Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 31, 2021

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-009

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Other issues:

Biden admin:

Counter Biden admin:


Covid-19 Politics:


Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on January 31, 2021 at 13:35 UTC | Permalink

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Guyana Chronicle: ONE of the world’s leading oil service providers, Schlumberger, has designated Guyana as the location for its regional base, with the construction of a modern facility already underway and expected to be completed by mid-year. Schlumberger, a renowned Fortune 500 company, is the world’s leading provider of technology and digital solutions for the oil and gas industry. In 2017, this company made a decision to invest significantly and establish a long- term footprint in Guyana.

Resumen Latinoamericano: We are far from having gotten rid of the old colonialisms and their aftermath in our America. This is the case of Venezuela and the current imperialist plans to turn its ancestral component of Guayana Essequibo rich in natural resources, with an enviable geostrategic and geo-economic position on a regional scale – into a factor of permanent provocation against Caracas and a threat to its sovereignty because it is a territory in dispute with neighboring Guyana: a poisoned resource, moreover, to divide the peoples of the Caribbean and, in general, of our America. All of this is accompanied by an anti-Venezuelan media cataract on behalf of the US oil company Anadarko.

Venezuela: Inventories of Merey 16, a mix of extra-heavy crude from the vast Orinoco Belt reserves and diluent, from Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) experienced a drop to their lowest levels this week triggered by a rise in exports despite the heavy sanctions imposed on the state-owned oil company by Washington, internal documents obtained by Reuters showed on Wednesday.

MercoPress: Only a week ago, President Jair Bolsonaro said Brazil was “broke” and the latest Treasury numbers have come close to backing the statement. Last year the country reported a record primary budget deficit of 743.1 billion reais (US$138 billion), a record 10% of GDP.

MROnline: If the country’s polls are to be believed, Ecuador is set to become the latest Latin American nation to move away from the United States and elect a strongly progressive, anti-imperialist government. Successive public opinion studies have shown Andrés Arauz of the Unión por la Esperanza coalition holding a commanding lead over his rivals, with some suggesting he may receive double the votes of his nearest challenger.

Posted by: Maracatu | Jan 31 2021 13:41 utc | 1

Posted by: Maracatu | Jan 31 2021 13:41 utc | 1

Thanks for the updates.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 31 2021 14:20 utc | 2

1 no surprise us oil companies are still driving foreign policy in oil rich areas.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 31 2021 14:26 utc | 3

A critique of Fauci:

Doctor Do-Little​ | The Case Against Anthony Fauci

Disclosure: I have not followed Fauci much, but he's always looked like the consumate medical bureaucrat to me, not incompetent, but very "career oriented". I think he provided Trump with cover we'd all have been better off if Trump had done without.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 31 2021 14:33 utc | 4

Still no one has produced a thesis statement which can be used by all to work toward detaching Oligarch wealth from the levers that control the power of the nation state.

if the people cannot assert their power as a strong force against the use of the nation state because the nation state bows to those who have the wealth then no one, except the Oligarch, can live a life independent of extractive meddling.

Everyone recognizes the awesome powers of a nation state and that every nation state in the system of nation states has these awesomes powers; but few understand the same wealth (and the same wealthy few thousand people) controls the multitudes of people who live within each of these different nation states.. and the same wealth controls the access to media of the various content that airs on the media in every one of the nation states.

So the Oligarch have control of wealth, control of the nation state from the top and control of the way the governed think by their control over the content that is allowed to gain access to the media. Competing contents cannot find access to the minds of the governed and laws are always made to force the governed into position to be abused or extorted by the Oligarch.

This is and has been the problem of humanity since day one. How can it be solved?

Posted by: snake | Jan 31 2021 14:45 utc | 5

From your penultimate link. The very first paragraph:

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.

This is completely wrong. Absurdly wrong.

Marx didn't state that.

But that doesn't even matter, as the gravest error is this: "feudalism – the landlords, bankers and monopolists extracting economic rent without producing real value".

Not only feudalism didn't have a financial system (the bankers that did exist during the Middle Ages were capitalist enterprises), but the opposite happened: it was the rise of the financial system that brought feudalism down, not industry. Feudalism didn't have a monetary system, it didn't have any inflation (the concept didn't exist). Land rent destroyed feudalism, not created it. Feudalism was the anti-financial system par excellence, it is objectively wrong to state feudalism thrived through finance and monopoly and land rent - none of these concepts even existed, that's not how feudal lords rationalized at all.

When Adam Smith, David Ricardo etc. are talking about land rent, they're already talking about the capitalist system, not feudalism. Feudalism, by the way, is a fantasy term: it was never used during the Middle Ages. It an anachronism to talk about those modern terms ("finance", "monopoly", "rent") to the system that was dominant in Europe during the Middle Ages. Even if you could, it wouldn't change the objective fact that the USA is a pure capitalist nation - it was never feudal.

The only explanation I can think of to this absurdity Michael Hudson has been touting during his whole career is internalization, which is a common disease of veteran academics: he simply ossified deep in his mind the abstraction that feudalism was the stereotypical stationary, boring and oppressive system, and then idealized industrial capital (a term that doesn't exist in Marx, by the way) as its abstract "other" (alter).

Mr. Hudson should stop with this bullshit. It is objectively wrong. He should also stop dragging Marx into his mud pool. Next time, when you claim Marx said this or that, put the source in a footnote (with the page number and the correspondent edition) - like a true modern scientist should do.

Posted by: vk | Jan 31 2021 15:25 utc | 6

The London Review of Books piece is a good read. Notably how it chronicles the post WW2 OSS/CIA exceptionalist/paranoid mindset that condoned extremes of barbarity perpetrated extralegally. Barbarity that, as a means to achieve complete mind-control, proved over the years and decades to be useless, absolutely fruitless.


Of course now, with the quantum increase in bioengineering and a whole new kit of technological plug-ins and interfaces at their disposal, seems they're doubling down and expecting a different result.

Posted by: john | Jan 31 2021 15:35 utc | 7

Yeah, Hudson is a clown when it comes to rigorous theory and conceptual coherence. Finance has always been a critical part of what capitalism is. He is just scared to be a socialist, and to name capitalism itself, not its conjunctural and institutional configuration, as the real problem.

Posted by: Prof K | Jan 31 2021 15:43 utc | 8

Joke of the week:

Plaza Accord II: Currency a catalyst for US-China deal?

I was willing to pick this one apart, paragraph by paragraph, but this is such a big pile of crap that I gave up on the enterprise. Don't want to pollute this comment section with an enormous comment.

I'll just leave one absurdity in the article, so you can see the level of stupidity of the Western intelligentsia:

The other issue is restrictions on sales of US technology to China. China is by far the largest consumer of semiconductors (although some of this is for components for exported goods), buying $350 billion of computer chips in 2020, out of total world demand of $440 billion. No semiconductor company can survive without sales to China, and the US high-tech industry viewed Trump’s restrictions with anguish.

Biden’s Silicon Valley constituency wants to climb down from this ledge, before China’s massive internal program to achieve semiconductor self-sufficiency creates a monster that threatens the viability of the major American firms. Again, Biden will not ease controls unless he is perceived to get something in return, for example, an opening of China’s internal market to US technology firms.

Well, either the the Trump tariffs are fundamentally correct or they're fundamentally wrong (i.e. sound or not sound according to bourgeois economic theory). If they're fundamentally wrong, Biden should just scrap them altogether, unilaterally - after all, bourgeois economics (vulgar economics) claims to be on par with STEM, so it should be an exact science. But if they're fundamentally correct, they should be kept unilaterally. What you cannot state is that it is just a pure political tool, used for gangster-style blackmail, in the context of an economics article that claims to demonstrate a Plaza Accord part 2 is a brilliant idea using strictly neoclassical terminology.


Called it:

India ‘100% unable’ to achieve COVID-19 vaccination goal

"Greatest democracy in the world"? More like "greatest failed state in the world".


It finally cracked:

The EU must learn from its Covid vaccine failure, not lash out at the UK: The Independent Editorial

By far the greatest weakness of the British center-left today is the deification of Germany as the ideal nation-state. In part this was a necessity because they had to fight Brexit for five years, so they had to defend Germany - as the materialization of ideal Europe (therefore, the EU) - at all costs. This included ignoring the hypocrisy of having to praise Merkel's 15-year rule while calling Putin a dictator for being Russia's president for 12 years (at the time of Brexit).

But this AstraZeneca fiasco was so bizarre and so gross that even germanophile newspapers like The Guardian and The Independent are having to (unwillingly) criticize the EU.

Reality is a bitch.

Posted by: vk | Jan 31 2021 15:53 utc | 9

The 'papers' in the seat of Empire are full of glee over the 'thousands' of arrests in pro-Navalny protests in Russia in support of Putin's 'biggest political rival'.

What the 'papers' in the seat of Empire are not covering are the much larger, angrier and growing anti-lockdown protests spreading across Europe. Funny that.

