success.
Should we be worried?
Does this mean that we should be worried about the whole financial system as it looks like nothing but a black hole? Should governments print excess money and spend crazily and provide for everything to their citizens? Should there be no taxes? As good as this may sound, realistically it is unsustainable. Therefore, for building healthier private sectors and for progressive social inclusion in the economy, the focus should lie on building proper policy for money issuance and using a larger portion of it to develop employment and entrepreneurship.
Bonus: Why Cryptocurrency is not fully accepted?
When cryptocurrency was introduced in the market a decade earlier, many people advocated for this change. However, this came as a threat to the existing financial system. For so many centuries, the market has been driven by the central banks and the respective governments. This new practice of cryptocurrency, on the other hand, is a finite supply and circulation of money and therefore market-driven and not government-driven. As a result, it became illegal and still remains illegal in many nations.
A detailed article on Cryptocurrency will be published soon shedding light on how it can change the whole financial system and prove futuristic.