Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 12, 2022

Michael Hudson: The End of Western Civilization

Let me recommend to everyone the speech Michael Hudson has held on Monday for China’s Global University. It digs to the core of the illness that has taken over 'western' societies.

The issue is debt which historically was largely forgiven by the king or high priest in case of hard times. But during the time of the Greek and later Roman empires oligarchs took over and demanded to pay back all debt in full and even in hard times. This split societies into a rich rentier class and indebted plebs. Each empire that followed that path, from the Roman to the British one, eventually came down due to over-indebtedness.

Thomas Cole - The Course of Empire: Destruction


The U.S. is the current global empire which is way down on this path. It is hostile to all societies that do not open their financial markets to be robbed by U.S. oligarchs. This is at the core of the current global conflict as China, Russia, Iran and Venezuela developed from different traditions and reject to give in to U.S. demands. The U.S. is used to solve such 'problems' by force but is now likely too weak to achieve that.

Naked Capitalism is the first to publish the English language version of Hudson's speech:

Michael Hudson: The End of Western Civilization – Why It Lacks Resilience, and What Will Take Its Place

The core paragraphs are probably these:

The United States through its New Cold War is aiming at securing precisely such economic tribute from other countries. The coming conflict may last for perhaps twenty years and will determine what kind of political and economic system the world will have. At issue is more than just U.S. hegemony and its dollarized control of international finance and money creation. Politically at issue is the idea of “democracy” that has become a euphemism for an aggressive financial oligarchy seeking to impose itself globally by predatory financial, economic and political control backed by military force.

As I have sought to emphasize, oligarchic control of government has been the distinguishing feature of Western civilization ever since classical antiquity. And the key to this control has been opposition to strong government – that is, civil government strong enough to prevent a creditor oligarchy from emerging and monopolizing control of land and wealth, making itself into a hereditary aristocracy, a rentierclass living off land rents, interest and monopoly privileges that reduce the population at large to austerity.

It will be necessary to bring down the rentierclass. To recommit to a strong state that owns the public goods and services and does not hand them over to private interests. The coming malaise may well help to achieve that.

Posted by b on July 12, 2022 at 14:00 UTC | Permalink

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"The coming conflict may last for perhaps twenty years" --- Micheal Hudson.

"There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen" --- V I Lenin.

Posted by: too scents | Jul 12 2022 14:20 utc | 1

Well done B.

Here’s to people before profits

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Jul 12 2022 14:21 utc | 2


The answer to Kakhovka: missile strikes launched on Kharkiv

Several missile strikes were carried out on the Industrial district of Kharkiv. Numerous fires have been reported.

According to preliminary data, the shelling of urban enterprises was carried out from multiple rocket launchers.

Posted by: missile strikes | Jul 12 2022 14:24 utc | 3

I'm trying to imagine an economic environment where anyone would lend money knowing that at any moment the government would, on a whim, declare that it would not get that money back. Why would anyone lend money under those circumstances?

That is, of course, compatible with an industrial environment where a company spends years and tens of millions of dollars, only to have a government executive declare that that pipeline cannot be used. In such an environment why does any company invest?

Posted by: Bill H. | Jul 12 2022 14:25 utc | 4

European politicians are telling us to prepare for gas shortages.
This means that European politicians will stay the course in Ukraine at least until december, no matter what happens on the terrain, no matter what Putin says or does.

Posted by: Passerby | Jul 12 2022 14:42 utc | 5

wow if our opposition to US global abuses and EU degeneracy is moving towards a China global abuse advocacy I think is time to take a distance.

Posted by: Cardo Ruso | Jul 12 2022 14:43 utc | 6

From what I remember of Marx, he predicted that in the advanced stages of capitalism, fictitious capital would be defeated and consumed by industrial capital. On this point, it seems that he was dead wrong. The most advanced capitalist economies have been devoured by finance until there is nothing left.

Posted by: Furk | Jul 12 2022 14:51 utc | 7

b say: “It will be necessary to bring down the rentierclass”

We know whom the rentier class are. The 400 persons/families. We know where they live. The list is advertised every year.
I’ve advocated bringing them down occupy-style in these very pages. People do have power to do this. Here is an idea: just park the homeless in front of their residences.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Jul 12 2022 14:51 utc | 8

Be careful what you wish for. I am retired and spent roughly 1/2 my career in the public sector and 1/2 in the private sector.

Petty politics, backstabbing, "management by favors owed", adherence to antiquated bureaucratic rules, etc., are all endemic in the public sector.

The private sector has more incentive to get things done, and to get them right the first time.

A hybrid system is best.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Jul 12 2022 14:57 utc | 9

Dr. Hudson is still behind the curve.

As I have sought to emphasize, oligarchic control of government has been the distinguishing feature of Western civilization ever since classical antiquity.

This is nonsensical because Russia and China's governments are also oligarchically controlled.

The main difference is not in the % of population that controls government, the difference is how said % uses its control of government.

In the United States and Europe, that control has been increasingly to enrich themselves at the expense of their constituents.

Arguably, that control was unnecessary before as European colonies and post-World War 2 Europe were sufficient sources of enrichment - but both eras are over.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 12 2022 14:57 utc | 10

@Passerby | Jul 12 2022 14:42 utc | 5
Sure they will. The order comes from US and they ran out of money so they'll collapse EU and preferably Japan too.
The fall of the dollar as reserve currency started from their own idiotic sanctions policy, not Russia or China's master plan. EU will buy from US weapons (to "defend" from the bad Russians), energy, vaxxes, oil, gas, even synthetic food from Bill Gates. There will be a ban on other sources as being from "evil Russians and their friends".
I don't expect EU to survive as it is today in such conditions, some countries like Hungary might exit quickly. Even Poland may want to save their economy but will remain under complete US control.
And don't forget that EU is building a bunker for its leaders. Fear of Russian nukes? No, they all have their own bunkers, far away. It's fear of revolutions.
You noticed covid is getting again big attention in EU right now. A lockdown and curfew will come soon, before people will freeze, unemployed and hungry. That way they'll hide the collapse of economy and keep people under military control.

Posted by: rk | Jul 12 2022 15:07 utc | 11

In the West, the oligarchs control politics (see Ursula Leyen: "Thank you for your leadership Bill" (Gates)). In the East politics control the oligarchs (see Jack Ma and his Ant IPO).

Posted by: lev 25 | Jul 12 2022 15:13 utc | 12

@ 7

You misremember Marx. He writes great deal about finance capital.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jul 12 2022 15:21 utc | 13

The fall of the dollar as reserve currency started from their own idiotic sanctions policy, not Russia or China's master plan.

Posted by: rk | Jul 12 2022 15:07 utc | 11

The decline of the US Dollar as a global reserve currency began long before sanctions.

There are 8 significant world reserve currencies.

The US Dollar share of reserves has declined from 71.5% in 2001 to 58.8% in 2021.

Longer time horizon observers have pointed out that the real cause of the decline is excessive money printing (QE), the lower rate of return (below inflation) of US denominated debt and the weaponization of the US dollar against non-compliant nations. Sanctions will no doubt accelerate the de-dollarization of reserves, as has Russia/Chinese policy to reduce their holdings, which was already under way before sanctions.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Jul 12 2022 15:28 utc | 14

It's probably just a coincidence but the common factors shared by Western Mock Democracies are:
1. Privately owned utilities including Banks, and Politicians who don't listen.
2. Privatisation of war-fighting machinery.
3. Keeping National Security behind a thick curtain of Official Secrecy.
4. Loud and logic-defying 'respect' for
"Israel" in countries run by a political duopoly including a Fake Left.

If you want to know if your candidate can be trusted, ask him or her to state their stance on the racist apartheid state. Then sit back and enjoy the bile and vitriol exhibiton.

Privatised politicians were never a good idea and never will be.

Posted by: Hoarsewhlsperer | Jul 12 2022 15:29 utc | 15

This is nonsensical because Russia and China's governments are also oligarchically controlled.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 12 2022 14:57 utc | 10

How so?

Posted by: ostro | Jul 12 2022 15:29 utc | 16

@Opport Knocks | Jul 12 2022 15:28 utc | 14
Thanks for the reply.

