Prof. Michael Hudson, World Predictions for 2024 (USA, UN, Palestine, Russia And BRICS)

Yves here. Micheal Hudson offers many pointed observations about US misrule, both geopolitical and economic, and what might be coming next.

I hate to continue to be a naysayer, but I feel compelled to quibble with one part of this talk. I do not see BRICS or any other group being able to replace dollar institutions any time soon (BRICS+ members working together on other, specific issues of mutual interest is a different matter). First, the US was able to create these institutions from a position of dominant economic influence. It produced 50% of world GDP in 1945 and an even higher percentage of the non-Communist realm. Multi-lateral negotiations, which is what creating new institutions would entail, are very difficult and routinely fail. Second, the idea of any analogous supra-national institutions requires some sacrifice of national sovereignity and thus seems to contradict a core aim of moving to a multi-polar system. Third, current BRICS financial institution, particularly its New Development Bank, are weak and slow-moving and do not provide a good foundation on which to build.

Hudson however does concur with the viewpoint expressed earlier by Jomo Kwame Sundaram, that a major series of developing economy debt crises is in the offing.

Published by Ania on her channel at YouTube

ANIA: Hello everyone, welcome back to my channel. It looks like we are live and we are a few seconds before time, so a little bit better than Swiss precision. Today I have for the second time a very, very special guest. Many of you have been anticipating this conversation with Professor Michael Hudson, who is the financial analyst and very distinguished research professor of economics. Someone whose expertise, opinion, knowledge I very much value. And I think as we are coming to the end of 2023, this might be a very important discussion here, very important information from Professor Hudson. So welcome back, Professor Hudson. Thank you so much for finding time for our conversation.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, it’s good to be back, Ania.

ANIA: Thank you. And just to let you know, everyone, all the links to find Professor Hudson are already down below this live stream. You can support his work via Patreon, all the books, there’s a link as well, also his website. All the links are down below. I appreciate you subscribing, liking, sharing, supporting my channel as well. And let’s start with actually Professor Hudson has sent me a very, very informative email. And I want to say thank you officially now to you for sending this to me because of that email, I was able to kind of narrow my question down to you. And if there are any questions from the audience, please put them in the Super Chats.

So in your email, you’ve mentioned that Ukraine’s apartheid state is an apartheid state. And I would like to start with this. Can you explain to the audience what does this really mean to be an apartheid state? And Israel is also an apartheid state.

MICHAEL HUDSON: An apartheid state. Well, that goes back to Nazi Germany in the 1930s. An apartheid state says that only one ethnicity should dominate the state and all other ethnicities should be excluded. As soon as World War II ended, the U.S. military and the intelligence agencies recruited the nationalists and the Nazis who had been working for the Germans against the Russians into the NATO framework as managers and began to prepare for a long-term fight against the Soviet Union. Somehow the end of World War II metamorphosized gradually into really a renewal of what followed World War I, the fight against the Soviet Union. And from the very beginning, for the last 80 years, the United States has sought to fight Russia. Even when Russia stopped being the Soviet Union, it was viewed as having an independent characteristic, an independent policy. And so it used the Nazis to spur a nationalistic, anti-Russian feeling of treating the Russians really as subhumans, denying the Russian-speaking population the retirement income and Social Security and health care and public services. And basically you had the Ukrainians treating the Russians as the Germans had treated the Nazis.

Well, you’re having the same fight now in Israel when Netanyahu and President Biden says there can only be one ethnicity in Israel. There can only be a single state. It’s possible to have a two-state solution. You can have Israel and you can have Palestine, but only Jews will occupy either Israel or Palestine.

The United States mentality, not only for Ukraine and for Israel, but for the whole world economy, is there can only be one economy and one state favoring one group of people. And what you’re seeing in the apartheid state of both Ukraine with its anti-Russian, banning the Russian language, banning Russian books, destroying Russian novels and literature from the libraries, not performing Russian music. All of this is followed by the United States pressing for the Olympic Committee, for instance, not to let Russian athletes join in the Olympics under the flag. The apartheid that you’re seeing in Ukraine is followed by the United States itself, spurring the apartheid state. To the United States, Both Ukraine and Israel are sort of models of what the United States would like to do on a global basis for the entire world economy. There can only be one economy. And basically, it’s a U.S.-NATO-centered economy to which other countries are either supposed to obey and accept the rules or else they’re to be fought against. And so you can look at what’s happening in Israel right now and Ukraine right now as a dress rehearsal on a small scale of the same kind of fight that is occurring in the world economy. Are there going to be two different economies? And are these economies going to be equals democratically? Or is the world economy somehow going to be itself an apartheid state between the United States and NATO on the one hand and the BRICS Plus and the Global South on the other, all in a central unit? That really is what all this fight and maneuvering is about right now in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea and the oil gulf. It’s not only an ethnic apartheid, it’s an apartheid of economic systems, both in Ukraine and Israel and in the kind of order the United States is trying to create.

ANIA: Thank you so much for answering this. And on this note, I would like to ask you two questions following on that. First, do you think the United States will be able to succeed this plan, will be able to be successful with this plan? And will the U.S. be able to keep Western Europe as a U.S. economic, political and military satellite? Yes or no? And if no, what’s going to happen?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, there are really two questions there. For your first question there, what is success? The fight in Israel right now is really a process that’s been going on for 20 years. The United States is backing Israel. And you can look at Israel as being to the United States what Ukraine is. The United States is willing to fight to the last Ukrainian against Russia. It’s willing to fight to the last Israeli against the Muslim states. The United States ever since 9-11 in 2001 has wanted to conquer Iraq, Syria, and most of all, Iran, as well as Libya. In the United States press, all of the discussions of what’s happening in Gaza and Israel today, whenever they talk about Hezbollah or Hamas, the newspapers all put in the qualifying adjective, Iranian-backed Hamas, Iranian-backed Hezbollah. And if Iraqis are trying to fight to drive out the Americans that are stealing the oil from Iraq, it’s the Iranian-backed Iraqis.

