THE Break Up Of Britain? conference in Edinburgh on Saturday was a smorgasbord of interpretation examining Tom Nairn's writing and thinking about the state of the British State.

Labour's Clive Lewis, unleashed temporarily from party confines, stated that many imagined that the British state was born via an immaculate conception. Of course, those who know something of the history of Wales, Ireland, Scotland, British colonialism and slavery know that a harsh wooing ensued to bring about the birth of baby Britain.

Along with the hundreds of years of violence and oppression, one of the major tools created, by a Scotsman, to achieve this bastard child was the Bank of England, an institution that has notably maintained its original name and clearly has no problem with its English identity.

READ MORE: Inside the Break Up of Britain conference

Ironic when Green MP Caroline Lucas pointed out that pride in an English identity, that our "shared" central bank promulgates, is not shared by everyone residing within England. It is perhaps dependant on whether the English flag sits, somewhat neutrally, atop a church or hangs out of a council estate window with the imagined far-right connotations.

Placing equals interpretation.

After the initial plenary identity discussion we were then invited to themed discussions, one being on economics. Naturally I headed to it. The discussion was chaired by the very erudite economist and National columnist George Kerevan who introduced us to speakers Scott Lavery, lecturer in political economy at Glasgow University, economist James Meadway, a council member of the Progressive Economy Forum and previous guest of Scotonomics, and Maggie Chapman, the Green MSP for North East Scotland.

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It was immediately clear that the consensus in the room was progressive and everyone seemed to be in agreement that the economy should work for people and planet, and not the other way around.

The question of how do we get there was discussed, with mass infiltration of the Conservative Party suggested.

It's a strategy ... but probably not one most in the room would feel comfortable with.

One member of the audience asked the speakers if Modern Monetery Theory (MMT) had something to teach us about how we create an economy that works for a more socially just society, and the response from the speakers was disappointing to say the least.

James Meadway asserted that MMT can only work in the United States due to the hegemony of the US dollar and their vast natural resources. Maggie Chapman has been somehow convinced that MMT teaches rampant consumerism.

When we interviewed Professor Philip Lawn for our show, he expressed his frustration with both MMT proponents who ignore planetary boundaries, and with ecological economists who still reside in the non-existent Gold Standard world and are thus unable to give their ideas really serious political energy. So, with this vast cornucopia of thinking around these two concepts swirling around on social media it isn't difficult to understand why Meadway and Chapman have come to these conclusions.

In yesterday's Episode 87 of Scotonomics, we planned an interview with Colleen Schneider who has researched how the MMT lens can give license to ecological economic thinking, research and policy.

Unfortunately, she couldn't come onto the live show but I discussed my thinking on this with William during the show, which is that the MMT lens doesn't tell us to create a more economically and ecologically just society, it just shows us how to if we want to.

Equally, if your economic ideal is more unbridled growth, the supplication of GDP, more inequality through regressive taxation and to hell with climate change, the MMT lens also shows you how to pursue this economic course. The common misunderstanding is that MMT is a policy, but it isn't.

What MMT does teach you is this:

  1. We no longer live in a gold standard world, therefore we cannot "run out of money". What we can run out of are real resources.
  2. We are resource-constrained and ignoring this fact leads to inflation and planetary degradation.
  3. Taxes make currencies valuable domestically and are important policy tools.
  4. There should be no involuntary unemployment in a fiat currency world, unemployment is a policy choice in a country that is monetarily sovereign.

I noted that in Nairn's Break Up Of Britain, he is fond of the word "Patrician" which describes how how we operate economically in Scotland due to the bestowing of fiscal transfers from the "on high" of Westminster at the whim of their destructive, neoliberal economic policies.

For Scotland to be free to follow the more egalitarian, ecologically sensitive economic path that the majority of its constituents desire, we must be ready to be monetarily sovereign in order to be independent and instigate the policy desires of the majority of Scottish people.