Frequently asked questions
The name of the network is derived from John Maynard Keynes’s 1930 work, A Treatise on Money, in which he observes that
The State, therefore, comes in first of all as the authority of law which enforces the payment of the thing which corresponds to the name or description in the contracts. But it comes in doubly when, in addition, it claims the right to determine and declare what thing corresponds to the name, and to vary its declaration from time to time-when, that is to say, it claims the right to re-edit the dictionary. This right is claimed by all modern states and has been so claimed for some four thousand years at least.
The acronym of the network, “MMN,” pronounced “Ma-Mo-N,” is an allusion to the ancient Biblical word Mammon, (“ממון”) which according to different translations means money, wealth, possessions; or “that in which one trusts.”
MMN was initially conceived in early 2012 by Rohan Grey, a J.D. candidate at Columbia Law School, in response to what he perceived as widespread ignorance in the media and political sphere about what money is and how it operates. Grey, a former daycare, elementary and high school teacher, decided that the appropriate response to this perceived ignorance was to create a free educational resource that provided a realistic framework for understanding the modern monetary system.
With the support of Columbia Law School and in conjunction with fellow law student and co-organizer, M. Jonathan Brice, and partnering organization, the Columbia Law Workers’ Rights Student Coalition, Grey launched MMN in the fall of 2012 as Modern Money and Public Purpose, an eight-part, yearlong seminar series on contemporary issues in political economics. The series, which was co-sponsored by a dozen student and faculty organizations, explored a range of topics ranging from the historical origins of money and accounting through to contemporary debates over financial regulation and the optimal design of the European Monetary Union.
Over the course of the academic year, the series expanded to include additional educational components, including supplementary reading materials, online tutorial discussions, a blog and online forum, and special events including political discussions and academic debates.
On May 31st, 2013, MMN entered the next stage of its growth when it co-organized its first local seminar on macroeconomic policymaking in small, open economies at the University of Sydney, Australia, in collaboration with the University of Sydney Political Economy Society. Since then, it has continued to develop its network by establishing connections with new student organizations, universities and similarly-aligned institutions.
Currently, the network’s operations are centered around the development and consolidation of a number of different educational programs, including the annual flagship “Money” Series, Special Events, and satellite MMx events in conjunction with local student and learning organizations.