The Monetary and Fiscal Nexus of Neo-Chartalism: A Friendly Critique

Lavoie, Marc
March 2013
Journal of Economic Issues (M.E. Sharpe Inc.);Mar2013, Vol. 47 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
A number of post-Keynesian authors, called the neo-chartalists, have argued that the government does not face a budget constraint similar to that of households and that government with sovereign currencies run no risk of default, even with high debt-to-GDP ratio. This stands in contrast to countries in the eurozone, where the central bank does not normally purchase sovereign debt. While these claims now seem to be accepted by some economists, neo-chartalists have also made a number of controversial claims, including that the government spends simply by crediting a private-sector-bank account at the central bank; that the government does need to borrow to deficit-spend; and that taxes do not finance government expenditures. This paper shows that these surprising statements do have some logic, once one assumes the consolidation of the government sector and the central bank into a unique entity, the state. The paper further argues, however, that these paradoxical claims end up being counter-productive since consolidation is counter-factual.


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