Michael Hudson (economist)

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Michael Hudson

Michael Hudson (born March 14, 1939) is an American economists and research professor of economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC). He is a former Wall Street analyst and consultant as well as president of the Institute for the Study of Long-term Economic Trends (ISLET) and a founding member of International Scholars Conference on Ancient Near Eastern Economies (ISCANEE).

Quotes[edit]

  • If you look at the speeches he gave just before he left the Fed, it's pretty much “After me - the Deluge. I'm getting out while my reputation's intact”.
  • You could say that GDP (National Income) and prosperity and wealth grows fastest when income tax rates are highest. And wealth slows, the economy slows, when taxes are cut. That's counter intuitive but if you look at any chart comparing tax rates and economic growth rates that's what you find. The 19th century knew it, the 18th century knew it but today you have a kind of counter revolution of junk economics that is basically anti-labor economics.
  • Well, companies themselves have been causing this crisis as much as speculators, because companies like Amazon, like Google, or Apple especially, have been borrowing money to buy their own stock. Corporate activists, stockholder activists, have told these companies, we want you to put us on the board because we want you to borrow at 1 percent to buy your stock yielding 5 percent. You’ll get rich in no time. So these stock buybacks by Apple and by other companies at high prices can push up their stock price in the short term. But when prices crash, their net worth is all of a sudden plunging... this morning in the stock market was a huge wipeout of borrowed money on which people thought the market would go up, and the Federal Reserve would be able to inflate prices. The job of the Federal Reserve is to increase the price of wealth and stocks and real estate relative to labor. The Federal Reserve is sort of waging class war. It wants to increase the assets of the 1 percent relative to the earnings of the 99 percent, and we’re seeing the fact that this, the effect of this class war is so successful it’s plunged the economy into debt, slowed the economy, and led to the crisis we have today.
  • The end of America’s unchallenged global economic dominance has arrived sooner than expected, thanks to the very same Neocons who gave the world the Iraq, Syria and the dirty wars in Latin America... The United State['s]... violent regime change warfare against Venezuela and Syria – and threatening other countries with sanctions if they do not join this crusade – is driving European and other nations to create their alternative financial institutions.... The Deep State is reacting with shock at how this right-wing real estate grifter has been able to drive other countries to defend themselves by dismantling the U.S.-centered world order. To rub it in, he is using Bush and Reagan-era Neocon arsonists, John Bolton and now Elliott Abrams, to fan the flames in Venezuela. It is almost like a black political comedy. The world of international diplomacy is being turned inside-out. A world where there is no longer even a pretense that we might adhere to international norms, let alone laws or treaties.
  • The Neocons who Trump has appointed are accomplishing what seemed unthinkable not long ago: Driving China and Russia together... After the crescendo of pretenses and deceptions over Iraq, Libya and Syria, along with our absolution of the lawless regime of Saudi Arabia, foreign political leaders are coming to recognize what world-wide public opinion polls reported even before the Iraq/Iran-Contra boys turned their attention to the world’s largest oil reserves in Venezuela: The United States is now the greatest threat to peace on the planet.
  • It is worthwhile to note that our global imposition of the mythical “efficiencies” of forcing Latin American countries to become plantations for export crops like coffee and bananas rather than growing their own wheat and corn has failed catastrophically to deliver better lives, especially...in Central America.... witness the caravans and refugees across Mexico. Of course, our backing of the most brutal military dictators and crime lords has not helped either. Likewise, the IMF has been forced to admit that its basic guidelines were fictitious from the beginning...It is as if the IMF now operates out of a small room in the basement of the Pentagon in Washington... It’s now out in the open... The end of our monetary imperialism, about which I first wrote in 1972 in Super Imperialism, stuns even an informed observer like me. It took a colossal level of arrogance, short-sightedness and lawlessness to hasten its decline — something that only crazed Neocons like John Bolton, Elliott Abrams and Mike Pompeo could deliver for Donald Trump.


  • [The World Bank]... was set up basically by the United States in 1944, along with its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Their purpose was to create an international order like a funnel to make other countries economically dependent on the United States. To make sure that no other country or group of countries – even all the rest of the world – could not dictate U.S. policy. American diplomats insisted on the ability to veto any action by the World Bank or IMF. The aim of this veto power was to make sure that any policy was, in Donald Trump’s words, to put America first. “We’ve got to win and they’ve got to lose.”
    The World Bank was supposed to make loans for what they call international development. “Development” was their euphemism for dependency on U.S. exports and finance. This dependency entailed agricultural backwardness – opposing land reform, family farming to produce domestic food crops, and also monetary backwardness in basing their monetary system on the dollar.
  • Most World Bank loans are for transportation, roads, harbor development and other infrastructure needed to export minerals and plantation crops. The World Bank doesn’t make loans for projects that help the country develop in its own currency. By making only foreign currency loans, in dollars or maybe euros now, the World Bank says that its clients have to repay by generating foreign currency. The only way they can repay the dollars spent on American engineering firms that have built their infrastructure is to export – to earn enough dollars to pay back for the money that the World Bank or IMF have lent.
    This is what John Perkinsbook about being an economic hit man for the World Bank is all about. He realized that his job was to get countries to borrow dollars to build huge projects that could only be paid for by the country exporting more – which required breaking its labor unions and lowering wages so that it could be competitive in the race to the bottom that the World Bank and IMF encourage.


