Merry GERSmas! Well maybe not yet, but it’s worth generating a positive mood in what will turn into a Hell hole on Twitter.
Tomorrow is Scotland’s yearly release of the Government Expenditure Revenue Scotland report that estimates our economy as part of the UK. Following the annual release is a huge rammy of social media between supporters and opponents of Scottish independence, specifically on Scotland’s deficit figure.
Many independence supporters will argue that GERS is just estimated data, perhaps even poor, so we must take it with a very large pinch of salt.
Many unionists will argue that the GERS data is just fine and that the deficit figure is a devastating blow for independence supporters.
The data argument behind GERS no longer interests me for two reasons. First, when debating how accurate the GERS data is independence supporters are naturally forced in a position where they have to argue that government deficits are bad, or at least harmful. Second, repeating the same argument years is frankly just tiring.
The first point is most important. When unionists cite figures and argue “Look, you have a deficit of X and you have to explain how you’ll pay for it” we naturally respond by assuming unionists are right in the idea government deficits are bad. This is followed up with an argument that an independent Scotland could not support its own currency because of such a government deficit.
Both these arguments are wrong. Government deficits, when denominated in our own Scottish currency, are not harmful. I could write a very long blog post as to why this is the case (which I have done already by clicking here), but not today. Instead of directly responding to pseudo-intellects on the unionist side of the argument it’s only fair that you hear directly from the experts.
So this blog post is going to layout a list of experts who have spoken about a new Scottish currency and/or why we should not be fearful of government deficits, but instead largely welcome them. This blog post will be similarly formatted to my blog post “18 Economic Experts Who Back A New Scottish Currency“.
First up is Dr Timothy Rideout. Dr Rideout has a BA in Economics and Geography, whilst pursuing a profession in mapping and attained a PHD in geography. He became co-owner of a computer mapping company in Edinburgh and produced a range of ‘Independent Scotland’ wall maps back in 2017.
Here Dr Rideout talks about how an independent Scotland can successfully launch its own currency.
Second up is Warren Mosler, an American economist, engineer, author and co-founder of the CFPES at University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Warren talks about the reality of modern economies with their own currencies. He explains why it’s important for Scotland to have its own currency and not be fearful of government deficits.
You can also listen to Bill Mitchell, an Australian Professor of economics at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, Director of CofFEE, and a leading proponent of Modern Monetary Theory.
Bill looks at Scotland’s data to explain why our current deficit and trade position is actually in a strong place, if Scotland has its own currency.
There are also some very important comments worth noting from Joseph Stiglitz, an American economist, public policy analyst, and a professor at Columbia University. He is a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001, is a former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank and is a former member and chairman of the US president’s Council of Economic Advisers.
Joseph Stiglitz is by far one of the most influential economists of our time. He recently gave his support for a new Scottish currency and why it would be better in controlling our deficit and rejoining the European Union. You can find his comment by clicking here.
Many of you will already know Richard Murphy, an English Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University London, a chartered accountant and political economist. He is an advisor to the Trades Union Congress on economics and taxation, and is a long-standing member of the Tax Justice Network.
You can see his interview with Phantom Power discussing the Scottish economy.
Other comments worth noting are from Steven Keen and Laurie MacFarlane. Steven Keen is an Australian economic historian, author, Professor and Head of the School of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University in London and a fellow at the Centre for Policy Development. Laurie Macfarlane is a Scottish economist and writer based in Edinburgh. He is Economics Editor at openDemocracy, a Research Associate at the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London and former Senior Economist at the New Economics Foundation.
Both have spoken in the past about why Scotland must have monetary sovereignty in regards to Scottish independence. They explain that public debt isn’t the major feat, but private debt (which is being built up thanks to Westminster austerity). You can read their comments by clicking here.
If you have not already listened to the MMT Podcast then I highly recommend you do. One of their guest speakers was Fadhel Kaboub, an American Associate Professor of Economics at Denison University and President of the Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity. Fadhel makes a great case for Scotland to have its own currency. There is a mix up of SNP policy, but the argument is essentially the same. You can listen to him by clicking here.
He explains the same points again in his UK seminar on the Job Guarantee, which will play a vital role in an independent Scotland’s Green New Deal.
Many Yes activists will already know Yanis Varoufakis, a Greek economist, academic and former politician. He is former a Greek Minister of Finance, has published numerous texts on economics, game theory and formerly taught at the University of Texas and University of Athens. He has spoken in favour of Scottish independence and monetary sovereignty. You can read his views by clicking here.
