Recent Posts by Michael

FT: Wiping the slate clean: is it time to reconsider debt forgiveness?

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by Gillian Tett, Financial Times, December 12, 2018. (Life and Arts, p. 20, Saturday, December 15, 2018).  ‘Debt is still sometimes wiped out in our modern world – through bankruptcies, defaults or sovereign debt restructuring plans – but these events are aberrations, not the norm. If you mention the word “debt”, many people will wince — especially at this time of year. For the holiday season is not just about family and festivities; it is also a bonanza of consumer spending. And when the New Year rolls around, most of us will be rueing that credit card bill.  If you want to get another perspective on debt hangovers, read American economist Michael Hudson’s new book  . . . and Forgive Them Their Debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year. In ...

Financial Time’s Best Books of 2018

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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

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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

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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  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. ...

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 ...

Banking Deep Dive

An interview with one of the best in the business, Bonnie Faulkner (Guns and Butter). 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the stock market crash of 2008; the current financial malaise is the result of the bank bailouts, not the crash; an over-indebted economy cannot be saved unless the banks fail; debt deflation; the magic of compound interest; how pension funds, state and local governments adversely affected by the bank bailouts; growth of the financial extraction FIRE sector (finance, insurance and real estate); quantitative easing; asset price inflation; wealth concentrated at the top in Roman antiquity led to the Dark Age; Eurozone imposition of austerity Greek style; tariffs, economic sanctions and isolationism. This is Guns and Butter. You can’t bail out the banks, leave the debts in place, and rescue the economy. ...

Deciphering Geo-Political Games

Professor Michael Hudson discusses the globalisation fallout as new trading blocs distance themselves from US dollar denominated trade. Will the US be able to maintain its imperialist tendencies in light of these trends? How much further can the rentiers push their free-for-all? The show finishes with an overview of Michael’s new book ‘And forgive them our debts’. Show notes and subscribe.

Scenes from the Spider’s Web

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At the demise of empire, City of London financial interests created a web of secrecy jurisdictions that captured wealth from across the globe and hid it in a web of offshore islands. Today, up to half of global offshore wealth is hidden in British jurisdictions and Britain and its dependencies are the largest global players in the world of international finance.

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