Crimea: Geo-Political Gas

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More at The Real News Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout? Economists Michael Hudson and Jeffrey Sommers discuss how provisions in an IMF deal like cuts to gas subsidies and pensions will hurt the average Ukrainian citizens and benefit kleptocrats - March 21, 14 Bio JEFFREY SOMMERS is an associate professor and Senior Fellow of the Institute of World Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is also visiting faculty at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. He is co-editor of the forthcoming book The Contradictions of Austerity. In addition to CounterPunch he also publishes in The Financial Times, The New York Times, The Guardian, TruthOut and regularly appears as an expert on global television. Michael ...

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, Austerity….Again?

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An interview with WBEZ on the one-sided view of economic reform. WBEZ writes: Both the U.S. and the E.U. have pledged aid packages to help Ukraine's new government stabilize the country's economy. The IMF also has a team on the ground in Ukraine, currently analyzing the country's debt crisis. They expect to make recommendations for reforms that are required for Ukraine to secure an IMF loan. But, not everyone agrees that austerity and cuts in wages and government subsidies are good for Ukraine. Michael Hudson, professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and author of The Bubble and Beyond, weighs in on the debate.

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 ...

Monopoly’s Poster Children

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This is the first episode of our new “Alternative Voices” interview series, where we talk to people who give us a different perspective on all manner of topics. Our first guest is Professor Michael Hudson, a research professor of economics at the University of Missouri in Kansas City and the author of two books “The Bubble And Beyond” and “Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy Of American Empire”. He talks to Greg about austerity in Ireland, how US economic policy has affected Ireland, Europe and the rest of the world as well as how the various political parties in Ireland have mishandled the economic crisis. Without further ado the first episode, along with the transcript and a link to download the ...

N is for Neo-Serfdom, O for Offshore Banking

Part N, O in The Insiders Economic Dictionary. Neoclassical economics: The school that arose in the last quarter of the 19th century, stripping away the classical concept of economic rent as unearned income. By the late 20th century the term “neoclassical” had come to connote a deductive body of free-trade theory using circular reasoning by tautology, excluding discussion of property, debt and the financial sector’s role in general, taking the existing institutional environment for granted. (See Marginalism and Parallel Universe, and contrast with Structural Problem and Systems Analysis.) Neoconservatives: Ideologues who oppose government authority and taxation of wealth, except where governments are controlled by the financial and property sectors. Neoconservatives view democratic governments that impose progressive income taxes to finance public infrastructure ...

M for Marginalism

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Part M in The Insiders 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 ...

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 ...

L is for Land

Part L in The Insiders Economic Dictionary Labor: The labor theory of value resolves the value of products and capital goods into labor costs, while Say’s Law focuses on how employees spend their wages. Hence, labor often is euphemized as “consumers” rather than focusing on the terms of their employment by capital. Labor capitalism: Industrial capitalism is based on employing labor to produce goods to sell at a profit. The essence of “labor capitalism” is to extract money from labor by deducting payroll income for the purpose of inflating stock-market prices. First used by the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, the term was adopted by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as a populist label for her policy of channeling labor’s paychecks into the ...