Many SNP members will know George Kerevan, a Scottish journalist, economist, and former politician. He was an academic economist for 25 years and chair of the Economic Development Committee of Edinburgh Council, where he led the capital’s regeneration in the 1990s, including creating the Gyle Business Park and initiating the International Science Festival. He is the author of Tackling Timorous Economics, with Katherine Trebeck and Stephen Boyd. He is a board member of Common Weal.
Two other economists worth considering are Monique Ebell and Angus Armstrong. Monique Ebel is an economist and formerly Associate Research Director at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR). She has a Ph.D. in Economics at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and a Master’s in Economics at the University of Bonn. Angus Armstrong is Chief Economist Asia and Managing Director and formerly Head of Macroeconomic Analysis at HM Treasury. He has a PhD in economics and is a Honorary Professor at Stirling University.
Both experts favour Scotland having its own currency in their report “The Economic Consequences of Scottish Independence”. You can read it by clicking here.
Another great economist is Mark Blyth, a Scottish Professor of International Economics and Director of the Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance at Brown University. In 2014 Mark wrote an article titled “It’s Not About the Money” on Foreign Affairs where he describes the potential problems with a currency union. He also goes on to support Scotland having its own currency and lays out the requirements to create one. You can read his views by clicking here.
You’re probably feeling a little full with these sources and videos, but there’s more! Other experts that are in favour of Scotland having its own currency, and not being afraid of government deficits, are part of MMT Scotland’s advisory panel.
Some of you may have heard of Stephanie Kelton, a Professor of Public Policy and Economics at Stony Brook University, chief economist on the US Senate Budget Committee 2015 and an Economic Adviser to Bernie Sanders’ 2016 Presidential Campaign. Common Space recently covered the launch of MMT Scotland, specifically Kelton joining the group’s advisory board. You can read more by clicking here.
Another fantastic individual is Pavlina Tcherneva, an American economist, program director and associate professor of economics at Bard College and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute. She is also an expert at the Institute for New Economic Thinking.
One of Pavlina’s expertise is the Jog Guarantee programme, which again will play a vital part in a Scottish Green New Deal in the future.
Another economist includes Randall Wray, a Professor of economics at Bard College, Research Director of the Center for Full Employment and Price Stability, and Senior Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute.
One economist who has personally helped me is Rohan Grey, Founder and President of the Modern Money Network and is also a Research Fellow at the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity. Rohan holds a bachelor’s degree in government and business from the University of Sydney, a J.D. from Columbia Law School, and a L.L.M. from the London School of Economics.
The final two economists are Mathew Forstater and Steven Hail. Mathew Forstater is a Professor of economics at UMKC and research director with the GISP. Mathew is also a research associate of the Levy Institute and was the founding director of the CFEPS. Steven Hail is a Research Scholar at the Institute of Sustainable Prosperity and Lecturer in the School of Economics at the University of Adelaide in South Australia. Hail holds a BSc and an MSc from the London School of Economics, in addition to a PhD from Flinders University.
Finally another fantastic economist is Professor Scott Fullwiler. Although Scott has not strictly endorsed any form of a new Scottish currency or independence itself, his work on moving away from deficit obsessions is very important for independence supporters. You can read his article “Replacing the Budget Constraint with an Inflation Constraint” by clicking here.
If many of you are overwhelmed by this, or simply want a shorter answer, then these two infographics may come in handy.
I think the point has been made fairly well, but now it’s your turn.
Are you a independence activist? Do you want training by economic experts on how to reframe the discussion in a simple, factually correct and effective way?
On Saturday the 21st of September MMT Scotland and the Scottish Greens will be teaming up to discuss how Scotland tackles social inequalities and implements a Scottish Green New Deal. This will be your opportunity to pose hard questions to the experts and gain knowledge to see past frequent misinformation on the big issues. You can purchase tickets by clicking here.
After the discussion Professor Bill Mitchell will be offering a free workshop to develop our understanding of the modern economy and how to frame the discussion to wider Scottish society. This will be vital for independence activists to attend in order to counter unionist misinformation. You can purchase tickets for the workshop by clicking here.
Both events will be happening on the same day one after the other.
Let’s turn the tables on unionists. Instead of discussing the data on GERS let’s focus on the reality and opportunities of a modern independent Scottish economy.