While central banks face a challenging environment today, those challenges are not entirely new. In fact, in 1999 the Federal Reserve System hosted a conference titled "Monetary Policy in a Low Inflation Environment." Conference participants discussed new challenges that were emerging after the then-recent victory over the Great Inflation.1 They focused on many questions posed by low inflation and, in particular, on what unconventional tools a central bank might use to support the economy if interest rates fell to what we now call the effective lower bound (ELB). Even though the Bank of Japan was grappling with the ELB as the conference met, the issue seemed remote for the United States. The conference received little coverage in the financial press, but a Reuters wire service story titled "Fed Conference Timing on Inflation Odd, but Useful" emphasized the remoteness of the risk.2 Participants at the conference could not have anticipated that only 10 years later, the world would be engulfed in a deep financial crisis, with unemployment soaring and central banks around the world making extensive use of new strategies, tools, and ways to communicate. 以下本文参照。
For the past few decades, MMT thinkers have been focused on those “additional institutional modifications.” In their view, the most straightforward solution is to have the government offer jobs directly to anyone who wants one. Anyone who failed to get a job in the private sector would be paid by the government to plant trees, clean streets, or perform other tasks for which there are few prerequisites. By definition, unemployment would disappear.
This “job guarantee” would not be as generous as it might seem because it would also be used to help keep inflation under control. Mitchell has explained the new jobs would pay only enough to guarantee a “minimum acceptable living standard” at a fixed pay rate. If prices rise, real incomes will fall. The threat of being forced to take a “low-wage and possibly stigmatized” government job is supposed to “discipline the distributional struggle” and prevent overall wages from rising too rapidly, he notes.
”Some even want to eliminate private money creation! Have the government issue “debt-free money”! I’m sympathetic, but I don’t support the most extreme proposals even if I support the goals. Such proposals are based on a fundamental misunderstanding of our monetary system.”