Hudson: Labor Incentives in the Ancient Near East

Prof Michael Hudson on the Ancient Near East by Renegadeeconomists on Mixcloud


An interview on the new Michael Hudson book – Labor in the Ancient World, the latest in the series on the Ancient Near East, co-edited with Piotr Steinkeller. 

Karl: Welcome to the Renegade Economists with your host, Karl Fitzgerald. This week we’re stepping back in time, way back some 10,000 years BC into the world of archaeology, Egyptology and Assyriology. Yes, it’s time for another special with Professor Michael Hudson. That’s right, Michael Hudson back on the show, he’s got a new book called Labor in the Ancient World and I asked him to give a precis on the background to this very interesting study. Hang on for another riveting conversation here on 3CR’s Renegade Economists.

Michael Hudson: It’s a symposium of a group put together at Harvard University of the leading Assyriologists and Egyptologists and Mycenaean Greek specialists aswell as archaeologists on how early societies mobilised the labour force, especially for large public building projects such as temples, city walls and other infrastructure.

Karl: And this is published through whom?

Michael: It’ll be published by ISLET, the Institute for the Study of Long-term Economic Trends. We just finished the type setting actually today and we’re sending it to Amazon to be put on their list, it’ll probably be available in about two weeks.

Karl: “Labor in the Ancient World.”

Michael: Yes.

Karl: And does that have some sort of Harvard connection?

Michael: We founded this project over 20 years ago at the Peabody Museum, which is their archaeology and anthropology department. We wanted to do a series of books on how modern economies and practices began. Our first colloquium was in 1994 on Privatization in the Ancient Near East and Classical Antiquity; our second volume was on Urbanization and Landownership in the Ancient Near East, about how cities were created and how landownership and real estate patterns developed into a market for real estate. The third volume was on Economic Renewal in the Ancient Near East, about how debt cancellations restored the land to its citizen-cultivators to provide a means of self-support for the free citizenry.

These colloquia grew so popular that we added a fourth volume, Creating Economic Order: Record-Keeping, Standardization and the Development of Accounting in the Ancient Near East, on the origins of money and account keeping from Mesopotamia to Mycenaean Greece and Egypt. And then ten years ago we had our fifth colloquium on Labor in the Ancient World. There have been so many revolutions in archaeology and Assyriology and even Egyptology in the last ten years that we’re only publishing this volume now, to be completely up-to-date.

Karl: So the Ancient Near East, how many thousand years ago was it? Just put us in the picture.

Michael: We begin the volume in 10,000 BC in Gobekli Tepe in Turkey where you have very large city-like ceremonial sites, larger than Stonehenge, huge sites that took hundreds of years to build with huge stone megaliths, even in the pre-pottery Neolithic. They didn’t yet have metal to carve these stones. They didn’t even have pottery. But they had in Gobekli all sorts of huge carvings in a seasonal site where people would come together on ceremonial occasions, like midsummer. We researched from Turkey in 10,000 BC to Sumer in the third millennium BC, Babylonia in the second millennium BC, the building of the pyramids, and we have the actual bills and accounting statements for what’s paid to labour to build the pyramids.

We found they were not built by slaves. They were built by well-paid skilled labour. The problem in these early periods was how to get labour to work at hard tasks, if not willingly? For 10,000 years there was a labour shortage. If people didn’t want to work hard, they could just move somewhere else. The labour that built temples and big ceremonial sites had to be at least quasi-voluntary even in the Bronze Age c. 2000 BC. Otherwise, people wouldn’t have gone there.

Karl: Michael, how did you actually track this? What were you reading to get this information?

Michael: Everybody who comes to the colloquium is a specialist in their period. For instance, Carl Lamberg-Karlovsky is the archaeologist dealing with Gobekli Tepe in Turkey. My co-editor for this volume, Piotr Steinkeller, is a Babylonian specialist in cuneiform. We have two Egyptian specialists in hieroglyphics, and two Mycenaean Greek specialists for Linear B. Each scholar throughout all of these five volumes was a specialist in each time period and each geographical area on which we’re concentrating.

Karl: Were you reading clay tablets, cuneiform?

Michael: They read the clay tablets if they’re from Mesopotamia. They read the notations and carvings in the Egyptian pyramids on the inside of the big rock blocks that made the pyramids. Teams would carve or write the home town they came from. We also have royal inscriptions.

We found that one reason why people were willing to do building work with hard manual labour was the beer parties. There were huge expenditures on beer. If you’re going to have a lot of people come voluntarily to do something like city building or constructing their own kind of national identity of a palace and walls, you’ve got to have plenty of beer. You also need plenty of meat, with many animals being sacrificed. Archaeologists have found their bones and reconstructed the diets with fair accuracy.

What they found is that the people doing the manual labour on the pyramids, the Mesopotamian temples and city walls and other sites were given a good high protein diet. There were plenty of festivals. The way of integrating these people was by public feasts. This was like creating a peer group to participate in a ceremonial creation of national identity.

Karl: Back in those times, how would they have realised when this festival was on, how was communication spread that this was the time to come together?

