13 June 2014 — Michael Hudson
This panel explored causes of the Great Recession and the continuing economic sluggishness since the recession’s ended, as well as how the left can respond to this situation. In keeping with the conference theme, panelists addressed what different analyses and theories imply about the kind of socioeconomic change that is called for.
Alan Freeman spoke on “Consumption, Profit and Finance: why can’t the left get it right?” He will explore why so many academic left thinkers persistently avoid normal methods of enquiry after truth. Focusing on Marx’s theory of crisis, the share of wages in US income, and the relation between finance and profitability as examples, he will discuss how prejudice and the desire to find “evidence” to support a political line take first place over the use of logic and the study of evidence. Andrew Kliman asked “Were Corporations–or Corporate Executives–Really Hogging a Bigger Share of the Income Workers Produce?” and explain why the answer is “no.” For this and other reasons, increased income inequality wasn’t a main cause of the Great Recession. Michael Hudson spoke on “The New Austerity: Feeding the FIRE sector overhead.” He will argue that the aim of Quantitative Easing is not to re-inflate wages and consumer prices, but to re-inflate asset prices to rescue Wall Street, not the economy. Thus, increased output is going to the FIRE sector, not into production and consumption. Mike Dola was chair.
See more panels in the Marxist-Humanist stream at the Left Forum.