This whole fighting that you’re seeing in Israel now, that on the surface seems to be a fight to purify the Israeli state from the non-Jewish population, is part of the American attempt to really conquer the whole Near East and its oil production. To America, the Near East is important because American domination of the world economy for the last hundred years has rested upon its control of oil, along with British Petroleum and the French oil companies. The United States has used oil as controlling energy, and by controlling energy and its pricing, controlling industrial productivity and GDP. GDP, labor productivity, industry, is all a function of energy.

So what the United States is doing is goading Netanyahu to try to provoke the Lebanon Hezbollah into retaliating, so the United States can attack Lebanon, and trying to provoke Iran. It recently assassinated an Iranian leader in Syria, trying to provoke Iran into doing something.

Well, under normal circumstances, when Lebanon or Iran is attacked in the way that the Israelis are attacking now, you’d fight back. That’s the natural tendency. If you’re punched, you’re going to punch back. But this is so obvious that this is what the United States wants Lebanon to do, and wants Iran to do, that they’ve stepped back a month ago, and said, wait a minute, we’re not going to retaliate, just like the United States was trying to goad the Ukrainians to provoke a Russian attack, so that we could begin to bleed Russia, the United States is trying to provoke an attack so that it can finally attack Iran with everything it has.

Well, what has happened for the last month is Iran and Hezbollah and other Muslim groups have talked with each other to try to coordinate what we’re doing, and saying, look, we’re all under attack. We’re not going to let the United States pick us off one by one. Let’s not let the United States divide and conquer us, and first conquer Lebanon, and then conquer Syria, and then reconquer Iraq and drive out the opposition and the liberation fight in Iraq, and then conquer Iran. We’ve got to have a united front, and that’s why Russian ships and Chinese ships have moved into the area, and it’s realized that this fight that seems on the surface to be one between Netanyahu and the Palestinians, is really just a catalyst, a fuse, a trigger for the Near Eastern war that the United States has been planning.

And that brings us to the second part of your question. Will the United States succeed in maintaining control of Europe? Well, the fight in the Near East is very similar to the logic that the United States was fighting with its foreign policy in Europe, beginning in 2022. Its fear was that looking at the world situation from the German and French perspective, the logical policy of Western Europe would be to have a symbiotic trade and investment relationship with Russia and with China. And in this relationship, Germany would import Russian oil, gas, and other raw materials, and it would pay for the imports by exporting industrial goods.

Well, if this scenario had unfolded, the United States really would be pretty much left out. What did it really have to offer Europe? Well, the one thing it had to offer was refraining from blackmailing the German and French political leaders who basically had been nurtured and prepared by the United States State Department and CIA and non-governmental organizations, the National Endowment for Democracy, all to sort of represent U.S.-NATO interests, not the interests of their own countries.

From the United States’ point of view, how do you make Europe part of the U.S. economy, not part of the BRICS economy, not part of the Eurasian economy? Well, Nord Stream took care of that, along with the trade sanctions that the U.S. put in the hands of the German leaders, especially NATO leaders, to impose on the entire European economy. Well, right now, you’re seeing the collapse of the German industry as a result. The BASF, the large German chemical company, has already announced that its new plants are going to be located in China because that’s where it can get the natural gas and the oil, largely from Russia, that it needs technologically for its operations. Just last week, one of the big metal companies in Germany announced it’s closing its doors, it’s laying off its labor force, it cannot produce in Europe anymore. European companies are all closing down, and their choice is either to follow the U.S. directions and say, well, why don’t you move to the United States and put your plants in the United States?

Well, they can’t really put their plants in the United States because the cost of living and doing business is so high in the United States, because it’s a financialized economy, that they can’t make profits. So they’re thinking, well, where are we going to move? We can’t move to Russia because they have sanctions. Do we move to China? Do we move to India? Do we move to Asia? Or do we just continue to close down, and where is our labor force going to go? Germany has a very high productivity, highly trained, highly skilled technical labor force. There are no jobs for it now. They’re being closed down.

The question is, will Germany end up looking like Latvia, losing its population? This labor looks for some countries that want skilled machinists, skilled industrial designers, skilled, basically, industrial workers. Well, all of this is occurring in Asia. It’s not occurring in the United States. It’s not occurring in Europe.

So the question is, at what point will the European government act in the interest of its population? Well, you’re already seeing the European population rejecting the European government, because the European government turns out to be NATO. It doesn’t turn out to be acting in the interests of Germany or France or other European countries, but in the interest of NATO that’s controlled by, basically, an arm of the State Department.

And the question is, how can you bring democracy to Europe? It hasn’t really been democratic in the sense of the United States meddling since World War II. For 80 years, the United States has been financing the political right wing. You’ve all seen the story of the Gladio terrorist operation in Italy that the United States staged to oppose the left-wing Prime Minister Moro, ending with Moro’s assassination by a CIA front. The United States has said, we’re going to treat Western Europe in the same way we treated Chile under Allende. If Europe votes for somebody like Allende, we’re going to put in a European Pinochet and a man like Macron, who’s completely anti-labor and doesn’t represent his constituency, or leaders like Angelina Baerbock, the Green leader in Germany, pro-military leader Olaf Scholz, the Christian Democrat leader. They’re going to put in leaders who reflect the U.S. neoliberal doctrine.

