Think Tank Memories

Think Tanks Blow Public Opinion: Prof Michael Hudson on the most influential US think tanks by Renegadeeconomists on Mixcloud Subscribe to the weekly Renegade Economists podcast Transcript Renegade Economists October 1, 2014: DOUBLETHINK TANKS, TAR SANDS, WATER & IMPERIALISM. Karl Fitzgerald: This week on the Renegade Economists we’re joined by Professor Michael Hudson, the author of The Bubble & Beyond, Super Imperialism, and a host of other books. You can read his work at www.Michael-Hudson.com. Certainly our favourite guest here on the Renegade Economists and Michael, today we’re going to have a look at the role of think tanks in sculpting the American mind and the public policy that flows from that. What’s your take on the role of think tanks in American ...

Piketty vs. the Classical Economic Reformers

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As published in the Real World Economics Review #69 - Special issue on Piketty’s Capital Thomas Piketty has done a great service in collating the data of many countries to quantify the ebb and flow of their distribution of wealth and income. For hundreds of pages and tables, his measurements confirm what most people sense without needing statistical proof. Across the globe the top 1% have increased their share of wealth and income to the steepest extreme since the Gilded Age of the late 19th and early 20th century. The Federal Reserve’s 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances shows that economic polarization has accelerated since the 2008 crash. The 0.1% of Americans have pulled even further ahead of the rest of the 1%, ...

EU Fracking Wedge

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An interview with Radio Voice of Russia, World Service on Ukrainian sovereignty in the face of IMF loans, the push for fracking by US interests and how corruption lurks in the background. Is this Ukrainian pressure part of an EU fracking wedge on behalf of certain interests? According to this perspective, food sovereignty is a relict of past times. Play This

Losing Credibility: The IMF’s New Cold War Loan to Ukraine

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By Michael Hudson In April 2014, fresh from riots in Maidan Square and the February 22 coup, and less than a month before the May 2 massacre in Odessa, the IMF approved a $17 billion loan program to Ukraine’s junta. Normal IMF practice is to lend only up to twice a country’s quote in one year. This was eight times as high. Four months later, on August 29, just as Kiev began losing its attempt at ethnic cleansing against the eastern Donbas region, the IMF signed off on the first loan ever to a side engaged in a civil war, not to mention rife with insider capital flight and a collapsing balance of payments. Based on fictitiously trouble-free projections of the ability ...

The New Cold War’s Ukraine Gambit

Michael Hudson The following article is from a new book, Flashpoint in Ukraine, edited by Stephen Lendman. It is currently available from Clarity Press as an e-book, and soon to be printed. Finance in today’s world has become war by non-military means. Its object is the same as that of military conquest: appropriation of land and basic infrastructure, and the rents that can be extracted as tribute. In today’s world this is taken mainly in the form of debt service and privatization. That is how neoliberalism works, subduing economies by indebting their governments and using unpayably high debts as a lever to pry away the public domain at distress prices. It is what today’s New Cold War is all about. Backed by ...

Stockholm Syndrome in the Baltics

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Latvia’s Neoliberal War Against Labor and Industry Published in The Contradictions of Austerity: The socio-economic costs of the neoliberal Baltic model Edited by Jeffrey Sommers & Charles Woolfson This article examines how neoliberal policymakers trained in the United States captured Latvia’s economic policy to impose pro-rentier, pro-bank, anti-labor tax and financial policies. Latvia’s national interests were subordinated to those of the banks, which were mainly Swedish. These banks made real estate loans far in excess of Latvians’ ability to pay, and also lent recklessly to Latvia’s private capital market prior to the autumn 2008 economic crash.  Latvians suffered a ‘Stockholm Syndrome,’ imposing austerity and internal devaluation policies that pauperized the economy while identifying their national interest with Swedish economic views and banking ...

Russia, Crimea and the Consequences of NATO Policy

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Ukrainian Hangovers AS first published on Counterpunch by JEFFREY SOMMERS and MICHAEL HUDSON Russia’s incursion (invasion if you prefer) into Crimea, with prospects for movement into Eastern Ukraine, is the culmination of US/NATO policy since 1991. The unraveling of the USSR and its Soviet bloc (the Warsaw Pact) dismantled the largest empire in modern history. Even more striking, it was the most peaceful dissolution of a major empire in history. The fact that an empire stretching over a dozen time zones that included hundreds of ethnic groups with concrete historical and contemporary grievances with each other broke up without a bloodbath is nothing short of a miraculous – and a reflection of the destruction of spirit and even of economic understanding that marked the ...

Ukraine: “Go West, Young Man”

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By Jeffrey Sommers & Michael Hudson As first published on Truth Out "Let them loot." That is the demand of the West when its NGO subsidiaries firebomb government buildings, murder policemen and loot the arms depots of military forts. Kiev is the equivalent of Kosovo as a Slavic city-of-origin. Are we seeing a replay? What would Dick Cheney (or President Obama for that matter) have done if Russian NGOs sponsored separatist movements in Texas, California or New England? How would US police have reacted against armed revolutionaries seizing the armory and throwing Molotov cocktails and bombs at public buildings, killing police, painting swastikas on Jewish houses and claiming vigilante justice? While this does not characterize all of the Ukrainian protesters, it ...

Russia’s Economic Development to Offset Terrorist Fervor?

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By Jeffery Sommers & Michael Hudson The Sochi Olympics were the great success Russia hoped for. The opening ceremonies proved a radiant display drawing on Russia’s most compelling cultural assets. This artful look back to Russia’s past greatness proved both a reminder and challenge to its own people to reprise their historical greatness going forward. Meanwhile, its closing ceremonies reprised these themes, reminding the viewer of Russia’s continued vibrancy in the arts. From an economic vantage point, national hosts for Olympic games always use them as an occasion for enormous infrastructure spending for economic development. One of us (Hudson) was the economist for Montreal brokerage houses back in 1976 when every French Canadian family seemed to become millionaires on the ...

M is for Monopoly

Part M in the Insider’s Economic Dictionary Malthus, Thomas Robert (1766-1834): British economist and spokesman for its landlord class. His Principles of Political Economy (1820) countered Ricardo’s critique of groundrent by pointing out that landlords spent part of it on hiring coachmen and other servants and buying luxury products (coaches, fine clothes and so forth), thus providing a source of demand for British industry, and part capital improvements to raise farm productivity. This emphasis on consumption and investment endeared Malthus to Keynes, but did not deter Ricardo and the financial classes from pressing to repeal the Corn Laws in 1846 so as to minimize domestic food prices and hence groundrent. Matters have worked out in a way that neither Malthus nor his ...