Killing the Host: Michael Hudson’s Devastating Exposé of the Global Economic Crisis

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In Killing the Host, economist Michael Hudson exposes how finance, insurance, and real estate (the FIRE sector) have seized control of the global economy at the expense of industrial capitalism and governments. The FIRE sector is responsible for today’s extreme economic polarization (the 1% vs. the 99%) via favored tax status that inflates real estate prices while deflating the “real” economy of labor and production. Hudson shows in vivid detail how the Great 2008 Bailout saved the banks but not the economy, and plunged the U.S., Irish, Latvian and Greek economies into debt deflation and austerity. Killing the Host describes how the phenomenon of debt deflation imposes punishing austerity on the U.S. and European economies, siphoning wealth and income upward to the financial sector while impoverishing the middle class.

Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece

This autumn may see anti-austerity coalitions gain power in Portugal, Spain and Italy, while Marine le Pen’s National Front in France presses for outright withdrawal from the eurozone. These countries face a common problem: how to resist the economic devastation that the European Central Bank (ECB), European Council and IMF “troika” has inflicted on Greece and is now intending to do the same to southern Europe.

To resist the depression and debt deflation that the troika seeks to deepen, one needs to bear in mind the dynamics that make the IMF un-reformable. Its destructive role in Greece provides an object lesson for how southern Europe must shun its horde of ideologues, as Third World countries learned to avoid it by May 2013, the year that Turkey capped the world’s extrication from IMF “advice.” Already in 2008, Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced: “We cannot darken our future by bowing to the wishes of the IMF.”[1] Greek voters have now said the same thing. More

Europe’s New Barbarians

On one level, the recent financial agreement between the European Union (EU) and Greece makes no sense: not a single major economist thinks the $96 billion loan will allow Athens to repay its debts, or to get the economy moving anywhere but downwards. It is what former Greek Economic Minister Yanis Varoufakis called a “suicide” pact, with a strong emphasis on humiliating the leftwing Syriza government. Why construct a pact that everyone knows will fail?

On the Left, the interpretation is that the agreement is a conscious act of vengeance by the “Troika”—the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund—to punish Greece for daring to challenge the austerity program that has devastated the economy and impoverished its people. The evidence for this explanation is certainly persuasive. The more the Greeks tried to negotiate a compromise with the EU, the worse the deal got. The final agreement was the most punitive of all. The message was clear: rattle the gates of Heaven at your own peril. More

George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People

I was sitting in a one-bedroom apartment watching the telethon for Hurricane Katrina when it happened. After a commercial break, Kanye West stood nervously looking like he was about to do something that would end his career. He was fidgety and sweating when he said it: “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people.” It was a transcendent moment for Black America.

Kanye articulated what we’d all felt watching the aftermath of Katrina: neglect. It was impactful, but also deeply misunderstood. Kanye West was ridiculed. Bush called it a nadir of his presidency. The backlash to his statement never diminished this unmistakable fact: Mr. West was right. More

Why Do Six Companies Control 90% of the Media?

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Image courtesy of Pay 2 Play.

Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch

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Atomic Power’s Secret Spills:
Paul Gunter exposes one of the nation’s hidden scandals: the systemic radioactive leaks plaguing America’s nuclear power plants; The Rise of Big Generic: Steve Hendricks on how we got to the $1,200 knock-off prescription; WWII Redux: Peter Lee on the rise of Neo-Fascism from Ukraine to Japan; The Masked Face of American Racism: Ruth Fowler on race mimicry by white women; Sick Behind Bars: Thandisizwe Chimurenga provides a grim assessment of the pitiful state of medical care inside US Prisons. PLUS: Kristin Kolb on the Great Northwest in flames; Chris Floyd on the radical economics of Pope Francis; Mike Whitney on how the Fed wrecked the recovery; JoAnn Wypijewski takes a drive across the blood-stained Great Plains; Jeffrey St. Clair on the once and future ruins of the American Southwest; Lee Ballinger the lethal legacy of Big Oil; and film-maker Ed Leer on the cinema of mass-shootings.

This Week on CounterPunch Radio
Margaret Kimberley & Sukant Chandan

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  • HOST: Eric Draitser
  • GUEST: Margaret Kimberley & Sukant Chandan
  • TOPICS: #BlackLivesMatter, Bernie Sanders, Imperialism in Africa and Asia + Much More!