Bill Mitchell (economist)

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William Francis Mitchell (born March 1952) is a professor of economics at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia and one of the founding developers of Modern Monetary Theory.

Mitchell was born to working class parents in Glen Huntly, Australia, in March 1952. The family moved to Ashwood, a new Housing Commission suburb in Melbourne, soon after. He attended Ashwood Primary School (1957–1963) and Ashwood High School (1964–1969).

Mitchell holds the following degrees: PhD in Economics, University of Newcastle, 1998; Bachelor of Commerce, Deakin University, 1977; and Master of Economics Monash University, 1982. He completed a Master's Preliminary at the University of Melbourne in 1978 (with first-class honours). [3]

Since 1990, Mitchell is a professor at University of Newcastle, New South Wales. He also holds the position of Docent Professor in Global Political Economy, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland.

Mitchell works to promote active government economic policies and the use of fiscal deficits as a tool to enhance well-being and environmental sustainability. He is Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), a non-profit, research organisation at the University of Newcastle. Its mission statement is to advance research and policies that can restore full employment and achieve a society that "delivers equitable outcomes for all".

Mitchell participates in various public and community activities, on issues of politics, economics, fiscal sustainability, [4] and the environment. [5] He is a regular editorialist and commentator on labour markets and relations in the national radio and press media of Australia.

Mitchell is active in the public opposition of neo-liberal economic theories and practices and disputes the "revisionism" of History ostensibly perpetrated by mainstream or conservative economists, especially in relation to the policies of the New Deal. [6] He has often been called to appear as an expert witness in industrial matters in state and federal tribunals in Australia, as well as in various government enquiries. [7] His work in childcare industrial cases in Victoria and New South Wales influenced the realignments in the relevant State and Federal Awards in that sector.

Mitchell coined the term, "Modern Monetary Theory", also known as, "MMT". He coined the term in reference to John Maynard Keynes' claim that for at least 4,000 years money has been "a creature of the state". [8] He is a prominent promoter of MMT in macroeconomics. [9]

He has written extensively in the fields of macroeconomics, econometrics and public policy. [10] He has published widely in refereed academic journals and books and regularly gives conference presentations abroad. [3]

His latest book Macroeconomics (Macmillan, March 2019), co-written with L. Randall Wray and Martin Watts, is a textbook that "encourages students to take a more critical approach to the prevalent assumptions around the subject of macroeconomics, by comparing and contrasting heterodox and orthodox approaches to theory and policy ... based on the principles of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)". [11]

His 2017 book Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World (September, 2017), co-written with Italian journalist Thomas Fazi, "reconceptualises the nation state as a vehicle for progressive change. They show how despite the ravages of neoliberalism, the state still contains resources for democratic control of a nation's economy and finances. The populist turn provides an opening to develop an ambitious but feasible left political strategy. It offers an urgent, provocative and prescient political analysis of our current predicament, and lays out a comprehensive strategy for revitalising progressive economics in the 21st century." [12]

His book Eurozone Dystopia: Groupthink and Denial on a Grand Scale (May 2015), provides "a critical history and analysis from the perspective of Modern Monetary Theory of the European economic crisis that started in 2009." [13]

Full Employment Abandoned: Shifting Sands and Policy Failures (2008), co-written with Joan Muysken of Maastricht University, traces the theoretical analysis of the nature and causes of unemployment over the last 150 years and argue that the shift from involuntary to so-called "natural rate" concepts of unemployment are behind an "ideological backlash" against state intervention as notably advocated, within the frame of the free economy, by Keynes in the 1930s. The authors further contend that unemployment is a reflection of systemic policy failures, rather than an "individual problem". They present a theoretical and empirical critique of the neo-liberal approach and suggest that the reinstatement of full employment, along with price stability, is a viable policy goal, achievable through an activist fiscal policy.

The notion of job guarantee is introduced, whereby the government would guarantee a job to every willing and able adult individual, paying a wage that would become society's minimum wage, and would be expression of the aspiration of the society of the lowest acceptable standard of living. [14]

Mitchell is an accomplished musician who has played guitar professionally in various bands over the years. [15] Mitchell currently plays with Pressure Drop, a Melbourne-based reggae-dub band, originally popular in the 1970s and early 1980s. The band reformed in 2010. [16]

Mitchell often refers to the economics discipline, and especially the academia, in disparaging terms, [17] stating, only half-jokingly, that his work as a musician does less damage to people. "I think my economics profession is very dangerous," he says. [16]

Mitchell is a "passionate" cyclist. [18] He was an "active bike racer" [19] when, in 1995, he founded the website, which was sold in 1999 [18] to the Australian media company Knapp Communications. It was subsequently bought in 2007 [19] by Future plc.


  1. "The Political Aspects of Full Employment": "I have often indicated that my economic roots come from Marx through Kalecki. Kalecki was a Marxist economist. Marx was the first to really get to grips with the idea of effective demand – that is, spending backed by cash. Kalecki understood this intrinsically." Mitchell, 12 August 2010 ^
  2. "Knowlegable economic commentary still exists": "Arthur of my favourite economists...". Mitchell, 1 September 2009; "They have been smoking some doobies": "the late Arthur Okun, the doyen of applied economics...". Mitchell, 1 November 2010 ^
  3. Qualifications Newcastle University biography ^
  4. "What is Fiscal Sustainability?", Counter-Conference on Fiscal Sustainability, 28 April 2010, Washington, DC, USA ^
  5. Climate Action Newcastle event information, 2008 ^
  6. "The conservative reconstruction of history" Mitchell, 25 June 2010 ^
  7. "Public Debt management and Australia’s macroeconomic priorities" by Mitchell & Mosler, presentation to the Review of the Commonwealth Government Securities Market, 2002 ^
  8. Matthews, Dylan (18 February 2012). "Modern Monetary Theory is an unconventional take on economic strategy". Washington Post. Retrieved 1 October 2018. ^
  9. "Debt, Deficits, and Modern Monetary Theory: An Interview with Bill Mitchell" Archived 19 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Harvard International Review, 16 October 2011 ^
  10. List of publications ^
  11. Macroeconomics, Macmillan Publishers, March 2019, ISBN 9781137610669 ^
  12. Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World, Pluto Press, September 2017, ISBN 9780745337326 ^
  13. Eurozone Dystopia - Groupthink and Denial on a Grand Scale, Edward Elgar Publishing, 29 May 2015, ISBN 9781784716653 ^
  14. "When is a job guarantee a Job Guarantee?" Mitchell, 17 April 2009 ^
  15. Personal information Bill Mitchell's website ^
  16. "The real rock-start economist", Business Review Weekly, 17 May 2012 ^
  17. "The economics profession is a disgrace" Mitchell, 3 March 2011 ^
  18. "It's been quite a climb, and now it's really time to ride" by Gerard Knapp, 4 July 2007 ^
  19. About us Archived 3 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine, ^