Economist Michael Hudson discusses the update of his book Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire and the financial motivations behind the US new cold war on China and Russia.
It’s Labor Day, and that means millions of Americans are celebrating. Most Americans have no idea what Labor Day is, other than self-serving political speeches, hot dogs, burgers, a pool party, and the last day of a three-day holiday. Few even know that Labor Day exists to allow people to remember and honor the struggles for respect, dignity, and acceptable wages and working conditions for the rank-and-file employees.
Predictions are difficult to make, especially, as the old joke goes, when they are about the future. Particularly fraught have been predictions of the demise of capitalism. Conventional wisdom would have us believe that because capitalism remains the world’s dominant economic system, predictions of the system’s demise are not only wrong, but destined to be wrong in the future.
In this wide-ranging discussion on the Moderate Rebels podcast, Hudson addresses US sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, the policies of the Joe Biden administration, Beijing’s economic model, cryptocurrencies, and dedollarization – the potential end to the dollar as the global reserve currency.
Nearly half a millennium ago Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince described three options for how a conquering power might treat states that it defeated in war but that “have been accustomed to live under their own laws and in freedom: … the first is to ruin them, the next is to reside there in person, the third is to permit them to live under their own laws, drawing a tribute, and establishing within it an oligarchy which will keep it friendly to you.”
It is not unusual for critics of United States foreign policy, whether or not they feel free to use the term “imperialism,” to express regret that a previously rational system has soured. Such sentiments are routine for liberals and hardly unknown among social democrats.
The United States government is able to impose its will on all the world’s countries. The rest of the world, even some of the strongest imperialist countries of the Global North, lie prostrate at the feet of the U.S. What is the source of this seemingly impregnable power? Which of course leads to the next question: How long can it last?
America’s global power depends on a strategy of “containment” towards China. Containment is just a euphemism for aggression, hostility and confrontation. And such a strategy is bound to fail.
NATO and various columnists employed by major U.S. newspapers and “think” tanks believe that military spending levels should be measured in comparison to nations’ financial economies. If you have more money, you should spend more money on wars and war preparations. I’m not sure if this is based on opinion polls in Afghanistan and Libya expressing gratitude for war as a public service or some other source of data less imaginary.
In The Foundations of Leninism, Stalin concluded that “the chain of the imperialist front must, as a rule, break where the links are weaker and, at all events, not necessarily where capitalism is more developed, where there is such and such a percentage of proletarians and such and such a percentage of peasants, and so on.” In other words, the potential for proletarian revolution is increased more by the weakening of capital in a given country than by any other aspect of the material conditions.