And the real fight is, are you going to somehow make all of continental Europe thatcherized and Reaganized and financialized to privatize its public infrastructure along the lines that have occurred in England, in the United States, and in Chile under Pinochet? This is the great question.

Well, what can the European population do when the political system only permits them, basically, to vote for the leading three parties, not for any real alternative that is trying to say, well, why don’t we join the global majority and be in an economic system of mutual gain, mutual trade, mutual investment? That’s the question. Your question is, can it succeed? It can succeed as long as the United States can prevent democracy in Europe by making NATO the political policy arm of Europe instead of democratically elected politics representing the interest of voters.

ANIA: Thank you, professor. So what is the way out of it for the citizens? Do you think it’s an uprising of the citizens? How? Because I see this. I believe that many countries will be ultimately pulling out from the European Union system. You know, in Poland now, they just signed this agreement because they were opposed to it at first. Now we have a new government that is really in the same… A long story. Anyway, we will have to welcome the migrants, because if we don’t, I forgot the exact amount, how much penalty the country has to pay. Is it daily, I believe? 50,000 euros per day, I believe? Something of that nature. How do you see this ending? Because if those, and we know those leaders, so-called leaders, are already assigned to certain positions, they are most of the time groomed to be in those positions. There is a certain ideology that has to be implemented. How those countries, how those citizens come out of it ultimately?

MICHAEL HUDSON: I don’t think they are going to come out of it. I think that Europe is a lost continent for certainly the next decade. It’s going to take a long time. I don’t think Europe can save itself, because it hasn’t made any attempt to save itself. The European leadership believes that it must depend on the United States for their personal support, and also their personal fortunes, and even their personal freedom. So I don’t think that Europe can save itself.

I do think over the long term, the rest of the 21st century, they’re in salvation, but it won’t come from Europe. It will come from China, Russia, the BRICS Plus, and Eurasia, with the Global South, pursuing an entirely different economic and political agenda. You’re going to have the world dividing into two parts, and we’ve discussed this on, I think, our last show. You’ll have the neoliberal, financialized, privatized, NATO, European, U.S. economy. On the one hand, what Joseph Borrell calls the flowering garden, which is really, the flowers are all wilting, but the flowers have been picked. They’re not really a growing garden anymore. They’ve been picked and are lying on the ground.

ANIA: Poisonous flowers.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Right. And on the other hand, you have the jungle. The jungle is what’s growing. That’s what a jungle does. It grows. So the jungle is going to be Asia, East Asia, South Asia, and its linkages to Africa and Brazil. And the wild card is, of course, who’s going to control the Near East. Now, the alternative to the U.S. neoliberal model is a model of mixed economies. I see China and Russia following pretty much the same model that the whole world was going in prior to World War I.

In the early 20th century, you had American industrial capitalism. You had German industrial capitalism, all with a very active public sector. Both countries relied on government investment in roads, railways, canals, school systems, health systems, to minimize the cost of living, minimize the cost of doing business, and to prevent monopolies from developing that would make money without really producing anything.

All of that ended with World War I. The fight against the Soviet Union became a whole fight against not only socialism, but against industrial capitalism’s own idea of having public infrastructure as the key driver for economies. Well, right now, you’ve seen China take the lead in a country that is using its economic surplus not to make financial wealth, but actual tangible means of production. Railroads, the high-speed trains, roads to drive on, car production, industrial production. And you’re having a mixed economy, with most of all money itself being treated as a public utility, so that the government can decide, what are we going to create money for? We’re going to create money to finance tangible capital investment and employment in real goods and services. Building houses, building office buildings, building the infrastructure, building ports and ships and trains and railroads. That’s what they’re creating money for.

In the United States, the Federal Reserve, and in Europe with its central banks, are creating money basically for financial interests to buy existing industrial companies and infrastructure and close them down. The model for Western Europe is the Thames Water in England, a company that was privatized, and instead of providing clean water and stopping pollution in the sewage system, just uses the money that it gets to pay dividends to the investors without making the investment, and ends up polluting the water and losing a lot of water through leakage, and just being the disaster that you’re seeing in England. Similar stories could be said in the United States.

Let’s look 10 years, more likely 20 years in the future. What is going to happen when Western Europe and the United States see how China, Russia, Iran, and the rest of the BRICS 10 countries are raising their living standards, increasing their productivity? They will be to the West what America was to Europe after World War II. Now the situation is reversed. Now it’s the US and Europe that will look towards Russia and China as the leads of how do we emulate them? How do we get Russian and Chinese products for luxuries? Instead of buying blue jeans, American blue jeans and cigarettes as they did after World War II, they’re going to want to buy Chinese and Russian and Asian and, I hope, Near Eastern products as well.

Obviously, at a certain point, not only the population but business interests will say, well, if we want to make money, we’re going to have to join this expanding economic order instead of staying with the shrinking economic order that we’re seeing in the United States and Europe. Normally, you would think that countries always would act in the interest of their leading business classes, but that hasn’t happened in Europe. It hasn’t happened in the United States, and it is happening in Asia because of the way in which governments are creating a market for business to make profits by expanding the economy rather than by closing it down and gentrifying it.