Daily briefing should be interesting today, many places were hit using all sorts of weapons. Another fun fact was that MoD started listing mercenaries by full name and address in Poland :)

Posted by: rk | Jul 12 2022 15:40 utc | 17

Ukraine today is, now I think about it, an excellent example of why oligarchic rule sucks anywhere you find it.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jul 12 2022 15:41 utc | 18

Imho the main goal for peacemaker is to set back Murica to the state it was in before 1914 : a LOCAL power with little or no power to do harm to the rest of the globe. Then if the DC mafia wants to harm its own population, fine by me I don't care.

Differently said : cut the global tentacles of the Octopus! The world will be a better place to live in.

Posted by: Nanker | Jul 12 2022 15:48 utc | 19

Khomeini drank from the poison chalice (Kool-Aid in the current parlance). He did it to bring his backward country under the shah and propel it to where it is now mentioned in the same breath as Russia and China.
Sometimes the Kool-Aid make you stronger.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Jul 12 2022 15:48 utc | 20

I've posted this already on the 'Dysfunction' thread but it fits here perfectly:

Just look at China's high-speed trains – they deliver a stellar service which is affordable by nearly all of China's citizens because it hasn't been privatised:

So, that is exactly what b is saying with "To recommit to a strong state that owns the public goods and services and does not hand them over to private interests."

Posted by: Zet | Jul 12 2022 15:49 utc | 21

Thank you, b.

It’s always wonderful to hear concise summaries of Mr. Hudson’s work. He is so prolific it’s often difficult to spend the time wading through the details. He is a brilliant economist.

The FIRE sector which by definition is parasitic has complete control of western economies and its destructiveness is evident in every commercial endeavor in the US, from medicine to media to weapons manufacture.

Western generals complain (Asia Times) that China can produce the same weapon as the US at 1/20th the cost.

Most of our health care dollars go to administration, ie insurance and monopolies instead of patient care. The biggest problem is the FIRE sector employs so many people, they will never recognize they are the problem until they lose their jobs.

Posted by: Michael.j | Jul 12 2022 15:49 utc | 22

Lots of nonsense to sort through.

First, Hudson is conflating entirely different modes of production, with different forces and relations of production, and the class structures and 'laws of motion' specific to them. This is an ongoing problem in Hudson's work. Giving debt a transhistorical dynamic, across modes of production, is analytically and historically faulty. Capitalist finance is entirely different from money and debt under antiquity and feudalism. Hudson has no theory of money under capitalism, as Marx provides in Capital Volume 1. And without that theory, which all bourgeois and heterodox economics lack, Hudson has no foundation for understanding credit, the distribution of value, the centralization of capital, and the role of fictitious capital under capitalism, and its role in crisis formation. He sees the problem as 'finance' versus 'industry,' rentiers vs commodity producers, etc. As result, he fails to grasp, as Marx does, the real source of all capitalist profit -- the exploitation of labor in production -- which is then divided among different factions of capital. The solution isn't Keynesian repression of finance but working class revolution and the abolition of private property and its foundation in commodified land and labor.

Furk: you are wrong. Marx says that the credit system develops alongside capital, supporting the centralization and concentration of capital, and mobilizing surplus value for expanded reproduction. But it is contradictory. Fictitious capital grows and is revealed as fictitious when the production of value enters crises caused by falling rates of profit in commodity production. The falling rate of profit is the objective law of crisis formation; it is the long-term but inevitable result of mechanization increasing at a faster rate than the exploitation of labor. Hudson lacks all these analytical tools and just blames debt in and of itself.

On China, there are markets, alienated and exploited labor, and the law of value for most commodity production. But the bourgeoisie does not exist as a "class for itself." There is no capitalist state. The CCP is the director of the state and political economy and it is not run by the capitalist class. The CCP executes capitalists who get too uppity.

Posted by: Wilbur | Jul 12 2022 15:49 utc | 23

Here's an interesting snippet picked up on Eurasia & Multipolarity:

Eurasia & Multipolarity, [12/07/2022 16:27]

🏳‍🌈🇺🇦 ( The EU will eventually throw Ukraine under the bus...

The European Court of Justice partially upheld the suit of Nord Stream 2 AG against the European Commission on amendments to the EU Gas Directive.

According to sources, Nord Stream 2 contested the additions to the EU gas directive. The European Court of Justice recognized the presence of an error in the decision of the EU Court of General Jurisdiction dated May 20, 2020 to dismiss the claim about the discriminatory nature of the amendments to the EU gas directive for Nord Stream 2.

The court decided that "additions to the directive affect the legal situation of Nord Stream 2 AG, as a result, having come to the opposite conclusion, the court of general jurisdiction made a mistake."

It is specified that the gas pipeline operator is actually blocked under the sanctions. The company can re-file a claim against the EU gas directive.

And this is where trouble can happen. According to the former Minister of Economy of Poland and the former head of the PGNiG oil and gas concern Piotr Wozniak, if SP-2 files a complaint and submits it successfully, the company will win the case against the European Commission.

"It will mean disaster for Ukraine, because it will mean that Nord Stream 2 will be launched. And when it is launched, transit through Ukraine will stop

Ukraine will face the specter of freezing to death in winter. They will have to do something about it. And there is no infrastructure to save themselves The only way is to apply to the Kremlin for inclusion in the Russian gas system, which, of course, will have political consequences."

@tsargradtv (

Posted by: Barofsky | Jul 12 2022 15:58 utc | 24

Ive read a number of Hudson books on this subject of which he is quite prolific. You state he is incorrect in almost all areas. Would you list your published work here so we can compare?

Posted by: Milton | Jul 12 2022 16:03 utc | 25

Bill H @ 4

One of the old traditions of debt jubilee was every fifty years. Sure, 49 years into the cycle lenders are going to get reluctant. They will continue to loan anyway because they have had generations of good times. And because the government that issues the jubilee has been their friend. Without a government regulating commerce they'd have made far less money and endured far more strife. Lenders will want to be on the side of the government and in good graces of government even if it means taking a loss in the short run.

Most reading here or reading Hudson will have a hard time conceiving good government or thoughtful responsible and responsive government could even exist. We've not seen it.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jul 12 2022 16:05 utc | 26

Here's another excellent article by Larry Romanoff:

Private Enterprise and the National Good

Posted by: Zet | Jul 12 2022 16:07 utc | 27

I have a lot of respect for Hudson. And he certainly captures certain dynamics of financialization and US strategy. His theoretical understanding of those dynamics, though, are wanting. And those limitations in theory lead to limitations in politics.

On the problem of transhistorical thinking in bourgeois economics read Ellen Wood's book, The Origin of Capitalism.

For a Marxist critique of the financialization thesis -- the idea that we live in a new stage of capitalism defined by financial modes of accumulation, under the rule of a rentier class -- see the work of Michael Roberts (his blog has links to his papers on financialization) if you can't fit in all three volumes of Capital.

Posted by: Wilbur | Jul 12 2022 16:13 utc | 28

The central dynamic of Hudson's analysis makes sense, as does MoA's synthesis.

Where it all falls apart is when one ignores Russia and China's own "hereditary aristocracy, a rentierclass living off land rents, interest and monopoly privileges". There is no evidence of these dynamics being any better in either Russia, China, or the rest of non-Western world for that matter. Actually, if anything, it could be even worse when one looks at even just their recent past.

Russia is still a 2 class society with extremely low social mobility, and China's rise of the middle class is the fruit of a transition from absolute poverty at a rate of 10-15% growth per annum, itself a byproduct and dividend of a massive wealth transfer from the working class to the elites in the West. What makes anyone certain Russian, Chinese, Indian or Brazilian elites will act any differently from how Western leaders did? Absolute power still corrupts absolutely. So it may not end up being Charles Schwab's insects, but for sure we will be dealt some other shit sandwich.

All history has taught me is that when there is enough fat in the system for all to enjoy, the working class does well, but as soon as the gravy trains stops, the first to suffer are always the people. No matter the passport, that holiday home or luxury car will never be sold in order to pay for those excess jobs at the factory when profits are down.

