Michael Hudson is a historian of economics. His explanation of crisis in capitalism focuses on finance capital. In this article, he is comparing his theory of crisis to two Marxian theories. This is a long article but it is well worth it in terms of understanding the structure of why capitalism is in crisis.
Archive for November, 2015
Looks Like China Has Drunk the Financial Kool-Aid
Today Chinese currency joined the dollar and other currencies as a world reserve back-up. Will this stabilize the world market? Who is in control of the decisions for Chinese economic planning? This article lays out the strategies of the players and the horse trading of the world-economic dynamics.
France 911 – The Electoral Connection
While this article does not draw out all the geopolitical implications of the French 911, there are political implications for Hollande and his right wing opponents in the up-and-coming French elections.
Middle Class Homelessness: Safe Parking Lots to Sleep In
Here is an imaginative intervention for sleeping arrangements for the homeless. Rent out a church parking lot so people can sleep safely in their cars without being hassled by the police. Who’s sleeping in those cars? Clerks, library assistants, collections agents! This is a practical example of how bad the economic crisis is. Even white collars workers don’t have a place to live.
Happy Black Friday!
Institutional Racism in Mortgage Loans?
Here is a good example of institutionalized racism in banks’ lending practices. Usually to receive a mortgage loan you have to at least be working class. But even when black applicants have decent jobs, their loan applications are turned down 14% more often than those of white applicants. This is happening now in Baltimore where 63% of its residents are black, but it’s probably a safe bet that it’s happening in many other places in the U.S.
War on Terrorism as Propganda vs Geopolitical War Among Nations
As this article points out, the war against terrorism, i.e. ISIS, masks a deeper war. The deeper war is the US attempt to dominate the world. Two of its major obstacles are Russia and China.The war against terrorism and the attacks in Paris provide a reason for the United States and its “allies”, under the umbrella of NATO, to disorganize and control these regions of the world, in part because of their access to oil. The US and Europe have supported and directed the activities of ISIS from the beginning.
Neoliberal Fundmentalist Wins Election in Argentina
Yesterday we posted an article about how market fundamentalist (the “Chicago” boys)economists helped to undermine the presidency of socialist Salvador Allende in 1974.Yesterday a neoliberal won the presidency in Argentina. While Cristina Kirchner is no Allende, we have no doubt that these contemporary Chicago Boys are working overtime, not only in Argentina but in all the other social-democratic countries such as Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil.
Capitalist Fundamentalist Missionaries Convert Chile
Usually when you think of an economist you may think of an Economics 101 class with lots of math and a teacher who might have been distracted, not very coherent but relatively harmless. You may also suspect that these economists are employed by capitalists to justify their economic policies. This article (and movie) shows that economists are employed as Hit Men overseas to convert the heathens to market fundamentalism. This is the case of Chile during the Allende years. Could these hit men be operating now in South America to stem the socialist “pink-tide” there?
Is Bernie Sanders a Socialist?
Read four interpretations, and here are some points to consider:
1) If we look at Sanders’ program, how does it differ from Dennis Kucinich’s? It’s the same New Deal liberalism. Is that good? Sure. Its better than market fundamentalism…but it’s not socialism.
2) Even if we have no illusions about him being a socialist, he is using the word publically and thousands of people are hearing it and getting used to it. For those of us who want something more radical, at least the word is on the table. This is an advance.
3) The statistics on the number of young people who like socialism is very encouraging.
4) The key thing is to get hold of those supports of Bernie when he folds his tent after the primary and to keep them mobilized for a longer-term movement with our own working class party.
Radical Labor Organizer Joe Hill: When Unions had vision
When I joined a union at the university where I was a counselor, I proposed to the union shop steward that the unions across the university ought to unite as one union. I explained that we would have more power that way. He looked at me like I was crazy. This is a sad example of what passes for union leadership today. There are no significant unions in the United States which have vision. The best they can do is to moralize that capitalists ought to be more fair. There is no vision of how working class people should manage their work places and decide what to produce and when to produce it. This article is an example of one of the many workers 100 years ago who saw further and deeper than all the current union leaders put together. May a thousand Joe Hills bloom!