ANIA: Wow, so you literally took me to the question that I had for you, which is, will the Western Europe ever reunite with Russia in trading? And you were already answering it, but I would like to know at what point you think this will happen?

MICHAEL HUDSON: That is impossible to say because the United States is doing everything it can to fight against it. And the United States cannot compete economically with Europe and Asia. It cannot provide an economic model or an economic system that works better.

What it does have is the power to destroy. Not the power to trade, but the power to destroy. It can mount color revolutions. You just saw last week an attempted color revolution in Serbia. And you’re seeing yet more attempts at color revolutions in Kazakhstan because that produces oil. So Kazakhstan has the curse of oil just as the Near East has the curse of attracting American military attacks. The American policy is not economic rivalry. It’s a regime change, color revolutions, and ultimately the kind of war that you’re seeing in the Mediterranean and Red Sea right now. The United States has 800 military bases around the world, and they’ve been put in place for just such an occasion. This is the time when the United States is finally saying, let’s use all the weapons that we have because we’re almost out of guns. We’re out of tanks. We’re out of ammunition. We’re out of bullets. We’re out of missiles. This is our last chance to fight, to at least if we can control Iran and the Near Eastern oil, we can starve other countries into depending on American control of energy, and on the condition that they not join the BRICS 10, that they join the United States instead of China and Russia, that they break relations with the East and lock themselves into the same dependency on the United States diplomacy that Europe has locked itself into.

So Europe is sort of a dress rehearsal. What’s happened to Germany is a dress rehearsal of what the United States is trying to do to other countries. And of course, the U.S. model is what happened to Russia under President Yeltsin, who was the tool of the neoliberals in the 1990s. Privatize all of this infrastructure that the socialist countries have put in place. If you can privatize it and sell it off, then you can replace infrastructure with low prices with natural monopolies charging very high prices. And if Americans are permitted to create the dollar money on their computers and buy out these companies and turn them into monopolies, then America can somehow live off the monopoly rents that it extracts from the BRICS countries and use these rents to pay for the manufactured goods and the labor-produced goods that these countries are supposed to supply the U.S.-NATO economies with a kind of a class war that is put back in business of the rentier economy in the West and the labor economy, socialist economies in the East.

The question will be, will BRICS in Africa and Brazil and other South American countries be willing to submit to financial colonialism and military colonialism in the same way that 18th and 19th century military colonialism of Europe took place? It’s really the same fight but on a different kind of a chessboard, a financial diplomatic covert chessboard instead of open military conflict.

ANIA: Thank you, professor. Here is a question from the viewer and I would like to ask this question to you. Dr. Hudson, I’m relatively young with not much but ambition and intelligence. Should I stay in the U.S. or if not, where should I move? Much appreciated. Could you answer this, please?

MICHAEL HUDSON: That depends how you want to steer your ambition. What is it that you want to do? Do you just want to make money? Do you want to survive? Do you want to be creative? Is there any talent that you have that you’re interested in? People are best at doing what naturally interests them and they follow it up, whether they’re a musical performer, a dancer, an industrialist, an inventor, an author, an analyst. Everybody has their own particular talents and whatever your talents are, you decide, what field do I want to go into? And then you say, well, okay, if this is what I want to do, this field, where and what part of the world is this field more promising?

Well, you’re very likely to have Americans asking questions like that. And just as Europeans asked this question 200 years ago and decided, well, if they want to be innovative and make money for themselves, they’re going to leave Europe and move to the United States. Well, a lot of Americans are going to think, well, now if we want to be innovative, we’d better move to China, Russia, Iran, and one of the BRICS countries that are following economic growth.

Because no matter what you want to do, whether it’s art or industry or even finance, you’ll do better in a growing economy than a shrinking economy. So you’re going to look at where is the world’s economic growth going to be centered. You can look at the U.S. economy as a failed economy. And the U.S. is a failed state. And you can look at Europe as a failed state because it let itself be run by U.S. neoliberal planners that are treating Europe just like they treated Russia in the 1990s. So wherever you see the growth of what you’re interested in is occurring, that’s where you want to go. And you may very well see a reversal of the whole world immigration movement to the new world. And now they move to the new New World, which is East Asia and Russia, the north.

ANIA: Thank you so much for answering this. I would like to ask you now about the United Nations. What is the purpose of existence of the U.N. anymore?

MICHAEL HUDSON: The purpose is to serve the United States foreign policy. That was built into the United Nations at the beginning by giving the United States veto power. The purpose of the United Nations is not to do any action or support any policy that is vetoed by the United States on the Security Council.

Well, what this means is that the United Nations is a failed institution. It’s a failed state. I remember when it was formed back in 1945 and all of the talk was the Nuremberg trials and the purpose of the United Nations ostensibly was to prevent war and to create an alliance of countries to move against any country that either was Nazi, meaning ethnic Nazism, ethnic superiority or war.

Well, beginning in 1950, the United Nations became the first official declarer of war, namely the Korean War. Russia did not use its veto for that because Stalin wanted to see the war in East Asia, fearing that the United States was going to fight Russia in the west from Europe. Stalin was paranoid about another invasion of Russia from Germany and the old Nazi countries under U.S. NATO move against itself. And so Russia let the United Nations proceed with the war in Korea, and Stalin sort of browbeat Maointo agreeing to support the North Koreans in this.

Well, any thought that the United Nations has a role to play, ended two months ago in October of this year. If the United Nations cannot prevent the ethnic attacks in not only in Ukraine, but in Israel, the the attempt at genocide of the entire Gaza population, as President Netanyahu has explained, the goal is to have an Israel for Israelis free of Palestinians.

