The Saker Interviews Michael Hudson

Yves here. Michel Hudson, in this short talk with The Saker, debunks many widespread misperceptions about the dollar, the US economy, and the prospects for fundamental change.

I have only a couple of teeny quibbles and a further thought. Hudson discusses private equity buying up single family homes. While that was a very big trend during and after the foreclosure crisis, there’s also been a rise, and not just in big cities, of mom and pop investors buying apartments and homes to rent out on AirBnB. So in recent years, I’m not sure the level of investment buying by private equity is collectively all that much greater than that of well-heeled individuals. We pointed out that private equity had a big problem with single family homes that property management does not scale. In fact, an individual living near their properties (better yet, with a family member in one of the trades or construction) would be able to manage the properties at lower cost than private equity.

The second is I differ a bit on his take that the response of US citizens to falling living standards and rising disfunction will be apathy. That is likely to be the main response, but you will also see more and more incidents of violence. We are already witnessing more shootings of fast food workers and commuters being shoved in front of subway cars. Expect more of that sort of thing…which serves to justify more bunkering of the elites.

Hudson also describes how indebted many individuals are. The Fed’s consumer debt statistics show that mortgage and credit card debt is not excessive. However, what these analyses miss is what would be called greater operating leverage, by virtue of other fixed costs that may not be in the form of debt but like debt, can’t be defaulted on without serious consequences.

In good old corporate land, to do proper apples to apples analysis of debt levels of companies, you need to capitalize operating leases (like the lease costs on sale-leasebacks of corporate real estate) because those fixed charges are effectively debt.

The analogue for households is medical costs. At a minimum, medical insurance costs have gotten to be so high that they should be capitalized so as to present a more accurate picture of household obligations and their true free cash flow.

Originally published at Vineyard of the Saker. Reproduced with permission of Michael Hudson

ntro: I need to begin with a MAJOR caveat and tell you how/why this “interview” happened.  I did not plan to interview Michael Hudson.  I was listening to a well known Russian economist, Mikhail Khazin, and I was fascinated by what he was saying.  I also understood only some of the points he was making.  To put it mildly, I am not an economist, and while listening to Khazin did did not take any notes.  What I did do is email Michael and ask him a few question by email, just to clarify my own thoughts and marginally better my (rather dismal) “understanding” of economic and their role in the current standoff.  With this typical kindness and generosity, Michael gave me some very interesting answers, and he agreed to allow me to turn this into an interview.  So, here are the caveats to keep in mind: I might have misunderstood or forgotten what Khazin actually said.  So if the question sounds stupid, please blame me, not Khazin! As they say in the USA, this entire topic is way above my pay grade…

Please think of this as an exchange between a young and ignorant student and a college professor and my apologies to the economists out there :-)

Having said that, here is my exchange with Michael Hudson:

Andrei:  Is it true that the USA cannot raise interest rates to lower the inflation rate as this would trigger a cascading series of bankruptcies and cost the Dems the upcoming elections?

Michael Hudson: The Federal Reserve and Treasury painted the U.S. into a corner with its Quantitative Easing to save the banks and brokerage houses after 2008.  The policy succeeded in supporting and even raising real estate prices, and providing arbitrage opportunities to borrow at low rates to buy higher-yielding stocks and bonds, vastly increasing the magnitude of financial wealth. This has been especially the case since the pandemic, creating an estimated trillion dollars in “capital gains” (including short term arbitrage) for the wealthiest One Percent.

What seemed to be the financial death trap was the prospect of rising interest rates ending the free lunch of interest-dividend arbitrage, and easy mortgage money. The threat was to reverse the asset-price run-up. We already are seeing that in recent weeks as stocks plunged to reflect the rise in Treasury bond rates.

But by now, 14 years after the Obama bailouts and QE rescue of insolvent banks, a new condition has emerged: a vast sum of private capital seeking to move out of the financial markets. Many of the most astute One Percent is taking their money and running – into private equity and real estate.

The result is that housing prices are soaring as private capital is out-bidding owner-occupant home buyers. While the latter face rising mortgage-interest rates, private capital finds the likelihood for both current rental income and capital gains to be a much better bet than the stock and bond market. The result will not be a decline in real estate prices, but a decline in home-ownership rates as a shift to rental housing occurs. The financial class is becoming the new absentee landlord class.

