Michael Hudson – The Land Belongs to God

Link to an interview with Michael Hudson (and others):

“The Land Belongs to God”

This interview summarizes some of Hudson’s most important work.  And yet, it also highlights a blind spot in it: his claim that others’ interpretations of ancient history are colored by ideology, as if his is not also.  Instead, philosophy teaches, “In an event, things not only change, what changes is the very parameter by which we measure the facts of change, i.e., a turning point changes the entire field within which facts appear.”  Hudson is fighting an ideological war — for the good side, mind you — but tries to portray himself as one of the select few pursuing “objective” scientific economic/historical research rather than another partisan.  Robespierre would have categorized that as treasonous.  Hudson should be more of a Leninist and just accept that he pursues power.

Bonus link: “He Died For Our Debt, Not Our Sins”

Sam Mitrani & Chad Pearson – A Short History of Liberal Myths and Anti-Labor Politics

Link to an article by Sam Mitrani & Chad Pearson:

“A Short History of Liberal Myths and Anti-Labor Politics”

This article does an excellent job summarizing why Upton Sinclair called Republicans and Democrats “two wings of the same bird of prey” and why Malcolm X said, “The difference between the Republican and the Democrats is that the Republicans stick the knife in your back six inches, and the Democrats pull it out one.”  However, there are a few points to quibble about.  For instance, there is evidence to suggest Mayor Harrison in Chicago supported the Haymarket Martyrs — though this is tangential if not irrelevant to the overall article.  More importantly, there is room to criticize some economic assumptions underlying the article.  Take the claim “2. Let the banks collapse, which would have led to an even worse economic crisis than the one we experienced,” which seems dubious.  Lehman Bros. collapsed.  The government could have wound down the other big banks too — with the “even worse economic crisis” confined largely to the financial parasites and leaving ordinary commercial banks and credit unions intact, an overall positive result.  That claim is followed-up by the (false) implication that there is a fixed money supply: “less and less money went into public services, schools, infrastructure, etc. because it had all been given to the already obscenely wealthy.”  Modern Monetary Theory demonstrates how fiat money can be created by the government if there is a will to do so — the issue is lack of political will, not, as implied, a lack of actual dollars.  After all, the TARP bailout money was created out of thin air!  This economic history actually indicates that the government could also create money for socially beneficial programs, but chooses not to.  These economic correctives actually reinforce the authors’ points, just in a slightly different way.


Bonus link: “We Need an Alternative to Trump’s Nationalism. It Isn’t the Status Quo”

Gustavus Myers – History of the Great American Fortunes & Supreme Court

Links to books by Gustavus Myers:

History of the Great American Fortunes, Vol. I

History of the Great American Fortunes, Vol. II

History of the Great American Fortunes, Vol. III

History of the Supreme Court of the United States

Meyers wrote some confounding things, but he also performed a valuable service by looking critically at things like methods of wealth accumulation, which have tended toward fraud and insider dealing (for instance, the History of the Great American Fortunes “gives the details of [the Yazoo land scandal] and other frauds that have shaped American history. The moral is that great gifts to insiders have effects that will last centuries.”)

Timothy Shenk – When Slaveholders Controlled the Government

Link to an interview with Matthew Karp, author of This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy (2016), by Timothy Shenk:

“Booked: When Slaveholders Controlled the Government, with Matthew Karp”

Bonus links: “When the South Held the Keys” and “Abolitionism: a Study Guide”