L. Randall Wray’s Modern Money Primer was the precursor to his book Modern Money Theory: A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems, which is due out with a new revised edition in 2024. It remains one of the best ways to learn the basics of what we now call MMT. We have republished each blog post and Randy’s responses to readers’ comments here in hopes that many more people will benefit from learning in this format.
Originally published in 2011/12 on the New Economic Perspectives blog.
The posts from the MMT Primer series have been collected and organized into Randy’s latest book, Modern Money Theory. It makes for a much more coherent read and is highly recommended for anyone seriously interested in the MMT perspective. (Available from Amazon.com)
These primer posts have also been translated into Italian by our friends at RETE MMT. This link will take you to a post that contains links to the Italian versions of the posts.
Each Monday we will post a relatively short piece, gradually building toward a comprehensive theory of the way that money “works” in sovereign countries. We will then collect comments through Wednesday night, and will post a response to the comments on Thursday. The comments should be directly related to that week’s blog. Since we are trying to develop an understanding of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), we especially encourage commentators to let us know where we have been unclear. Since we will be presenting the Primer over the course of the coming year, we will sometimes have to beg for patience—obviously we cannot present the entire theory all at once.
These blogs begin with the basics; no previous knowledge of MMT—or even of economics—is required. The blogs are sequential; each subsequent blog builds on previous blogs. The blogs will be at the level of theory, with only limited reference to specific cases, histories, and policies. That is intentional. A Primer should provide a general overview that can be adapted to specific national situations. The regular pages of NEP will continue to discuss current real world policy issues. The Primer will remain on a different plane.
Table of Contents

MMP Blog #1: Modern Money Theory: A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems

MMP Blog #1 Responses

MMP Blog #2: The Basics of Macro Accounting

MMP Blog #2 Responses

MMP Blog #3: Recent USA Sectoral Balances: Goldilocks, the Global Crash, and the Perfect Fiscal Storm

MMP Blog #3 Responses

MMP Blog #4: MMT, Sectoral Balances and Behavior

MMP Blog #4 Responses

MMP Blog #5: Government Budget Deficits are Largely Nondiscretionary: the Case of the Great Recession of 2007

MMP Blog #5 Responses

MMP Blog #6: What Is A Sovereign Currency?

MMP Blog #6 Responses

MMP Blog #7: What Backs Up Currency and Why Would Anyone Accept It?

MMP Blog #7 Responses

MMP Blog #8: Taxes Drive Money

MMP Blog #8 Responses

MMP Blog #9: What If the Population Refuses to Accept the Domestic Currency?

MMP Blog #9 Responses

MMP Blog #10: Keeping Track of Stocks and Flows: The Money of Account

MMP Blog #10 Responses

MMP Blog #11: Modern Money Theory and Alternative Exchange Rate Regimes

MMP Blog #11 Responses

MMP Blog #12: Commodity Money Coins? Metalism vs. Nominalism, Part 1

MMP Blog #12 Responses

MMP Blog #13: Commodity Money Coins? Metalism vs. Nominalism, Part 2

MMP Blog #13 Responses

MMP Blog #14: IOUs Denominated in the National Currency: Government and Private

MMP Blog #14 Responses

MMP Blog #15: Clearing and the Pyramid of Liabilities

MMP Blog #15 Responses

MMP Blog #16: The Unusual Case of Euroland

MMP Blog #16 Responses

MMP Blog #17: Accounting for Real Versus Financial (or Nominal)

MMP Blog #17 Responses

MMP Blog #18: Fiscal and Monetary Policy Operations in a Nation that Issues its Own Currency

MMP Blog #18 Responses

MMP Blog #19: Effects of Sovereign Government Budget Deficits on Saving, Reserves and Interest Rates

MMP Blog #19 Responses

MMP Blog #20: Effects of Sovereign Government Budget Deficits on Saving, Reserves and Interest Rates, (continued)

MMP Blog #20 Responses

MMP Blog #21: Government Budget Deficits and the “TwoStep” Process of Saving

MMP Blog #21 Responses

MMP Blog #22: Reserves, Government Bond Sales, and Savings

MMP Blog #22 Responses

MMP Blog #23: The Debate About Debt Limits (US Case)

MMP Blog #23 Responses

MMP Blog #24: What if Foreigners Hold Government Bonds?

MMP Blog #24 Responses

MMP Blog #25: Currency Solvency and the Special Case of the US Dollar

MMP Blog #25 Responses

MMT: A Doubly Retrospective Analysis

Blog Responses: Retrospective on MMT

MMP Blog #26: Sovereign Currency and Government Policy in the Open Economy

MMP Blog #26 Responses

MMP Blog #27: What about a country that adopts a foreign currency? Part One

MMP Blog #27 Responses

MMP Blog #28: Government Spending with SelfImposed Constraints

MMP Blog #28 Responses

MMP Blog #29: What about a country that adopts a foreign currency? Part Two

MMP Blog #30: What is Modern Money Theory?

MMP Blog #30 Responses

MMP Blog #31: FUNCTIONAL FINANCE: Monetary and Fiscal Policy for Sovereign Currencies

MMP Blog #31 Responses

MMP Blog #32: Milton Friedman’s Version of Functional Finance: A Proposal for Integration of Fiscal and Monetary Policy

MMP Blog #32 Responses

MMP Blog #33: Functional Finance and Long Term Growth

MMP Blog #33 Responses

MMP Blog #34: Functional Finance and Exchange Rate Regimes: The Twin Deficits Debate

MMP Blog #34 Responses

MMP Blog #35: Functional Finance: A Conclusion

MMP Blog #35 Responses

MMP Blog #36: What Government Ought to Do: An Introduction

MMP Blog #36 Responses

MMP Blog #37: The Public Purpose

MMP Blog #37 Responses

MMP Blog #38: MMT for Austrians

MMP Blog #38 Responses

MMP Blog #39: MMT for Austrians: Disagreements Among Reasonable People

MMP Blog #39 Responses

MMP Blog #40: MMT for Austrians 3: How Do YOU Propose We Deal with the Elderly, Disabled and their Debts?

MMP Blog #41: MMT for Austrians Part 4: Is Description Without Theory, Ideology or Policy Desirable? Is it Even Possible?

MMP Blog #41 Responses

MMP Blog #42: Introduction to the Job Guarantee or Employer of Last Resort

MMP Blog #42 Responses

MMP Blog #43: Job Guarantee Basics: Design and Advantages

MMP Blog #43 Responses

MMP Blog #44: The Job Guarantee and Macro Stability

MMP Blog #44 Responses

MMP Blog #45: The JG and Affordability Issues with Special Considerations for Developing Nations

MMP Blog #45 Responses

MMP Blog #46: The Job Guarantee – Program Manageability

MMP Blog #46 Responses

MMP Blog #47: The JG / ELR and Real World Experience

MMP Blog #47 Responses

MMP Blog #48: Is The Job Guarantee Necessary?

MMP Blog #48 Responses

MMP Blog #49: Should Growth Drive Jobs, or Jobs Drive Growth?

MMP Blog #50: MMT Without the JG? Conclusion

MMP Blog #50 Responses

MMP Blog #51: The Efficiency Fairy and Inflation Goblins