Posted by: gottlieb | Jan 31 2021 16:07 utc | 10

Re: Michael Hudson
Some comments here fail to realize Michael Hudson's background. It is a big mistake to think he is simply an "academic".
Suggestion,read his autobiographical article here:

Posted by: downtownhaiku | Jan 31 2021 16:11 utc | 11

Kids from 60+ countries are left behind by cowardly countries who claim to be the beckon of democracy... against all the treaties they have signed and forced others to sign

Posted by: Mina | Jan 31 2021 16:15 utc | 12

@Posted by: john | Jan 31 2021 15:35 utc | 8


Noticed one time that one of the ultimate quotes of the
last millennium begins with "O.S.S.".

Was the word selection intentional?
Or is it just an example of the general randomness and chaos of the universe?

"(That's) One Small Step"

- Neil Armstrong, July 20, 1969, Tranquility Base

Just searched this out. Have only skimmed it.

Headline: NASA's Secret Relationships with U.S. Defense and Intelligence Agencies
Declassified Records Trace the Many Hidden Interactions Between the U.S. Civilian and National Security Space Programs

Washington, DC, April 10, 2015 – Furnishing cover stories for covert operations, monitoring Soviet missile tests, and supplying weather data to the U.S. military have been part of the secret side of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) since its inception in 1958, according to declassified documents posted for the first time today by the National Security Archive at The George Washington University (

James E. David, a curator in NASA's Division of Space History, obtained the documents in the course of researching his critically praised book, Spies and Shuttles: NASA's Secret Relationships with the DoD and CIA (University Press of Florida, 2015). David has compiled, edited and introduced more than 50 of these records for today's posting.

Even though Congress's intention in forming NASA was to establish a purely civilian space agency, according to David a combination of circumstances led the agency to commingle its activities with black programs operated by the U.S. military and Intelligence Community. This often tight cooperation did not, however, keep disputes from bubbling over on issues such as cost sharing, access to classified information, encryption of data originally intended for civilian use, and delays to military satellite launches caused by the Challenger disaster.

Over the years, classification restrictions have kept most of the story of NASA's secret activities out of the public eye. Today's posting brings to light previously unpublished primary source material that underpins Spies and Shuttles and other important literature on the subject. The records were acquired through agency declassification review procedures, specific declassification requests, and archival research.

Posted by: librul | Jan 31 2021 16:21 utc | 13

Sputnik showed a prototype of a flying taxi from Russia. In the video, the presenter holds in his hands a model of the final appearance of the apparatus and states that several such machines are planned to be built this year.
A bit like a Batmobile.

Posted by: alaff | Jan 31 2021 16:35 utc | 14

F William Engdahl takes a look at the Biden Administration’s Russia policy

The clear decision of the Biden team to name a former Moscow ambassador to head the CIA and Victoria Nuland to No. 3 position at the State Department, along with his other intelligence choices indicate that destabilizing Russia will be a prime focus of Washington going forward. As the NED gleefully put it, “Navalny’s arrest, three days before Biden’s inauguration former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul says, has all the makings of “Biden’s first foreign policy crisis. Whatever was in their transition documents, this is now front and center for them.”

The reason however is not because of domestic corruption by Putin’s inner circle, true or not. Biden could care less. Rather it is the very existence of Russia under Putin as an independent sovereign nation that tries to defend that national identity, whether in military defense or in defense of a traditionally conservative Russian culture. Ever since the US-backed NED destabilization of the Soviet Union in 1990 during the Bush Administration, it has been NATO policy and that of the influential financial interests behind NATO to break Russia into many parts, dismantle the state and loot what is left of its huge raw materials resources. The globalist Great Reset has no room for independent nation states like Russia is the message that the new Biden team will clearly convey now.

The Destructive Plan Behind the Biden Russia Agenda

Posted by: Down South | Jan 31 2021 16:46 utc | 15

@Posted by: librul | Jan 31 2021 16:21 utc | 14

After posting the above I wondered what might be hidden in
other famous quotes.

First choice was Churchill.

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Didn't immediately see a letter code in the quote, but then a picture of the snake biting it's own tail came to mind - Ouroboros.

This symbol - Ouroboros - is ancient, very ancient.
And appears to be a symbol also used by the Freemasons.

I looked it up...Churchill *was* a Freemason.

The serpent eating its own tail has been depicted in many version through history as a sign of “infinity” or the cycle of life and death that is maintained by the Universe.

The ancient symbol of a snake swallowing its tail - originally seen in the Enigmatic Book of the Netherworld, an ancient Egyptian funerary text in the tomb of Tutankhamen in the 14th century BC. The text is about the god Ra and his union with Osiris in the underworld. An illustration in the text depicts two serpents, holding their heads in their mouths which are coiled around an enormous god, sometimes thought of as the unification of Ra-Osiris. This divine figure is meant to represent the beginning and the end of time.

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
- Winston Churchill, November 10, 1942

Posted by: librul | Jan 31 2021 16:59 utc | 16

thanks for the week b and all the extra links here... much appreciated...

@ 7 vk - the michael hudson article is a long one... is that a direct quote from it, because i am unable to find it easily... i am curious of your thoughts on the michael hudson article, if you actually read it, because i feel it is really quite insightful...

i would also say this to @ 9 prof k ... did you read the article?? if so, what is it that you don't like about it??

here is a quote from the article "The underlying problem is not competition from China, but neoliberal financialization. Finance-capitalism is not industrial capitalism. It is a lapse back into debt peonage and a rentier neo-feudalism. Bankers play the role today that landlords played up through the 19th century, making fortunes without corresponding value, by capital gains for real estate, stocks and bonds on credit, by debt leveraging whose carrying charges increase the economy’s cost of living and doing business."

perhaps hudson is looking for an out so that he doesn't have to be referred to as a socialist, or worse a communist.. but regardless of that, i think his viewpoint is quite sound and seems very relevant to me... i challenge you both to tell me where i have this wrong... thanks...

Posted by: james | Jan 31 2021 17:01 utc | 17

@ Posted by: Illusionsofmagicians | Jan 31 2021 16:37 utc | 16

I think the exact opposite is true: Hudson tries to paint China as purely capitalist in order to pave the way for his theory that the USA can re-industrialize through a strictly political-institutional (superstructural) "revolution".

There are two political movements here:

1) on the one side, the American Left (and also Western European Marxists), in a position of extreme weakness, is trying a last and desperate attempt to rebuild from the ashes by mobilizing the youth and whatever else into something they can do right here right now, without the bad of a true revolution (i.e. violence and physical destruction of the American Empire). This is most visible in David Harvey, who tried to falsify Marx's Theory of Value through a theological interpretation of the first chapters of Capital Book I (see David Harvey's "realization theory" in order to see the bullshit by yourself);

2) on the other side, there's outright degeneration of Western Marxism and its collateral effects (such as the revival of Political Economy in the end of the 1980s - see "Post-Ricardianism" - and the creation of the extra-official school of "Post-Keynesianism", plus the foundation of the so-called MMT, recently). My take here is that there was a mix of two deadly factors: with the collapse of the Western Center-Left in 1968, factionalism influenced by Trotskyism occupied the resultant intellectual vacuum and thus influenced the post-1980s Western Marxists (thus the inflexible characterization of China as a neoliberal, hypercapitalist nation) and pure envy/careerism/survival instinct, as the admission Eastern Marxism was right and Western Marxism was wrong would result in the Western Marxists losing their comfy jobs as university professors and researchers.

Posted by: vk | Jan 31 2021 17:11 utc | 18

Greta Thunberg with a script

Greta Thunberg without a script

I came across the latter video recently. Thought I’d share.

Posted by: Down South | Jan 31 2021 17:14 utc | 19

downtownhaiku@12 and james@20

Couldn't agree more. I wish I had been aware of Michael Hudson's work when I was in grad school. As it was, I got the usual right wing pap (Real Business Cycle, DSGE models, etc.) that passed/passes for advanced macro: it's meant to support the system, not analyze it.

Posted by: spudski | Jan 31 2021 17:17 utc | 20

USA is pure capitalist? Where does this come from? US never completed its bourgeois revolution. Feudalism is gone when last aristocrat is hung with the guts of the last priest. Which has not occurred anywhere. Why would it? Grand bourgeois are all aristos to start with. Just read famous well-known passages from Marx. The enclosures were not done by nouveau riche bourgeois. They were done by lords. Who are also the mill owners.

Anyone tells you a rags to riches story about new bourgeoisie inventing capitalist enterprise da capo is someone who paid a publicist to write that story. Small shopkeepers and tradesmen never move up the class ladder. The closest thing to a new class is bankers. Who were always there. And we know who they are. Later there will be a new managerial class. Grand bourgeois are not new and they are same families as ever.

Vulgar Marxism and vulgar Stalinism can be amusing. Even useful analytically. The kindergarten version peddled here is foolish.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 31 2021 17:20 utc | 21

Posted by: downtownhaiku | Jan 31 2021 16:11 utc | 12

Thanks, very interesting autobiography. I hope VK and Prof K read it.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jan 31 2021 17:26 utc | 22

Posted by: Maracatu | Jan 31 2021 13:41 utc | 1

Thank you for the updates on Latin America Maracatu. Keep them coming.

