Michael Hudson on Meet the Renegades

Michael Hudson spends a half hour with Meet the Renegades explaining his views on money, finance, economic training, rentier capitalism, and how debt overhangs operate. Hudson fans will recognize his regular themes. This is a good segment for introducing people you know to Hudson and to heterodox economic ideas.

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55 comments

  1. EndOfTheWorld

    I’ve always found it interesting that both Hudson and Bill Black are on the faculty of UMKC, which is a state university in a pretty conservative state. It’s possible that some of the funding for UMKC comes from the municipality of Kansas City, MO, but that town has never been known as a hotbed of radical intellectuality either.

    1. Distrubed Voter

      Joseph Campbell didn’t teach at an Ivy League either. Conformity starts with the faculty in your own department … and the Ivy League is as status quo and status conscious as it gets.

      1. craazyboy

        The Ivy League are not much different than privately held corporations when you consider who their alma materi are, how much money the alma materi have, and where Ivy League endowments come from.

        1. sgt_doom

          In fact, I would posit that the Ivy League, especially Yale, Princeton, Harvard and MIT, are the principal crime factories in America today.

          Please recall that the dood who financed Liberty Lobby and other white supremacist nonsense was Koch family patriarch, Fred Koch, who was a trustee at MIT. (Ever hear Noam Chomsky complain about that????? Of course not!)

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Noam Chomsky openly acknowledges MIT’s place in the Military Industrial Complex. Why should he complain about MIT’s support of his activities as long as they don’t interfere?

            Instead of wondering about Noam Chomsky — a person I greatly respect — I wonder that MIT would continue support for Chomsky. Does it speak of MIT’s tolerance or Chomsky’s lack of tangible impact? Is Chomsky a convenient lightning rod for identifying sources of discontent to be cataloged and tracked for later? Is Chomsky’s lack of tangible impact a measure for the how powerless we are — even the wisest, most knowledgeable and eloquent among us?

            1. Katharine

              > I wonder that MIT would continue support for Chomsky.

              He adds to their prestige, an intangible but valuable asset.

            2. DanB

              Chomsky revolutionized the field of linguistics while in his late twenties and early thirties. And he had tenure at MIT. Many other institutions would have wanted him if MIT had concocted a rationale to dismiss him. Back then moral turpitude was -I think- the only grounds to dismiss tenured faculty.

    2. a different chris

      Ah but is it really an inherently conservative state fiscally, or just socially? That is, are the people like Brownback appealing to one sort of conservatism and using that to do a “trust me” on the other sort?

      I would say it’s not unreasonable for anybody to delegate something they are not so sure of to somebody they trust for other reasons.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Brownback is in Kansas; UMKC is in Missouri. There is a Kansas City in Kansas, and another Kansas City in Missouri. Missouri is not as red as KS, but it’s still a red state.

    3. Randy

      UMKC is part of the state system and most likely receives no funding from the city. It was home to New Letters, a respected literary magazine edited by poet John Ciardi. I hail from Kanasa City and always thought of UMKC as a decent commuter school, mostly catering to the educational needs of adult city dwellers. But the evolution of both the Econ and jazz studies departments lead me to suspect things have changed. Whether that’s by design or through organic happenstance I don’t know.

    4. Moneta

      If you are not on the money makers’ distribution list, it would make sense to find other ways to get some of that loot if you can’t the traditional way…

      You can be conservative in your social values but want change, i.e. liberalism, in the way the monetary system distributes the money.

    5. Larry

      I got a B.A.in Economics at UMKC back in the 70’s. While I don’t recall the detailed history, there is an Institutional (Veblen) Economics tradition at UMKC that dates back to the previous depression. I have no idea about subsequent developments but probably there continues to be an above average tolerance for heterodox economics.

  2. EndOfTheWorld

    Well, little UMKC can claim to be pretty much “cutting edge” in economics with these two stalwarts on their faculty.

    1. Benedict@Large

      The UMKC is also the home of the Kansas City School of Economics, more commonly known as the MMT School. Neither Hudson nor Black are MMTers per se, but both have grown by their affiliation with the school.

  3. Amateur Socialist

    Thanks for sharing this excellent interview. Watching it I realized the people I actually admire more than Hudson are his students. They must care more about learning the truth than securing wealth and job prospects on wall street.

  4. King Arthur

    Couldn’t a Marxian analysis of capitalism as a whole also shed some light on this issue? I think Hudson is pretty much right but I think, like Sanders, he’s offering a reformist option as opposed to a full on critique of the entire system.

