The Vocabulary of Neoliberal Diplomacy in Today’s New Cold War

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Mr. Soros has expressed his ideological fury at the prospect of not being able to make the kind of easy money off China that he was able to siphon off when the Soviet Union was carved up and privatized. On September 7, 2021, in his second mainstream editorial in a week, George Soros expressed his horror at the recommendation by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, that financial managers should triple their investment in China. Claiming that such investment would imperil U.S. national security by helping China, Mr. Soros stepped up his advocacy of U.S. financial and trade sanctions. China’s policy of shaping markets to promote overall prosperity, instead of letting the economic surplus be concentrated in the hands of corporate and foreign investors, is an existential threat to America’s neoliberal ...

George Soros’s dream: To turn China into a neoliberal grabitization opportunity

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In a Financial Times op-ed, “Investors in Xi’s China face a rude awakening” (August 30, 2021), George Soros writes that Xi’s “crackdown on private enterprise shows he does not understand the market economy. … Xi Jinping, China’s leader, has collided with economic reality. His crackdown on private enterprise has been a significant drag on the economy.” Translated out of Orwellian Doublethink, the “crackdown on private enterprise” means cutting back on what the classical economists called rent-seeking and unearned income. As for its supposed “drag on the economy,” Mr. Soros means the economy’s polarization concentrating wealth and income in the hands of the richest One Percent. Soros lays out his plan for how U.S. retaliation may punish China by withholding U.S. funding of its companies (as if China cannot create its own credit) ...

Biden forfeits his Afghan victory by defending his Deep State advisors

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President Biden put a popular flag-waving wrapping for America’s forced withdrawal from Afghanistan in his 4 PM speech on Monday. It was as if all this was following Biden’s own intentions, not a demonstration of the totally incompetent assurances by the CIA and State Department as recently as last Friday that the Taliban was over a month away from being able to enter Kabul. Instead of saying that the massive public support for the Taliban replacing the United States showed the incompetent hubris of U.S. intelligence agencies – which itself would have justified Biden’s agreement to complete the withdrawal with all haste – he doubled down on his defense of the Deep State and its mythology. The effect was to show how drastic his own misconceptions are, and how he ...

Moving Beyond Dollar Hegemony

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Understanding of the dollar’s world role is dominated by the ideas of ‘dollar hegemony’ and ‘US hegemony’. In this paper, based on our extensive past work, we reveal how these ideas are ideologies, not theories. In their place, we reveal an understanding one that is theoretically sound and accords with the historical record, a geopolitical economy of the international monetary system of modern capitalism. We begin with a theoretical outline of how money operates under capitalism. We then consider how capitalism needs world money and, at the same time, makes its stable functioning difficult. We then go on to trace the fundamental instability of the modern international monetary systems based on national currencies of dominant countries, from the gold standard to the current volatile and predatory dollar-centred system, and their ...

Finance Capitalism versus Industrial Capitalism: The Rentier Resurgence and Takeover

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Published by Sage Journals Abstract Marx and many of his less radical contemporary reformers saw the historical role of industrial capitalism as being to clear away the legacy of feudalism—the landlords, bankers, and monopolists extracting economic rent without producing real value. However, that reform movement failed. Today, the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sector has regained control of government, creating neo-rentier economies. The aim of this postindustrial finance capitalism is the opposite of industrial capitalism as known to nineteenth-century economists: it seeks wealth primarily through the extraction of economic rent, not industrial capital formation. Tax favoritism for real estate, privatization of oil and mineral extraction, and banking and infrastructure monopolies add to the cost of living and doing business. Labor is increasingly exploited by bank debt, student debt, and credit card ...

A choice between yes please and yes thank you

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The Radical Imagination episode with guests Michael Hudson & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove: April 21, 2021 (transcribed May 3, 2021):  https://youtu.be/mFxc6nbnI20 Jim Vrettos:
 So, Michael, Jonathan. Thank you so very, very much for being here. Jonathan, you're from... We're looking at you from North Carolina there and Michael is in Queens. You've both had tremendous influence in your respective fields. Spiritual economic activist and so on. What do you make of the contradictory statements in the news, particularly... particularly... Let's start with the idea of the movement by the Biden administration given parameters of its neoliberal roots. Do you believe that they have the commitment and vision commensurate to Roosevelt's build of economic whites in 1944 and the attempt to broaden the conception of social justice and democracy In other words, what do ...

America’s Neoliberal Financialization Policy vs. China’s Industrial Socialism

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Nearly half a millennium ago Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince described three options for how a conquering power might treat states that it defeated in war but that “have been accustomed to live under their own laws and in freedom: … the first is to ruin them, the next is to reside there in person, the third is to permit them to live under their own laws, drawing a tribute, and establishing within it an oligarchy which will keep it friendly to you.” Machiavelli preferred the first option, citing Rome’s destruction of Carthage. That is what the United States did to Iraq and Libya after 2001. But in today’s New Cold War the mode of destruction is largely economic, via trade and financial sanctions such as the United States has imposed on China, ...

Removing The Debt Barrier To Economic Growth

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Michael Hudson and Paul Craig Roberts Cross posted from Paul's site. Out of habit, American economists worry about federal debt. But federal debt can be redeemed by the Federal Reserve printing the money with which to retire the bonds. The debt problem rests with individuals, companies, and state and local governments. They have no printing press. We have explained that the indebtedness of the population means there is little discretionary income with which to drive the economy. The offshoring of middle class jobs lowered incomes, and after paying debt service—mortgage interest, car payments, credit card interest, student loan debt—Americans’ pockets are empty. This situation has been worsened by Covid lockdowns. In the US the federal government has sent out a few Covid payments to ...

The rentier resurgence and takeover: Finance Capitalism vs. Industrial Capitalism

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This article is based on Chapter 1 of Cold War 2.0. The Geopolitical Economics of Finance Capitalism vs. Industrial Capitalism (Dresden, ISLET: in press; Chinese translation 2021). © 2020. All rights reserved. Marx and many of his less radical contemporary reformers saw the historical role of industrial capitalism as being to clear away the legacy of feudalism – the landlords, bankers and monopolists extracting economic rent without producing real value. But that reform movement failed. Today, the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector has regained control of government, creating neo-rentier economies. The aim of this post-industrial finance capitalism is the oppositeof that of industrial capitalism as known to 19th-century economists: It seeks wealth primarily through the extraction of economic rent, not industrial capital formation. Tax favoritism for real estate, ...

How an “Act of God” Pandemic is Destroying the West

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The U.S. is Saving the Financial Sector, not the Economy Before juxtaposing the U.S. and alternative responses to the corona virus’s economic effects, I would like to step back in time to show how the pandemic has revealed a deep underlying problem. We are seeing the consequences of Western societies painting themselves into a debt corner by their creditor-oriented philosophy of law. Neoliberal anti-government (or more accurately, anti-democratic) ideology has centralized social planning and state power in “the market,” meaning specifically the financial market on Wall Street and in other financial centers. At issue is who will lose when employment and business activity are disrupted. Will it be creditors and landlords at the top of the economic scale, or debtors and renters at the bottom? This age-old confrontation over how to deal ...