Debt, Land and Money, From Polanyi to the New Economic Archaeology

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Inspiration for The Great Transformation in the postwar monetary breakdown Karl Polanyi’s formative years in the aftermath of World War I were a period of monetary turmoil. The United States became a creditor nation for the first time, and demanded payment of the war debts that Keynes warned were unpayable without wrecking Europe’s financial systems. (Hudson, Super Imperialism, 1972, summarizes this era.) France and Britain subjected Germany to unsustainably high reparations debts, while imposing austerity on their own economies by adhering to the gold standard. Jacques Rueff in France and Bertil Ohlin in the United States argued that Germany could pay any level of reparations in gold – and the Allies could pay their foreign-currency arms debts – by imposing unemployment high enough to make wages low enough to make its ...

Trump’s “Bank and Landlord Relief” bill

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The Radical Imagination: Imagining How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Are Destroying UsImagining How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Are Destroying Us   Jim Vrettos: Welcome once again to the Radical Imagination. I'm your host, Jim Vrettos. I'm a sociologist whose taught at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Yeshiva University here in New York. Our guest today on the Radical Imagination is Michael Hudson. He was on our March 8th show. We had such an overwhelmingly positive response to that show that we've asked him to return today, and he's been gracious enough to accept. Unlike most economists, he's been a fierce champion and advocate for the economic rights of the poor, workers, disenfranchised and the vulnerable around the world through his scholarship and lifelong activism. His unique economic analysis has explored history's ...

Socialism, Land and Banking: 2017 compared to 1917

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An article written for the hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution, to be read in Beijing today. Socialism a century ago seemed to be the wave of the future. There were various schools of socialism, but the common ideal was to guarantee support for basic needs, and for state ownership to free society from landlords, predatory banking and monopolies. In the West these hopes are now much further away than they seemed in 1917. Land and natural resources, basic infrastructure monopolies, health care and pensions have been increasingly privatized and financialized. Instead of Germany and other advanced industrial nations leading the way as expected, Russia’s October 1917 Revolution made the greatest leap. But the failures of Stalinism became an argument against Marxism – guilt-by-association with Soviet bureaucracy. European parties calling themselves ...

What Tax Plan?

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Transcript “Trump's Tax Plan Helps Wall Street, Not Main Street,” TRNN, October 3, 2017. It should be called the Leona Helmsley tax plan,' says economist Michael Hudson. 'Only the little people will pay taxes'. S. Peries: It's the Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. A general consensus is emerging that Trump's tax plan, which he presented last Wednesday will benefit mostly the country's upper classes and corporations. In fact the only people that got a tax increase are the poorest taxpayers. A quick scan of even business press headlines will reinforce what I'm saying. For example, Bloomberg writes, "Tax reform could open a huge loophole for wealthy Americans", and the conservative magazines National Review has a headline that reads, "Congressional Republicans tax plan isn't great for Trump suburbanites." ...

How Taxes Were Shifted Off Real Estate

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Nov 21 2016 How Taxes Were Shifted off the Donald Trumps of the World and onto Homeowners, The Real News Network, November 21, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rhBdWojLe0 SHARMINI PERIES, TRNN: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. And we’re unpacking some economic mythologies here with Michael Hudson who joins us in our Baltimore studio. Thank you so much for joining us Michael. MICHAEL HUDSON: Good to be here. PERIES: Michael has a new book out, J Is for Junk Economics: A Survivor’s Guide to Economic Vocabulary in an Age of Deception. Michael, so let’s continue our discussion about the various myths that are out there that we need to be aware of in order to understand the economy. Part of the problem is ordinary people, partly some because of this terminologies ...

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 stock market while at the same time breaking the backs ...

China – Avoid the West’s Debt Overhead: A Land Tax is needed to hold down Housing Prices

How can China avoid the “Western financial disease” – a real estate bubble followed by defaults and foreclosures? The U.S. and European economies originally sought to avoid this fate by taxing the location’s site value. A rent tax was the focus of Progressive Era reforms. Enacting a rent tax remains China’s main challenge to accompany its privatization of real estate and natural resources. If land rent were fully taxed, it would not be paid to banks as interest for rising mortgage loans – and governments would not have to tax income and sales. Holding down housing debt will reduce labor’s cost of living, but not its living standards. While Western economies shrink in response to debt deflation and fiscal austerity, ...

How Neoliberal Tax and Financial Policy Impoverishes Russia – Needlessly

* A shorter version of this paper has been published in the Russian Academy of Sciences journal, Mir Peremen (The World of Transformations), 2012 (3):49-64 (in Russian). An earlier version was posted by the Global Policy Forum meeting in Yaroslavl, Russia, September 7-8, 2011, on its website. Russian poverty is unnecessary. Like all poverty in today’s high-productivity age, it is the result of bad policy. There is no technological need for it, nor is Russia lacking in a full spectrum of natural resources and economic potential. So future historians no doubt will puzzle over how the nation was convinced to de-industrialize its economy and impoverish much of its population in favor of exporting fuels and minerals, and to impose more regressive taxes on labor and industry than existed anywhere ...

Reforming the U.S. Financial and Tax System

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The pretense is that privatization is more efficient. But privatizers add on interest and financial fees, high executive salaries and bonuses, and turn the roads into toll roads and other infrastructure into neofeudal fiefdoms to charge monopolistic access fees for people to use. …. So the financial sector first creates a problem by loading the economy down with debt, and then “solves” it by demanding privatization sell-offs under distress conditions.

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 into a conflict pitting banks, vulture funds and debt-strapped populations ...