We spent 6 weeks in Ecuador the summer of 2002, stayed with the nephews of the Archbishop and met a number of Ecuadorians who were going into Colombia to rescue locals targeted by death squads. The Ecuadorians themselves were on hit lists. They talked about how U.S. Peace Corps volunteers worked with CIA and enabled the Colombian death squads, also linked to the U.S. air Force base in Manta. I knew nothing until then. The locals were ready for an insurrection; I'm guessing they will win with Arauz... unless something happens.

Posted by: migueljose | Jan 31 2021 17:28 utc | 23

@ Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 31 2021 17:20 utc | 24

Your comment is ironic because the only vulgar here is you.

Capitalism is the society where capital is dominant. Capital is the social process where value self-valorizes, i.e. creates more value. It doesn't matter what the personification of capital is (aristocracy, a confederation of small businessowners, etc.) - what defines capital is the relation between the capitalist and the worker: the worker always gives more than it receives. The relation between capitalists themselves is irrelevant.

"Feudalism" is a completely different system, where serfs work in their land and their lord's land, in exchange for protection within the confines of that land (vassalage). The class component here is that the serf must pay their lord in kind (labor hours in his land) in order to receive protection from another lord, i.e. the nobility protects the serf from the nobility. This system arose through a very long and painful process of the dissolution and reorganization of European society after the collapse of the Roman Empire, and definitely never existed in the USA in any shape or form (unless you consider the Thirteen Colonies in their very beginning as some kind of a late mockery - but even then that system quickly collapsed and gave way to the traditional colonial system of the planters in Virginia).

Posted by: vk | Jan 31 2021 17:51 utc | 24

@Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 31 2021 14:33 utc | 4

I read that article a few days ago and, as I recall, I concluded "meh".

The article takes the faulting and condemnation of Trump re:Covid as a foregone conclusion.
And it is a foregone conclusion, per the article, that Fauci was The Keeper and Holder of The Truth.
But Fauci had a flaw, per the article, which was that he enabled Trump by not throwing down the gauntlet
and making a high profile resignation.

Thus, the two Tony Faucis were born: one, the shrewd political operator who has survived six presidential administrations, as Roberts wrote, “an A-list party get in D.C. social circles” who moves “freely between TV green rooms, think-tanks and the city’s tonier salons, mixing easily among both Democrats and Republicans;” the other, the humble man of science, the blunt truth-teller, who couldn’t possibly know or care about the petty striving and mudslinging of the world of smoked-filled rooms. This approach, I suspect, has profited both Fauci and the presidents he has served. His pristine, apolitical reputation lends credibility to the White House during a health crisis, but his appreciation for realpolitik means they can rely on him to appreciate the circumstances when science must take a backseat to politics. “The folks I know who know Fauci tend to respect and/or admire him,” tweeted Nicholas G. Evans, a bioethicist at UMass Lowell. “But no one denies he’s more Game of Thrones than Mr Rogers [sic].”

In another moment of lucidity in May 2020, Trump said of Fauci, “He wants to play all sides of the equation.” I think that’s right. In the past, Fauci has plausibly played all sides to the benefit of the public. His shrewd AIDS advocacy assuaged homophobic politicians, motivated apolitical scientists, and met the demands of activists and patients. In the case of Covid-19, it’s harder to see how Fauci’s machinations have helped anyone — except Anthony Fauci.

The Fauci protocol failed during this crisis for multiple reasons. One, Fauci overestimated the amount of harm he could prevent by remaining in Trump’s good graces. By declining to firmly correct and denounce Trump’s self-serving misinformation, and thereby produce a definitive break, Fauci made a disastrous miscalculation. He needed to pick a side, and it should’ve been the one opposite Trump. Instead, he maintained a mealy-mouthed détente with the president — thereby depriving the public of the truth — in futile hope of righting the ship from the inside, which he clearly could not do. In October, scientists estimated that universal mask compliance — enforced by federal law, perhaps — could save 100,000 lives by February. Another estimate projected 70,000 could’ve been saved between August and December.

Two, Fauci underestimated how much good he might’ve done from the “outside.”

Overall, Fauci’s gambit — which was to play a shrewd inside game to preserve an illusion, from the outside, that science and facts were safe from political contamination — had the effect of delegitimizing science and precluding the possibility of a political solution. By fudging the facts to assuage the president and moving the goalposts to manipulate the public, Fauci, however inadvertently, helped to undermine public trust in the medical response, creating openings for conspiracy and demagoguery to fill the gap. Meanwhile, by lending legitimacy to the White House’s approach, he forestalled a political showdown — one that could have seriously altered the course of the past year.

The final history of the response to Covid-19 has not been written.
The struggle over the historical conclusions will go on for years.
As always, the historical record is dependent upon
who writes the history.

I note, in particular, this quote from the article:

had the effect of delegitimizing science and precluding the possibility of a political solution. By fudging the facts to assuage the president and moving the goalposts to manipulate the public, Fauci, however inadvertently, helped to undermine public trust in the medical response

Science and the medical community were tainted a long time ago.
When money and people mix with most anything it is unsurprising to find some level of corruption.

"Trust in the science", is a blanket statement that ignores
the reality of the corrupting influence of money.

Posted by: librul | Jan 31 2021 17:53 utc | 25

Maracatu and Wikipedia are mis-informing the public.

The Lords of Google News present only the most credible and interesting articles to the readers in USA (I cannot tell what they show elsewhere). As I checked "Ecuador - topic" right now, only one article comments on upcoming elections:

Bloomberg, January 25, by Stephan ??? [paywall is hiding the last name]: "Banker Ahead of Socialists in Final Days of Ecuador Election Race", with Arauz polling at 15% and "the banker" at more than 20. For a second or two you can read, then the paywall appears.

But Maracatu feigns ignorance, while the latest poll on Wikipedia page on the elections shows projected percentages

Arauz [Correa supported]: 36.5
Yaku [tame indigenous]: 10.8
Perez [the banker]: 26.7

The rules are like in Bolivia, so all projections (except the paywalled poll cited by Bloomberg) indicate runoff, with Arauz leading. The political scene is murky, there are many parties with programs hard to decipher, so it is possible that Arauz will loose. It depends if the communities where he is most popular are downgraded in polling algorithms or not, support intensity etc. But to me (bereft of wisdom hidden behind Blombergian paywall), Arauz victory is most plausible.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 31 2021 17:59 utc | 26

The personification never matters? How perfect to redirect our attention to the process and away from the person. Then we can always fight phantoms and never know the face of the enemy.

The Founders were all aristocrats and half of them would have been peers were they to move back to England and claim it. George Washington was first cousin to George III. But we must look away from persons. Never look at the person. Only regard the abstraction. Reminds me of a quote from Feuerbach that someone mentioned.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 31 2021 18:07 utc | 27

@24 'Small shopkeepers and tradesmen never move up the class ladder.'

Sure they do if they send their children to the 'right' schools.

Posted by: dh | Jan 31 2021 18:19 utc | 28

But Fauci had a flaw, per the article, which was that he enabled Trump by not throwing down the gauntlet.
Posted by: librul | Jan 31 2021 17:53 utc | 28

Oops! Did you forget this?

MoA - November 16, 2020
The Great Revenge - How Tony Fauci F*cked Donald Trump

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 31 2021 18:20 utc | 29

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 31 2021 17:20 utc | 24

Is so-called capitalism a feudalism in disguise? I think it is futile to ponder is "our capitalism" is pure or not. Snow sometimes looks pure, so when I was a wee lad, my teacher was showed us how melting pristinely white ice produces dirty water -- this is what happens when you scoop snow near a sidewalk in a city. The idea was to explain little brats that eating snow is a bad idea.

Concerning folks of "feudal descent", there are still many of them, but they have a different mentality and operate differently, pretty much like the low born. This is explained in the libretto of Mikado, a must read for a student of politics:

POOH. Don’t mention it. I am, in point of fact, a particularly haughty and exclusive person, of pre-Adamite ancestral descent. You will understand this when I tell you that I can trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomic globule. Consequently, my family pride is something inconceivable. I can’t help it. I was born sneering. But I struggle hard to overcome this defect. I mortify my pride continually. When all the great officers of State resigned in a body, because they were too proud to serve under an ex-tailor, did I not unhesitatingly accept all their posts at once?
PISH. And the salaries attached to them? You did.
POOH. It is consequently my degrading duty to serve this upstart as First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief justice, Commander-in-Chief, Lord High Admiral, Master of the Buckhounds, Groom of the Back Stairs, Archbishop of Titipu, and Lord Mayor, both acting and elect, all rolled into one. And at a salary! A Pooh-Bah paid for his services! I a salaried minion! But I do it! It revolts me, but I do it!
NANK. And it does you credit.
POOH. But I don’t stop at that. I go and dine with middle-class people on reasonable terms. I dance at cheap suburban parties for a moderate fee. I accept refreshment at any hands, however lowly. I also retail State secrets at a very low figure. For instance, any further information about Yum-Yum would come under the head of a State secret, (NANKI-Poo takes the hint, and gives him money.) (Aside.) Another insult, and, I think, a light one!

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 31 2021 18:27 utc | 30

@ Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 31 2021 18:07 utc | 30

For a theoretical economic analysis it doesn't.

