Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Michael Hudson and Webster Tarpley Disseminate Disinformation, by Jack Straw

Jack Straw’s criticism of Michael Hudson and Webster Tarpley

This is not the British Labour Party’s Jack Straw, but the communist economist. In the article given in the link below Jack Straw criticises Michael Hudson and Webster Tarpley for believing that the great US middle class can be rebuilt, even though the world’s resources are fast running out. I think he get’s Michael Hudson wrong and below I explain why.

Well, it turns out that Webster Griffin Tarpley is his real name, and yep, that's some name for sure, but he has sent me all the around-the-houses for the last few days.  I found this really good article by him about what is happening in the Middle East today which I almost posted  here, but a little while afterwards I found out some more stuff about Tarpley which I wasn't all that keen on.

I first came across Webster Tarpley a few years back and I thought, wow, he's a good leftist! Then I came across him again on the Alex Jones Show sniggering and sneering about the British Queen, things I do totally agree with, but they were both so infantile and childish that it put me off them. I then thought, damn, I've been caught out again because Tarpley is really a right wing libertarian. I often get caught out on right wing blogs where I think they are left – i.e., anti war, anti banker, anti the elite, you know what I mean, and then I find out how right wing they really are, and sometimes that they are even white supremacist? 

A few months later I found out that Tarpley really was a socialist after all and I thought, terrific, because he can be so good, but then with all his mad conspiracy theories and climate change denial it just put me right off him again.

Michael Hudson couldn’t be more different, he is considerate, thoughtful, and much more relaxed.  Anyhow, I was never sure how ‘industrial capitalism’, as Michael calls it, was going to be less exploitative than financial capitalism, but I gave Michael Hudson the benefit of the doubt. And I could understand where Micheal was coming from; a meritocracy is so much better than feudalism, which was a state of the self perpetuating rich.  I think Hudson is a genuine leftist, and not an out an out meritocracist, but he knows that a real meritocracy would really break the ruling class's oligarchy and so that is the place to start. After this has been achieved, Michael believes that the mixed economy and the welfare state would then develop, along with the three day week, where the benefits of industrial capitalism would finally be spread out.

But to counter this social democratic movement - which would mean the loss of over class's privileged lifestyle,  the elite then used the  ‘meritocracy’ as a way to pretend that they also stand for a ‘people’s type of capitalism’, where everyone rightly gets what they deserve. This sounds fine except you must ask what does this position hold for them, why do they like it? Well, because then they can then say that there should be no welfare state, or any benefits, or minimum wage, or any public services, or social provision, and that everything should be privatized. Now mix that with a load of propaganda that they constantly pump out about in the media that they own about how lazy the underclass are, and then you can see the system that they have duped the public with.

Some MMTer's believe that the US can be revamped, re-industrialized, and its infrastructure rebuilt to create a modern, social democracy with a large middle class. Personally, I think Jack Straw’s criticism of Michael Hudson is a bit harsh, where he questions his style of socialism and criticizes his theories. Michael Hudson would like to see the three day working day week with robots and automation doing more of the work (just think of 3D printing) with people working less and having more leisure time. 

 But are people actually capable of doing less when everyone just wants more? Let’s hope so. Maybe we can relearn how to be more relaxed and have a less driven society because Jack Straw is right when he says that the oil is running out, and that the climate is being ruined, and so we will have to learn how to use less fossil fuel in the future. He argues that the great utopia of the great middle class, with houses filled with junk that we don't need, and shops open 24/7 everyday of the year piled high with even more gunk, the never ending capitalist machine, just can't carry on forever. But if we can make sure we have first class public health care and excellent public provision, we can still live reasonable, happy lives and ones that will be less pace driven and more relaxed than they are now.  So hopefully going past peak oil won't be anywhere near as traumatic as the doomsters like to say it will be.

The article below is interesting in its own right because it goes into some of the history of Webster Tapley, Micheal Hudson and the LaRouche movement. This is a good article with lots of references to Karl Marx and his theories. 


Bob said...

Michael Hudson is not a Marxist. So it goes without saying that his prescriptions would run along the line of reforming and preserving capitalism. He wouldn't be the first person to misconstrue Marx's work.

Tom Hickey said...

I would say that MH is a Marxian, but not exclusively. Quite a few economists fall into that category, which is rather broad.