    Not that a revolution is the option you necessarily want to go with, I just think that Marx’s criticism of capitalism has useful information that could help with shaping the perspective here.

  5. BecauseTradition

    The solution is write down the debt. Michael Hudson

    Why not Steve Keen’s “A Modern Jubilee” since non-debtors have been cheated by the system too?

  6. Steve in Dallas

    I asked Yves Smith at the Dallas meetup last week (paraphrasing) “Do you meet with Michael Hudson and Bill Black… is the independent media community, or any community, organizing around Michael Hudson and Bill Black… to not only support and promote Hudson’s and Black’s perspectives but to help develop their concepts and ‘fine tune’ their messaging?” I said to Yves “Hudson and Black are clearly the leaders we desperately need to rally behind and push into Washington… they clearly know what needs to be done… a PR machine needs to be developed… to get their messages out to our families, friends, and acquaintances… unfortunately, the current messaging is not good enough… I can’t get my family, friends, and others to engage and echo the messaging to their family, friends, etc.”

    Michael Hudson has been good at repeating his central message… ‘by increasing land, monopoly, and finance rent costs… the 1% are a highly organized mafia methodically looting our economy… effectively raping, pillaging and consequently destroying every component of our social structures’.

    Very unfortunately, Bill Blacks central message seems to have been lost for years now… he doesn’t repeat his central message… ‘the crimes must be stopped… there is no alternative… looting criminals MUST be publicly exposed, investigated, indicted, prosecuted, convicted, punished and their loot returned to society… by letting cheaters prosper, organized white-collar crime, perpetrated by the top-most leaders of our public and private institutions, has become an epidemic… the very fabric of civil society is being destroyed… we have no choice… the criminals must be stopped… and the only way to do that is to publicly expose, investigate, indict, prosecute, punish, and take back what is ours’.

    In 2008, when I tuned out of the mainstream media and tuned into the independent media, I thought the messages from Michael Hudson (“they are organized criminals… this is what they’re doing…”) and Bill Black (“the criminals must be stopped… here’s how we stopped the Savings & Loan criminals…) would resonate and become common knowledge. I quickly discovered that it didn’t even resonate with close family and friends. Why???

    I will send out this video… Michael Hudson at his best, speaking-wise. I don’t expect to get any reaction… why?… very frustrated…

    1. Ivy

      Amen. Once you start noticing, it becomes hard to stop. In looking hard for a silver lining to the current election storm clouds, public awareness of the MSM seems to have nudged a few toward slightly more objectivity, although I may just be wishing for that after media fatigue ;)

    2. MDBill

      You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

      ―Morpheus, to Neo in The Matrix

      Taking the red pill is not so easy. It means giving up everything you’ve learned to believe and trust in from your earliest days. It also means having to read, listen, and think for yourself, skills altogether too deprecated in this society.

      1. Vatch

        It also means having to read, listen, and think for yourself

        That’s a difficult process to sustain for long — it requires a lot of emotional energy. For some people, after a short period of thinking for themselves, they slip into conformity with a different ideology. They probably don’t even realize that is has happened. Maybe it’s happened to me.

        1. VietnamVet

          Yes. It is now impossible for me to read the Huffington Post.

          Being old, I remember the way we were. I want a restoration of the New Deal. But, if you have not lived it, the lessons of the past are lost. The human passion to fight back against the present day’s innate unfairness will, in the end, destroy the cosmopolitan meritocracy of the very few. And, possibly Earth too.

      2. Plenue

        You might not want to use that example, since ‘red-pilling’ is now closely associated with misogynist alt-right morons on reddit.

    3. tongorad

      I don’t expect to get any reaction… why?… very frustrated…

      Why do you think it was so important to crush organized labor? Where else is the vision of justice and better things to come going to come from? In short, the Modernist utopia has been supplanted with a Post-Modern identity-politics hell.

    4. Norb

      I’m beginning to feel, Shock and Awe in the economic sense will be the only means capable of breaking trough the conditioning. Its tragic, but it looks like things will have to get a lot worse before things will change. Hardship and want will shatter the illusions most people still cling too. Unless an enlightened elite decide to switch their allegiance from a profit only value system, take power and slowly change course, there is nothing left. The lever points for control are just too powerful when you work within the existing framework. Take the money raised to support the pipeline protestors. I’ve read that most of the funds are going to bail out the protestors from jail. If that is not a self licking ice-cream cone what is.