Posted by: vk | Jan 31 2021 18:28 utc | 31

oldhippie | Jan 31 2021 17:20 utc | 24

...Grand bourgeois are not new and they are same families as ever...

Well stated. That is full with implications.

There is distinct advantage to old-wealth families that is unavailable to "new" wealth. Namely, their extensive communication lines that have been established over generations and thus are trusted and maintained. Old-wealth has money and power and overriding class status. Its primary intent is to maintain that status. Having more wealth is relatively pointless when compared with losing their "top dog" status.Their primary quest is how to maintain their status.

Thus they, as a class, inherently share that common intent to persist and instinctively and automatically join to attack any threat to it. That is is robotic!

New money has money wealth; never has the time-tested communication lines that take generations to establish. In that sense, the "deep state" are the visible tools of the old-money families, used to the purpose of maintaining their cherished position.

Posted by: chu teh | Jan 31 2021 18:34 utc | 32

@33 The new aristocracy certainly does have a different mentality. I'm thinking of recent additions like Sir Elton John and Sir Rod Stewart. Of course they have a long way to go before they catch up with the Grosvenors, the Beauforts, the Nevilles and other Norman descendents.

Posted by: dh | Jan 31 2021 18:37 utc | 33

Piotr Berman | Jan 31 2021 18:27 utc | 33
re libretto of Mikado... As a 1st-time reader of POOH...magnificient!

Posted by: chu teh | Jan 31 2021 18:51 utc | 34

A reminder of Biden's foreign policy history

Would You be Considered a Domestic Terrorist Under This New Bill?

What Happens When America is Secularized based on Race and Identity Politics

Posted by: Dogon Priest | Jan 31 2021 19:08 utc | 35

Tanker Trackers is saying two Iranian tankers have arrived or are just off the coast of Venezuela.

Posted by: schmoe | Jan 31 2021 19:15 utc | 36

The good folks at Wall Street on Parade have a more cautious view of the Game Stop events:

"Before you buy into the David versus Goliath saga of GameStop, it would be wise to step back and do some homework on what’s really going on."

Posted by: jayc | Jan 31 2021 19:22 utc | 37

Anti-Putin protests Jan 31...
Watching F24 News & waiting for the barrage of bs from the Very British EN-language reporter. According to him, most of the people in the square are SPECTATORS not involved in the protest.

Sounds a lot like Oz, where well-publicised protests routinely attract far more gawkers than protesters...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 31 2021 19:27 utc | 38

Feudalism. (Part reply to snake | Jan 31 2021 14:45 utc | 5)

I recently decided to go back to roots of Feudalism to find out just what it was we were talking about and could it be used to define part of nowadays. These references are from a book from 1978.

As defined from 1021-34 by Gerard de Cambrai, feudalism was an argument for inequality. Why the Bishop priests had a God-given right to the top positions. The concept was one of a tripartite social system. (concept useful to us). Consisting of three axes.

1) The oratores. The bishops and all the priesthood charged with giving the "orders - ecclesiastic". The "lawgivers", without who births, marriages and deaths could not be celebrated. Who crowned kings and who pardoned the enforcers of (their) orders. Who collected taxes (tithes). They were forbidden to any manual work, or to do the washing up, or anything manual.
2) Pugnatores. Thugs of the realm. The military. You know them, Military, Police, mercenaries, "Intelligence" agencies, the kings and vassals (NATO?). The enforcers for the oratores. They didn't do any work either.
3) agricultores. The producers the ones who supported the indolence of other two lazy b..s. They controlled production but were probably NOT the serfs and others who did the hard labour.
(There are differing degrees in each group, and cross references as well)

The Pugnatores can easily be seen today. Thugs. They are also standard features of life today. They demand servitude, obedience and vasselage.
The agricultores are those multinationals and favoured companies in the new "green deal". Incidentally they no longer need serfs today as those can be replaced by robots, and presumably no longer include independent small companies.

The oratores can be seen as the "thinkers" ie. Governments and bureacracies. Bankers, Judges, lawyers, Hedge Funds, tax collecters and all those who tell people how to carry on their lives while taking them away. They are fervent followers of the dominant religion and insist on it's supremacy.

BUT. The top of the top are the oratores, the Prince-Bishops who were filthy rich. From the top of their gold embroidered mitres, via their jewellery laden fingers and clothes, to their soft kissable sandals. They had real power. No wonder they argued for inequality. We have them today. Bezos, Gates, Musk et al in their Bugattis and floating palaces. The Oligarchs are the new Prince-Bishops.

What about the "religion" that they represent?. No longer one with a personalised "gawd" but that of money. More than money; Stocks, shares, drivatives, mortgages, rehypothecation, HST, debt, shorts, naked shorts, Gold, bitcoin, etherium, silver, there are many ways. Which I call "Flouze". (derived from the French slang meaning "Sous", "cash" etc). Anything that can be used as way to posses an asset, real or imaginary.

The religion of "flouze" is now the major one. The Oligarchs are the new lords of it. They have direct vassals in the "rules based system" we are supposed to follow. The Enforcers have been there since the day dot. They are empowered by the Prince Oligarchs who will condone their brutality towards the serf class, if it protects them. The Corporations (producers) support the first two. The serfs will no longer have any possibility for social mobility after "lockdown" has destroyed the old order (eliminating the middle class).

Dissidents? There were the Cathars, who were exterminated usually by being burnt at the stake. The "noble" families that restricted the key posts to themselves. But those are another post.

PS thank you for your patience.

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 31 2021 19:33 utc | 39

@ vk...

maybe you missed my post @20 to you.. if so, i would like a reply.. if not - continue on.. you have replied to everyone else, lol...

Posted by: james | Jan 31 2021 19:38 utc | 40

@Down South

Excellent contrast, thank you. The first heavily coached and scripted Greta reminds me of the Kuwaiti ambassadors daughter impersonation of just an average Kuwaiti who witnessed Iraqi soldiers "throwing babies out of incubators" in the run up to the First Gulf War. Of course, that was all bullshit created by a big US PR firm (Hill & Knowlton).

Climate change is very real, but the WEF powers that be want to manipulate the crisis so that the big corporations get to do "Green" capitalism to make massive profits while not addressing the real underlying causes. Lots of government cash for carbon capture etc., and new restrictions on any dissidents.

The site "the wrong kind of green" has been an excellent source for an understanding of the corporate attempt at taking over the climate change crisis for their own benefit. One of the most interesting aspects is the role of there Rockefeller foundations in setting up etc., an organization that holds a lot of marches but never really questions the nature of the system. Also, Avaaz and other PR types.

Posted by: Roger | Jan 31 2021 19:43 utc | 41

@ jayc | Jan 31 2021 19:22 utc | 40 with the Wall Street on Parade link....thanks

I wrote in another comment that GameStop was small potatoes but the proof of concept is being focused now on SLV which might prove to be more fitting to the David/Goliath moniker.

Interesting times indeed. I read a related posting that said the back office clearing and holding of all this trade shit could lock up given the right swan anyone?

I see the misrepresentation of our world's mixed economies as all capitalist/socialist/marxist/communist continues to get the same obfuscation treatment by the same commenters....sad....ideological/mythological shit that only exists in the fevered minds of the true faith breathers....the rest of us have to live in the shit show reality they deny.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 31 2021 19:46 utc | 42

@45 psycho

There is some realization with Tylers over at zerohedge that JPM has been quietly buying PSLV for quite some time and they have it stored ready for the call. If so, some banksters are ready to make a bunch of money.

Those holding paper silver without having the physical stores are going to get squeezed bad.

So there are several possibilities.

JPM could make out and consolidate its monopoly on financial markets.


They, along with others, might be finally caught holding worthless paper where the true extent of pm manipulation will be finally screamed from the mountaintops.

It could collapse the market.

It could hurt a lot of dopes who thought the casino was really a good place for their nest egg.

Will it be worth it?

Yes, but I am hoping JPM gets caught it in just as much.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 31 2021 20:03 utc | 43

Piotr Berman (29) Neque Caecum Ducet, Neque Amentem Consultorem.

Posted by: Maracatu | Jan 31 2021 20:13 utc | 44

Just a note re M Hudson and the dumbing-down of economics:

In F Baum's Wizard Of Oz, Dorothy's shoes were made of silver [color]. In the MGM movie, were changed to red shoes.

Now into February 20221, begins the silver squeeze of the manipulators' things get wilder and wilder.

Posted by: chu teh | Jan 31 2021 20:14 utc | 45

Apart from the UK that perfected the base capitalist structures, and to some extent the white settler colonies that tended to wipe out the native populations so as to start afresh, every nation has practised a revolution from above to implement capitalism - resulting in different varieties of capitalism as private property and wage slavery were bolted onto preexisting systems. Within these variations there are very different ways in which the financial system has been regulated and utilized - with the UK on the far end of the "freeing" of the financial system. Germany would be a counter example, notwithstanding the Deutsche Bank error-prone monolith.