Here you have a whole country that is at odds with the ostensible purpose of the United Nations and is breaking all of the rules of war that were supposed to be the rules of the United Nations. What the United Nations lacks is any attempt to enforce penalties on countries that are violating the United Nations Charter. You’ve had the head of the United Nations, Gutierrez, quite rightly,denounce Israel for genocide and denounce what’s happening as genocide. He refused to do that against Ukraine, but it was the same policy. And you have the Pope doing the same thing, denouncing the genocide that’s taking place.

But Stalin said to Churchill at the Yalta meetings in 1944-45, Stalin said, how many divisions does the Pope have? And Churchill said to Stalin, well, you know, you really want the… There are a lot of Catholic countries, you want the church on your side. Stalin said, well, without an army, what can the church do? Well, you can say, without an army, what can the United Nations do? Without an ability to impose economic and political sanctions on the United States and Israel, we’re talking about a partnership here. It’s not just Israel. It’s the United States and Israel in a tandem. It’s the United States that is providing all of the bombs, all of the armaments, all of the money to support Israel. Israel is really very much like Ukraine in its dependency on the United States and also in the corruption of its leadership, the personal political corruption, which is why Netanyahu would be sent to jail as soon as the war ended because he was already being accused of as much of being a criminal as Zelensky in Ukraine. You can think of Netanyahu as Israel’s Zelensky.

Well, if the United [Nations] is powerless to do something here, then what you need is an entirely new international organization, independently from the United Nations. You still need, officially, I guess the Russians and Chinese need to leave somebody in a hotel room in New York just to make sure that they can veto any attempt to have a new Korean War against whoever is America’s enemy of the moment. But you need a new institution that is empowered to actually commit its members to impose military, economic, and political sanctions against countries violating the basic legal rules of war and violating all of the Nuremberg laws that came into being. If you can’t do that, then there is no function at all for the United Nations, and you might as well disband it. It’s obvious that if you even try to reform the United Nations, and I don’t believe it can be reformed, it cannot continue to exist in the United States.

The Golan Heights would be a nice place for it. If it can’t solve the problem in Golan Heights, what’s the point for it to exist? Or it could be in Odessa. That would be a nice place for the United Nations. If it cannot solve the problem there, what’s the point?

There’s no point at all given the American veto power in it, just as America insisted on veto power in the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and any international organization that it joined. If it didn’t have veto power and the power to prevent an organization from pursuing any policy that the United States disagreed with, then it wouldn’t join. The International Criminal Court, International Trade Organization, you can go right down the line.

ANIA: Thank you, Professor. Even though I told you before we started the live stream that we will go about 30 to 40 minutes, I still have two more questions, if that’s okay.


ANIA: Thank you. I want to ask you now, for the year 2024, what, in your opinion, will be the biggest change from the monetary financial standpoint? What can we expect?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, you’re trying to have other countries having an alternative to holding their international monetary reserves apart from the dollar. There’s going to be a special kind of money that will be created by the BRICS, and a kind of BRICS bank. This money won’t be dollars and it won’t be euros. It won’t be a currency that you can trade in or buy, like sterling or dollars or euros. It will be a means for central banks to hold mutual claims on each other.

In order to have a monetary system, you have to have a different taxing system, because money and taxes all go together. What gives money its value is the ability of this money [to be used to pay] taxes. You’re going to have to have a synchronism of BRICS members, of monetary tax policy, and also you’re going to have to need their own alternative to the International Monetary Fund, because the International Monetary Fund’s role is to promote austerity in other countries and to force other countries to pay their dollar debts.

The big financial shock is going to be the BRICS countries and the Global South stopping payment on their dollar debts. They’re going to realize that there’s a war on, and in a war you don’t pay debts to the country that’s attacking you. If it’s a colonial war of liberation or a post-colonial war of financial liberation from debt peonage and debt colonization and debt dependency, then you’re going to have essentially a clean slate wiping out the debts to the International Monetary Fund and the general dollar debts that have all been imposed under IMF leadership and under United States leadership as a purely exploitative phenomenon.

These countries will say, these are bad debts. When a bank makes a bad debt, the bank loses money. I’m afraid that the US dollar bank is going to have to absorb the loss. They never should have made loans to countries of Latin America, Africa, and Asian countries that they cannot pay.

Since the United States, just again yesterday on December 28, advised Europe to grab all of Russia’s foreign money, it’s done this as a warning really to Saudi Arabia. It’s telling Saudi Arabia, do you really want to join with the other Muslim countries with all of the money that you saved since 1974, since the oil crisis? All this money, we’ve told you it would be an act of war if you didn’t hold this money in the United States. Well, now we have your money and we’re going to grab it all just like we grabbed Russia’s money, just like we grabbed Venezuela’s money, just like we grabbed Iran’s money, unless you act as an arm of the United States. And so Saudi Arabia is going to have to work with the BRICS countries to move its dollars as rapidly as possible as it can out of the United States and Europe into a safe haven. The fate of the oil countries’ monetary reserves is going to be the key monetary crisis of 2024. Will they be able to achieve freedom from the United States’ grabitization?

ANIA: Thank you so much for this. I want to ask you now, looking back in history, as there is a saying that history repeats itself, if you look at the current reality we are living in, what era in history would you compare it to? And do you think the outcome will be the same?