East Coast Airport Workers’ Strike
Good news about more workers striking some east coast airports. This does not include the pilots or flight attendants, so it is limited. It’s also planned for only a couple of days. What we’re learning is that these short strikes, which don’t seem to accomplish much in the way of the strikers’ material goals, are really like rehearsals for more long-standing strikes later.
Rank and File Activism: UAW Strike
Anyone who has tried to organize people in the workplace knows that worker apathy and hopelessness is a common obstacle. But not for these union workers! At one meeting 1,800 people showed up to reject the two tiered wage system. What is also encouraging was that the union had planned the strike for months – meaning they’re prepared for the long haul. Now if we could just get these strikes to spread!
Can “independence” be bad? Port workers’ strike reveals exploitation masked as freedom.
Unlike other one day strikes, the good news about this port strike is that it has been going on for almost three weeks. This length of time slows down the rate of surplus value going to capitalists. Notice the euphemistic use of the word “independent” to mask blatant exploitation. These workers should be called “dependent” contractors. I know this “independent contractor” shit first-hand from working as an adjunct college instructor for 25 years.
911 French Style: French State Knew Ahead of Time
The interpretation of the attack on Paris is a good example of how state propaganda works. Within an hour of the attacks, the French State claimed to identify the attackers without any evidence. This official statement is then faithfully broadcast by the echo chamber of mass media. What is left out, as this article details, is that: a) the state was well aware of the plan beforehand; and b) ISIS is a US creation. Why would the State allow this to happen? To justify its campaigns in West Asia and to control its own domestic problems, the refugee crisis and the rise of fascist popular parties in Europe.
Saudi Monarchy Ain’t What it Used to Be
For the Saudi ruling class, the decline in the price of oil is a big deal. It has dropped from $140 per barrel to $44 per barrel. Even though it only costs them $10 per barrel to produce the oil, the poor ruling class is suffering terribly. After all, it needs at least 80 barrels to sustain their lifestyle, according to this article in Portside. Here is an example of how wealth cannot buy economic immunity from the chaos of a capitalist casino.
Socialists in City Council? Is There a Future?
Just recently Kshama Sawant was re-elected to the Seattle City council and she did it with small donations. Refreshingly she didn’t endorse Bernie Sanders because he’s running on the Democratic Party ticket. But how possible is it to be a city council member and not to be compromised, as Leninists or anarchists might say?Is there a future for socialists in other city councils? Is that a future we want?
Union Leadership in Bed With Hillary
It’s important to distinguish the union leadership from its rank and file. Anyone can see that Hillary Clinton (or Bill) has done nothing for rank and file labor. Anyone can see that Obama has done nothing for the rank and file. Anyone should be able to deduce that the Democratic party must have done quite a bit for the income earned by the leadership because no matter how badly the Democrats treat the rank and file, the leadership continues to endorse these Democrats. Union leadership will never endorse Sanders because he does not have the resources to keep these leaders economically comfortable.
Capitalist Mudslide Continues in China
According to this article both Chinese imports and exports are down. Since China today is the world’s workshop in the production of goods and raw materials, when China is in trouble, the whole world is in trouble. No amount of fictitious capital production by banks all over the world can hide the fact that the world economy is in real trouble.
Overthrowing Foreign Governments: National Endowment for Democracy
In the Brainwashing, Propaganda and Rhetoric course I teach, I discuss how just an organization does not have to be secret to exert great power. You just use loaded virtue words and in practice do the opposite.Check out this article at Portside on National Endowment for Democracy:
Marxian Theories of Capitalist Crisis
Socialism Beyond Bernie Sanders
How to make sense of Bernie Sanders’ successful campaign? Simplistic leftists responses are for him or to say (as we feel) that the electoral system is fixed and it doesn’t matter who runs. There is, however a third way, which this article points to. Is it possible to utilize all the energy being mobilized around Sanders and shape it into organizations that can carry on after he loses the election?
For more information read the article here.