Lower stock prices will spur a similar private-capital wave o corporate takeovers, posturing as “rescuers” of the economy. The aim will be short-term asset stripping, of course (that is the business plan of private equity), but it will consolidate ownership in the hands of a financial elite. And to the extent that state and local budgets suffer from the downturn, sell-offs of public land and infrastructure also will transfer property and its rent-extracting opportunities into hands – not with borrowed credit but for all-cash, the cash that QE policy and tax favoritism has brought into being in the past 14 years.

So, to the extent that there are bankruptcies, this will have the usual result: consolidation and concentration of wealth ownership. The non-financial economy’s structure is being transformed – under the slogan of individualistic free markets.

Andrei:  Is it true that the two digit industrial inflation in the USA cannot be lowered by means or price control, as that would guarantee even more empty shelves and cost the Dems the upcoming elections?

Michael Hudson: The current inflation is not primarily a monetary phenomenon – except for stock, bond and real-estate prices. Raw materials prices, commodity prices and import prices are rising throughout the world. Domestic price controls have no effect on import prices. In theory, they should be able to reduce monopoly prices, but in today’s world the monopolists may simply let shortages develop and wait out the government.

For meat, eggs and other farm produce, the farmers are not receiving higher prices for their crops and produce. The middlemen are gouging out more fees for themselves, thanks to the monopoly position of Cargill et al.

Andrei:  Are those who say that the USA cannot export its inflation to other countries by forcing the latter to deflate their currencies and acquire dollars anymore correct?

Michael Hudson: The inflation is global, not stemming from the United States. The U.S. consumer price inflation reflects its dependence on other countries. Import prices are up, not only because of port congestion and supply shortages, but because of global energy prices and the fracturing of world trade into dollar-using and dollar-avoiding economies.

The most problematic U.S. economic problem is debt deflation, not price inflation. Payments to the FIRE sector for debt service, health insurance and housing are taking a rising bite out of family budgets for the 99 Percent as the economy polarizes between an alliance of creditors, landlords and monopolists at the top, and debtors, renters and hapless consumers at the bottom.

I don’t know what Mr. Khazin means by his idea that the United States is exporting its inflation. What do other countries buy from the United States, besides arms and agricultural output, patent-protected drugs and information-technology?

Andrei: Khazin also said that the USA needs to crash the EU in order to force Europe to purchase dollars and US goods and services HOWEVER any semi-real war in Europe will crash the international markets and, therefore, also crash the US economy.

Michael Hudson: This argument does not make sense. Europe does not have enough balance-of-payments surplus to buy dollars to support the U.S. exchange rate – and the U.S. economy does not need dollars from Europe, as it can simply print them (as MMT, Dick Cheney and Donald Trump have shown). And “crashing Europe” would not give it more means to buy U.S. exports. “Old Europe” has let U.S. financial diplomacy turn the euro into a satellite currency imposing austerity on the continent – a kind of financial NATO suicide pact.

Andrei: The Fed overprinted dollars and that there is now no way to get these dollars back out of circulation, thus is there is a high chance of stagflation in the USA by this summer?

Michael Hudson: Most Fed “dollars” are not spent on goods and services, but on FIRE-sector assets. There is indeed stagnation in store for the 99 Percent, from a combination of debt deflation (payments to the rentier class) and a price squeeze for basic needs. This is a structural phenomenon (as discussed above), not one of “the money supply.”

Andrei: Between a rabid inflation and the very high insecurity about the future of the economy, will the US industries will have to lower (or even stop) a lot of its current production, resulting in major shortages?

Michael Hudson: There is not that much industry left in the United States beyond the military-industrial complex. I wonder what the author imagines is still around to be cut back. OK, movies and entertainment with Covid-19 closing restaurants, Broadway and movie houses. Consumers will pay for what they need, and the wealthiest will buy luxuries, but the clothing and fashion markets don’t have much exposure in today’s masked-up world.

Andrei: Eventually, government payments and handouts will either lose their value due to inflation or won’t even be paid, right?

Michael Hudson: There is no problem of the U.S. government not having the money to pay. Inasmuch as most payments are to the wealthiest FIRE sector classes that have become the political Donor Class, there’s no need to worry. The recent wave of savings INTO Treasury bonds show that it is still the safest haven.

Andrei: Since there is nothing the White House or the Fed can do about any of that, do you think that there will be a lot of violence and state repression?