In the first century of the US there were constant battles over the power of the financial system, with finance fully winning out around the beginning of the twentieth century. The 1930s crash and the capital-union compromises put finance back in the regulatory bottle until the 1970s when finance was released once more. There is a difference between industrial capitalism and finance capitalism. The "fractions of capital" of the Amsterdam School (e.g. van Der Pijl) thesis talks to this, and is the basis for the terms "Productive Capital" and "Financial Capital".

All of the countries that have successfully industrialized have tended to use the former, together with protections against richer country predation. South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan etc. The US/UK worked hard to destabilize that, firstly with Japan in the 1980s (financial deregulation) and the using the 1990s Asian crisis to get at South Korea etc. Excellent books on this are Hudson's "America's Protectionist Takeoff 1815-1914", Vogel's "The Four Little Dragons" and Chang's "The East Asian Development Experience".

China IS different, and to call it capitalist is just laziness. The Party-State is predominant in China and holds the "commanding heights" of the economy within it, as well as having Chinese Communist Party committees within each company. The disciplining of Jack Ma is just the latest example of the Party-State exercising its power over corporations. There are very few interconnections between the Chinese elites and the WEF elites, and there is certainly no truly independent bourgeoisie. There is excellent work by Starrs on the Chinese system and van Apeldoorn and de Graaff on elite network among a host of scholars. The competition between China and the US is deeply ideological and very threatening to the US/UK/Europe elites. The below may be behind firewalls, I have access through my institution.

Starrs, Sean Kenji (2017) The Global Capitalism School Tested in Asia: Transnational Capitalist Class vs Taking the State Seriously, Journal of Contemporary Asia 47(4), pp. 641-658.

van Apeldoorn, Bastian & Nana de Graaff (2018) US-China relations and the liberal world order: contending elites, colliding visions? International Affairs, 94 (1), pp.113-131.

Hudson, like any academic may not always be right, but he has much right. Also, his background as both a financial industry insider and later as an academic makes him very different to any vulgar Marxist, or one who completely misunderstand Marx.

Posted by: Roger | Jan 31 2021 20:14 utc | 46

What a week it has been! Tremendous thanks to b for compiling so many additional links to travel to, and especially the Michael Hudson article, which is an extract from his coming new book. vk and others, Prof. Hudson has many times observed that followers of Marx need to apply themselves to the second and third volume of his work, and I am sure his book will have those quotations you are needing, so do be sure to buy it.

james @ 20, I don't think Prof. Hudson is looking for an out - he's been very upfront in revealing his fascinating background, which has resulted in a confrontation with economics theory in the US in very early days. I'd put the new nomenclature down to his own journey distilling the arguments he has had all along into concepts we non-professionals can understand. That is really how these latest essays strike me. All along, for instance, we have been hearing that US practice is socialism for the rich, but it takes a while for it to sink in that the anti-welfare policies inflicted on the rest of us impinge on workers' ability to survive in a low wage scenario and make the country's trade policies backfire. Not only do we not make anything in the US- we couldn't do so, because other countries that look after their people better can undersell us.

Posted by: juliania | Jan 31 2021 20:16 utc | 47

Paging Dr. C1ue with his "Pms are worthless" speal.

The demand for physically holdings things will not be the death knell of capitalism but rather the death knell of anational capitalism extraction (i.e derivatives).


I am beginning to think that those who have been warning us about a "great reset" in the past few years are plants from the system of anational extraction.

Yes, there will be a reset, but it will be for a much better, nationalized and regulated one. So long as people fly into physical holdings, the phantom clown-carnival which is the market today will be decimated.

In the weeks to follow, the government will attempt to step in, but you can only count on Uncle Sambo so many times before people finally tell him, "Do you want to "hang" with them? Or hang with us?"

Interesting times indeed.

But do not fear. We are exiting the globalist epoch and are entering into a resurgent nationalism.

The U.S. if it survives, will finally be able to start acting like a real country!

Then God will have truly blessed America.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 31 2021 20:40 utc | 48

NemesisCalling | Jan 31 2021 20:03 utc | 46
Cross my palm with silver?

What is interesting here is also the "revenge" motive.
Did you see "This Is For You, Dad": Redditor Shares Heartbreaking Reason For Destroying Short-Sellers In WSB Raids ZH on saturday?

There is a lot of built up stress in the world, which has only got more violent since lockdown (designed to eliminate the middle class entirely). We shall see in a short time exactly what JPM has in store.

Just a question about "naked shorts" from another thread. According to Taibbi, JPM "may have been supplying stocks it didn't have". Diplomatically saying that they were also in on the Naked shorts. My question is this; as N.shorting is a con trick (selling something you don't possess) and therefore illegal, it must be impossible to declare to the IRS as "capital gains", without equally admitting to fraud. Thinking of Al Capone who was brought down by the IRS, I wonder just what happens next?

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 31 2021 20:43 utc | 49

@ Posted by: Roger | Jan 31 2021 20:14 utc | 49

There's no dispute it is in the nature of the capitalist class to constantly compete within itself. But infighting is not a privilege of the capitalist class: in feudalism, there were constant wars between the kingdoms because wealth in feudalism was land, and land could only be "created" through conquest. That the feudal nobility literally was a warrior class speaks for itself.

The thing is Marx didn't become the dominant thinker since the late 19th Century because he had the prettiest theory, but because his theory is the best and continues to be the best from a scientific point of view. It is the only theory that can successfully and consistently explain all phenomena that happens in capitalism, and the only one that can predict what will happen. Just to give you one tiny and obvious example: Marxism is the only theory in the present day that incorporates crises in the capitalist system - all the other ones, from neoclassicism and Keynesianism to the Austrian School, consider crises as aberrations in capitalism that only happen by chance (human failure and natural disasters).

Posted by: vk | Jan 31 2021 20:44 utc | 50

Maracatu #1

Thank you for the links.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 31 2021 20:48 utc | 51

Juliana @50: my recollection is that vk, as recently as yesterday, made the point that Capital ought to be read in its 3 volume entirety.
So far as Feudalism is concerned Hudson's use of the term is hardly intended to be scientifically precise. Indeed it is difficult to conceive of any definition of this very vague, widespread and long evolving system which is precise.
Feudalism has a number of interesting characteristics. One of them is that it is founded on the common ownership of land. The feudal hierarchy does not own land, it derives its wealth from exploiting the produce of those who cultivate the land. The feudal lords base their power on their 'right' to seize the surplus produce of the tillers and to direct their labour- they "own" the workers in agriculture but not their land.

Marx is a very useful guide to our society and his criticism of the capitalist system, still in its early stages when he was alive, like his critique of imperialism is astonishing in its relevance, almost two centuries after he began to write. One imagines that Marx, whose ideas were in constant development, would have been the very last person to attempt to fit the events of the 21st Century into the categories that he was developing when Prince Albert was fucking Victoria and Napoleon III ruled France. Marx was, after all, an empiricist who observed the world and drew his conclusions from what he saw.
vk is right to criticise Hudson's use of the term Feudalism, not because it does not fit in with Marx's sketch of the system which he saw capitalism as overwhelming but because it is misleading. So, it is now clear, was the caricature of feudalism that Marx outlined. And no-one was more aware of this than Marx himself who realised, to the dismay of many who called themselves his disciples, that the possibility of building a new society on the basis of a peasant revolution, rather than waiting for the western european proletariat to overthrow the ruling class, was a possibility to be examined.
As to Hudson: he is a very astute and independent critic of the ruling class. There aren't so many like him that he can be ignored. Or, for that matter, worshipped.
What Marx urged people to do was to subject all received wisdom, analysis and opinion to rigorously honest criticism. The last criticism that he would make of Hudson is that he is not a marxist. Nor was Marx.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 31 2021 21:05 utc | 52

Posted by: bevin | Jan 31 2021 21:05 utc | 55

I was writing a reply along similar lines but you captured it very well, thank you. I agree completely with vk's critique of OldHippie and also appreciate taking Michael Hudson's piece to task. I would be interested in an elaboration of the problem's vk sees in David Harvey's reading of Volume 1 too.

Addendum: the key to this debate is that Feudalism and Capitalism are historical conjunctures and are not reducible to essences or abstract distillations. I suspect Marx would have insisted above all on this when he explains what Aristotle means when he says that man is a politikon zōon: humans realise their 'nature' only in political societies (the polis) and these arise only under historical conditions. So vk's point, that these terms refer to historical relationships between human beings in the process of the reproduction of their material life, is right. This is why I'm drawn to Annalistes historiography (Braudel, Wallerstein, Jason Moore, etc). Hudson is often lazy with this even when his critique of financialisation is correct.

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 31 2021 21:16 utc | 53

@ vk 53

No argument about Marx, he fully understood the ugliness of capitalism and the normalcy of intra-elite competition and crisis within it. Also, a beautiful writer - his feel for poetry, and his work as a journalist, really comes through in his writing.

I see that we really have thee general models of development - "productive" capitalism that actually supports and builds upon its own power foundations (Germany, the Asian economies etc.), capitalism that has fully let loose the financialization and rentier tendencies that strip-mine the very foundations of its power (USA, UK, India, Russia somewhat ameliorated by Putin) and the State-Party regulated markets of the Chinese model.

