Bill Mitchell (economist)
Glen Huntly, Australia
|Institution||University of Newcastle, Australia|
|Field||Modern Monetary Theory; Political economy; Econometrics|
School or tradition
|Influences||Karl Marx · Michael Kalecki · Arthur Okun|
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).
Mitchell has been at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales since 1990 (Full Professor since 1998) and recently spent a two-year period undertaking special projects as Professor of Economics at Charles Darwin University, Australia (October 2012-14).
Mitchell works to promote active government economic policies and the use of budget deficits as a tool for economic productivity. He is Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), a non-profit, research organisation whose stated focus is on the policies that can restore full employment and achieve an economy that "delivers equitable outcomes for all".
CofFEE is a member of the Coalition of Economic Policy Institutions (EPIC), an "independent forum" promoting research and public discussion of issues related to macroeconomic and monetary policy.
Mitchell participates in various public and community activities, on issues of politics, economics and the environment. 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. 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. 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.
He has written extensively in the fields of macroeconomics, econometrics and public policy. He has published widely in refereed academic journals and books and regularly gives conference presentations abroad.
Full Employment Abandoned
Mitchell's most widely known publication to date is Full Employment Abandoned: Shifting Sands and Policy Failures (2008), co-written with Joan Muysken of Maastricht University. The authors trace 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.
Mitchell is an accomplished musician who has played guitar professionally in various bands over the years. 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. He also plays with the Newcastle-based swing blues band The Blues Box.
Mitchell often refers to the economics discipline, and especially the academia, in disparaging terms, 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.
Mitchell is a "passionate" cyclist. He was an "active bike racer" when, in 1995, he founded the website Cyclingnews.com, which was sold in 1999 to the Australian media company Knapp Communications. (It was subsequently bought in 2007 by Future plc.)
- Modern Monetary Theory
- Fiat money vs. commodity money
- Government accounting
- Balanced budget
- Legal Tender Cases
- "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
- "Knowlegable economic commentary still exists": "Arthur Okun...one 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
- Qualifications Newcastle University biography
- "What is Fiscal Sustainability?", Counter-Conference on Fiscal Sustainability, 28 April 2010, Washington, DC, USA
- Climate Action Newcastle event information, 2008
- "The conservative reconstruction of history" Mitchell, 25 June 2010
- "Public Debt management and Australia’s macroeconomic priorities" by Mitchell & Mosler, presentation to the Review of the Commonwealth Government Securities Market, 2002
- "Debt, Deficits, and Modern Monetary Theory: An Interview with Bill Mitchell", Harvard International Review, 16 October 2011
- List of publications
- "When is a job guarantee a Job Guarantee?" Mitchell, 17 April 2009
- Personal information Bill Mitchell's website
- "The real rock-start economist", Business Review Weekly, 17 May 2012
- "The economics profession is a disgrace" Mitchell, 3 March 2011
- "It's been quite a climb, and now it's really time to ride" by Gerard Knapp, 4 July 2007
- About us, CyclingNews.com
- Mitchell, William, Joan Muysken, Tom Van Veen: Growth and cohesion in the European Union: The Impact of Macroeconomic Policy (2006), Edward Elgar Publishing, ISBN 1-84542-611-8
- Mitchell, William & Joan Muysken: Full Employment Abandoned: Shifting Sands and Policy Failures (2008), Edward Elgar Publishing 320 pp, Hardback, ISBN 978-1-85898-507-7