Michael Hudson: Well, there may be violence from the homelessness that looks imminent from the evictions, now that the Covid rent and mortgage moratorium is expiring. This may indeed take the form of racial tensions. But this is nothing like a revolutionary situation. It is highly localized and “free-market.” No political alternative appears on the horizon, as the U.S. is becoming even more of a one-party state (with the role of the Democrats being to block any challenge from “the left” to pro-Wall Street and pro-corporate Republicans. There really is no left-wing party with an independent program. The Democratic Party has co-opted them and buried them in a minority. So instead of violence, we are likely to see apathy – lower voter turnouts, a rising Republican majority in Congress, and enough Democrats to be Republicans pretending to be Democrats (not only Manchin and Sinema but Pelosi, Schumer, etc.) that psychology and anger will simply turn within. Suicide rates will rise.

In short, it looks like what a schlock 1950s science fiction movie would have described as the End Time of Revelation, rent by earth, air, fire and water. The earth is warming, pollution is continuing to cause extreme weather, forest fires are spreading, water levels are going to rise (and subsoil water is polluted by fracking, while the melting of glaciers create drought, ending electric power from dams). Heavier water is leading to earthquakes. We’re all just waiting for San Andreas and its relatives to blow the Seven Trumpets.

Andrei:So where does this leave Congress and the Democrat/Republican standoff?

Michael Hudson: As long as the filibuster is retained, Congress is paralyzed, as each party has the ability to block the other, and voters are almost equally divided as to whether real estate and financial wealth is to be concentrated in the hands of the One Percent by the Republicans (representing corporate America) or the Democrats (representing Wall Street). With so little difference between them in practice, this leaves law-making to the Supreme Court. And it has been put in place by right-wing Republicans, with full acquiescence from the Democrats (Senator Biden led the party’s notorious support for Justice Thomas.)

That’s why Justice Breyer just announced his retirement from the court today, to give President Biden an opportunity to name the next justice. His problem is to find a black women sufficiently right-wing not to threaten his party’s own Donor Class – knowing that in any case, the court is already set on a Republican cultural-political track for the next decade.

Breyer’s hurry reflected his recognition that the Democrats are about to lose heavily in November’s election, so there are only nine months to install a new member of the Court. The Democratic Leadership insists that the party has already moved too far to the left, despite breaking Biden’s promise to raise the minimum wage, cutting back CARES disbursements from Trump’s $2000 to just $1400, dropping the “social infrastructure” elements of his Build Back Better by being saved by Sens. Manchin and Sinema getting him off the hook so as to back his basic campaign promise that “Nothing will change very much.”

With a policy like that, why should Democrats turn out? What’s he done for them lately? Are they going to believe his rhetoric, or what’s actually happening to the economy and to them?

Andrei: thank you so much, dear Michael, for your time and much needed insights!!

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  1. The Rev Kev

    When Michael Hudson says that ‘The Democratic Leadership insists that the party has already moved too far to the left’, is that really so? Do they actually believe that or is it the ‘legend’ that they tell themselves so that they can purge the Party of anybody to the left of Joe Biden – or Joe Manchin for that matter. Either way, as Hudson explains it the machinery for doing anything about America’s problems is firmly jammed up by those wanting to kill the Golden Goose for its eggs.

    1. Michaelmas

      Do they actually believe that or is it the ‘legend’ that they tell themselves so that they can purge the Party of anybody to the left of Joe Biden – or Joe Manchin for that matter.

      Both of the above.

      Excellent analysis from Hudson, in any case. Thanks for this.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Thomas Frank wrote about this subject in “Listen, Liberal”. The standard neoliberal playbook is to run ever rightward in the campaign, accusing earlier (i.e. authentic) Democrats of everything irresponsible and despicable right down to drowning puppies, ending with “tax and spend liberal” as the cherry on top.

      When this inevitably fails and the candidate gets humiliated in the election, the next (more conservative) candidate trashes the previous one as “socialist”, and they tack even further rightward.

      This started at least with Carter, and has continued through every ostensible Democrat ever since — while they always keep marching rightward. This playbook is still being used, with Democrats tarring their own choice for the White House — a stupid, senile, groping, right wing racist coot owned by big finance — as “too liberal”, giving cover to their fellow Republicans in the choir, who amplify the sickly tune.

      Rinse and repeat. Democrats have been doing this for 40 years.

      1. Art_DogCT

        This is the best description of the ratchet process I’ve found, from the old-school blog Stop Me Before I vote Again: The following snippet from the chapter opening.

