A Book Review by Peter Koenig via the Saker website
The author, Michael Hudson, is President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.
Michael’s book, Junk Economics, reads like an economic thriller. It also provides all the answers to: “What I always wanted to know about Economics, but was afraid to ask”. It is a fascinating read, written for ‘experts’ as well as for economic novices. It is a factual account of what so called ‘Propaganda Experts’ want you to believe about economics, and it dismantles the myths. It explains ‘jargons’ that are on purpose coined, so that the average reader has no clue of their real meaning, but they create an illusion that supposedly serves him. When in reality, the invented and fake expressions make the believers into serfs – serfs to the very system they adore and believe it’s freedom. Michael’s book explains, what those economic manipulator ‘experts’ do not want you to understand.
In addition to an A to Z mini-guide with cross-references to a term’s appearance in the text, the entire Index is organized by economic alphabet; from A – for Adam Smith, Asset-Price Inflation and Austerity, all the way to Z – for Zero-Sum Activity; and everything in between. That certainly makes for easy reading.
Junk Economics also includes a small portfolio of some of Michael’s most brilliant and most telling essays, like “Economics as Fraud” – which is mostly what the West is living today; as well as the “Hudson Bubble Model: From Asset-Price Inflation to Debt-Strapped Austerity”- describing how the banksters trick and tease you into buying what you can’t afford, taking a loan, naturally – then you suddenly can no longer afford debt services, the bubble bursts, and the banksters take your equity away. Transfers from the poor to the rich. It’s a classic. It’s the collapse of the 2008 real estate bubble.
A similar model is being applied to Greece – more imposed debt with ever increasing debt services – debt that can never be paid back. So, the infamous troika (IMF, European Central Bank and the unelected European Commission), insist on – and get it – cutting salaries, pensions, the entire social safety net. Plus, everything to be privatized, or sold off in fire sale type auctions, from railways, to airports to islands. That’s HIGH Fraud, by any international legal standards – but neoliberalism, the applied Washington Consensus, with its fascist economy, is above any law. Because we let it get away with it.
Michael also illustrates how the one percent sucks more and more money out of the social system of the 99% – savings, pension funds, social security, imposing austerity to increase debt, which needs to be paid back – you guessed it – to the one percent. Since social services and public utilities are curtailed to the bone by austerity, they become dysfunctional, can no longer survive, they must be privatized. Neoliberal dictate. Michael demonstrates how public assets are being handed to private industry and service providers for rent-seeking exploitation. In the modern jargon, it’s called PPP – Public Private Partnership. The corrupt authorities practically steal Public Property, handing it to Private operators to reap the benefits from decade-long accumulated public capital. This is a crime.
The book incites you to open your eyes to how we are living in a “false” economy, and most of us don’t realize it. The western economy, mainly in the US and Europe, artificially managed and manipulated, jumps from one crisis to the next. At every crisis point, the banksters and other financial lords cash in huge profits at the detriment of the people at large. The entirely manufactured 2008 real estate crisis is the epitome of such usury. And guess what, the culprits go unpunished. Manufacturing a crisis, Michael implies, is easy – it’s done by false propaganda, targeted brainwashing and massive manipulation of public opinion.
Michael is also demystisizing “Orwellian Doublethink and Newspeak” of economic terminologies – as they are spread throughout the media to confuse and mislead. Terms like “rescue” and “bailout” and “reform” used by IMF, World Bank and similar institutions, have nothing to do with what they are actually making you believe. Reality is indebting and stealing assets, from governments, from the public and from households.
Michael helps you understand the economic vocabulary, coined by language con-artists – so you live in an illusion telling you that Wall Street and its globalized cohorts are good for the economy. Vocabularies are made by those who control the economy, to dupe the common citizen into believing that the economy is The Market which is what makes our world tick, and that each individual wants to be part of The Market, that, We, the People, cannot live without The Market – and, of course that globalization is good for You and The Market. Economic vocabulary in our neoliberal western age, is made like Orwellian Doublespeak – making you believe the opposite from what is actually taking place. That gives the financial thugs and banksters head-way to do what they want. By the time you catch up with reality, it’s too late.
In summary and in addition to the informative ‘fun reading’, Junk Economics contains a wealth of historic data on economics, on how interpretation of economic terms and transactions have evolved – or regressed – over time. It exalts with wisdom from Adam Smith to Karl Marx to such Enlightenment writers and philosophers like Voltaire, and explains how money, denominated in western currencies, once the counter-value of labor and production, has become a fraudulent, meaningless casino currency, not worth the paper it’s printed on.
Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America.