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The Vicious Circle of Debt and Depression: It Is a Class War

By       Message Ismael Hossein-zadeh     Permalink
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Rectification of this unsavory situation poses stark alternatives: either the powerful financial interests, using the state power, succeed in collecting their debt claims by impoverishing the public; or the public will get tired of the vicious cycle of debt and depression, and will rise in protest--akin to the "IMF riots" in Argentina--to repudiate the largely fictitious and illegitimate debt. This is of course a class war. The real question is when the working people and other victims of the unjust debt burden will grasp the gravity of this challenge, and rise to the critical task of breaking free from the shackles of debt and depression.

While repudiation may cleanse the current toxic debt off the economies of the indebted societies, it would not prevent its recurrence in the future. To fend off such recurrences, it is also necessary to nationalize the banks and other financial intermediaries. It only stands to reason that national savings be placed under democratically controlled public management not unelected, profit-driven private banks.

Ismael Hossein-zadeh, author of the recently published The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave-Macmillan 2007), teaches economics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.

[1] For a comprehensive account of the history of sovereign debt crises and/or defaults see, for example, Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff, This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009.

[2] Greg Palast, "The Globalizer Who Came In From the Cold,", October 10, 2001.

[3] Walden Bello, "The Poverty Trip Is Corruption the Cause," Counter Punch, April 30 May 2, 2010.

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[4] Arthur McEwan, "Economic Debacle in Argentina--The IMF Strikes Again," Dollars & Sense, March-April 2002.

[5] Mark Weisbrot, "Baltic Countries Show What Greece May Look Forward to If It Follows EC/IMF Advice," The Guardian Unlimited, April 28, 2010.

[6] Nouriel Roubini, "The Debt Death Trap," Project Syndicate, April 16, 2010.

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Ismael Hossein-zadeh is a professor of economics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. He is the author of the newly published book, The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism His Web page is

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