MICHAEL HUDSON: I can’t think of any real comparison that is a repetition today. I can’t think of any other conflict between a thriving economy and a dead economic system apart from the 19th century flowering of classical political economy. From the French physiocrats, to Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, to Marx and the socialists, they had the same fight. How were they going to free their economies from a parasitic, unnecessary legacy of feudalism, namely the landlord class that burdened the entire economy with land rent? How do you get rid of the landlords? By taxing the rent away. How do you get rid of the monopolies? Essentially, by taking them into the public domain and by socializing the basic needs. And how do you get rid of the worst monopoly, the financial monopoly of credit creation, by making money a public utility?

This was the fight that America and Germany fought so successfully from the late 19th century to the beginning of World War I. And that is the same fight that’s happening today, except instead of fighting against feudalism to create an industrial capitalism that is evolving into socialism, we’re having a geopolitical fight of Eurasia, Russia, China, along with the Global South to be independent of the neo-feudalism of neo-liberal economics done by the United States and NATO.

ANIA: So, you don’t think we will end up in a global war?

MICHAEL HUDSON: The United States is threatening to do that. That’s the one power it has. It can say, well, if we can’t control the world, the world’s not worth surviving. That’s the U.S. attitude. Just as President Putin of Russia said, well, if America destroys Russia in atomic war, who wants to live in a world without Russia? Certainly not the Russians who were destroyed.

So, yes, there is a chance of war and it’s never been higher. It’s the United States that is trying to provoke the war because it has 800 military bases. No other country in the world, no other region of the world has the kind of military bases or the war mentality of wanting to go to war, of wanting an atomic war that the United States leadership has.

That’s what should shock the BRICS Plus countries and the Near Eastern countries into a realization that the United States is threatening them not only with economic parasitism, but with atomic destruction and military destruction. That’s what the war in Israel and Gaza and Lebanon is really all about. It’s about the United States sweeping across the Near East to Iran and grabbing control of all of the oil or simply at the worst case, simply destroying it all, simply bombing Saudi Arabia, so leaving the world entirely dependent on oil from supplies controlled by the United States.

So, yes, as Rosa Luxemburg said a century ago, the choice is between barbarism and socialism. And barbarism is the US NATO today. Socialism is the hopes for what BRICS 10 can become.

ANIA: Professor Hudson, thank you so much for joining me today. I am really, really grateful for your time, honor for your time. And I want to ask you, what can we wish you for the 2024? What would you like to be the wish for 2024?

MICHAEL HUDSON: That people understand what the real war is about and that it’s about what kind of a world we’ll have and really what direction civilization is going in. This is really a civilizational war. It’s not just a military conflict. It’s not just an ethnic conflict. It’s not just the financial rivalry. It’s really a choice of which direction civilization is going in.

And that’s why I wrote my book, The Destiny of Civilization, to explain what the fight is all about.

ANIA: Thank you so much. And that book and many other books you’ll find down below the live stream. There is the link attached already. And the website to Professor Hudson, also his Patreon, where you can support his work. Thank you so much for joining us today, everyone. Thank you for your comments. Thank you for your likes. Thank you for sharing this video. I appreciate you very much. And thank you, Professor Hudson. Hopefully until next time, next year.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, thank you very much, Ania.


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  1. Rain

    I disagree with Hudson about the BRICS10 creating a new common monetary system, or currency. I believe the original BRICS countries toyed with the idea for some years, but ultimately decided against it. But, after years of development and testing etc, hey have developed an alternative to SWIFT, called BRICSPay which was only launched into full operability in October 2023, and banks, companies and individuals are being connected to the network. Connections to this new cross-border payment system, which allows payments to be made in any fiat currency of BRICS member countries, will only expand with more member countries. Another advantage is the transactions are opaque to US-dominated SWIFT, IMF, World Bank etc. With a weaker dollar on the cards, foreign-held US dollar debts should reduce in “real” terms too.

    I expect Biden and his Cabal will go ahead with siezing Russia’s $300b worth of sovereign assets, but Russia isnt Afghanistan or Venezuela, and is not isolated and friendless either. I also suspect a run on US/EU banks, and another bond sell-off, slow and small at first as BRICS cant withdraw too fast, or they would end up crashing everybody including themselves.

    For me, one wild card is Egypt. Apparently US/Israel offerred Egypt to repay its IMF loans in full, in return for allowing the Gazans to be dumped into the Sinai, but Egypt refused the deal. Now, they are recruiting Tony Blair to work a financial deal for displacing the Gazan population.

    I believe the BRICS10 is meeting at the end of January, and for all I know, perhaps they do have a plan, that can counter US economic aggression, at least in the short term.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      If you read carefully, what Hudson is talking about is a settlement currency like Keynes’ bancor, NOT a traded currency. However, this time he segued so quickly to the idea of new BRICS institutions that I agree it would be easy to draw the wrong conjecture.

      Re the BRICS SWIFT, the reason SWIFT works is the Fed stands behind it. On any payments system, individual banks run very large intraday exposures with each other that are then settled at the end of the day. If a bank fails to pay, the Fed can and if necessary will step in. All the banks on SWIFT either have US licenses (usually a New York branch license) or are in reality not on SWIFT per se but are using correspondent banks (and paying an upcharge; a bank that holds itself out as being an international bank serving corporate customers with their large transactions would not be competitive if they operated though correspondents).

      You cannot have large payments running over a system like this without having central bank backstops and not have banks running monster credit risk, as in risk of failure. The reason Russia could launch its own version of SWIFT was that all payments were in rouble, so the Russian central bank was backstopping it.

