MMT as the Austerity Alternative

Michael appeared on Guns and Butter alongside Assoc Professor Stephanie Kelton in Rimini. Listen to the interview aired March 7th. Make sure you read Michael's piece on Our Very Oscar Night in Rimini for more background. "There IS An Alternative To European Austerity: Modern Money Theory (MMT)" with Stephanie Kelton and Michael Hudson in Rimini, Italy. Difference between sovereign and non-sovereign money; what is money; fiat money; gold standard; fixed exchange rates; the Euro; difference between central banks and commercial banks; deflation and inflation; financial war against the economy; credit supply and asset prices; bank lending and capital investment; debt deflation stage and austerity stage of finance capitalism. Show details Subscribe to Bonnie Faulkner's Guns & Butter podcast: Itunes > Advanced > Subscribe to this ...

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 ...

Democracy and Debt

Has the Link been Broken? *This article appeared in the Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung on December 5, 2011. Book V of Aristotle’s Politics describes the eternal transition of oligarchies making themselves into hereditary aristocracies – which end up being overthrown by tyrants or develop internal rivalries as some families decide to “take the multitude into their camp” and usher in democracy, within which an oligarchy emerges once again, followed by aristocracy, democracy, and so on throughout history. Debt has been the main dynamic driving these shifts – always with new twists and turns. It polarizes wealth to create a creditor class, whose oligarchic rule is ended as new leaders (“tyrants” to Aristotle) win popular support by cancelling the debts and redistributing property or taking ...

Iceland's Fair Value Vultures

The New Bank Disaster Olafur Arnarson, Michael Hudson and Gunnar Tomasson* The problem of bank loans gone bad, especially those with government-guarantees such as U.S. student loans and Fannie Mae mortgages, has thrown into question just what should be a “fair value” for these debt obligations. Should “fair value” reflect what debtors can pay – that is, pay without going bankrupt? Or is it fair for banks and even vulture funds to get whatever they can squeeze out of debtors? The answer will depend largely on the degree to which governments back the claims of creditors. The legal definition of how much can be squeezed out is becoming a political issue pulling national governments, the IMF, ECB and other financial agencies ...

Trade Theory Financialized

To secure its privileges and tax favoritism, the financial sector opposes government power to tax or regulate. Fighting under the banner of “free markets,” it is now fighting to centralize economic planning power in Wall Street, the City of London and other financial centers. What is remarkable is that under ostensibly democratic politics, an “independent” central bank has been carved out – independent from elected officials, not from the commercial banks whose interests it represents. Many voters believe that a financial bubble enriches the economy rather than turning the surplus into a flow of interest and banking fees.

Russia’s Economic Interests (Part 1)

After the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, most of its members followed the neoliberal advice of the IMF and World Bank – and the Harvard Boys – and simply turned over the most lucrative resources in the public domain (minerals and fuels, real estate, public utilities, hotels, transport systems, etc.) to well-connected individuals and those working through banks. U.S. and other Western interests then helped these individuals move their money out to the West, while selling post-Soviet enterprises and real estate.

Privatizing Will Make Life Worse

November 12, 1989, New York Times PERESTROIKA GOES SOUTH This article was published in the NYT more than 20 years ago, forecasting precisely what has happened. I attended the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington last month. When the meetings ended, I was left with the impression that no further writedowns would be forthcoming for Latin America's debtor countries unless they followed the lead of Mexico. To do this, countries like Brazil and Argentina would have to sell off their public utilities, some potentially profitable industrial corporations and some service industries like airlines. In the past, one met mostly bankers at these big international meetings. Now there are a lot of lawyers. For Latin America the foreclosure process has begun, but for the time ...