      People don’t listen because they know deep down physical harm will come to them if they question the status quo. It has been clearly communicated and demonstrated throughout history that the ruling class will use violence to ultimately secure their wishes. The main question is how do you effectively meet that violence.

      The most basic human instinct is survival, not fighting. The left has tried to use intellectual arguments to persuade people to change course and that method is just impotent when put up against the tangible physical, and emotional payoff served up by the elite to secure their position. It truly is a dilemma. Think american indians and their fate. Look at the recent mass gathering for the Chicago Cubs “victory” parade. Estimates of 5 million people gathered in the streets celebrating a sports team. That is the emotional and organizational system the left is up against. It is just too easy to buy people off. How can higher principles compete in such an environment- the verdict is out- they can’t.

      The other main failure of the left, and why their arguments fall on deaf ears, is how wrong they are about religion. By rejecting existing religions in all forms, they were a force that created a void, and believed that people could function in such an environment. They have been proven wrong and that emotional void has been filled by neoliberalism. It has become a new religion to replace the old, less effective ones at directing and managing human emotional needs.

      While individual enlightenment and awareness is the first, and most important step, those beliefs and values must be transferred into some concrete, visible social structure in order to survive. We are already living in a dark age, an age of endless violence and needless destruction, all for what will be seen in future generations to be frivolous pursuits. How to break this destructive cycle? Its not going to happen by only talking or trying to convince people of the merits to an argument. It will come from rolling up our sleeves and building something else less destructive.Effective use of resources on multiple levels is the path to follow.

    5. Steve in Dallas

      Here are two Michael Hudson interviews with Max Keiser from over two weeks ago.

      https://www.rt.com/shows/keiser-report/363455-episode-max-keiser-982/
      https://www.rt.com/shows/keiser-report/363733-episode-max-keiser-983/

      I’m totally confused… why would such valuable material not be posted (censored?) by the independent media? Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert are brilliant in many ways… a perfect compliment to Dr. Michael Hudson. Why have I not seen links to these interviews? Now I’m thinking I better spend more time at RT… and less time with the independent media? Yes… Max Keiser does GOLD and BITCOIN BS (am I wrong… still trying to understand WTF gold and bitcoin have to do with anything?)… but, on the other hand, how does the independent media not see the value in amplifying these interviews with Dr. Michael Hudson???

  7. Linda A.

    This is excellent. Very hard to find economic explanations in true laymen terms for the many who have come to hate even the word economics.

    I would think to capture the thought and imagination of the middle class and educate them, a new set of descriptors would need to be established and hammered home (to the point the msm are forced to use them) such as extractors, extraction economy, etc I would also think the reuse of unearned income and wealth would help as they are very clear and simple.

    Of course, from the perspective of the middle class squeezed from both the top and bottom and hanging by their finger tips, those terms would be equally applicable to those down as well as up the economic ladder. But wouldn’t that also be fair in that each of us has a moral obligation to, as much as possible, give value equal to that which we receive in an economic system.

    I wish Hudson had talked more about government’s enabling role in all of this and included the psychology of putting worker is the hot seat as the consumers in our consumption based economy.

    Looking forward to reading new book — J is for Junk Economics

    Thanks to NC for sharing this with readers!

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I sincerely share your thanks to NC and indirect thanks to Michael Hudson. I too look forward to his new book.

    2. TheCatSaid

      Agree x100. This is one of the best, clearest and most succinct exploration of ways we could things better that I’ve come across. Hudson is a gem and so is NC.

  8. flora

    Enjoyed this very much.
    Whenever someone tells me market rules and regulators are bad I because markets can regulate themselves, I ask them what a pro baseball game would be like if rules and umpires were removed. The usual response is, “oh, that’s different.” I ask, “How is it different? You have teams fiercely competing for a significant prize. Do you think they won’t cheat anyway they can if there aren’t rules and umpires?” The usual response is, “business is different.” They can’t explain how human drive to win money and prestige in sports is different from the same drive to win in business. Because there isn’t a difference, imo. The de-regulation movement is based on fantasy ideas. Look at Wells Fargo, et al.

    1. madame de farge

      It is all about the Magical Thinking/propaganda discussed in the Powell Doctrine. Worked for Hitler, working now for the Plutocraps…

  9. bmeisen

    hilary in the south – hudson omitted at least one premis in his hurried analysis: hilary beat bernie because a) she had the party establishment committed one way or another to her and b) she swept the south thanks largely to strong ties established by bill to afro-american voters (for many of whom bernie was an unknown). sadly both of her core support groups – the dem leadership and afro-americans – are marginal factors in state-wide elections in the south, which as hudson notes are dominated by the GOP. the votes that carried obama to victory in swing northern states have been lost. hilary’s success in defeating bernie and winning the nomination is an example of a party leadership crippled by it’s own self-interest. furthermore it is highly likely that, if hilary wins by a nose, the experience of teetering on the brink will have few consequences for those responsible.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      This election promises payments — regardless of the outcome. Neither party has control of us rabble and we are not quiet or quiescent as in past times. The future will be a time of whirlwinds.

