Is Positive Money reform proposal the same idea as “monetarism” in the 1980s?

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No. Monetarists were mainly concerned with inflation, and saw all money creation as inflationary. In contrast, a sovereign money system, in which only the central bank can create money, recognizes that there are situations in which money creation actually raises demand and output rather than simply causing inflation.

Monetarists also saw inflation as the main threat to the economy, and were willing to let unemployment rise in order to keep inflation under control (although in theory this did not work). In contrast, proposals for a sovereign money system have a strong focus on how money creation can be used responsibly to boost employment and output.

Finally, monetarists thought they could control money creation by trying to indirectly control bank lending (and therefore bank money creation). As recent history has shown, the authorities are not able to adequately control what banks do.

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