      Pray tell, what happens in your Brave New World if a Chinese developer defaults on a large payment, say to an Indonesian bank who holds the accounts for the Indonesian supplier? Who makes good? And if not, why are banks taking such nutty risks?

      1. Jan Krikke

        Yves, could they not introduce a settlement currency tied to gold? If India runs a trade deficit with Russia, they settle accounts once a month/quarter/year with physical gold.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          And what happens when they run out of gold? And in a gold standard system, gold has to be shipped around….which might be a problem these days. The gold standard broke down in WWI due to the inability to ship gold. The effort to go back on the gold standard is what caused the Great Depression, see Peter Temin on this topic. He explains why other prevailing theories do not fit what happened.

          For a bancor-type system to work, both the surplus and the deficit country need to implement pretty tough policies. Keynes actually though the surplus countries were the bigger problem. But why should a successful exporter, who would see its results as due to superior competitiveness, agree to limits?

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              If you look at longer-term charts, they aren’t at much over where they were in 1999. This is from the IMF.

              Notice how this is scaled to highlight the differences:

      2. JW

        Just a suggestion, if the BRICS+ CBs jointly stood behind the payments in an agreed proportion, maybe in relationship to their gold holdings , would this solve the problem? Too simplistic following of bancor concept?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          To effectively “stand behind” in a way that would move quickly enough to stem a big bank failure to pay, you’d need a new entity. You can’t do this on promises, particularly with so many currency exposures adding monster complexity. You need mechanisms and people in charge. And then who is in charge? Who has votes? What are the rules? What is the governing law in the event of a dispute?

          1. Ashu Ratnakar

            Hi Yves,
            So what do you think the BRICS are up to?
            Is there a long term plan in place? Or are they hoping the US will collapse due to our internal contradictions?

          2. JW

            Yes BRICS+ says its an association not an organisation. Yet as you say there needs to be an organisation that manages the mechanism and risks. Some think that China wants this role, but I see no sign of that, and India wouldn’t stand for it anyway. The lady running the Russian CB seems well regarded perhaps that is where this will start?
            My guess for what its worth is that the organisation is more likely to emerge from EAEU or SCO than BRICS.

          3. Rubicon

            As a common citizen trying to keep up with these BRICs issues, it appears to us, there are a number of factions involved in each country. One – Russia; Dr. Hudson says, that its “an ad hoc” system that includes the very wealthy Russian oil/manufacturing sector; a somewhat State Government System and the Big Banks there.

            In China there seems to be a real estate issue. For some reason, China allowed Big Moneyed folks to build massive amounts of apartments, corporate offices, etc. and this has unbalanced the steady march China had before all this real estate development.
            And the list goes on. As Dr. Hudson used to recommend: BRICS need to develop a central bank, a system of balance: providing loans, while dealing with debts. I think Yves would agree.
            And yet, now nearly a year and a half later, we don’t read or sense any kind of movement in that regard.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Hudson projects Western oligarchy onto Russia. Putin formed a pact with the oligarchs that they stay out of politics in return for him not busting them for criminal tax evasion (a big activity in the 1990s) and they paid their back taxes. Russia is not financialized like the West and bankers accordingly have little power (the big $ in finance is in asset management not traditional banking).

  2. Robert Hahl

    Russia has complained that it is accumulating too many Indian rupees because India does not, at present, produce enough.of what Russia wants to buy. That is a technical issue which can be addressed by trade, not some fundamental problem of Indian backwardness. Once India is able to import whatever raw materials it needs to eventually satisfy the Russian market, the balance with rubles will be restored. Solving this type of problem must be the essence of BRICS.

    1. SocalJimObjects

      Importing things via India positions the later as a middleman charging rent, why would this be good for Russia in the long term? And it’s not just the Russians thinking that the Rupee is “worthless”. A very good friend of mine, an Indian lady went to Japan for the first time last year, and she had been told in advance to carry US Dollars because no one in Japan will exchange Rupees for Yen. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs because the Japanese do accept Indonesian Rupiah, Thailand Baht, and Malaysian Ringgit among others, and those are not known to be strong currencies.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I don’t mean to seem mean, but asserting that India can address its long-standing trade imbalances “by trade” is way way way into the “assume a can opener” territory.

      1. Robert Hahl

        I can only speculate here, but maybe the reason nobody accepts rupees is because the US doesn’t want them to. BRICS could be instrumental in breaking a rupee embargo if there is one, (and why assume there isn’t?).

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, nobody accepts rupees because it is a crappy currency with a strong propensity to get weaker. Like the Turkiye lira but a little less undesirable.

    3. Polar Socialist

      As far as I understand the issue with Russia and rupees, is this:
      1. Gazprom (GP) sells oil and gas to Indian companies and is paid in rupees on an account in Indian bank
      2. A Russian Import Company (RIC) wants to buy stuff from Indian Export Company (IEC)
      3. RIC has only rubles and IEC wants rupees
      4. GP can’t sell the rupees it has to RIC, because Indian policies, so
      5. RIC has to use a third party to buy yuans or dirhams with rubles it has
      6. RIC buys rupees from GZ with yuans/dirhams
      7. GP uses a third party to sell yuans/dirhams for rubles
      8. RIC buys stuff from IEC using rupees

      Russian importers and Indian exporters would very much like to skip the steps from 4 to 7. For many reason India has been slow to solve the problem, so Russia has been reluctant to accept rupees anymore, thus forcing the Indian (IEC) side to take the required extra steps for bilateral trade. Probably with the idea that the Indian exporters put some pressure on the government. With some success, I believe.

