Killing the Host

How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy

by Michael Hudson
Dresden 2017


KILLING THE HOST exposes how finance, insurance, and real estate (the FIRE sector) have gained control of the global economy at the expense of industrial capitalism and governments.
The FIRE sector is responsible for today’s economic polarization (the 1% vs. the 99%) via favored tax status that inflates real estate prices while deflating the “real” economy of labor and production.
The Great 2008 Bailout saved the banks but not the economy, and plunged the U.S., Irish, Latvian and Greek economies into debt deflation and austerity.
This book describes how the phenomenon of debt deflation imposes austerity on the U.S. and European economies, siphoning wealth and income upward to the financial sector while impoverishing the middle class.

Table of Contents

Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy the Global Economy
Introduction: The Twelve Themes of this Book
The Parasite, the Host, and Control of the Economy’s Brain

I. From the Enlightenment to Neo-Rentier Economies
1. The Financial Sector’s Rise to Power
2. The Long Fight to Free Economies from Feudalism’s Rentier Legacy
3. The Critique and Defense of Economic Rent, from Locke to Mill
4. The All-Devouring “Miracle of Compound Interest”
5. How the 1% holds the 99% in Exponentially Deepening Debt
6. Rentiers Sponsor Rent-Free National Income Statistics
7. The Failed Attempt to Industrialize Banking

II. Wall Street as Central Planner
8. The Stock Market as a Predatory Arena
9. From the Stock Market’s Origins to Junk Bonding
10. Finance vs. Industry: Two Opposite Sides of the Balance Sheet
11. The Bubble Sequence: From Asset-Price Inflation to Debt Deflation
12. The Bankers Saw It Coming, but Economists averted their Eyes
13. The Bailout Coup of 2008: Saving Wall Street instead of the Economy
14. The Giveaways get More Deeply Politicized and Corrupt
15. Wall Street Pretends to Insure against the Crash
16. Bailing out of Goldman via AIG
17. Wall Street Takes Control and Blocks DebtWritedowns
18. From Democracy to Oligarchy

III. Austerity as a Privatization Grab
19. Europe’s Self-imposed Austerity
20. The Neoliberal Conquest of Post-Soviet Latvia
21. Creation of the Troika and its pro-Rentier Agenda
22. High Finance turns Greek Democracy to “Junk”
23. Installing Technocrats as Proconsuls
24. The Troika’s Road to Debt Serfdom
25. Creditor Colonialism: U.S. Courts Block Debt Writedowns
26. Financial Austerity or a Clean Slate?
27. Finance as War
28. Is the Mode of Parasitism overshadowing the Mode of Production?

IV. There Is An Alternative
29. The Fight for the 21st Century