The only ray of light i can see is that authoritarian Gov'ts are not as beholden to domestic election cycles and can govern in a more functional manner in the short term, and with greater strategic foresight in the long term. With challenges like climate change and global energy/water/food crises, that may end up being a decisive factor for the survival of humanity, or at least the maintenance of civil and functioning societies.

As for any talk of this shift being some transition of the proletariat taking down the oligarchy, and not just one group of elites taking over from the other, anyone promoting that idea is either very naive, if not straight up pushing the current challenger's propaganda, knowingly or not. At best, we can expect variations on the same old proven theme.

Posted by: Et Tu | Jul 12 2022 16:17 utc | 29

Posted by: lev 25 | Jul 12 2022 15:13 utc | 12

A wise man from China observed that in the US you can change the party but you cannot change state policy.

In China you cannot change the party but you can change state policy.

The Chinese government is much more sensitive to the will of the people. In the west the people are ignored apart from those brief periods called elections where they are lied to.

Posted by: Sushi | Jul 12 2022 16:18 utc | 30

@Wilbur | Jul 12 2022 16:13 utc | 28


Hudson was ostensibly paid to give a speech to an audience.

Posted by: too scents | Jul 12 2022 16:19 utc | 31

Wilbur @ 28

Just what we need. A doctrinaire Marxist. More boilerplate, please!

Posted by: Herr Ringbone | Jul 12 2022 16:23 utc | 32

Russia and China are not controlled by oligarchs. Russia is controlled by the state security apparatus with advice from a multiparty Duma. China is controlled by the Communist Party. The US and the West are controlled by financial oligarchs who control the Deep State who control the politicians. They call it democracy.

Posted by: Richard | Jul 12 2022 16:23 utc | 33

@Et Tu | Jul 12 2022 16:17 utc | 29

With challenges like climate change and global energy/water/food crises, that may end up being a decisive factor for the survival of humanity, or at least the maintenance of civil and functioning societies.
Those are tools the rentier class invent in order to maintain their privileges over the working classes as the gravy train grinds to a halt.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 12 2022 16:26 utc | 34

as the gravy train grinds to a halt.
Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 12 2022 16:26 utc | 34


And the engine that pulls the gravy train is named sustainability.

Posted by: too scents | Jul 12 2022 16:29 utc | 35

We have an allocation problem. Where do we allocate our resources? That is the key question. Not "who allocates" or "why allocates" or even "how allocates". I don't care, I don't care, and I don't care.

I care about "what are resources allocated to".


How to fix that allocation problem?

Well, I hope by now it's abundantly clear that the people who are currently doing the allocating... are _not_, most definitely _not_ going to change what gets allocated to whom.

They've worked for generations to gain power over our resources, and they will die, taking us with them, and for spite squash the planet before they give that away. Do you doubt me?

Just a few short weeks ago we were wondering if we were going to get nuked so the NeoCons (spearhead for the resource allocators) could get control of Russia.

Does anyone still think that if we ask nicely enough, they will change?


Now what?

Well, there are some interesting questions that we might ask ourselves, like:

Are there any other ways to influence resource allocation? ... and ...

How would that get done?

When we look at Russia, and discover that they're no longer a gas station with nukes, we're shocked to note that somehow, in spite of fierce repression from the West, they've somehow made smart allocation decisions.

What can we learn from Russia about resource allocation? Is there a way to adapt what Russia did to our conditions / situation?

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Jul 12 2022 16:32 utc | 36

A great democratic leader delivers everything to his people.
And no more than 10% to Mr Big

Joe Tzu

Posted by: Sushi | Jul 12 2022 16:33 utc | 37

I've been a big fan of M. Hudson since he was Kucinich's econ advisor, but I generally find him, and all economists, very difficult reading. But this takes the cake:

"The poetry of Archilochus on the island of Paros and Solon of Athens denounced the drive for personal wealth as addictive, leading to hubris injuring others – to be punished by the justice goddess Nemesis. The spirit was similar to Babylonian, Judaic and other moral religions."

What in hell does the last sentence mean? Judaism a moral religion? That is almost insane, for example, when the Jews got to the promised land they started by fighting the battle of Jericho, and we read ... Samuel 6:16 - As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpets, they raised a great shout, and the wall fell down flat; so the people charged straight ahead into the city and captured it. 21 Then they devoted to destruction by the edge of the sword all in the city, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys.

To find out what a collection of genocides, rape, murder, pillage, homosexuality, cannibalism, etc., the Torah contains watch this entertaining vid ...

Moreover, Hudson's reducing the march toward WW III as a rational result of bad economics is a diversion, not conscious, but a diversion nonetheless. Diversion from what, you ask? Hint: Ukraine is the Latest Neocon Disaster -

Posted by: Saggy | Jul 12 2022 16:35 utc | 38

@ Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 12 2022 16:26 utc | 34

Sure, i wasn't debating that.

Just as a follow up, managing an economy in an upward cycle while benefiting from undeveloped opportunities is the easy part.

The challenge is keeping that gravy train going by maintaining a balance and finding new markets without exploiting them or the system.

Perhaps they can reign long enough to cycle through Africa and the rest of the global south long enough to then reinvest in the ashes of what's left of the former West before screwing it all up the same way we have... i wish them good luck.

Posted by: Et Tu | Jul 12 2022 16:36 utc | 39

Hudson's fascinating. Worked on the inside, a well-deserved critique of financialisation, an equally well-deserved demolition of what passes for Economics today, and an encyclopaedic arsenal of crucial data. Which he handles as easily as the rest of us handle simple arithmetic. Quite a thinker, and a most valuable one.

Can't go with him. Not sure of him on money issuance, though I haven't read all his output so may have missed something there. If Graeber represents him faithfully on that, then I certainly can't go with him. Money issuance, as it evolved in the West from the renaissance on, is a quite different animal from that of earlier times. Better, too, for a modern industrial economy, if we could manage to stop abusing the process.

But more importantly here, no plan on how to get from A to B except, as is intimated above, to hope that B will somehow emerge from the chaos of impending economic collapse.

That, to compare small things with great, is similar in kind though not in degree to what was hoped would occur after Brexit: the hope that the rejection of political/ideological domination, and thus severance of the economic ties that facilitated that domination, would lead to a recognition of the need for new thinking, and that in turn would lead to better solutions than we have at present. Take the plunge and then work out how to swim Didn't go too well, that, though still preferable to not taking the plunge at all.

Better perhaps, in both cases, to get the new thinking done first and the better solutions agreed upon beforehand. Work out what B looks like and move to it by slow increments, rather than hoping it just happens somehow. Anyone familiar with the Brexit debate in the UK will recognise that as the "North approach", as put forward by the most significant of our Eurosceptic thinkers, and we'd have done better to have adopted that from the first.

But Hudson's is not such an approach. I can see what Hudson's getting at (I think) but do not see how it'd work out in reality and see no plan for getting there anyway.

So this Westphalian Deplorable admires Hudson, is grateful indeed for his insights, but sees little connection between him and practical down to earth politics in the West.

Posted by: English Outsider | Jul 12 2022 16:37 utc | 40

not that i'm a monarchist or anything, but a single figurehead with their family and/or circle of trust was an alternative throughout "antiquity" that kept the "empire of merchants" at bay to some degree. one thing i always loved about reading hudson is he recognizes that feudal thinking and systems are alive and well in europe and other branches of the modern west. india isn't the only culture with "castes".

there was also the dim view of usury that unfortunately didn't last through the current era (or even the so-called "enlightenment").

and a lively discussion from the guardian peanut gallery:,5753,-1030,00.html

the entire FIRE sector needs to go. or at least be brought to heel and arranged in a way that doesn't involve smoke and mirrors bullshit like speculation, derivatives and "crypto". you can't give that much power to a bunch of borderless entities and expect your "civilization" to survive.

Posted by: the pair | Jul 12 2022 16:38 utc | 41

So this Westphalian Deplorable admires Hudson, is grateful indeed for his insights, but sees little connection between him and practical down to earth politics in the West.

