Michael Hudson is President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and author of Super-Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1968 & 2003), Trade, Development and Foreign Debt (1992 & 2009) and of The Myth of Aid (1971).
ISLET engages in research regarding domestic and international finance, national income and balance-sheet accounting with regard to real estate, and the economic history of the ancient Near East.
Michael acts as an economic advisor to governments worldwide including Iceland, Latvia and China on finance and tax law. He gives presentations on various topics at conferences and meetings and can be booked here. Listen to some of his many radio interviews to hear his hyperspeed analysis of the geo-political machinations of global economics. Travel costs and a per diem are appreciated.
Skömmu eftir að Sósíalistaflokkurinn vann kosningar á landsvísu í Grikklandi haustið 2009 varð ljóst að fjármál ríkisins voru í upplausn. Í maí 2010 tók Nicolas Sarkozy, Frakklandsforseti, forystuna í að safna saman €120 milljörðum frá evrópskum ríkisstjórnum til að niðurgreiða óframsækið skattkerfi Grikkja sem hafði steypt ríkisstjórninni í skuld - og sem Wall Street hafði aðstoðað við að leyna með Enronískum bókhaldsbrellum.
About 75% of Iceland’s voters turned out on Saturday to reject the Social Democratic-Green government’s proposal to pay $5.2 billion to the British and Dutch bank insurance agencies for the Landsbanki-Icesave collapse. Every one of Iceland’s six electoral districts voted in the “No” column – by a national margin of 60% (down from 93% in January 2010).
A year ago, in March 2010, Iceland's economy was so small that it did not warrant much attention when 93% of its voters rejected the Social Democratic-Green government's surrender to Gordon Brown and the Dutch, the European Union (EU) bureaucracy and IMF demands that it impose austerity as penance for believing the neoliberal fairy tales about how bank deregulation and "free markets" would make it the richest, happiest country in the world. Indeed it seemed to be, according to United Nations data.
Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Iceland's president, has created uproar with his decision to block legislation that would have repaid €3.9bn ($5.6bn) lost by British and Dutch savers in a failed Icelandic bank, triggering a referendum that the government is expected to lose. The initial response by credit rating agencies was to downgrade Icelandic bonds, as if Iceland were repudiating its debts, Argentina-style. But opponents of the bill have no intention of reneging on their legal obligations.
Why Iceland and Latvia Won’t (and Can’t) Pay the EU for the Kleptocrats’ Ripoffs
Can Iceland and Latvia pay the foreign debts run up by a fairly narrow layer of their population? The European Union and International Monetary Fund have told them to replace private debts with public obligations, and to pay by raising taxes, slashing public spending and obliging citizens to deplete their savings. Resentment is growing not only toward those who ran up these debts – Iceland’s bankrupt Kaupthing and Landsbanki with its Icesave accounts, and heavily debt-leveraged property owners and privatizers in the Baltics and Central Europe – but also toward the neoliberal foreign advisors and creditors who pressured these governments to sell off the banks and public infrastructure to insiders. Support in Iceland for joining the EU has fallen to just over a third of the population, while Latvia’s Harmony Center party, the first since independence to include a large segment of the Russian-speaking population, has gained a majority in Riga and is becoming the most popular national party. Popular protests in both countries have triggered rising political pressure to limit the debt burden to a reasonable ability to pay.
Can Iceland and Latvia pay the foreign debts run up by a fairly narrow layer of their population? The European Union and International Monetary Fund have told them to replace private debts with public obligations, and to pay by raising taxes, slashing public spending and obliging citizens to deplete their savings.
Last month the G-20 authorized the International Monetary Fund to increase its loan resources to $1 trillion. It's not hard to see why. Weakening currencies in the post-Soviet states threaten to raise default rates on foreign-currency mortgages as collapse of the Baltic real estate bubble drags down Swedish banks, while the Hungarian property plunge threatens Austrian banks. It seems reasonable to infer that creditor-nation banks hope to be bailed out. The IMF is expected to lend the Baltic, central European and other debtor-country governments money to pay them.
Iceland is under attack - not militarily but financially. It owes more than it can pay. This threatens debtors with forfeiture of what remains of their homes and other assets. The government is being told to sell off the nation's public domain, its natural resources and public enterprises to pay the financial gambling debts run up irresponsibly by a new banking class. This class is seeking to increase its wealth and power despite the fact that its debt-leveraging strategy already has plunged the economy into bankruptcy.