    2. TheCatSaid

      If you’re interested in how African American voters voted in the primaries, have a look at Richard Hayes Phillips’ report, “The truth about exit polls and vote counts: 2016 Democratic Presidential Primary”. It includes detailed analysis and comparison to the 2008 Primary in which Obama and Clinton participated, including tracking African American voter numbers and looking at the percentage changes. While it takes time to do so, by digesting the analysis it becomes clear that the official primary results are not credible in some states. The official votes of African Americans do not reflecting how people voted. In some cases the numbers are 100% impossible, and in other cases the numbers of 100% incredible. Yes Clinton got more votes than Sanders did from AAs, but not as many as the primary official results–and analysts–claim.

      There is no way to see this clearly without reading the actual numbers for the individual states and digesting the implications. Phillips is a genius at using the data available from previous elections, and the fact that there are known numbers of AA voters in many states, to carefully see what the numbers reveal.

      Phillips makes it clear that to prove fraud, one has to inspect the actual ballots.

      The good news is that a recent article on the Black Box Voting.org website, “Ballot Images–A new way to verify that results are true”, reveals there is hope–by asking to see the ballot images that are generated automatically by most of the voting machines in use. This is a technical feature that had gone overlooked till recently. Curiously, many election offices have been deleting the image files, or otherwise trying to prevent voters from seeing them. The article explains what voters can do to make sure the ballot images are saved, and how to make a request to see them.

  10. Nortino

    It’s easy critique the economic system. The tough part is coming up with solutions to its problems. A famous heterodox economist whole last name began with “M” wrote thousands of pages critiquing the capitalist system, but only a few paragraphs proposing how the system could be remedied.

    We are in another Great Depression as Hudson pointed out. 8 years after our current Great Depression started, the only economic reform being put forward in the U.S. has been the $15 minimum wage. So sad. The most significant reform that was put into place after the last Depression (apart from the New Deal) was the 40 hour work week. While this was done with the aim to reduce unemployment, what it actually did was force wealth to actually trickle down for once.

    With all the technological and productivity improvements since the last Depression, what do we have to show for it? We still have a 40 hour workweek, only now it takes two workers to support a household.

    We should be demanding a 25 or 30 hour workweek, with the elimination of contract work and “salaried” exemptions, so that every worker is paid for every hour that they actually work. Any work beyond that would be paid at the overtime rate. You’d see a whole bunch of wealth trickle down with that reform put into place, but good luck getting that accomplished in today’s “global economy”.

    1. TheCatSaid

      What do you think about Hudson stating that first and foremost, debts have to be written down?

      He makes other suggestions as well, such as structuring taxes so that only unearned income is taxed. Debt write-down would be easier to explain as a simpler concept.

      We’d need a public that understands this, ideally achieved with the help of a reformed media and disruption of the FIRE sector’s political control. If the wheels come off the wagon this could all come about sooner than we expect.

    2. Norb

      The solutions to our current dilemma are well known and could be implemented overnight by an interested government. The writing down of unplayable debts and the guarantee of worthwhile employment being the most obvious. All those willing to work should have work at a living wage at the very least.

      Marx is being proven right about one thing, that capitalism would destroy itself. So yes, we are at the what will rise out of the ashes phase.

  11. tongorad

    With all the technological and productivity improvements since the last Depression, what do we have to show for it? We still have a 40 hour workweek, only now it takes two workers to support a household.

    Great comment. My parents and grandparents, without a college education, were able to achieve a modest version of the American dream with only one wage-earner in the house.

    We’re going backwards.

  12. Eclair

    I have watched this twice already (I am a slow learner). It resonates. Especially what Hudson says about the three types of ‘unearned’ income: rent extraction from land, monopoly rents and the third, which is …. that’s why I have to go watch the video again.

    This is why I keep coming back to NC. And, Yves and Lambert should do what they must to keep the comments relevant and on target.

  13. mrtmbrnmn

    As ever…Hip Hip Hooray for Michael Hudson!!!

    And kudos to Yves, Lambert et.al. Keep those hits coming!

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