        The American political system, since at least 1968, has been operating like a ratchet, and both parties — Republicans and Democrats — play crucial, mutually reinforcing roles in its operation.

        The electoral ratchet permits movement only in the rightward direction. The Republican role is fairly clear; the Republicans apply the torque that rotates the thing rightward.

        The Democrats’ role is a little less obvious. The Democrats are the pawl. They don’t resist the rightward movement — they let it happen — but whenever the rightward force slackens momentarily, for whatever reason, the Democrats click into place and keep the machine from rotating back to the left.

      2. TimD

        Yes Frank is pretty accurate. The Democrats have moved so far to the right that the Republicans have trouble coming up with a platform that is right-wing but doesn’t sound crazy.

  2. Mikel

    “What do other countries buy from the United States, besides arms and agricultural output, patent-protected drugs and information-technology?”

    I would add refined oil to that list. The USA has been a leading exporter in that since the days of the Standard Oil monopoly.

  3. Grumpy Engineer

    Many of the most astute One Percent is taking their money and running – into private equity and real estate. The result is that housing prices are soaring as private capital is out-bidding owner-occupant home buyers. While the latter face rising mortgage-interest rates, private capital finds the likelihood for both current rental income and capital gains to be a much better bet than the stock and bond market. The result will not be a decline in real estate prices, but a decline in home-ownership rates as a shift to rental housing occurs.

    Part of me finds it incredible that this has happened, but it’s unquestionably true. It’s also been long apparent that Congress and the Fed consider rising house prices to be a good thing.

    But it’s not. If one takes off the “wealth creation through asset appreciation” hat and puts on a “affordable housing advocacy” hat, one’s perspective totally changes. From an affordable housing standpoint, we want prices to slowly decline over time so that housing becomes more affordable for people who are looking to buy in the future.

    And why shouldn’t prices decline? New houses can be built with less labor because workers have better tools and labor saving fixtures than they had in the past. And the value of older houses should decline over time as they accumulate “wear and tear” and become increasingly out of compliance with current building standards.

    Heck, when I look at my own house, I can see that the carpet is more worn and the paint more faded than when I bought it. It doesn’t hold my stuff any better than it did before. It doesn’t keep me warm any better than it did before. [Well, it didn’t until I spent money adding insulation.] Why should it be any more valuable? In my opinion, it isn’t. But according to Zillow, I’ve made a tidy 6% rate of return since the day I purchased it. This is compliments of the Fed and FIRE sector distorting the market.

    1. Anonymous

      This is compliments of the Fed and FIRE sector distorting the market. GE

      2) no limits to the concentration of land ownership
      3) foreigners may own land

      All three are contrary to Scripture so this warning applies:

      Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field,
      Until there is no more room,
      So that you have to live alone in the midst of the land!

      In my ears the Lord of hosts has sworn, “Surely, many houses shall become desolate, even great and fine ones, without occupants… Isaiah 5:8-9

      1. deplorado

        Amazing. The predictive power of the Bible. Thank you for this. The Bible should be read as an economic history document as well. As Prof. Hudson has demonstrated, too.

      2. Hayek's Heelbiter

        Wow! I was not familiar with this Bible verse, but how contemporary it is.
        Suggest you take a look at Ellicott’s Commentaries on these verses, which explains the conditions at the time that so acutely mirror those of our own. And indeed the the commentary brings up one of Dr. Hudson’s favorite topics, Debt Jubilees.
        A small excerpt:

        the law of debt pressed against the impoverished debtor (Nehemiah 5:5), and the law of the Jubilee was practically set aside. In place of the small freeholders there rose up a class of large proprietors, often the novi homines of the state (e.g., Shebna in Isaiah 22:16), while the original owners sank into slavery

        Confession: His book on the topic remains on my to-be-read pile and this might have already been covered.

    2. anon y'mouse

      New houses can be built with less labor because workers have better tools and labor saving fixtures than they had in the past.

      doubtful, or at least debatable. as “labor saving” tech has increased somewhat, the basics are still all there and added on top of this, multiple other technologies and methods to apply them have been made. standards have also somewhat increased, although it appears less here than in Europe or even perhaps Canada (my perception–our top of line homebuilders are merely replicating what they do in other countries as standard).

      slapping up some 2×4 with tar paper and wood cladding is not really considered an adequate house deserving of anyone’s money, not even in “modular homes” (aka “trailers” in the olde days, which were built even worse than my example here).

      a properly built home now has a lot more layers, interlocking parts, features etc. and usually (unless top of line/budget) a lot less fancy woodwork and plaster inside. the labor has not been saved, it’s just been moved to other priorities. you don’t have to build your own windows on-site anymore, but try finding someone who can properly flash, seal and install a multi-paned window so that it won’t leak, seal and insulate your rim joists or insulate and vent your roof properly without creating a moisture trap.