The natural result of the middle tendency is some form of Fascism, or the Inverted Totalitarianism (in the US) of Wolin. I am currently reading Arundhati Roy's "Azadi" which very much puts the case for outright Fascism in India under Modi. The former model can result in increasing average incomes and some limited democratization (like the "New Deal"), although the German example has been practising wage suppression for the past 3 decades with Eastern Europe used as the hammer over the workers. The latter model is getting the job done with respect to increasing incomes and even dealing with local pollution issues (but not really climate change), but seems to be very specific to the Chinese historical context.

We certainly live in "interesting times", the Chinese and US models cannot be reconciled given the position of the US elite and the knowledge of the Chinese elite to what happens to them and their people if they open up the commanding heights (finance, energy etc.) - they just have to look at their own history, and Japan from the 1990s onwards.

Posted by: Roger | Jan 31 2021 21:18 utc | 54

Piotr Berman (29) Neque Caecum Ducet, Neque Amentem Consultorem.

Posted by: Maracatu | Jan 31 2021 20:13 utc | 47

It was tough for me. Yandex Translate choke, Google search gave hits to legal dictionaries in Spanish. Spanish was translated "Do not take a blind one as a guide, and a weak one as an advisor", but "hombre debil" may have some other meaning in addition to "weak man". Me thinks that you use Latin to cast assertion on Google News as a reliable consiliarii. That does not give justice to their herculean effort to weed the pool of link-worthy articles from all fake news and all sources that are either "native" (like, in this case, Ecuadorian) or unduly influenced by "native perspective".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 31 2021 21:24 utc | 55

If you want a taste of the nwo / perpetual lockdown thing just look to Australia.

909 deaths in a population of 25 million... one of the lowest population densities of any country in the world... yet everyone believes the nonsensical narrative... so fucking embarrassing.

Posted by: Rae | Jan 31 2021 21:24 utc | 56

... but it's worth noting that Hudson praises China because it still makes things. He is quite old-fashioned when it comes to value and thinks that because a type of capital is fictitious it's fraudulent. But all capital is founded on fraud, real or imagined. In many ways the Neolithic Revolution (domestication of agriculture) and its consequences are comparatively recent events and have to be measured against the vastness of the symbolic power haunting us from the epochs we lived before it. Against this 'capital', 'value' and 'money' can only be sustained in a theological way since they depend on an essentialist mysticism, like the allure of gold. For what it's worth the feudal relation of the medieval commune c.1050 in France seems much more preferable to the atomised, techno-paranoiac dystopia we live in now, but then I'm a bit of a romantic...

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 31 2021 21:25 utc | 57

@Roger | Jan 31 2021 20:14 utc | 49

Hudson, like any academic may not always be right, but he has much right. Also, his background as both a financial industry insider and later as an academic makes him very different to any vulgar Marxist, or one who completely misunderstand Marx.

Tsk, tsk, chiding our cherished closet-petit-bourgeois from Bresil like that.

ps the van Apeldoorn & de Graaff article can be read freely both at researchgate and at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Posted by: Lurk | Jan 31 2021 21:31 utc | 58

vk @ 34

By all means let us keep it theoretical and analytic. Paralysis by analysis is the hallmark of the IWA and everything that would follow. I know, let’s have a faction fight!! And write some manifestos!! Gotta keep it scientific.

Since you took a pass on my allusion and did not remotely get the sense of it my impression is you have not read even the most canonical works. This would be the second time you’ve missed one that everybody knows. Just using somebody else’s talking points.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 31 2021 21:31 utc | 59


Janet Yellen, the Secretary of Treasury and former head of the Fed, who infamously received $7 million in speaking fees during her time “away” from government, received $800,000 from Citadel (one of the hedge funds involved) for a single speaking engagement.


POOH-BAH: But I don’t stop at that. I go and dine with middle-class people on reasonable terms. I dance at cheap suburban parties for a moderate fee. I accept refreshment at any hands, however lowly. I also retail State secrets at a very low figure.
Aristocrats of yore and base-born holders of exalted offices in a Democracy behave quite similarly. [Bear in mind what is a "moderate fee" etc. for an extremely proud person is a princely sum for a typical drudge in this forum.]

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 31 2021 21:40 utc | 60

James #20

vk at #7 said "Next time, when you claim Marx said this or that, put the source in a footnote (with the page number and the correspondent edition) - like a true modern scientist should do."

You say at #20 "perhaps hudson is looking for an out so that he doesn't have to be referred to as a socialist, or worse a communist.. but regardless of that, i think his viewpoint is quite sound and seems very relevant to me... i challenge you both to tell me where i have this wrong... thanks... "

vk of course leaves no citation for you to refer to for further research. So is vk an accidental alchemist desperately trying to tie down an escaped broom in the lab?

I am with Hudson as he is a clear thinker, avoids didactic absurdities and obfuscations, has clearly transcended the worship of false messiahs, places modern financial systems in historical context and renders due recognition of predecessor classical economists in their efforts to describe this human activity we call economics.

In analysing the strengths and weaknesses of economic practice he is able to set out the way it has parasitised productive human work based activity to enrich a very narrow band of people. That this enrichment kills the goose that laid the golden egg in some states (leaving them in distress) is of no consequence to these 'modern workers'. The fact that is creates captive economies in low wage nations is appreciated by these designers of monopoly and it satisfies their lust to be more powerful than the sates so colonised, more powerful than the democracy of the people. It is fascist or totalitarian or supremacist and it is absurd that it is free to do so.

It is well past time but we should begin asap to tax the work of finance capital as it generates significant upward flows of wealth and robs the common wealth of their self determination of wise investment that builds THEIR communities.

Hence I say a Tobin tax on all financial transactions through the monetary system. It can be easily moderated to enable people's well being at the low income part of the spectrum. But all that work of finance should be taxed.

I for one am grateful for Hudson's work and the work of all the classical economists and the priceless work of Anthropologist David Graeber.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 31 2021 21:42 utc | 61

@dh | Jan 31 2021 18:19 utc | 31

@24 'Small shopkeepers and tradesmen never move up the class ladder.'

Sure they do if they send their children to the 'right' schools.

If you had been to the right school (and university, and fraternity), you would know that this is not true. They may climb up higher on their own ladder, but will not be allowed to move onto the higher ladder. The shopkeepers' and tradesmen's children are at most granted a chance to prove themselves to be willing and ruthless (to their own ladder-peers) top-tier servants to the ones who who were born and raised on that higher ladder.

I sat in school with the very rich family members of Marx (hello vk) and a bunch of assorted aristocrat kids for five days a week. On the sixth day, the elite brats got together for some private schooling that doubtlessly strengthened the special bond that they displayed amongst eachother. These facts were only wispered, never publicly discussed.

Posted by: Lurk | Jan 31 2021 21:50 utc | 62

dh @31 &36

Reginald Dwight aka Elton John is heavily scrubbed at the free genealogy sites, which is a red flag all by itself. I’ve always assumed he was from the Elton Baronets, and if you spend some time looking at Dwights and Shirey//Shirley’s the connections are there. If an Elton from the peerage he is related to Rod Stewart who yes is from that Stewart family. As an Elton he would also be fairly closely related to Mick Fleetwood, Barry Gibb, lots of performers. The giveaway is that the moment he recorded a couple of ditties he was famous, promoted, a star. No one gets that treatment for mere talent, John did not have much. And he has always been comfortable and at ease with royals. As simple gentry with some connections I will assume Sir John is just a Knight. Stewart’s knighthood would be a demotion if any took it seriously.

No, you do not climb the ladder by going to right schools. Dream on.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 31 2021 21:53 utc | 63

It's difficult to see how you can get that sense out of the Latin. I would translate literally: "He will not take a blind man or an idiot as an adviser." Maybe the source of the problem is that in Spanish the 2nd person singular pronoun Usted takes 3rd person verbs. So, "You will not take..."

Posted by: lysias | Jan 31 2021 21:53 utc | 64

To add to myself @65:

oldhippie | Jan 31 2021 18:07 utc | 30 points out a very salient fact about USA "democracy" and "free market capitalism".

It's called "The American Dream" because you have to be asleep to believe in it.

Posted by: Lurk | Jan 31 2021 21:54 utc | 65

uncle t @ 64
thanks for your reference to Graeber
his article from a year ago can be read here:
Against Economics, David Graeber

or if you like paywalls, here:

Posted by: downtownhaiku | Jan 31 2021 22:03 utc | 66

@66 I'm not sure what you are getting at there OH. My point was that the aristocracy is not what it used to be. Knighthoods are handed out for selling pop albums. But they are just token honors really. You still have to be royal to get a dukedom I believe. Edward 111 fixed that in 1337.

Yes if Sir Rod is a genuine Stewart he comes from a long line of Scottish Stewards who were Norman.

Going to the 'right' school is a way of meeting the 'right' people which is certainly an important step on the social ladder.

Posted by: dh | Jan 31 2021 22:12 utc | 67

Re: Lurk | Jan 31 2021 21:50 utc | 65

Exactly right. I did see this very clearly. The PoBuckers are almost never ever allowed to move up the real ladder. Except about one in 100,000 cases. And even those do not go all that far. 'Social mobility' is 99.99% mythical.

