Money’s Place: Science Fiction, Realism & MMT in The Ministry for the Future

Money on the Left: History, Theory, Practice
Vol. 1, No. 1 (2023)

ISSN 2833-051X

Money’s Place: Science Fiction, Realism & Modern Monetary Theory in Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future By Maxximilian Seijo


Kim Stanley Robinson’s speculative near-future novel Ministry for the Future (2020) centers the heterodox political economy of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) to forge a new path for ecosocialist politics. This money-positive path diverges radically from critical traditions in political and literary thought that reject money as the ultimate source of environmental exploitation and climate catastrophe. In this essay, I argue that Ministry’s centering of money challenges and displaces the generic conventions of science fiction and realism, each of which has historically related to money in opposing ways. Whereas science fiction prioritizes escape to an enclave “outside” of money’s mediation of social relations, and realism laments the immanent dynamics of money’s mediating force, Ministry estranges both genres from their relationship to money by redefining money as an inextricable expression of social relation and interdependence. As opposed to dominant Marxian modes, Robinson’s redefinition draws attention to money’s radical place within the speculative imagination, disclosing new political economic and ecological capacity to remake global reproduction. 

Food, Money & Democracy

Money on the Left: History, Theory, Practice
Vol. 1, No. 1 (2022)

ISSN 2833-051X

“Food, Money & Democracy: Cultivating Collective Provisioning for Resilient & Equitable Communities of Work”
By Benjamin C. Wilson, Taylor Reid & Max Sussman


Coordination rights, or the right to coordinate, is an emerging concept in law and political economy that establishes who is permitted to engage in economic coordination and who does not. Coordination rights are fundamental to the process of building resilient communities and determine whether social provisioning systems are “collective” or “concentrated.” In concentrated provisioning systems, decision-making is consolidated in the hands of a few actors who tend to prioritize profit-seeking over environmental and labor concerns, leading to inequality and ecosystem degradation. Collective provisioning systems instead involve rich human experiences that foster cooperation and a holistic approach to production that improves environmental and social wellbeing. We demonstrate these differences through comparative analysis of industrial agriculture and alternatives such as the La Via Campesina movement for Food Sovereignty, the Black Cooperative Movement in the U.S., and restaurant reactions to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, what is also displayed is that without reliable access to monetary resources collective provisioning systems are vulnerable to financial crisis and collapse. Alleviating these vulnerabilities requires that monetary systems themselves also adopt collective coordination principles. Accordingly, we present small and medium-scale monetary experiments that use food systems as a way to build community capacity. These experiments challenge the exclusionary nature of the dominant profit-driven mode of financial coordination and illustrate the potential of community-driven and socially beneficial frameworks for increasing resilience, equity, and health in our communities.

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Benjamin C. Wilson is associate professor of economics at the State University of New York College at Cortland and Research Scholar for the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity.

Taylor Reid is an Associate Professor of Applied Food Studies at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

Max Sussman has been a chef for over 20 years. He was formerly the chef de cuisine of Roberta’s in Brooklyn, New York. With his brother Eli he has co-authored 4 cookbooks and owns Samesa, a fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant in New York City. With his wife Kate he founded Bog & Thunder, a regenerative food travel company based in Ireland.

See our Instructions for Authors page, if you are interested in submitting or pitching an essay to the journal.

Money on the left: History, Theory, Practice – Instructions for Authors

Money on the Left is open for submissions of completed original manuscripts. Unless otherwise indicated, submissions to Money on the Left will undergo anonymous peer-review prior to publication. Before submitting a manuscript for review, please ensure that it satisfies the following criteria:

  1. The manuscript should include (1) a title; (2) an abstract or a summary of the argument not to exceed 300 words; and (3) a bibliography or works cited page.
  2. The manuscript should adhere to an established style guide. Use of Chicago Style (17th edition) with endnotes is strongly preferred, and will help to streamline the review and publication processes. 
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Manuscripts should be submitted via email to, and should be accompanied by a note to the editors that clearly indicates that the manuscript (1) is not currently under review with another journal; and (2) has not been published elsewhere. 

Money on the Left will be published under a Creative Commons license. Authors retain fully copyright ownership of work published in the Money on the Left journal.