  4. Michael Hudson

    Yves is quite right that the Fed statistics don’t show a rise in the proportion of consumer debt to income. In act, they don’t show any rise for the past 20 years. The ratio remains identical year after year, quarter after quarter.
    I don’t believe it or a minute. I’ve spoken with NIPA and Fed specialists and we all believe that the Fed just makes an assumption of a steady, unchanging ratio and reports it. It’s fantasy.
    I produced the charts in a long paper with Dirk Bezemer that NC published two years ago. (It was just reprinted in the Review of Keynesian Economics.)

    1. Bellatrix

      I think Yves point, which I agree with, is that the concept of “debt” is now a lot more nebulous than it was and the statistics do not necessarily take these changes into account. Many decades ago, most people had a bunch of assets (house, car, hi-fi system, record collection, video collection etc. etc.) which they saved up to buy, with a bit of help with a mortgage for the house. Over time, debt became more pervasive, but then new products emerged that are not actually debt, but replace debt with ongoing obligations. So you lease your car: no asset or corresponding debt, just an ongoing obligation. Home ownership levels fall: for the renters there is less mortgage debt, but rent instead (balanced, of course, by the monumental debt taken on by many of those who do still choose or are able to own). I don’t own my Microsoft Office any more, just an annual payment to use it. Computer games have gone the same way. Half the stuff I do on my PC involves cloud services. I don’t own a big music system or have a record or cd collection: just my phone, a good wi-fi speaker and a subscription to a music service. Ownership is going down, which reduces the debt associated with ownership and replaces it with obligations, but the effect is the same. Within a decade I doubt we will own or lease a car, we will just call it up on our phone, it will meet us where we tell it (driverless, of course) and off we go. I wonder if all the new payment methods that stretch out our small purchase payments or even give us an advance on our salary are even incorporated in the Feds statistics. We are rapidly heading to a world where most people own nothing, but have a heck of a lot of obligations and are totally dependent on whatever their source of income may be. The Fed’s stats may not show it, but most of us are rushing down the road to serfdom.

      1. PanCanuck

        We’ll soon find out how “nebulous” debt is today as interest rates climb and millions can’t make their mortgage payments on the house they could not afford in the first place. Watch governments panic to save the banks and mortgage markets by subsidizing over extended home owners to keep the housing market from too deep a plunge.

        1. Bellatrix

          Yes, like Buffet said, when the tide goes out you see who’s been swimming naked. If housing turns down, then things will start to look very grim indeed because the economy has not been this fragile since the roaring 20’s. What goes around, comes around!

  5. lance ringquist

    and mr. hudson, going back to nafta billy clinton and empty suit hollowman obama, what universal concrete material benefit did those two fascists do for americans, A BIG FAT ZERO! only repeated kicks in the teeth is all that americans got. so nafta joe biden was going to be different!

    its unbelievable that the nafta democrats could pull the wool over enough eyes again to barely win.

    look at the mess they are making again. trump must look pretty good to the radicalized people that the nafta democrats billy and obama made, now nafta joe biden it creating even more radicalized desperate people.

  6. Soredemos

    It’s satisfying to see the ‘the US will soon be bankrupt’ type thinking I often see around the Russian blogosphere run right into Hudson.

    1. deplorado

      I’ve listened to Khazin once or twice before, and was not impressed. Im not an economist, so a disclaimer applies, but when I listen to Prof. Hudson, the big picture mechanisms driving the economy immediately crystalize into view, while Khazin for example – tends to repeat talking points that, while containing some truths, reflect more schadenfreude, like Soredemos said, than sound thinking.

      This does not mean the US and USians are not in trouble… quite the contrary.

      It seems to me that in the US, the received wisdom has taken firm root that “we can’t do anything right anymore” – something I remember as the absolutely dominant mentality in my Soviet Bloc homeland back in the ominous 80ies, before everything collapsed. Not a good sign at all.