Posted by: English Outsider | Jul 12 2022 16:37 utc | 40

I don't think anybody in the collective West, especially the 'left' has a clue what to do about capitalism's decline, this is surely the problem. So what happens? The Russians, once again, do it for us! No wonder the Hammer & Sickle is flying from those Russian tanks!

Posted by: Barofsky | Jul 12 2022 16:43 utc | 42

The present mess is as old as fiat money and accelerated with the lessons of John Law. The result is largely that of human nature. The learning of spiritualism may help but can also work against us. Its not prefect - is what it is.

I thing there is an ocsillation between liberty and tyrany - people leaning wantingly toward tyrany.

There is a layering of influences driving history - technology, psychology, learning, weather ... It is not a linear progression - crosses itself, may spiral.

It is said that the elite are coming to conclusion that the world would be better with fewer people.

Posted by: jared | Jul 12 2022 16:44 utc | 43

As to Russia A Socialist in Canada published this excerpt of a recent dialogue between the leader of the Communist Party and Putin:

Gennady Zyuganov, Communist Party of the Russian Federation:
"…Capitalists are not only deadlocked. They are going mad. There is only one antidote because capitalism only creates Nazism, fascism and Bandera movements. Nothing but socialism can defeat it. That is why I expect that in your next speech you will set socialist goals. I think even United Russia [the political party led by Vladimir Putin) will support it…"

Vladimir Putin:
"…Regarding the socialist idea, there is nothing bad about it. We should flesh out this idea, especially in the economic sphere. Some countries have given it substance, and this is linked with market regulation forms, etc. This idea is working quite effectively. We need to look into this…"

"...As for any talk of this shift being some transition of the proletariat taking down the oligarchy, and not just one group of elites taking over from the other, anyone promoting that idea is either very naive, if not straight up pushing the current challenger's propaganda, knowingly or not. At best, we can expect variations on the same old proven theme. "Et Tu@29

Are you arguing that Capitalist class rule- Barbarism- will last forever? Is the basis of your pessimism your understanding of 'human nature?'

The reality is that the Capitalist class if left in power will make the planet uninhabitable. There has to be a socialist society, there is no long term alternative.

Is social mobility in Russia low? I should have thought the very opposite was the case- at least twice in seventy years there have been complete revolutions in the ruling castes. Do you think that there is much future in the oligarchical arrangements inherited from Yeltsin and his US masters? I don't.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 12 2022 16:46 utc | 44

Posted by: English Outsider | Jul 12 2022 16:37 utc | 40

Nailed it... the theoretical (and even worse, backward looking) "Economists" conveniently leave out all the steps required to get from Point A to Point B.

It seems we have a rotation in the composition of the oligarchy with the associated chaos, the Roth and Rock dynasties are both on the way out.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Jul 12 2022 16:48 utc | 45

the demoncracy prides itself on money, money before moral values, a souless nation whoes only objective in life is more money, where money owns and makes laws, like a minority whip, controlling a subclass of replaceable slaves with inflationary monatary policies, globcorporations importing workers from battlezones sametime blaming workers for revenue misses, fraudulant politicians are purchased, foreign oligarchs allowed to buy all lands and farms, parasitic elite enforcing quarterly returns by squeezing slaves wages toward gov subsidies orwaging global world wars to cover bankruptcies, inbreded elite whoes genetics is one generation away before royal downsyndrone retardiness, a brainwashed televised culture of programmed mass-manipulated enslaved at birth with a number larger than any ww2 concentration camp, a society that euthanizes the poor, mass graves in every city, the john does who die in the streets, theprogrammed people made to hate the poor and only love the rich, the massive graves of cremated bodies of the homeless, gov sponsored death of own citizens, a cou try spendng trillions on war,trillions rebuilding foreigngovernments, trillions helping corrupt nations like ukraine, when billions could havehoused the 100million homeless in usa, while a uniparty promotes shaming those who struggle the hardest, a federal government that stopped protecting the people and only serves the rich, a uniparty that promotes division and hate with a smile of death

Posted by: meow | Jul 12 2022 16:59 utc | 46

All countries have a core elite that determine policy in their respective countries.

The difference between Russia and China on the one hand vs the West on the other is that the latter have become s transatlantic elite that have lost all connection with the populations that they govern and to a large extent see them as the enemy that needs to be subjugated, controlled and exploited.

The Russians and the Chinese elite see their populations as their greatest resource and are investing all their efforts into developing the potential of their people.

Posted by: Down South | Jul 12 2022 17:02 utc | 47

Well, kind of...
Debt is an artificial construct.
Basically, it is the permanent establishment of a negative financial balance, and an entire financial system based upon the same.
The dipshits that thought the whole thing up in the first place never imagined a world in which the debt that they fabricated (and owned) would not rule the financial balance of the nations of the Earth.
It's a parasitic system contrived by those who are not necessarily entirely human, to be frank.

Posted by: Josh | Jul 12 2022 17:03 utc | 48

@too scents | Jul 12 2022 14:20 utc | 1

"Slowly, then all at once"

Which point of that path the American Empire is at seems obscure, but the number and importance of failures might be a clue. For every African Mabenzi government the Green Berets capture, there are East Asian countries subverting the status quo. For every Latin American puppet regime, there are Central Asian governments with a big grudge against the oligarchs.

While it's true one big disaster can bring down the house, the series of little disasters like the Stans, Ukraine, and the austerity of the Euro poodle ranch, can and will build up costs and doubts. They're paying attention to the man behind the curtain. They're no longer intimidated by collateral damage, since there's nothing they can do to stop it anyway.

And in the end, the American tax mules will be the losers.

Posted by: jhill | Jul 12 2022 17:06 utc | 49

The best system is one of diverse nations competing.

Tangentially related is soon time for reelection of Zelensky.

Posted by: jared | Jul 12 2022 17:07 utc | 50

I see an infestation of trolls and the usual uninformed. Saggy @38 critiques Judaism but knoiws nothing about it as it happens to be a "moral religion" based on Mosaic Law, which happens to include the Jubilee. The initial Christians also had a moral religion until it was co-opted by The Church as Judaism was co=opted by the Pharisees and other lovers of money that sided with the Greeks then Romans.

Hudson's July 7th speech, "From Junk Economics to a False View of History: Where Western Civilization Took a Wrong Turn," we discussed over the past several days covers similar ground to this latest. Indeed, most of his recent interviews, speeches and essays deal with this connecting of dots from 5,000+ years ago to the present to try and convey the idea that the same Class War between the same two foes--debtors and creditors--has existed over that entire period--in the West--but not in the East where different moral principles arose to deal with the Class War. Hudson's speech was a paean to David Graeber and provides us with this very useful segment:

David Graeber’s book summarized my survey of royal debt cancellation in the ancient Near East to show that interest-bearing debt originally was adopted with checks and balances to prevent it from polarizing society between creditors and debtors. In fact, he pointed out that the strains created by the emergence of monetary wealth in personal hands led to an economic and social crisis that shaped the emergence of the great religious and social reformers.

As he summarized “the core period of Jasper’s Axial age … corresponds almost exactly to the period in which coinage was invented. What’s more, the three parts of the world where coins were first invented were also the very parts of the world where those sages lived; in fact, they became the epicenters of Axial Age religious and philosophical creativity.” Buddha, Lao-Tzu and Confucius all sought to create a social context in which to embed the economy. There was no concept of letting “markets work” to allocate wealth and income without any idea of how wealth and income would be spent.

"All ancient societies had a mistrust of wealth, above all monetary and financial wealth in creditor hands, because it generally tended to be accumulated at the expense of society at large. Anthropologists have found this to be a characteristic of low-income societies in general.

