Financial Time’s Best Books of 2018

By Permalink

Included in Martin Wolf's (FT) favourite books of 2018: . . . and Forgive Them Their Debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption From Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year, by Michael Hudson, ISLET-Verlag, RRP $29.95 The American economist Hudson has written a fascinating book on the historical antecedents of the Mosaic debt jubilee. The work of Assyriologists has shown that by the third millennium BC, the rulers of the ancient Near East understood the necessity of repeated debt forgiveness. The alternative was, he writes, “economic polarisation, bondage and collapse”. The relevance of this history to the world of today seems clear: debt is necessary; too much debt is disastrous.

Le Petit Bréviaire Economique de Michael Hudson

By No tags Permalink

As published on Journal du MAUSS INTRODUCTION: Désordre définitionnel du social et vocabulaire de la tromperie « Il est certain qu’en dernière analyse une langue doit son déclin à des causes politiques et économiques. (…) Elle devient laide et imprécise parce que notre pensée est stupide, mais ce relâchement constitue à son tour une puissante incitation à penser stupidement. Pourtant ce processus n’est pas irréversible. (…) Si l’on se débarrasse des mauvaises habitudes, on peut penser plus clairement, et penser clairement est un premier pas, indispensable, vers la régénération politique. »  - George Orwell, « La politique et la langue anglaise » (1946) " Vous pouvez duper certaines personnes tout le temps. Ce sont celles sur lesquelles vous devriez vous concentrer" - George W. Bush (2001) Confucius pensait que les troubles sociaux commençaient par l'incapacité de nommer les choses par ...

Lessons from Babylonia for Today’s Student Crisis

By No tags Permalink

As published on Inequality.org Societies have tended to polarize between creditors and debtors since ancient times, but this tendency can and must be reversed. NOVEMBER 21, 2018 Today, the wealthy depict inequality in glowing colors as a byproduct of economies pulling ahead, “creating wealth” by innovations that add to prosperity. This view is unprecedented in history. From antiquity to quite recently, personal accumulation of large amounts of wealth was frowned upon, because it usually was achieved at the expense of others. One party’s gain often tended to be at the expense of others, polarizing communities by pushing many below poverty levels. The most corrosive method of gaining personal wealth, from the ancient world to today, is interest-bearing debt that mounts up with compound interest. The inability to pay has led small farmers and the poor ...

Mutual Aid vs Moral Hazard

How the Bronze Age saved itself from debt serfdom There has been an explosion of discussion about whether to cancel student debts. Critics of the idea point out that wealthy people would be the main gainers, posing moral hazard. The debate has quickly slipped into a discussion of modern economies and whether it was moral to cancel the debts of people who are in arrears, when some people have struggled to keep current on their payments.” Bankers and bondholders love this argument, because it says, “Don’t cancel debts. Make everyone pay, or someone will get a free ride.” Suppose Solon would have thought this in Athens in 594 BC. No banning of debt bondage. No Greek takeoff. More oligarchy Draco-style. Suppose Hammurabi, the Sumerians and other Near Eastern rulers would have thought this. Most of ...

EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW ABOUT WESTERN CIVILIZATION IS WRONG

A Review of Michael Hudson’s new book .... and Forgive Them Their Debts As published on Naked Capitalism by John Siman To say that Michael Hudson’s new book And Forgive Them Their Debts: Lending, Foreclosure, and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year (ISLET 2018) is profound is an understatement on the order of saying that the Mariana Trench is deep. To grasp his central argument is so alien to our modern way of thinking about civilization and barbarism that Hudson quite matter-of-factly agreed with me that the book is, to the extent that it will be understood, “earth-shattering” in both intent and effect. Over the past three decades, gleaned (under the auspices of Harvard’s Peabody Museum) and then synthesized the scholarship of American and British and French and German and Soviet ...