After the Ice Age

After the Ice Age: How Calendar-keeping shaped Early Social Structuring Michael Hudson (UMKC) in Paul G. Bahn, ed., An Enquiring Mind: Studies in Honor of Alexander Marshack (American school of prehistoric research monograph series, Oxford and Oakville: Oxbow Books, 2009):149-53. I first met Alex Marshack in 1982 at a lecture he gave in New York City, where we both lived. That evening he described the Paleolithic “time-factored” notational systems and monuments that traced the rhythms of the moon and sun, and how Neolithic calendars governed the rhythms of planting and harvesting, as well as the rites of passage and social integration via festivals that were occasions for gift exchange and intermarriage. After the talk I introduced myself to him, and more than ...

Hudson – Today's Financial Times Article on the Euro Debt Bomb

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This is an edited version of The Coming European Debt Wars. Greece is just the first in a series of European debt bombs about to go off. Mortgage debts in the post-communist economies and Iceland are more explosive. Although most of these countries are not in the eurozone, their debts are largely denominated in euros. Some 87 per cent of Latvia's debts are in euros or other foreign currencies, and are owed mainly to Swedish banks, while Hungary and Romania owe euro-debts mainly to Austrian banks. Read more at the Financial Times

Latvia’s Cruel Neoliberal Experiment

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Latvia is being devastated by two global wars. On the geopolitical front is the Cold War’s coup de grâce. Neoliberals have managed to de-industrialize Russia and the rest of the former Soviet Union, persuading parliaments to dismantle government support for economic renewal. The “Washington Consensus” has backed a policy of giving away public enterprises and land to a newly minted oligarchy of insiders, and helped them sell shares to Western investors. The ensuing economic wreckage has helped avert future military rivalry to U.S. hegemony. Western investors are waging their own social war of finance and property against labor. Initiated by the Chicago Boys in Chile in 1973, sponsored in Britain by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives after 1979 and by Ronald Reagan’s Republicans in ...

The Coming European Debt Wars

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Government debt in Greece is just the first in a series of European debt bombs that are set to explode. The mortgage debts in post-Soviet economies and Iceland are more explosive.  Although these countries are not in the Eurozone, most of their debts are denominated in euros. Some 87% of Latvia’s debts are in euros or other foreign currencies, and are owed mainly to Swedish banks, while Hungary and Romania owe euro-debts mainly to Austrian banks. So their government borrowing by non-euro members has been to support exchange rates to pay these private-sector debts to foreign banks, not to finance a domestic budget deficit as in Greece. All these debts are unpayably high because most of these countries are running deepening trade ...