Posted by: blues | Jan 31 2021 22:13 utc | 68

nb on the 'right schools': sometimes one does not even grow up in the 'right country'. The University of Sydney's motto is sidere mens eadem mutato (now forgotten by most students): a more obvious declaration of cultural inferiority complex is hard to find. That particular university prefers its staff to have degrees from Oxford/Cambridge, Ivy League will do also, or select European universities. If you are a local graduate, even with your PhD actually from USYD, forget it you colonial scum.

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 31 2021 22:14 utc | 69

@72 Has any Ozzie ever achieved the dubious honor of a knighthood? I imagine he'd have to put up with a lot of piss-taking from his mates.

Posted by: dh | Jan 31 2021 22:24 utc | 70

I attempted to provide a link to a free copy of

Money and Government: The Past and Future of Economics.

which is explored by Graeber @69

Somehow, my post was not allowed, perhaps because the format was too long for small minded people using iphones.
But you can find the book FREE if you google title/author/pdf.

Posted by: downtownhaiku | Jan 31 2021 22:28 utc | 71

@73 Has any Ozzie ever achieved the dubious honor of a knighthood? I imagine he'd have to put up with a lot of piss-taking from his mates.

Barry Gibb , amongst many others. There is a wiki list .

Posted by: Fíréan | Jan 31 2021 22:39 utc | 72

Lurk @ 65

Must have been gathering moss when you posted. Yes, you’ve got it. In a previous life an ex-girlfriend won a scholarship to grad school at Brown. As right as a school could get. We were young and attractive and well presented. We got many invites to spend the weekend sailing at Newport. Then they would check us out in the Social Register. The invites were quietly scuttled. After a semester everyone knew we were nobody and there was really no point in being at that school. Did not matter in the least that the lady was there to write and had just been published in the New Yorker. Family mattered.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 31 2021 22:39 utc | 73

Once upon a time we used to fall over ourselves to get knighthoods. Anything to escape the ignominy of the colony. BTW 'Aussie' is preferred to 'Ozzie', and that's Sir Aussie to you ;). If you're interested in the best local parody of this kind of colonial fawning over the gentry of the old country, check out Barry Humphries satirical character 'Sir Les Patterson':

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 31 2021 22:39 utc | 74

One last thing before I revert to lurking on the stream of so many fine leftfield insights that so often delightfully pepper the MoA stew;

The LRB hit piece on Gottlieb is interesting on the face of it, but all these facts and details have become common knowledge to those who have a keen eye for "alternative facts and realities". The cat has been out of the bag and it has been screaming in the night outside of the mainstream's bedside window for a while, so it is high time for the gatekeepers to move the goalposts a bit again and distract the peons with a sacrificial goat tale. A limited hangout.

Even if all of the LRB's facts are true, these are not all the true facts.

Mind-control and MKULTRA are new as terms, but the phenomenon is old, very old. The drugs like big scary lsd are a big distraction. The real deal is hypnosis and parapsychology, both well-kept secrets of the priesly elite. To the general public and contemporary academic community the domain has been thoroughly blackwashed, obfuscated and ridiculed. Internet conspiracists rush to a gazillion different conspiracies, but few dare tread on these arcane topics.

There is a lot more to hypnosis than the party variant. In some sense, maybe it is a good thing that few people know this. In another sense, it is even worse if the only the wrong people know. Freud was iconified not for his great insights (which weren't) but for erasing hypnosis from the memory of psychology. He dabbled in it for a while, until he got caught red-handed with a female client and a scandal was suppressed. Freud stole most of the stuff he set out with - and subsequently distorted into untenable bizarre deathwish theories - from Pierre Janet, whom most psychologists have never even heard of.

Are you Mesmerized yet? No sir, you have been Gassner-ized. Poor father Gassner, promethean thief of the prietly secrets, his reputation ridiculed by the cirque folie operated by Mesmer, mercenary hireling of jesuit father Hell.

The parapsychological, what to say about that. To the verbal it is as the sound of silence. To the ratio it is ineffable and essentially out of control. But is it not real because of this? What are the implications if it is? Who are you?

I'll try to jump out of the bottomless can of worms and return to a more exoteric and seemingly trivial example that I have pointed out before.

Paul Verhoeven made a visionary movie "Starship Troopers". It is a cult classic on the order of "They Live" - no bigger even. It lampooned America's blatant fascism in an age when this was not commonly understood. It oddly presaged America's Reichstag Fire and the subsequent War on the bugs^H^H^H^Hthe muslims^H^H^H^Hterrorism. But most peculiar were the in-film's recruitment tv-commercials for the intelligence services, featuring the motto: "Are You Psychic?"

No sir, we're not staring at goats here.

Posted by: Lurk | Jan 31 2021 22:47 utc | 75

The Sydney-born governor general who fired Gough Whitlam in 1975 was Sir John Robert Kerr.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 31 2021 22:48 utc | 76

A good recent book on Sidney Gottlieb is Stephen Kinzer's "Poisoner in Chief".

Posted by: lysias | Jan 31 2021 22:53 utc | 77


There are knighthoods and then there are hereditary knighthoods.

Whatever Sir Elton's pedigree, at least his for-the-show knighthood is not going to be hereditary for the obvious banal reasons.

Posted by: Lurk | Jan 31 2021 22:53 utc | 78

@77 Barry Humphries has been a favorite of mine since Private Eye days. So 'Ozzies' is now politically incorrect. I must try to keep up. :)

Posted by: dh | Jan 31 2021 22:54 utc | 79

Posted by: lysias | Jan 31 2021 22:48 utc | 79

And may he suffer damnatio memoriae for it. But KBE's litter that generation of Australian politics. Even the disgraced Queensland Police Commissioner was Sir Terence Smith, jailed for corruption.

(PS. I've just been reading the 22nd speech of your namesake, 'Against the Grain-Sellers')

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 31 2021 22:55 utc | 80

@ 50 juliania... thanks.. i agree and share your viewpoint... i only offered that idea as an attempt at understanding vk, but vk is not forthcoming... i have a problem with purists, whether they be aficionados of marx or whatever.. stuff looks good on paper, but real people get their hands dirty... if hudson doesn't use the right words and people have a problem with him, so be it.. it reflects on living in an ivory tower as i see it.. bevin @ 55 seems to fall into this ''word police'' position too.. oh well...

@ 64 uncle tungsten quote - "an accidental alchemist desperately trying to tie down an escaped broom in the lab?" it looks like it, lol.. thanks for that.. i too share hudsons suggestions and ideas on taxing finance.. and i did notice the tobin tax link you shared on a previous thread and was looking at that too... that is all past high time, so why has none of it happened yet?? i don't think anyone believes biden or anyone in power at present is going to move towards any of hudsons ideas.. they would alter things too much, so it won't happen this way.. it is going to be something more extreme that has to happen first unfortunately... thanks for sharing your perspective and reinforcing michael hudsons work.. we see it the same! thanks for the link on david graeber who i am unfamiliar with.. i will check that out..

thanks for the many comments on the topic of michael hudson more generally being made by many posters here.. it is informative and educational... not being a marxist purist, or knowing much of anything about marxs writings, it is interesting to follow the conversation...

Posted by: james | Jan 31 2021 23:23 utc | 81

ref Aussie knighthoods :

Richie Benaud was awarded an OBE, does that count ?

quote Richie ; "The slow motion replay doesn't show how fast the ball was really travelling " .

Nodody's going to take the piss out of Richie

"Marvelous ! "

Posted by: Fíréan | Jan 31 2021 23:24 utc | 82

The US practiced industrial capitalism then switched to financial capitalism somewhere in the 80s with Reagan.
Japan practiced industrial capitalism then is gradually switching to financial capitalism also since the 80s.
China practices Maoist socialism then switches to industrial capitalism, ALSO in the 80s.

But will industrial capitalism lead to socialism i.e. the economy and production for the people? That's the question.

Industrial capitalism can work, and it is a sound system based on real material things such as production and service, and not just shuffling money like finance and stock market. But industrial capitalism still cannot escape the contradiction of profit (the top industrialists want to get richer and more efficient while doing less work and gradually monopolizing the wealth that the bottom should have), which is what leads to financial capitalism in the first place.

Posted by: Smith | Jan 31 2021 23:50 utc | 83

@86 smith

The nation's inherent role is to temper the human desire of money and power and redirect it towards limiting selfishness.

It is a real concept/a spiritual phenomenon.

It can and will reemerge.

We just have to expose the certain class that always seems to get out in front or makes its way to the head of national governments. These anational dual-citizens need to go.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Feb 1 2021 0:00 utc | 84

Piotr Berman @ 33

“Is so called capitalism a feudalism in disguise?”

Hudson keeps walking right up to that. His focus is elsewhere so he doesn’t go straight to the point that keeps being throttled by the MoA marxists. My point would be that when you provide the Duke of Bedford with geese for the table and ditch digging services you are a serf and the system is feudalism. When you pay the Duke of Bedford monthly rent you are a tenant and the system is capitalism. The Duke is still the Duke. You and I are still his cattle.

The new con is same as the old con. The old con wears ermine. The Marxist con wears a top hat. The current con wears Zegna or Armani. Same. And same persons from same families.