IMO, it's very clear that those trying to upend Hudson's arguments haven't read them and don't know much about history to begin with. They are the stealth protectors of the status quo who are here in big numbers as usual whenever one of b's essay's attacks their world. Most of us know of the recent attempts to rewrite history. It ought to be clear that early history's been altered to promote a particular set of values, particularly the one that says all debts must be paid, and perhaps the most important obfuscation of all--the conflation of the word for debts with sin as Hudson explains in …and forgive them their debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption — From Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year. Those trying to overturn Hudson's arguments need to do a lot of reading--currently about 5,000 pages just with his books and there're more coming. Then there're his many essays and journal articles going back 50+ years. So, get busy, and at least try to catch up with me. But trolls don't have any motivation to learn as they're paid based on their ignorance.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 12 2022 17:08 utc | 51

@too scents | Jul 12 2022 16:29 utc | 35

And the engine that pulls the gravy train is named sustainability.
Yes, they use fancy terms that are designed to impress the working classes, but ultimately serve no other purpose.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 12 2022 17:08 utc | 52


Mining giant BHP begins a Yuan Renmibi pricing and settlement option for Australian iron ore!

Posted by: ptb | Jul 12 2022 17:14 utc | 53

@ostro #16
Seriously, you have no idea?

The Communist party may be theoretically open to anyone much as the American oligarchy is theoretically open to anyone.

In reality, the children and other relatives of high CPC officials are tremendously over-represented in the mid and upper echelons of the Chinese government. Just because the original officials may have been peasants in Shandong, doesn't mean they are peasants from Shandong now.

Equally in Russia: the top and middle echelons of Russia's government are equally over-represented by people who can trace a direct lineage to Soviet era officials.

Putin, for example, attended St. Petersburg State University - the Harvard equivalent in the Soviet Union.

Lavrov attended MGIMO - the equivalent of Georgetown minus the CIA bit (that's the SPSU foreign languages department).

Mishustin's father was on the Central Committee of Konsomol.

Point being: none of them are peasants from the Urals or some little village in Siberia.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 12 2022 17:14 utc | 54

The levels of ignorance displayed are amazing, particularly on Russia and its society. It's as if every link I've provided about Russian society over the last 5 years was completely ignored, including the several I posted over the last three months.

bevin @44--

Thanks for posting that interaction which went as I would expect. Socialism is People Centered Development where the wellbeing of people and state are seen as one, which is precisely Putin's philosophy as I've tried to convey here over the years using Putin's own words, but you and a few others seem to be the only ones paying attention to my commentary.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 12 2022 17:19 utc | 55

@Tom Pfotzer #36
You said

What can we learn from Russia about resource allocation? Is there a way to adapt what Russia did to our conditions / situation?

Wrong question.

The right question: how do the incompetent idiots in charge in the US and EU get booted out and replaced with competent people.

Incompetence in this case is defined as: failing to protect, much less improve upon, the economic prospects of their constituents as opposed to enriching themselves.

Few people actually care if leaders are showered with acclaim and wealth, if they do their effing jobs.

Showering themselves with acclaim and wealth even as life continually gets worse for everyone else - not the same thing.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 12 2022 17:19 utc | 56

Audio in English with German captions. Biggest Fraud Against Humanity

b just checking to see if I have been site banned due to subject matter?

Posted by: Alberto | Jul 12 2022 17:21 utc | 57

Has Michael Hudson ever been to the USSR or Russia?

Posted by: ostro | Jul 12 2022 17:23 utc | 58

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 12 2022 17:14 utc | 54
When was the last time you were in the USSR and later in post-USSR Russia?

Posted by: ostro | Jul 12 2022 17:26 utc | 59

thank you b!

i will read the article..

@ Bemildred | Jul 12 2022 15:41 utc | 18

so true!

@ sushi... thanks for those posts of yours..

@ ostro | Jul 12 2022 17:23 utc | 58

this is a constant mantra of yours... frankly.. it is boring..

Posted by: james | Jul 12 2022 17:32 utc | 60

Posted by: james | Jul 12 2022 17:32 utc | 60
Do you know, why I like to read comments here? It is interesting to hear the thinking of the foreigners.

Posted by: ostro | Jul 12 2022 17:36 utc | 61

U.S. Federal Reserve says its goal is ‘to get wages down’
By Ben Norton (Posted May 26, 2022)

The chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, said his goal is “to get wages down.”

In a press conference on May 4, Powell announced that the Fed would be raising interest rates by half a percentage and implementing policies aimed at reducing inflation in the United States, which is at its highest level in 40 years.

According to a transcript of the presser published by the Wall Street Journal, Powell blamed this inflation crisis, which is global, not on the proxy war in Ukraine and Western sanctions on Russia, but rather on U.S. workers supposedly making too much money.

“Employers are having difficulties filling job openings, and wages are rising at the fastest pace in many years,” Powell complained.

The Fed’s proposed solution: bring down wages.

There are more job vacancies than there are unemployed people in the United States, as the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Powell claimed this discrepancy between job vacancies and unemployment is due to high wages, which discourage workers from taking bad, low-paying jobs with few benefits, and therefore give them too much power.

“Wages are running high, the highest they’ve run in quite some time,” the Fed chairman lamented.

Workers need to be disciplined by the labor market, he insisted.

Posted by: Chaka Khagan | Jul 12 2022 17:37 utc | 62

Afaics nothing good has ever come out of a non-profit. The parasites who work in them just cloak themselves in pretend virtue while raking in the cash. I’ll include ngos, universities, organised religion and government in non-profits. Anything good that has ever happened to humanity has come out of the profit motive - profit widely defined, of course.

Posted by: DreadScot | Jul 12 2022 17:43 utc | 63

@56 c1ue, who said that the "right question" is:

"how do the incompetent idiots in charge in the US and EU get booted out and replaced with competent people."

I'll answer your "right question". You will replace the "incompetent idiots" ...

As soon as you eradicate/neutralize the powerful people who control our society, and who install those "incompetent idiots".

Get real: people are generally afraid to post with their real names. They have to watch what they say, and who they associate with. They have very little money with which to influence the political process. They are hoping against all reason that someone else will "bell the cat" - take on the sociopaths that control us, and fix 'em good.

Are you going to bell the cat, c1ue? And if not you, then who, and how?

Remember, I am _not_ mocking you, nor disparaging your powers, intelligence, ethos, etc.

I'm trying to get past the acting-out, and into the effective-action end of the spectrum. Remember, I said "effective". Not reckless, or violent, etc. I said "effective".

"Boot the idiots out".

Much sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Please rebut.

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Jul 12 2022 17:45 utc | 64

Posted by: james | Jul 12 2022 17:32 utc | 60

Most of you give links to western MSM, which I usually look in. Some even get info from Wikipedia, and consider it as the truth, but Wikipedia is from the US, and most times give false suit the 3-letter US agencies...just read the first line on Scott Ritter in Wikipedia...😏

Posted by: ostro | Jul 12 2022 17:47 utc | 65

Comments are of equal interest to the article. Good to see the Marxists out. They are right, Hudson is squinting too hard to exclude certain historical developments in political economy, characteristic of US economists for whom capitalism is still a state religion.

Practical agenda as asked for;

- Socialisation of natural monopolies, public services, and strategic industry; <- this is the easy part, China and Russia do this to an extent; in the UK you have the NHS, many examples remain in Europe.

- Cooperatisation of remaining capitalist industry larger than family businesses by mandatory, progressive employee buy out to have majority shareholding under a cooperative structure <- In the US this would be more associated with ESOPs or law partners; elsewhere large range of businesses, Mondragon federation most well known industrial combine

- Democratisation of financial sector into networks of member owned banks (eg Raiffeisen/Volksbanken in Germany), municipal banks (eg Sparkassen) and state owned development banks

- Orientation of state policies to support citizens, e.g universal basic income instead of bureaucratic poverty trap “welfare” programs.

- Limitation of income differences within the population (eg no-one can earn more than 10x the median wage with excess being taxed away as in USA of 50s/60s)

- In realm of ideology and education, concerted state effort to raise awareness of Cluster B mentalities and behaviours (aka sociopaths), their isolation from positions of power through meritocratic tests ala China combined with psychological evaluation, and priority research on how to treat and prevent these disorders.

Understanding is hindered by some widespread false assumptions inter alia;

- Markets are a prerequisite for capitalism BUT they are not the definition of it; price discovery via the market mechanism is a useful tool.

- State backed fiat money and debt issuance are prerequisites for capitalism BUT not the definition of it; these technologies are necessary for industrial planning.

