On Russia leaving the neoliberal West

21 Apr

Earlier this week I promised:

… three discussions which progressively widen the focus: from Alex Mercouris on Kiev’s much heralded spring counter-offensive, through Brian Berletic on strategic aspects of Washington’s war on Russia, to Michael Hudson and Radhika Desai on the momentous import of Moscow’s decisive turning away from the West.

“Progressively widen” implies sequence. But to paraphrase Eric’s words to Andre, I’m featuring all the right posts: just not in the right order. Having started two days ago with Brian Berletic rather than Alex Mercouris, here are two North America based professors, albeit ones reaching audiences far beyond academia.

Michael Hudson needs no introduction. A prolific writer – see J is for Junk Economics, Super Imperialism and, more recently, Destiny of Civilisation … and The Collapse of Antiquity – he is featured often on this site. The last book listed, published this March, draws convincing links between the hyper financialisation of the USA and its Western satellites, and the threat – one recognised thousands of years ago in the Near East civilisations – to meaningful democracy posed by failure to write down debt …

… as the ancient Greeks and Romans failed to do, and as Obama failed to do in 2008/9. 1

Relevant to the discussion here is another parallel Michael draws with the ancient world. Just as the legendary efforts of Oedipus to thwart a destiny of parricide and incest expedited precisely those outcomes, so have the actual efforts of Washington, under the stewardship of bipartisan crazies, to maintain dollar rule hastened the demise of the same.

Radhika Desai’s work is new to me but she makes a worthy interlocutor for Michael. I’ll be paying more attention to her from now on.

NB the discussion is for almost an hour but little is lost by listening rather than viewing.

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  1. Michael Hudson’s arguments in The Collapse of antiquity – comparing today’s hyper financialised West with the decline of ancient Greece and Rome – are summarised in a discussion today on Naked Capitalism.

2 Replies to “On Russia leaving the neoliberal West

  1. Fascinating discussion positing the arrested development of industrial capitalism 1914 – 45 and the prospects for socialism as an end point. Good analysis of Bretton Woods and the partial rehabilitation of Keynes. If China, Russia etc al are able to start turning the clock back then there are some (much needed) grounds for optimism that the world’s economic system can be reordered into a more positive, effective and fairer carry- on for the majority of the population. However, as Michael has previously pointed out, this would not address the key problem at the heart of the capitalist mode of production – the exploitative nature of capital – labour relations. But I’d like to think that progress is possible!

    • I think that Michael, well into his eighties, can comfortably take the long view. As can I, at 70 not so far behind. But assuming the human race does against all odds get to a place of sanity, the ride is going to be awful rocky. Not just because of the very real risk of DC and the teenagers in the driving seat throwing a nuclear hissy-fit. Also because the US dollar’s seventy year old free lunch, which you yourself have documented, isn’t – for all the zeal of a well informed but excitable Pepe Escobar – going to disappear overnight.

      A more sober view is offered by Michael Roberts, a Marxist economist whose empirical analyses I’ve come to respect:


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