You all know my attitude towards Michael Hudson as one the brightest economic minds of our time. Here is a quote from one of his latest interviews, as always, loaded with insights and food for thought.
Now Herman Kahn and I on another occasion went to the Treasury Department, and we talked about what the world would look like on a gold standard. I said, “Gold is a peaceful metal. If you have to pay in gold, no country with a gold standard can afford to go to war anymore. Because a war would entail a foreign exchange payment, and you’d have to pay this foreign exchange in gold, not IOUs, and you would end up going broke pretty quickly.” Needless to say, someone from the Defense Department said, “That’s why we’re not going to do it.”
How do we know that payments in gold bankrupt warring parties? Simple, really. Check where did British gold reserves go in the time span between September 1939 and the end of 1940. The whole mechanism of Great Britain becoming a financial lap dog of the United States throughout WW II is extremely well described by Barnett.
The last months of England's existence as a fully independent great power, able out of her own resources both to maintain her national existence and to wage war, passed away. By the third quarter of 1940 the volume of British exports (including munitions for the empire) was down 37% on 1935. By the turn of the year 1940-1941, the dark mid-winter of the Blitz, England's stock of gold and dollars was near exhaustion... For obvious reasons the advent of "lend-Lease" was represented as an act of unparalleled generosity. In fact, it was clearly to America's advantage that American weapons should be carried into battle by fighting men of England and Empire rather than the sons of American mothers. Even after United States entered the war in December 1941--and not then by her own volition--it was still clearly to her advantage that England should be enabled to wage the war on far greater scale than would have been possible on English resources alone.
United States, obviously, learned her lessons from British WW II experience and recognized that to fight the real war one needs a lot of gold, or, as it turned out in 1970s when Nixon took the United States, which by then lost Vietnam War, from gold--IOUs. Yes, IOUs which are built around, well... let Michael Hudson speak:
The gunboats don’t appear in your economics textbooks. I bet your price theory didn’t have gun boats in them, or the crime sector. And probably they didn’t have debt in it either.
Modern Western "economists" do not operate with power element at all--it is beyond their grasp because unlike some financial theories, military power requires a much higher level of education and knowledge. Economists do not study physics, systems' integration, chemistry or weapons' design, not to mention operations, in the West they also do not study real economics. Yet, all this IOU (or T-Bills and other paper) alternative universe collapses the moment American IOUs lose the main factor behind their forceful "validity"--US military power, or, rather, myth of it and the threat to use it in case some renegades decide not to "trust" IOUs. Do not believe me, even as early as 2015 there were numerous calls from inside US "analytic" community to consider military operations against Russia. I recently wrote about one such ignoramus, George Fridman, who described in 2014 how Russia will be defeated in Ukraine by combined NATO forces. Yes, they ARE that dumb.
I am not saying anything new here, once the myth of the US military power began to be destroyed in public space, everything else started to follow. By 2018 it was clear that United States cannot win conventional conflict with Russia not only in her vicinity, which was the case since 2010, but even in Europe. I am not talking about nuclear one, because this kills all other reasonable outcomes and expectations. Once you cannot win the war, what's your next step, what's you next default position, so to speak? Right, money, currency and financial "instruments" manipulation. Indeed, China buys Russian oil and gas and pays for it in Yuan or Euro, what can the United States do about it? Attack Russia or China? Well, we know what's going to happen. So, the only instrument left are sanctions and financial sabotage. But that doesn't change the fact that China and Russia trade, at least significant part of their trade, in Rubles and Yuans. China is much more vulnerable to intimidation and blackmail than Russia, but still, this doesn't change the fact that China is not Venezuela or Iraq and she cannot be invaded without the United States sustaining catastrophic losses.
The fact that US "elite" is incompetent across the board is not a secret anymore to those who matter, and those are China, Russia and, to a degree, Iran as an emerging regional superpower. So, as Hudson states, and I subscribe to his every word here:
By waging this economic warfare against China to protect America monopolies, America is integrating China and Russia. And probably the leading Chinese nationalist in the world, the leading Russian nationalist, is Donald Trump. He’s saying, “Look boys, I know that you’re influenced by American neoliberals. I’m gonna help you. I believe that you should be independent. I’m gonna help you Chinese, Russians and Iranians to be independent. I’m going to keep pushing sanctions on agriculture to make sure that you’re able to feed yourself. I’m gonna push sanctions on technology, to make sure that you can defend yourself.” So he obviously is a Chinese and Russian agent, just like MSNBC says.
Ability to integrate a complex interaction between military and economic factors into systemic and easily grasped picture is not there in the US. The whole generation (or two) of the economic ignoramuses who can operate only in the world of neo-liberal voodoo and reign of financial capital has emerged since the collapse of the Soviet Union and it is incompetent, not able to face the realities, especially military realities of the 21st century, which define the catastrophic departure of the United States from her real, and perceived, greatness. "Economy" built on speculation and selling the snake oil of IOUs, or which depends on such news as this:
The explosion on the tanker in the northern Syrian city of Afrin killed at least 10 people, Reuters reported, citing initial reports from Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency Tuesday. News of the bomb detonation led to a rise in oil's “risk premium, even in a market with a glut of crude,” Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at The Price Futures Group, told MarketWatch. Against that backdrop, the front-month June West Texas Intermediate crude (CLM20) briefly traded as high of $13.69 a barrel before turning lower again to settle down by 44 cents, or 3.4%, at $12.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Is not sustainable, especially when it lost its power to coerce anyone who matters into believing that Wall Street IS the economy, which it is not. But we all are yet to face unfolding reckoning of REAL valuation and that will shake the global economy to its foundation. Just some thoughts for today.