I spent some time at the other day looking at Obama who is supposed to be a nouveau. Just looked at the free stuff. Can’t get his father’s side. On his mother’s side he is a Stanley. Same family that created the House of Tudor and the House of Windsor. Obama’s lineage goes back beyond the Kings of Mann, goes back all the way to pre-Roman Britain. Just using direct line, no collateral lines. Collateral lines he is related to everyone of consequence. We treat him as a nouveau, as a commoner. No.

These people are not worried about little things. They win every time. Capitalism, feudalism, financialization, it doesn’t matter. They have always won. They expect to always win. They take the long perspective and protect the bloodlines.

Posted by: oldhippie | Feb 1 2021 0:08 utc | 85

Richard Haass, head of the thinktank Council for Foreign Relations, posted the following message on Twitter last Monday:

"A suggestion: the next Nobel Peace Prize recipient ought to be Alexei Navalny for advocating peaceful protest against corruption in Putin’s Russia. Doing so would not only be right on the merits but would provide some much needed protection & a boost to Navalny & his supporters."

To which I reply: "Why not? After all, didn't Obama get one too?"

Just kidding.

Posted by: nitwit | Feb 1 2021 0:09 utc | 86

@ NemesisCalling

Aye, that's optimistic.

I still have my doubt but yes, dual-citizen, dual-loyalty, these people aren't good for any country.

Posted by: Smith | Feb 1 2021 0:20 utc | 87

@ Posted by: Smith | Jan 31 2021 23:50 utc | 86

There isn't such a thing called "industrial capitalism".

The illusion that there are two capitalisms - industrial and financial - arises from the international division of labor, i.e. and advanced specialization of the nation-states within the global process of capitalist production.

The American people has been able to feed themselves the illusion that what is good for capitalism is good for America (and vice-versa) because, after WWII, it was both the industrial and the financial centers of the world. But that situation was exceptional, fruit of one of the most unique historical events. It wasn't destined - because it couldn't - to last. As the USA prospered, it bled Dollars to the rest of the world because it needed USDs to purchase America's machinery and goods. As the USD inevitably became the world's fiat currency (Dollar Standard), it became unable to depreciate vis-à-vis the other currencies, so, instead of inflation, it begun to deindustrialize. From this natural capitalist process it became clear the USA was specializing in finance, while other countries inevitably specialized in industry (Germany and Japan). The USA was able to destroy Germany and Japan through the Plaza Accord (1985) because they were small countries, already militarily dominated. But it came at a cost: the USA had to export the world's industry to China (1972) and SE Asia + Asian Tigers (1986). The high speculation from the fast industrialization of SE Asia resulted in the Crisis of the Asian Tigers of 1997 - the crisis that ended all the hopes of the so-called "Third World" to ever being developed.

The fact is capitalism is a global system by definition and by nature. It was only a matter of time before the USA itself became an obstacle to capitalist reproduction. The short prosperity during Bill Clinton can easily be explained by the destruction and absorption of the ex-Soviet space - but even that last less than two decades, as it would finally crumble in September, 2008.

Posted by: vk | Feb 1 2021 0:37 utc | 88

@ vk

I do agree with you, industrial and financial are just phases of capitalism, industrial is the "honeymoon" phase, and the financial stage is the "terminal" phase, and the latter almost always follows the former.

That's why I do believe even "honeymoon" phase capitalism isn't enough to save it, since it still chases markets and consumers instead of being happy with feeding its own existing people. The contradiction is too great, the greed is too great.

Posted by: Smith | Feb 1 2021 0:42 utc | 89

Patroklos @60--

You say, "But all capital is founded on fraud, real or imagined," then you must consider yourself to be a fraud also for you are human capital just like myself and all other humans. Then there's land; how is that fraudulent? Those happen to be two of the primary factors of production, and they can produce things of value without any input of money.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 1 2021 0:45 utc | 90

It's clear there are some uneducated minds providing commentary on a topic they know little about. I highly suggest they read this essay before they comment further.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 1 2021 0:49 utc | 91

The real reason Wall Street is terrified of the GME situation

I have been following GME since mid-September and over that time I have banked myself a %1300 return in the process. However, the whole time I was a little puzzled with how severe the reactions from Wall Street have been, especially this week. "The company had more than 100% of its stock sold short! That's never happened before!", you say. I know, I know, but that's not actually not a new thing. A short squeeze, even one of this magnitude, should have squoze by now with GME up more than 10x in the span of weeks. Something is just not right. I think there is something much, much bigger going on here. Something big enough to blow up the entire financial system.

Posted by: Mao | Feb 1 2021 0:54 utc | 92

@ Posted by: Smith | Feb 1 2021 0:42 utc | 92

It's more the opposite: the financial nations are the most prosperous, where the national working classes live what you call the "honeymoon" with capitalism, while industrial nations are where capitalism show its most savage face (well, second most savage - the commodities exporter nations from Africa, Asia and Latin America are the ones facing capitalism's most cruel face by far). China is the exception because it is not a capitalist nation, but a socialist one.

Living in a finance nation is good because you don't produce but you consume. Consuming without having to work for it is very good, as it is in human nature to work the least possible for the gain.


@ Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 1 2021 0:49 utc | 94

Economics doesn't have a Nobel Prize. It's actually the (hold your breath, because the name is long) Swedish Royal Bank's Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. Alfred Nobel himself didn't put Economics as one of the worthy sciences in his will.

The prize, of course, is a joke, as it only laureate bourgeois economists (vulgar economics), therefore not scientists.

Posted by: vk | Feb 1 2021 1:05 utc | 93

Breaking news:

Myanmar political leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, detained by military: reports

After the Rohingya separatist movement failed, the West has probably used its ace in the hole to remove Aung San Suu Kyi. This coup probably aims to install and consolidate a pro-West government that will block one of the most important branches of the BRI.

Posted by: vk | Feb 1 2021 1:10 utc | 94

@ vk

In the financial stage, the participants will always harken back to the days of industrial, even if lives were harder back then, this is not just nostalgia but because the people felt they had more control over what they produce and consume and wages were comparatively higher.

Posted by: Smith | Feb 1 2021 1:13 utc | 95

DH @ 73:

Prince Philip was recommended for a Knighthood of the Order of Australia in 2015 by reptilian sleazebucket Tony Abbott, the then Prime Minister.

Imagine the ribbing that Prince Philip got from his missus even though she approved the knighthood. You have to feel sorry for the poor fellow that he was never made Prince Consort but had to settle for a knighthood from one of the insignificant colonies.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 1 2021 1:32 utc | 96

Just saw this and came here to post.
Frankly, the military junta had taken quite a lot of bad press from the West during its last decades in place, so I wonder how much they're in NATO's pocket. Besides, the people have tasted freedom and a degree of democracy. There's no way - as in literally zero - they'll abandon it and would accept a return to military power. Western idiots might think that, because they dislike Suu Kyi and the handling of the Rohingya, her approval dropped among Burmese people. Well, fucking no, it's still to the roof, and it's no surprise that her party got as many votes this time than the previous one when it came to power.
Besides, there's so much Chinese money and economic interests there nowadays, Myanmar is so tied to its big neighbour, that there's no way the military would decide to let things be with the Rohingya and let them come back and do as they want - military has always been deadly opposed to any separatism or even autnomy-seeking movement -, and they just can't drop China and turn West. The West has pretty much nothing to bring to the table. Heck, if the West tries to push Myanmar, or its junta, towards India instead of towards China, they will lose money, but they also would still stick to their massively anti-Muslim stance, since that's something they have in common with Modi.
The only thing they can achieve this way is slowing down the RBI and Myanmar's economic integration into an East-Asian economic bloc. They can only slow the process by a few years, which is close to useless for the US, and is just mean when it comes to such a poor country.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Feb 1 2021 1:41 utc | 97

i picked this link up off the michael hudson footnote for 8...

Crime Shouldn't Pay: Why Big Tech Executives Should Face Jail
Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai need to be indicted.
Matt Stoller
Dec 20, 2020

Posted by: james | Feb 1 2021 2:36 utc | 98

Mark my wordz..


Posted by: Lozion | Feb 1 2021 2:41 utc | 99

@vk @Smith

Capitalist social relations are integrated with the already in place institutions, which in respect to China (and Asia in general) are very different to the West. Liberalism, Marxism etc. are universalist Western concepts that may not fit too well to an independent civilization that has been around and developed for about 3,000 years. The Party-State has utilized the market, and controlled capitalist relations for their obvious benefits, but that does not make China capitalist. The Party-State is dominant and even private property is conditional, as we have seen repeatedly. The latest take down of Jack Ma is very interesting, as his new ventures were pretty much exploitative finance - taking cheap money and lending it at much higher rates to individual Chinese for consumption.

That's why writers such as Daniel Bell (The China Model), Jacques (When China Rules The World), Mahbubani (Has China Won), and Muhlhahn (Making China Modern) propose that China has created a new version of modernity which is different to Western concepts. The state in a Chinese perspective is very different to the state in a Western one,

Posted by: Roger | Feb 1 2021 3:11 utc | 100

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