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Archive for July 16th, 2011

Greece now, America in due course

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by Michael Hudson
Posted 13 JULY 2011

 

Transcript:

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay in Washington. In Greece, the Parliament has passed the austerity measures. And judging by the reaction of the stock markets and investors, everyone was rather pleased with that. Stock markets shot up for the next few days. The euro went up. There was even optimism about the future of the economy. But that’s kind of the whole point. It was all optimism on the stock markets and bond investors. In fact, that’s how the whole story’s been covered. It’s all from the point of view of speculators. But what does what’s happening in Greece have to do with ordinary Americans? Now joining us to talk about this is Michael Hudson. Michael is a distinguished research professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He’s the author of Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire. And he joins us now from New York City. Thanks for joining us, Michael.

MICHAEL HUDSON, RESEARCH PROF., UMKC: Thanks for having me, Paul.

JAY: So why should ordinary Americans or ordinary North Americans care about what’s going on in Greece?

HUDSON: Because what’s happening in Greece is a dress rehearsal for what’s going on in the United States. Already, a few weeks ago in Athens, the protestors had signs up referring to Wisconsin and the problems here. What’s happening in Greece in the last week is exactly what’s happened in Minnesota with the close-down of government. And the demands of privatization–Greece sell off its roads, its land, its port authority, its water and sewer–is just what Illinois’s been doing, what Chicago’s been doing, what Minnesota’s been told to do, and what American cities are trying to do. So you have an identical strategy being used between Greece and the United States. Greece is the first domino since Iceland. And the financial interests that are looking at this post-2008 debt crisis as a grab bag think now is the chance for us to make our move. Now we can take all this debt that we’ve built up and we can get out of the financial system, we can turn it into direct ownership of property. We can own the Greek islands, we can own the Greek public domain, just like we can own what Minnesota, Chicago, Wisconsin, and California own. And all of a sudden you have a huge virtual foreclosure process.

JAY: Right, because, I mean, the alternative, obviously, would be to do something on the tax side, which is to tax, especially in Greece, where the wealthy practically pay no tax at all. Of course, the American scenario, they pay some tax, but not nearly historic tax rates. But this seems to be one of the prime objectives in the Greek situation is stripping the state of its assets and getting rid of what public ownership there is.

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