Guns & Butter: The Vocabulary of Economic Deception

By No tags Permalink

This is Guns and Butter, October 8, 2018. Transcript The aim of classical economics was to tax unearned income, not wages and profits. The tax burden was to fall on the landlord class first and foremost, then on monopolists and bankers. The result was to be a circular flow in which taxes would be paid mainly out of rent and other unearned income. The government would spend this revenue on infrastructure, schools and other productive investment to help make the economy more competitive. Socialism was seen as a program to create a more efficient capitalist economy along these lines. I'm Bonnie Faulkner. Today on Guns and Butter, Dr. Michael Hudson. Today's show: The Vocabulary of Economic Deception. Dr. Hudson is a financial economist and historian. He is President of the Institute for the ...

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

By No tags Permalink

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

The Lehman 10th Anniversary spin as a Teachable Moment

By No tags Permalink

Wall Street did not let the Lehman Brothers crisis go to waste. The banks that have paid the largest fines for financial fraud are now much bigger and more profitable. The victims of their junk mortgage loans are poorer, and the economy is facing debt deflation. Was it worth it? What was not saved was the economy. Today’s financial malaise for pension funds, state and local budgets and underemployment is largely a result of the 2008 bailout, not the crash. What was saved was not only the banks – or more to the point, as Sheila Bair pointed out, their bondholders – but the financial overhead that continues to burden today’s economy. Also saved was the idea that the economy needs to keep the financial sector solvent by an exponential growth of new ...

“Creating Wealth” through Debt: The West’s Finance-Capitalist Road

By , , Permalink

Michael Hudson Peking University, School of Marxist Studies May 5-6, 2018 Volumes II and III of Marx’s Capital describe how debt grows exponentially, burdening the economy with carrying charges. This overhead is subjecting today’s Western finance-capitalist economies to austerity, shrinking living standards and capital investment while increasing their cost of living and doing business. That is the main reason why they are losing their export markets and becoming de-industrialized. What policies are best suited for China to avoid this neo-rentier disease while raising living standards in a fair and efficient low-cost economy? The most pressing policy challenge is to keep down the cost of housing. Rising housing prices mean larger and larger debts extracting interest out of the economy. The strongest way to prevent this is to tax away the rise in land prices, ...

Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today?

By M. Hudson (University of Missouri) and C. Goodhart (LSE) As published by the Center for Economic Policy Research. Abstract In this paper we recall the history of Jubilee debt cancellations, emphasizing what their social purpose was at that time. We note that it would not be possible to copy that procedure exactly nowadays, primarily because most debt/credit relationships are intermediated via financial institutions, such as banks, insurance companies, etc., rather than by governments or wealthy families directly. But we argue that the underlying social purpose of such Jubilees – to keep debt within the reasonable ability to be paid without social and economic polarisation – could be recreated via alternative mechanisms, and we discuss the politico-economic arguments for, and against, doing so. Keywords: Inequality; Debt-Canceling Jubilees; Babylonian and Byzantine Empires; Equity Participation; Student ...

Socialism, Land and Banking: 2017 compared to 1917

By , , Permalink

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 ...