John Glazer passed away on November, 13, 2020 at his home in rural Athens, Ohio, of lung cancer. John had been elected to the AFJM Board at its Annual Membership Meeting on July 19, 2020. He served briefly as editor of the AFJM Newsletter until his deteriorating health condition intervened. Although John’s time with AFJM was short, his impact was large.
I had the pleasure of knowing John through family connections in Athens. We established the Athens Monetary Literacy Group in 2016, which met at 5 p.m. in a University room in the Voinovich Center where John worked as Director of TechGROWtH Ohio, an agency dedicated to helping start-up companies in Southeast Ohio. John wrote about the Ohio Monetary Literacy Group in an article on the AFJM website. In characteristic Glazer fashion it contains wisdom about how groups work. Similar insights were offered by John at the October, 2020, meeting of the AFJM Board, pointing out that there are stages of growth for organizations, and that AFJM is still a young organization, in an entrepreneurial stage. Its Board needs to build a culture. For that it needs intentionality, a strategic plan with concrete goals. He urged acceptance of minority views but pointed out that disagreement must be drawn to closure for action to take place. Unforeseen paradigm shifts can occur. It’s OK to make mistakes. We learn from them. Fail cheaply and early, then pivot and change as needed. And, he said, celebrate the progress we do make.
John played a major role in the Monetary Literacy Group’s production of the Guide to the NEED Act. He ferreted out some obscure history of the Federal Reserve Act, finding that unnumbered paragraphs in the original Federal Reserve Act had been numbered in subsequent versions of the Act. The switch had led to difficulty in tracking references to parts of the legislation, as described in the Guide.
John wrote a detailed response to Maurice Hoefgen’s presentation in an AFJM Coffee House on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) . In it he offers an alternative illustration of how government spending might be accounted for under the scenario of a “sovereign money” system. He points out that, in the MMT solution, government grants itself permission for perpetual debt, permission to have an infinite net negative worth, never to amount to insolvency. It is not an expression of sovereign power that has much appeal and the culture it underpins would no doubt suffer multiple symptoms of moral hazard.
John billed himself as an applied philosopher and a revolutionary. John committed himself to the cause of monetary reform because he saw it bringing together two powerful social strands, two languages – the language of justice and the language of money. Monetary reform is a language we can have without resorting to partisanship. AFJM, he said, brings pragmatism to social justice movements.
We of AFJM are grateful for John’s contributions. We will miss his presence among us.