- The definition of capitalism is a small class of owners of capital, who have appropriated the means of production, enclosing the surplus value created by those working for them. This basic relation is enforced by state violence and a web of international treaties. Aka “the rules based international order”

- The animus for this system of exploitation is not “human nature”. There are many human natures. The majority of people are cooperative and peaceful by “nature”. Nor is inverted Hegelian idealism entirely satisfactory..

The system of capitalism/imperialism reflects the value system of sociopaths. Sociopaths (especially narcissists) lack certain higher cognitive functions, which they compensate for in other ways. One way is their instinctive, unconscious desire to associate with others like them to exploit/abuse others on larger and larger scales.

Furthermore, sociopaths will say anything to influence a situation, thus they will insinuate themselves into socialist movements and either destroy them (eg identity politics nihilism) or corrupt them (Yeltsin, Pol Pot, etc.)

Thus IMO they are a very dangerous factor unaccounted for in left theory, partly due to the anti-psychiatry movement, but assuming good faith is a typical “weakness” of normally emphatic people…

I could go on ..

Posted by: Moabeobachter | Jul 12 2022 17:53 utc | 66

Told you nato will target an NPP. Happened last night at Zaporozhye npp using drones. Photos on telegram channels. Next time it'll be mlrs

Posted by: rk | Jul 12 2022 17:57 utc | 67

Wikipedia is CIA,
all the way

Posted by: Richard | Jul 12 2022 17:58 utc | 68

karlof1 @ 51
You have an excellent understanding of ancient economies and the destruction of religions like Judaism. Everything is lost in the Kabbalistic Masonic English form of monetary slavery. It is all run by an occult death cult.

Posted by: circumspect | Jul 12 2022 18:01 utc | 69

Posted by: Moabeobachter | Jul 12 2022 17:53 utc | 66

Interesting! Go on...👍

Posted by: ostro | Jul 12 2022 18:04 utc | 70

Does anyone have a link for the original video of Hudson's speech?

Posted by: Johan Meyer (2) | Jul 12 2022 18:10 utc | 71

karlof1 | Jul 12 2022 17:19 utc

Karlof1, I think you express what some of us see and know, as well; but lack the time or ability to further contribute, certainly on your level and with your clarity...

Thanks for making the effort and for all your collected translations of the words spoken by leaders Xi and Putin and others making it easy for us all to provide to those beyond MOA an opportunity to see and hear these important expressions.

If we, broadly, don't take the time to listen, even if some misunderstand or choose to ignore; then general greater understanding will remain impossible...

And thanks to Peter for making his collation of the highly pertinent Bio-weapons briefings available as well...

I believe that

Out of Broad Awareness comes a necessary critical mass whose collective consciousness births creative solutions where none were perceived before.

Therein lies the potential for evolutionary advancement of human consciousness and its varied societies.

Posted by: Doesitreallymatter | Jul 12 2022 18:14 utc | 72

Now 83 yrs old Michael Hudson features in various of my articles on 'Geopolitiek in context', the most important ones are:


Just hit the translate box in the right upper corner.

Posted by: Paul-Robert | Jul 12 2022 18:38 utc | 73

Here's the guy you should try to read, maybe with a translator, Sergei Glazyev, member of the Board (Minister) for Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasian Economic Commission.

Posted by: ostro | Jul 12 2022 18:41 utc | 74

@70, @ostro

There are many points to be made..

However a policy platform I forgot about.. That should be included as being of high importance;

The current deep state / surveillance / Stasi / propaganda apparatus in the West is causing mass psychological deformation unseen since the 3rd Reich ...

It is necessary to bring communication and especially social media technologies under public control. Russia and China are leading here, e.g. Yandex, Baidu, VK, etc.

But I think it should be more ambitious than that.

For example, based on their social security number, every citizen would have an optional web presence - from nothing to a full social graph w/chat and other functions - open source and under full control of the citizen user, no ads or ulterior technologies.

Infrastructure like cloud hosting for businesses would be built adjacent to this.

Probably this would be a collective regional effort between countries - maybe within organisations like Mercosur or the EU. The technology and data centres require large capital investment.

When this infrastructure has been built out, Meta/Google/Amazon and other spy tools of the empire should be banned.

The early internet showed promise; apart from a few dark corners like here it has been steered by the 3LAs and the most vile of our oligarchs, becoming a cancerous spider consuming the collective Western brain...

Posted by: moabeobachter | Jul 12 2022 18:52 utc | 75

It is true that, under the pretense of "democracy," oligarchs can often manipulate policies and outcomes. As The Saker has stressed, an "AngloZionist" empire has emerged, and the debt of the US government, as well as that of many less-developed countries, has ballooned.

However, Hudson is a doctrinaire socialist. There were sharp differences in average living standards between West Germany and East Germany, and between South Korea and North Korea. Note also Taiwan and Hong Kong vs Mainland China, whose average living standards are still below Mexico's. Venezuela was doing miserably even before US sanctions were imposed. China's growth rate since the 1990s has been strong primarily because of its previous backwardness. I can quantity this for anyone who is interested.

Switzerland is more capitalistic than the US and has a very strong private banking sector, but average people in Switzerland live better than people almost anywhere else. What should especially concern people in the US is the concentration of media power and banking power in the hands of people with no sense of noblesse
oblige, and the hijacking of foreign policy by the "neo-conservatives."

Posted by: Greg | Jul 12 2022 19:00 utc | 76

It doesn't seem to occur to Mr. B here that strong central governments are what create entrenched oligarchies in the first place. Western governments have not had this much power, this much control, over their citizens since Caesar was kicking it. The solution is less government control, not more.

Posted by: Monos | Jul 12 2022 19:11 utc | 77

"Michael has graciously given us the first English transcript."

omg. a scoop!

I've seen a few Hudson lectures for China’s Global University and some other int'l institutions. on YT. I never suspected he is fluent in Mandarin, because I've never heard him address his audiences in Mandarin.

Posted by: sln2002 | Jul 12 2022 19:22 utc | 78

Russia is reporedly bringing masses of Tochka-u launchers to the frontline near Donetsk. It supposedly has ~1000 effectively obsolete Tochka-u missiles (replaced by Iskander) in its inventory.

From the Rostov region:

From the Donetsk region:

If true, someone going to get seriously hammered.

Posted by: Arfur Mo | Jul 12 2022 19:23 utc | 79

Doesitreallymatter @72--

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Hudson's speech differed little in content from the series of lectures he delivered in China several months ago, the main difference this time being more concise and direct in his prose, which IMO is normal for him when delivering a "set-piece" versus being extemporaneous in interviews and our Patreon discussions. The main message for China and the Global South: Don't follow the West's path as it leads to the Dark Side of Oligarch domination that's very difficult to overcome. Simple, actually.

Here's yet another piece of evidence of Russia's socialism, the state-owned electric utility Rossetti whose CEO Alexei Ryumin provides the yearly report to Putin, the central concern being the ability to perform "our most important task is the reliable passage of the autumn-winter period," which was done with ease last year and expected to be performed even better this year.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 12 2022 19:24 utc | 80

Thanks to b for presenting this important essay here - I rejoice with many in the US that the subject of the west's downward trajectory and the upward movements in eastern countries has been front and center on this forum as so many voices are beginning to discuss solutions: a worldwide conversation begins!

Professor Hudson's many expostions have clearly described the woeful condition in which the west finds itself. Indeed, the economics of what has been going on was, it seemed, deliberately obfuscated -- until, that is, came Michael Hudson. And worthy commenters on this forum with additional links have been educating us all who have been here at least since Maidan, since Syria, since ... well, some even before those focal times. It has been a learning experience.

Thanks for the link, b! I went over and put my two cents there on the NC site. The learning experience continues, as front and center unipolarity displays its drawbacks and multipolarity strengthens. May the process continue, to a happy conclusion for all, even as many still suffer and we pray for peace. Let better times come to all as gently, as inclusively, as possible!

Posted by: juliania | Jul 12 2022 19:26 utc | 81

I believe too much gets lost in endless ideological discussions when the world has largely moved on from them and many points are irrelevant now (what means of production, nothing is produced anymore in the west).