  7. Susan the other

    Even Robert Reich warned that we are killing demand by impoverishing the 99%. Which in turn kills growth capitalism. Which, ideally, kills the exponential growth of consumption and environmental destruction. I think I see a pattern here. It’s business as usual for the oligarchs – Macron tried to do it with higher gas prices until he suffered politically. So not including all the costs of living for the 99% is a feature not a bug. The problem as I see it is admitting to the game plan. Which is to create a sustainable civilization. If our greedy, notoriously corrupt Congress tries to tell the rest of us to tighten our belts, we’ll all start throwing bombs and having riots. Can’t have that either. So the political class has come together to support each other. And all our proud American freedom-blabber is nonsense. Their crime is a crime of omission, once again. The political class refuses to do proper and adequate social safety nets. Maybe because they don’t want to look too obvious and they definitely can’t admit to this disaster. So I’ll give them this: We have to change the way our economy works; we have no choice.

    1. lance ringquist

      nafta billy clintons policies become self liquidating. not only did nafta billy clintons disastrous free trade policies destroy the wages of the deplorable, now they are raising prices on the deplorable.

      “Capitalism sowed the seeds of its own demise because the benefits of a decade-long boom accrued to capital, with nothing flowing to labor. Telling workers who hadn’t had a decent pay raise for years to tighten their belts once the good times ended proved disastrous.”

      Thoughts from the Great Depression
      As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption, mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth — not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced — to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation’s economic machinery. Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-30 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence, as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped.

      (Eccles, Marriner S. 1951. Beckoning Frontiers: Public and Personal Recollections (New York: Alfred A. Knopf): p. 76

      “i saw a great cartoon the other day, a bunch of 1%er’s were standing on the top of a sky scrapper yelling down at the 99%, we will hire you once you start spending.”

      ” if employment and wages do not increase, thrift will increase unemployment.”

      “economics will never be viewed as a real science, till those who pander to the rich, and ignore or do not have the capability to understand empathy, remorse, pity, morals, ethics, or have a conscience, are driven out of the field.”

    2. deplorado

      The economy is driven by a rapacious oligarchy, where rapacity is the built-in rational behavior. How do you change this? Only a force greater than rapacity can do this – full-blown social or natural catastrophe. Seems to me that before we, as a civilization, experience one or both of these, nothing will change. The oracles will cry all the way to it and will be right, but the kings will not listen.

  8. George

    If the lack of affordable housing in the US (70%) is making you feel more than a little impoverished, look no further than 647 billionaires in the US with literally more money than they could ever spend bidding it up. Together with the lowly millionaires and global flight to suck up all remaining good collateral before it too becomes extinct, but that don’t keep the boys from making a buck or two, does it?

    1. Tony Wright

      What a cluster…. Everthing I have read in MSM, NC and financial newsletters suggests that the Democrats are toast come November and in 2024. So what does that mean? Back to Trumpism? In the rest of the world we can only hope that the man himself succumbs to his reported addiction to hamburgers in the interim. But then who becomes the Republican candidate? Cruz? Donald Jr.? Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
      No wonder the super rich are buying up island bolt holes.

      1. George

        I lean towards the January 6 committee findings doing the job but hard to tell what happens to a walking crime wave in a system of corruption?

  9. ptb

    (1) Regarding “exporting” material-driven inflation, wouldn’t that be very much the short-term expectation for 2022, from the current cyclical peak in energy-prices?

    Not originating from US, but from EU+China being in a bidding war for energy, with less-wealthy countries feeling the whiplash of getting priced out of their raw materials inputs, just as global interest rates may be rising.

    (2) Seems like Hudson’s prediction of “private-capital wave of corporate takeovers, posturing as rescuers” would apply in a EU or EM crisis situation as well. Classic cycle of austerity followed by extractive privatization. Not that I think Washington is currently coordinated enough to have planned this on purpose, but it might become the opportunistic move to make, possibly even within core EU, definitely outside it, if the multiple potential economic shocks that are currently bottled up in crisis-management-mode should be suddenly released.

    1. anon y'mouse

      as far as i can tell (being a dodo and all), the EU was designed with Neoliberal Capitalism inside it’s operating system. they didn’t have to do a Nafta nor a TPP because that’s somewhat how they already have things set up.
      so expecting anything other than cycles of austerity and rapine (privatization and consolidation) is like expecting stuff by BillyBob Gates to work on your PC without troubles.

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