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The Problem With Modern Monetary Theory


According to the Modern Money Theory (MMT), money is a thing that the State decides upon. Following the ideas of the German economist, Georg Knapp, the MMT simply regards money as a token. For instance, when an individual places a coat in the cloakroom of a theatre, he receives a tin disc or a paper receipt. This receipt or a disc is a proof that the individual is entitled to demand the return of his coat. The token was labelled by Knapp as chartal or a pay token.

On this way of thinking money is seen as a chartal means of payments. According to the MMT, the material used to manufacture the tokens is irrelevant – it can be gold, silver, or any other metal or it can even be paper. Hence, the definition of money according to the MMT is what the State decides it is going to be[1].

According to this theory, the value of money is established because the State forces people to pay taxes with the money that the State has decided upon. The State taxes have to be paid with the money tokens issued by the State. The State also has the ability to control the value of money through its declaration of how much it is willing to pay for a certain commodity produced by the private sector. What we have here is a situation wherein the State exchanges empty tokens for goods and services produced by individuals. It then requires them to pay taxes with part of the tokens.

If one dissects the whole process one would discover that it is about an exchange of worthless tokens for real goods and services i.e. nothing for something.

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