The reality of the matter is that all human beings that are alive now live in much better conditions than at any point in all of history anywhere. Basic necessities, healthcare, mobility, entertainment, human rights, protection from harm, name it. We are all very wealthy relative to our predecessors.

It is a different matter whether we are happier. This is where the problems of today lie. There is no boundary in our nature on what constitutes enough needs satisfied. We are not capable of it as a species. So we stay wanting even in our wealth: always searching for betterment but in others, for lost romantic glory, compensating for when evil physical reality hurt us, seeking dominance over others to satisfy fleeting emotions etc. The US does not need Ukraine for their citizens to be happy. It does not need a massive military to protect its citizens and make them happy. They need it for some abstract goal of national interests or improving human rights elsewhere. And that by making the world in fact a worse place to live… Do not search for complicated answers when the nature of the people peppered with wealth, privilege and easy money is a better reason. Russia on the other hands must protect its citizens from this hegemony.

The situation in the world has little to do with economic or political systems.

There is some truth that financialisation brings on the long term more harm than benefits. But are we really complaining about it from the position of wealth inside our first world existence? It is not crucial.

The cause of the situation in which we specifically find ourselves is that we are unable to propagate the wealth experienced in the lives of the first worlders forward anymore. We havent found a way to provide for the same lifestyle after working age without exploiting others (those millions of US pensioners in Florida must be supplied with high standards by someone somewhere). We havent found a good way to level the field and integrate cultures apart from the default Tower of Babylon solution. And we still havent found a way to cure the scrounge of modernity: drug use (this is by far the biggest problem as all levels of functionaries use them a lot - you can even say The Drug-fueled Empire instead of The Empire of Lies)

What we are seeing is the colossal failure of Western society to solve problems other than those in the physical/material world. We are materially rich but lost the ability to move forward. It is a moral and political crisis that the West finds itself into.

Posted by: alek_a | Jul 12 2022 19:31 utc | 82

It is inappropriate to directly compare developed European economies with developing economies of Asia, Africa, etc., mostly because the current state of European (including American) economies is based not internal economic activity but the patrimony of 500 years of imperial colonialism. The Swiss wouldn’t have their standard of living without their indirect participation in imperial colonialism.

Lavrov has said it explicitly and used the 500 years, though it’s been a bit more if you start counting from Portugal’s initial forays down the African coast looking for gold. They weren’t “exploring”, they knew the gold was there; unfortunately, they had nothing to trade with the Mali kingdom which had the gold so they went further and got slaves from Kongo to trade for gold. Everything since then has been extracting the wealth of far off places to make Europeans rich. Now, for the first time in 500 years, they’re running into the limits of economic imperialism and finding out that what they have is in fact hollow.

Posted by: Lex | Jul 12 2022 19:39 utc | 83

Posted by: alek_a | Jul 12 2022 19:31 utc | 82

As humans, our history is what we can't bring back, and our future is until we breath our last breath, that is if we are still senile by then.

Posted by: ostro | Jul 12 2022 19:40 utc | 84

Cleisthenes in the 5th century BC discovered the only way of which I am aware of getting around the Iron Law of Oligarchy: sortition, choosing representatives and officials by lot.

Anyone who thinks that's just another form of oligarchy needs to read what real Athenian oligarchs like Plato and Pseudo-Xenophon (aka the Old Oligarch) thought of the Cleisthenic system.

Posted by: Lysias | Jul 12 2022 19:42 utc | 85

Sorry, Cleisthenes was in the 6th century BC.

Oh, for an edit function!

Posted by: Lysias | Jul 12 2022 19:45 utc | 86

Moabeobachter | Jul 12 2022 17:53 utc | 66

Thus IMO they[sociopaths]are a very dangerous factor unaccounted for in left theory, partly due to the anti-psychiatry movement, but assuming good faith is a typical “weakness” of normally emphatic people…

I could go on ..

Yes, do go on...

Posted by: john | Jul 12 2022 19:53 utc | 87

There is confusion afield concerning the connotations of oligarchy and plutocracy. It used to be that plutocrat was pejorative and oligarch was neutral. Now, the reverse holds.

Posted by: Platero | Jul 12 2022 19:59 utc | 88

Great post.

I am a little surprised at the near ubiquitous misanthropy of western oligarchy, they seem a lot worse than chance would suggest.

The current crop maintain various covers of supposed philanthropy and global leadership but their own actions are basically worthless and leave little doubt that they are anything other than dirty globalist schemers, who aspire to the status of neo plantation masters, in some weirdly recessive ultra-wealth fantasy of their class.

Posted by: anon2020 | Jul 12 2022 20:13 utc | 89

In the four months of the conflict, Washington has spent more on Ukraine than in the first 5 years of the Afghanistan war. Never before in its history has the US spent such sums - more than $50 billion - in a military conflict in such a short time.

Yet Biden is unable to show a result - what has been achieved with it. Russia controls about a quarter of Ukraine's territory - the US compares this to the size of the state of Mississippi.

Posted by: ostro | Jul 12 2022 20:15 utc | 90

Posted by: Moabeobachter | Jul 12 2022 17:53 utc | 66
- State backed fiat money and debt issuance are prerequisites for capitalism BUT not the definition of it; these technologies are necessary for industrial planning

I disagree, we didn't have pure fiat until 1971 with lots of industrial planning before that. So pure fiat is not needed for industrial planning.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jul 12 2022 16:05 utc | 26

One of the old traditions of debt jubilee was every fifty years. Sure, 49 years into the cycle lenders are going to get reluctant. They will continue to loan anyway because they have had generations of good times.

Exactly, see Leviticus 25 in the bible. So between 2021 which marks 50 years after the birth of the fiat dollar and 2023 which marks 50 years after the birth of the petro dollar / end of Breton Woods I'd say would be a good time to reinvent this old tradition.

In German one prays: "Und vergib uns unsere Schuld, wie auch wir vergeben unseren Schuldigern." Which translates to "And forgive us our debts, as well as we forgive our debtors" (not "Sins" like in english).

Michael Hudson says: Debts that can't be payed won't be payed.
Everyone knows the massive energy bills this winter for people living in Germany can't be payed. Everyone knows the massive foreign debt that is owed to Germany after 30 years of trade surplus won't be payed. So let them cancel each other out. A clean slate. I know its not that simple but something along those lines has to happen.

Posted by: lev 25 | Jul 12 2022 20:15 utc | 91

Posted by: Richard | Jul 12 2022 17:58 utc | 68

Yep. About 15 years ago, I tried to edit their page on SOCOM, the US Strategic Operations Command which carries out night time raids on homes in countries where the US is operating, openly or in secret. My minor edit was to one section where they wrote about one specific raid and the only change was replacing the word "killed" with "murdered" in reference to one of many innocent victims. The editing war heated up immediately; I made the change numerous times after they'd change it back and ultimately one of their CIA-backed editors banned my IP address from making any future changes.

This was nothing, however, compared to some other similar editing wars, including ones that got some publicity.