Dr. Michael Hudson, KILLING THE HOST: HOW FINANCIAL PARASITES AND DEBT BONDAGE DESTROY THE GLOBAL ECONOMY, Islet 2015[edit]

  • [p 25:] Debts that can't be paid, won't be paid.
  • [pp 390-391:] The taproots feeding financial power are real estate rent, natural resource rent and monopoly rent.... Instead of investing in plant and equipment to hire more labor to produce more output, money is made financially... "fictitious capital."... In alliance with other rent-extracting sectors, finance acts above the industrial economy to indebt it then rake off debt service, inflating prices to housing, education and infrastructure. So much of the wage earner's paycheck must be diverted to pay debt service and rent extraction that the domestic market for goods dries up.... Labor may be paid more and more, but its rising wages are stripped away to pay the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector.
  • [pp 418-419:] One way or another, today's debts will not be paid.... As long as savings mainly by the 1% takes the form of debt claims on the rest of society, they will grow exponentially to hold the 99% in deepening debt.... If debts to creditors are paid by forced privatization, the public domain and infrastructure will be turned into rent-extraction tollbooth opportunities and economies will be impoverished by rentier austerity.
  • [p 435:] The neoliberal strategy is a new Dark Age of enclosures and privatization that will bury the Enlightenment's drive to free economies from rentier privilege.... In this war the financial powers and other rentiers fight... precisely because they realize there is no moral justification for income and wealth obtained by extractive means instead of earned productivity. Those who obtain or inherit predatory wealth and privilege realize the ultimate means of imposing austerity and demolishing the power of democracies is deception, junk economics.... To prevent this pro-rentier end of history it is necessary for populations to revive the long classical fight to free economies. The alternative is neofeudalism.


Michael-Hudson.com, 1998-[edit]

  • The most serious problems lie in the financial sphere, where the economy’s debt overhead has grown more rapidly than the ‘real’ economy’s ability to carry this debt. … The essence of the global financial bubble is that savings are diverted to inflate the stock market, bond market and real estate prices rather than to build new factories and employ more labor.
  • Overconsumption by US citizens, US buy-outs of foreign companies and dollars the Pentagon spends abroad all end up in foreign central banks. These governments face a hard choice: either recycle the dollars back to America by buying US Treasury bonds or let the “free market” force up their currencies relative to the dollar – thereby pricing their exports out of world markets, creating domestic unemployment and business failures. US-style free markets hook them into a system that forces them to accept unlimited dollars. Now they want out. … The US is the world’s largest debtor, yet has avoided the pain of “structural adjustments” imposed on other debtor nations. US interest rate and tax reductions in the face of exploding trade and budget deficits are seen as the height of hypocrisy in view of the austerity programmes that Washington has forced on other countries via the International Monetary Fund and other vehicles.
  • Europe is to be turned into a banana republic by taxing labor – not finance, insurance or real estate (FIRE). Governments are to impose heavier employment and sales taxes while cutting back pensions and other public spending. … The financial privatization and credit-creation monopoly that governments have relinquished to banks is now to really pay off – at the price of breaking up Europe. … The unelected members of the European Central Bank have taken over planning power from elected governments. Beholden to its financial constituency, the ECB has convinced the EU commission to back the new oligarchic power grab. … In sum, the Neoliberal Revolution seeks to achieve in Europe what the United States has achieved since real wages stopped rising in 1979: doubling the share of wealth enjoyed by the richest 1%. This involves reducing the middle class to poverty, breaking union power, and destroying the internal market as a precondition.
  • So the Bush-Obama administration has taken a fiscal stance diametrically opposed to that of the patron saint of free enterprise. While escalating war in Afghanistan and maintaining over 850 military bases around the world, the administration has run up the national debt that Smith decried. By shifting the tax burden off property and off rent-seeking monopolies – above all, off the financial sector – this policy has raised America’s cost of living and doing business, thereby undercutting its competitive power and running up larger and larger foreign debt.
  • So the game plan is not merely to free the income of the wealthiest class to “offshore” itself into assets denominated in harder currencies abroad. It is to scrap the progressive tax system altogether. … How stable can a global situation be where the richest nation does not tax its population, but creates new public debt to hand out to its bankers? … The “solution” to the coming financial crisis in the United States may await the dollar’s plunge as an opportunity for a financial Tonkin Gulf resolution. Such a crisis would help catalyze the tax system’s radical change to a European-style “Steve Forbes” flat tax and VAT sales-excise tax.... More government giveaways will be made to the financial sector in a vain effort to keep bad debts afloat and banks “solvent.” As in Ireland and Latvia, public debt will replace private debt, leaving little remaining for Social Security or indeed for much social spending. … The bottom line is that after the prolonged tax giveaway exacerbates the federal budget deficit – along with the balance-of-payments deficit – we can expect the next Republican or Democratic administration to step in and “save” the country from economic emergency by scaling back Social Security while turning its funding over, Pinochet-style, to Wall Street money managers to loot as they did in Chile. And one can forget rebuilding America’s infrastructure. It is being sold off by debt-strapped cities and states to cover their budget shortfalls resulting from un-taxing real estate and from foreclosures. Welcome to debt peonage. This is worse than what was meant by a double-dip recession. It will be with us much longer.
  • In America, despite the amazing rise in productivity we’ve had in the last 30 years, real wages have actually gone down. All of the increase in productivity has been taken by the finance, insurance, and real estate sector, called the FIRE sector, almost all of it by the financial sector. … So instead of having industrial capitalism a century ago, we have a finance capitalism that actually is stifling industrial capitalism here. So what Alan Greenspan and others call the postindustrial economy is really neo-feudalism. It’s a financialized economy where all of the surplus goes to the banks.

External links[edit]

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