Latvia No Austerity Success

Jeffrey Sommers & Michael Hudson Cross posted from the Financial Times by permission of the authors Michael Hudson and Jeffery Sommers: a distinguished professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee respectively, who have both advised members of Latvia’s government on alternatives to austerity. They are also contributors to the forthcoming book by Routledge Press: The Contradictions of Austerity: The Socio-Economic Costs of the Neoliberal Baltic Model. Austerity’s advocates depict Latvia as a plucky country that can show Europe the way out of its financial dilemma – by “internal devaluation”, or slashing wages. Yet few of the enthusiastic commentators have spent enough time in the country to understand what happened. Its government has chosen austerity, its ...

Paul Krugman’s Economic Blinders

In Mr. Krugman’s reading, private debts need not be written down or the tax system made more efficient. It is to be better subsidized – mainly with easier bank credit and more government spending. So I am afraid that his book might as well have been subtitled “How the Economy can Borrow its Way Out of Debt.” That is what budget deficits do: they add to the debt overhead.

Productivity, The Miracle of Compound Interest and Poverty

The bank regulators did not urge the government to tax real estate more. That would have squeezed homeowners on their bank loans – and left less new rental income to be capitalized into new bank loans. But it would have enabled the government to reduce its heavy taxes on employment. This was not the bank regulators’ concern

Geithner Turfed Out by EU Bankers

Prof Hudson appears on the Renegade Economists radio show to discuss the economic growth trap, compound interest, Sumeria, the corruption of economics and how US interests are flexing in the debate over what constitutes a CDO default in the EU. This interview was conducted just days before Greece was given another reprieve. Recorded March 7th Listen to the interview recorded March 7th. Transcription: MH: Prof Michael Hudson, Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. KF: Karl Fitzgerald KF: Professor Michael Hudson, welcome back to the show! Our listeners certainly appreciate your time. Can you explain to us why economic growth is necessary? MH: Well for one thing, populations grow and so you have to provide more goods and services. For another thing, people expect to ...

Debts that can’t be paid, won’t be

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An excerpt from a paper published for the conference Paradigm Lost: Rethinking Economics and Politics. I am speaking to this paper in Berlin this week. The full paper can be downloaded from their website (PDF). A common denominator runs throughout recorded history: a rising proportion of debts cannot be paid. Adam Smith remarked that no government ever had repaid its debt, and today the same can be said of the overall volume of private-sector debt. One way or another, there will be defaults – unless debts are paid in an illusory fashion, simply by adding the interest charges onto the debt balance until the sums finally grow to so ...

Our Very Own Oscar Night in Rimini

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Such is the censorial spirit of neoliberal monetary austerity. Its motto is TINA: There Is No Alternative, and it wants to keep matters this way. As long as it can suppress discussion of how many better alternatives there are, the hope is that the public will remain acquiescent as their living standards shrink and wealth is sucked up to the top of the economic pyramid to the 1%.

Greek Strategy

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Michael Hudson on the Greek experiment. More at The Real News The Greek crisis is being used to find out how far finance can drive down wages and privatize the public sector. Michael Hudson interviewed by Paul Jay Note: This is my editing of an interview Professor Michael Hudson gave to The Real News Network. I have edited Professor Hudson's interview for clarity and have not changed the meaning of any of his statements. It is posted on this site with Professor Hudson's permission. -- Paul Craig Roberts Transcript PAUL JAY, Senior Editor, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Washington. In Greece, the financial elites of Europe have received agreement from the Greek government to another round of what some people are calling savage austerity measures, for ...

Europe’s Transition From Social Democracy to Oligarchy

As first published in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung The easiest way to understand Europe’s financial crisis is to look at the solutions being proposed to resolve it. They are a banker’s dream, a grab bag of giveaways that few voters would be likely to approve in a democratic referendum. Bank strategists learned not to risk submitting their plans to democratic vote after Icelanders twice refused in 2010-11 to approve their government’s capitulation to pay Britain and the Netherlands for losses run up by badly regulated Icelandic banks operating abroad. Lacking such a referendum, mass demonstrations were the only way for Greek voters to register their opposition to the €50 billion in privatization sell-offs demanded by the European Central Bank (ECB) in autumn ...