Wikipedia, on foreign policy and on economics, is 100% security state controlled.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Jul 12 2022 20:23 utc | 92

Posted by: Wilbur | Jul 12 2022 16:13 utc | 28

Thanks for your excellent comment, Wilbur! And thanks for mentioning Ellen Meiksin Woods whose books 'Origins of Capital' and 'Empire of Capital' I've just re-read. Two prolific books for an introductionary understanding of capitalism's origin. Costas Lapavitsas has a very profound talk/lecture on youtube (just type Lapavitsas+money+MMT) he gave last year on the onthology of money where he compares the Marxist understanding of money vs MMT and where he outlines the shortcommings of MMT (which is basically just neo-chartalism)

Posted by: v | Jul 12 2022 20:30 utc | 93

The problem with Hudson's rhetoric is that it sounds like advocacy for statism. Trading one elite ruling class for another is going to solve nothing for us, the schlubs! Sadly, elites enjoy ruling, and all but 10% of us schlubs enjoy being ruled. The only reason '"democracy is a euphemism for "corporate oligarchy"' is because almost all schlubs (the voters) are stupid and install bad representatives, who are in-turn easily bribed off by the rich. This isn't unique to Western Civilization. This is basic human nature and has been the way all governments have been run for thousands of years. 1. A tiny segment of the gene pool has a knack for amassing wealth. This brain trust rules everyone else one way or another. 2. Occasionally a cult hero masses an army and takes all the wealth away from the genetically inclined rich, and installs one of Hudson's mythical ideological happy-joy rainbow-flavored societies--for like 5 seconds. 3. Eventually, though, because the cult hero's motivations are for instant gratification (like smashing and burning and hearing cheers in the streets), his disciples and descendants squander all the confiscated wealth and it ends up back in the hands of the genetically predisposed to be rich. 4. Repeat! Going back to the argument against Democracy, I agree with Hudson that it is a crap political system that will always result in slavery. But what Hudson fails even to recognize, much less address, is that the reason for this is that 90% of the human race are moronic invalids. Yet that doesn't mean we should replace it with Hudson's thinly veiled wet dream for Fascistic Statism! The main drawback of that tried-n-failed system is, of course, the massive genocide that is deemed necessary to kickstart it. But regardless, it's the same pool of elites running the world whether we call them "oligarchs" or "statists." Any strife we perceive amongst them (like West vs East) is merely based on which method of slavery they believe pacifies the masses the most effectively, that is, to prevent the Rich from being struck down by the next Cult Hero Army. [Didn't anyone watch Matrix? Even the whackjob Wachowski Transters understood this thoroughly] What the Rich agree on wholly, however, is that the non-Rich are--by binary logic--slaves to the Rich, and must remain enslaved at whatever cost--for the sake of the natural order, etc., etc. blah, blah, blah. Hudson's life work has done nothing to offer one ounce of wisdom to contravene this millennia-old cycle of tyranny. At this point of my critique of whatever crap-economist makes it into my newsfeed, I might argue that the only government that's never been tried at a provable scale is Meritocracy. But then sleeper-socialists like Hudson (and whatever handful of minions he may have) would probably just bastardize the term into something cynical and oppression-based "middle class elitism," and then have the Chi-coms pay him to write another superfluous claptrap of Statism-worshipping sophistry.

Posted by: Tom SteChatte | Jul 12 2022 20:33 utc | 94

@Tom_Q_Collins | Jul 12 2022 20:23 utc | 92

Wikipedia is completely and utterly corrupted. William Connolley changed more than 5000 articles on climate, deleted more than 500 articles others had written and banned more than 2000 Wikipedia contributors. That is "climate science" for you. This was in 2009 and things have not improved.

Climategatekeeping: Wikipedia

Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 12 2022 20:36 utc | 95

Posted by: Monos | Jul 12 2022 19:11 utc | 77

Riiight, because we all saw how prosperous the 99% was in the USA from about 1929-1939 when there was virtually zero meaningful government regulation of banking and business. Things improved greatly during the period of enhanced gov't regulations and the nascent welfare state which was effectively destroyed by Reagan and Clinton in the 80s and 90s. Lifting gov't regulations and decentralization have wrought havoc on the West, especially the USA, ever since. "Big government" can be a good thing; just not when said government is completely controlled by mostly unregulated oligarchs, banks and corporations.

On Capitalism vs. capitalism, I tend to agree with Jerry Mander's introduction to his book "The Capitalism Papers."

QUESTION FROM THE AUDIENCE: Jerry, do you mean my grandfather’s furniture store is killing the world? Is he one of those capitalists? It’s a nice shop. He’s been there forty years, giving work to eight employees, and he pays a nice wage. With benefits. It doesn’t seem bad to me.

JERRY: No, stores like that are really not the problem. We need to make distinctions when we talk about capitalism. The word covers too many different things. One distinction is this: Size matters! Small-scale local or family businesses, or community enterprises that make some money, pay salaries, send kids to college, and save a little, are not the problem, and never have been.

But let’s say your granddad had somehow made gigantic profits from his store forty years ago, so he decided to partner with another store owner and invest in big real estate, converting small farms and open lands into shopping malls. And let’s say they started franchising shopping centers around the world, and were borrowing from big banks to do it, and then started buying banks, and buying other companies doing unrelated stuff, like shipping or mining or biotech farming, and then started getting their financing from Goldman Sachs. Then they “went public” and were listed on the New York Stock Exchange as SHOP AMERICA! and they became friends with congressmen, spent 10 percent of their business income lobbying in Washington to overturn zoning, dumping, and other environmental laws that were getting in their way. And they had their eye on export trade subsidies, and maybe some military contracts, and were desperate to keep their stock prices high and to keep their taxes down.

Well, then, you’d have to say your grandfather would be operating in a different world, with different values and drives, than he does now. At the beginning, it was all about furniture for local families and businesses, not the primary needs of nonstop capital expansion, growth, stock values, and distributions. That’s the “capitalism” I worry about. That’s what’s consuming the world. Now it’s all about growth, not furniture, not sufficiency, not community welfare. It’s wealth, constantly seeking more wealth, to better seek still more wealth. That local store and those global businesses really shouldn’t share the same name. They are different creatures.

Capital needs to be regulated by a body/government that has insulated itself from the inevitable corrupting forces of capitalism. Currently in the USA, we have a big government completely controlled by rentier capitalist interests and in no meaningful way accountable to the people. And in literally every case where it was deemed to be in some way possible, the USA, under control of capital, has attempted (and often succeeded) in overthrowing or sabotaging any foreign government that looked to be on the path toward implementing such a system, up to and included invasion, assassination, military coups, sanctions and embargoes.

At the end of the day, I agree w/ you that the American government is way too big, but we probably disagree as to which parts need to be cut down to size and which should be empowered.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Jul 12 2022 20:36 utc | 96

Posted by: Tom SteChatte | Jul 12 2022 20:33 utc | 94

Re: Hudson being a "sleeper-socialist"

The man isn't welcome on any major television network or in the pages of any establishment newspaper or magazine. Can you guess why? That's correct: Because he openly advocates that socialism is the only way out of the current predicament of the powerless 99% in US and Western society. The notion that he's a "sleeper" advocate trying to inveigle his way into the mainstream economics (and historical) narrative(s) is completely divorced from reality and he has never once argued in favor of "fascist statism", LOL.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Jul 12 2022 20:45 utc | 97

"hereditary aristocracy, a rentierclass living off land rents, interest and monopoly privileges that reduce the population at large to austerity."

Is that why the Western populations at large has been at the top of the globe for a century now, in terms of wealth, innovation, health and reported feelings of happiness? And not just the elites. There's no measurement, no index in the world which will point to austerity. At least up until now perhaps. Things might change again, considering credit and such. You can't say the system didn't work for everybody in society of all western nations. Being poor in the west is not comparable with being poor elsewhere. It's simply a fact.

Now of course we can measure different things of compare with the fate of non-western countries and their populations at large. But that's not the case that is being made here, right?

Posted by: John Dowser | Jul 12 2022 20:50 utc | 98

I know its not that simple but something along those lines has to happen.
Posted by: lev 25 | Jul 12 2022 20:15 utc | 91

No can do, buddy!
It didn't happen with Lend-Lease.
It didn't happen in GD IV ("Panic of '08" alias Great Recession). You remember the foreclosuers and who bought 'em.
It didn't happen in GDI-GDIII. Instead rulers cooked up "war effort" with dividends.
It didn't happen in the "Near East" (alias Levant+, Hebrew Kingdoms N or S) contrary to chastising prophets' verses. Instead they got exile.
It didn't happen in Rome or Greece. Instead their rulers devised NEW! classes of indenture alias "unfree labor" to work off debt.

Posted by: sln2002 | Jul 12 2022 20:55 utc | 99

Posted by: John Dowser | Jul 12 2022 20:50 utc | 98

If you live in America, the west starts from Vladivostok and Shanghai that is across the Big Pond Pacific. If you've seen Shanghai, you'd surely know that any city in America doesn't fall to the category of "western."

Posted by: ostro | Jul 12 2022 20:59 utc | 100

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