  3. caucus99percenter

    So electorally, in Germany in 2024 the choice seems to come down to: (1) vote AfD as a partial* protest against EU-NATO barbarism, or (2) vote for any other major party and endorse more barbarism?

    A fine mess the Atlanticist Attrappe of democracy has gotten us into …

    * The more monied, highbrow, astroturf-y parts of the German New Right — as represented by Tichy’s Einblick or Cicero — are as all-in as EU-NATO on some topics, e.g. Israel

    1. The Rev Kev

      Unless the German political establishment tries to outlaw the AfD before the next election. I am sure that they are taking notes on what is being done to Trump for inspiration.

      1. caucus99percenter

        Not at all. Just reflecting on the circumstance that, in (western) Germany, “alternative” used to mean left-Green counterculture. And that in those days, die Tageszeitung (now — a daily newspaper that emerged from that alternative scene, defied all the odds, and survived in the stodgy world of German media and culture — would once have been, along with the German Green party, a natural platform for Michael Hudson and his (and NC’s) perspectives.

        Nowadays, the judgments expressed in this interview would a more natural fit with the AfD-affiliated Erasmus Foundation or with Jürgen Elsässer and Compact magazine. And and the Greens would more likely regard themselves as Mr. Hudson’s sworn enemies, as they are of all skeptics of EU-NATO’s brand of globalism.

  4. The Rev Kev

    ‘So what the United States is doing is goading Netanyahu to try to provoke the Lebanon Hezbollah into retaliating, so the United States can attack Lebanon, and trying to provoke Iran. It recently assassinated an Iranian leader in Syria, trying to provoke Iran into doing something.’

    Of course this is predicated on the idea that nothing could possibly go wrong. The IDF can’t defeat Hezbollah and they know it so they won’t invade. But supposing that things worked out where the US could attack Lebanon and the Neocons are popping the champagne back in Washington. Does the US Navy really know what missiles Hezbollah have that could hit Navy ships at sea? And how many of them they have? What if Hezbollah decides that their best move could be too wreck Israel’s infrastructure – and here I am talking about ports, sewerage plants, water plants, the electrical grid, the Negev nuclear power plant, desalination plants, etc. The US would not be able to stop these attacks and would cause chaos in Washington as Hezbollah turns Israel into Gaza 2.0. Of course as this is all going on, it would be open season on every US base in this part of the world within reach of Hezbollah’s missiles and it’s allied groups. Think Syria and Iraq for a start. Of course if the Neocons get their wish, Iran would be dragged in but they would likely shut down all oil leaving the middle east. I do now know how much an effect that it would have on the price of oil but the sky is the limit.

    1. SocalJimObjects

      I wouldn’t be too worried about the price of oil in the event this really escalates as you say. At some point, the Israelis will use their nukes on Hezbollah/Iran, and then it’s probably good bye my love.

    2. lu

      did israel and the us forget they already got pushed out from lebanon once by hezbollah? They’ve only gotten stronger since then.

    3. Not Qualified to Comment

      I can accept Prof. Hudson’s contention that ‘the West’ using Ukraine to poke Russia in the eye is a long-standing, devious plot to throw poor bloody Ukrainian infantry into Russian guns a’la Light Brigade until it runs out of ammo and the US can stroll in to take over, but I can’t agree that the Gaza-Israel affair was similarly ‘intended’ as part of a long-baked plot to ‘take over’ the bloodied remains of the Middle East. To my mind the shambolic response of the US and its now frantic back-peddling suggests it was taken completely by surprise and with its pants down.

      I suspect that the target after Russia’s downfall was very much China, and as a result of the failure of its Ukraine ‘adventure’ and the knee-jerk reaction to the Middle-East blow-up, the plots of the US uber alles clique are now in a shambles.

      1. digi_owl

        Not helping that recently Pentagon admitted to running ships with skeleton crews as they struggle to recruit enough to fill ranks.

        At some point congress will either have to admit defeat and turn USA insular, or reinstate conscription to maintain the “empire”.

  5. Roger Erickson

    hits most key issues, yet stops short of the next steps (likely for the sake of brevity).

    Evolving methods drive evolving results. Now the current method is Information Imperialism.

    So how do we free electorates from being controlled by information monopolies?
    Same as always. By insuring an educated/informed electorate with equal access to ALL – not just some – of the available information.

    Information has no meaning apart from context. If we don’t make all of us as aware of full context as possible, soon enough to matter, then we’re still squandering aggregate potential.

    Connections, between neurons or humans, are a terrible thing to waste. Without connections & information flow, there’s no “brain” – individual or aggregate.

    1. Yves Smith Post author


      First, in the US, the control of the government has nothing to do with information imperialism, whatever that is supposed to mean. It long predates the Internet.

      Second, there is far more “information” than can possibly be consumed or sorted by individuals.

  6. vidimi

    And basically you had the Ukrainians treating the Russians as the Germans had treated the Nazis.

    that’s definitely a slip of the tongue there. I’m pretty sure Prof. Hudson meant as the Germans had treated the Jews.

    1. LAS

      Too much of Hudson’s arguements have these slips of the tongue in them. Even without the tongue slips. the arguements are often founded on metaphorical leaps. They are interesting arguements and do partially describe motives by some economic interests which I can well believe to exist, however, these economic interests do not always equate to the state policy or population aspirations. In particular, I miss in them a coherent theory between individual, group, and state actors.

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