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 ...

Trade Advantage Replaced by Rent Extraction

I was interviewed on the Renegade Economists radio/ podcast entitled Crony Competition on the road to Unearned Income: Prof Michael Hudson gives a wrap on the economics of 2013 as we discuss Detroit, Iceland, Madoff, Marx and Blackstone Capital. Why Comparative Advantage was replaced by Rent Extraction - with Prof Michael Hudson by Renegadeeconomists on Mixcloud Karl Fitzgerald: Our favourite guest, the man that Max Keiser from www.MaxKeiser.com described as the world’s greatest living economist, yes, Professor Michael Hudson is here to give us a wrap on 2013 and the economic forces that have surrounded us for centuries. How have you actually seen 2013? What’s played out for you in terms of the big trends? Michael Hudson: Oh, the same shrinkage that you’ve seen ...

J is for Jubilee, K for Kleptocrats

Part J in The Insiders Economic Dictionary Jubilee Year: In Judaic Law (Leviticus 25) a Clean Slate to be proclaimed every 50 years annulling personal and agrarian debts, liberating bond-servants to rejoin their families, and returning lands that had been alienated under economic duress. Long thought to have been merely a literary religious ideal, the policy has now been traced back to royal proclamations issued as a matter of course in Sumer and Babylonia in the third and second millennia BC. (See Bronze Age.) Read more. Junk bonds: High-interest bonds, developed in the 1980s primarily by Michael Milken at Drexel Burnham to finance corporate takeovers. Mr. Milken was sent to jail for securities fraud and Drexel was disbanded as a result of ...

I is for Ideology

Ideology: A set of assumptions so appealing that one looks at their abstract logic rather than at how the world actually works. (See Insanity.) Ignorance: Socrates said that ignorance was the source of evil, because nobody knowingly commits evil. But by pursuing their own narrow interests, the financial and property sector destroy the social unit, which is the essence of evil as viewed from an evolutionary vantage point. Thomas Hobbes wrote in Leviathan (1651) that “Ignorance of remote causes disposeth men to attribute all events to the causes immediate and instrumental: for these are all the causes they perceive.” Corporate practice has become a combination of the Ken Lay “Enron” defense of executive ignorance (“We didn’t know what was going on”) and ...

H is for Half-Life

Part H in The Insiders Economic Dictionary Half-life: In physics, the time it takes for half the mass of a radioactive element to decay into the next-lower isotope or element, typically ending in a stable and inert element such as lead. By extension, the time it takes for an economic theory or ideology to lose half its influence, e.g. as Marxist value theory, Henry George’s Single Tax, Keynesian income theory, Chicago School monetarism, or most recently, neoliberalism. In international relations, the time it takes for an industrial creditor nation to dissipate half of its economic advantage and free lunch. Have-nots: People who have debts instead of wealth. Hubris: A Greek term meaning overgrowth or proliferation, an addiction to power involving abusive behavior toward ...

G is for Groundrent

Part G to The Insider’s Economic Dictionary. Gains from Trade: A euphemism for trade dependency resulting from the specialization of production between food-surplus nations and food-deficit countries, and the parallel polarization between high-technology and low-wage producers. Originally coined by free-trade advocates, the term is now used primarily by the agriculturally protectionist economies of North America and Western Europe. Under Ricardian trade theory, the gains from trade are measured by the amount of labor and related costs to importers of producing similar products at home. Left out of account are foregone improvements in agricultural and industrial productivity. Gains-from-trade theorizing thus encourages passivity and reinforces existing production patterns, economic polarization and debt dependency. (See Colonialism, Washington Consensus and World Bank.) General Theory: The title ...