Michael: We discussed this in the second volume of our series, Urbanization & Land Use in the Ancient Near East. They did it by the solar and lunar calendar, by counting the moons leading up to solar solstices or equinoxes. The great ceremonial sites from Stonehenge to Turkey were based on the particular equinox or solstice. Chieftains usually would be the calendar keepers. Going all the way back to the Ice Age around 29,000 BC Alex Marshack, one of our members, published The Roots of Civilization reporting on the carved bones he found with notations for the phases of the moon. The job of the chieftain was to keep the lunar calendar, trace the waxing and waning of the moon to calculate how long the month would be, and to decide that, “Ah, in this month, six months after the equinox, here’s where we have to get together and have everybody come to the gathering and begin working on the big site”.

The pyramids and other ancient monuments were built by free labor, not by slaves

Karl: I’m still trying to grasp this Michael. Would all these labourers come together in a centralised place to build this giant statue or pyramid based on some sort of goodwill?

Michael: Well, to begin with, you would have a beer party to get everybody friendly. You would have big feasts, and also these were the major occasions for socialization. All over the world, communal feasts were the primordial way to integrate societies.

Obviously somebody was in charge of designing these monuments. We don’t know whom, but they would supervise the cutting and carving of the stones. These had to be brought over large distances, just like in Stonehenge. The groups would quarry them and cut them. Maybe the cutters and designers were the same people. And in Gobekli we’re dealing in a time before they’d invented steel or metal. Many of the stones had to be cut and designs carved just by chipping away with other stones. It obviously was a very laborious type of work.

Corvee labor was supplied on the basis of landholdings

Later, by about 2,000 BC, populations were growing more dense. There also was a shift from the temples, which originally organised most of these mega-projects, to the palaces that developed out of them around 2750 BC. Their scribes developed accounting practices to schematise and organise this labour coming together. To coordinate this in an equitable, almost schematic way, land tenure was allocated on the principle that whoever had such-and-such a plot size had to supply a given number of labourers to work on the public infrastructure. So what we found as a by-product of the labour volume is that the origins of land rights were defined by the tax payments – the corvee labor obligation.

To get the right to a given land of a given size, you had to promise on such-and-such dates to provide this much labour for the corvee project. It’s a French word, because a corvee tax in the form of labour instead of money payments lasted all the way down through the 18th Century in France. It was typical in mediaeval Europe before you had a money economy. Everybody who had their own subsistence land or their own land holdings of one form or another, or their grazing lands, would have to supply X number of labourers to the big building project.

Karl: That’s quite some discovery. So you’re saying that labour was provided as an in-kind payment for taxation based around calendars to build these giant monuments?

Michael: Yes. Each of our archaeologists, Assyriologists and Egyptologists has found this for every period of the Bronze Age and the Neolithic.

Karl: And so we’re still rather on a voluntary level, there was no quantifying –

Michael: There weren’t that many people in the world in 10,000 BC, 3000 BC or even 2000 BC. If a government got too oppressive, or when they would raise the contributions or taxes too high, people would just flee to another area. Or if they were too much indebted the debtors would flee, as they did from Babylonia around 1600 BC. We are talking about free labor, not slave labor.

Karl: So they built a social contract around these feasts, around this sense of belonging by being at this public works event. It sounds like a fascinating way to keep society on track and organise labour so that civilisation would develop on some level. Have you found any indication of a managerial class and how they developed through the chieftains?

Michael: First the priesthoods, then the accountants and scribes. The calendar keepers were usually the chiefs (there may have been “sky chiefs” and “war chiefs” separately, or perhaps their roles were combined as dynastic rulers developed). Most of the religions were cosmological. They wanted to create an integrated cosmology of nature and society (“On earth, as it is in heaven”). Administration was based on the astronomical rhythms of the calendar, lunar and solar cycles. For instance, you typically find a society divided into 12 tribes, as you had in Israel and also in Greece with its amphictyonies. In a division of 12 tribes, each could take turns administering the ceremonial centre for one month out of the year.

The physical design of cities also was based on the calendar. Big cities would have 12 gates. Most cities had maybe four gates, representing the four seasons or the four quarters of the Earth. The outline of the land and the Earth was based on a calendrical cosmology, much like a mandala.

Ceremonial sites such as Stonehenge also were calendars in miniature, designed so that the light would fall on the stones in a particular way on a solstice or equinox. We have this going back into the Ice Age around 30,000 BC. Alex Marshak’s article in our volume on urbanisation found that these sites already in the Ice Age were usually sited on waterways, so that everybody could get to them. They often were located with mountains in the background and in between them the sun would shine in a particular way on the equinox or on the solstice in a particular alignment that occurred just at that calendrical time. They were recreating the cosmos on Earth.

Karl: You’re on 3CR’s Renegade Economists, this week with distinguished Research Professor Michael Hudson from and we’re discussed his new colloquium book “Labour in the Ancient World”. We’re tracking back some 10,000-odd years, hearing how civilisation developed. Michael, this is a fascinating discussion. I’m interested, of course, here on the Renegades, about this role of land tenure, and how that influenced citizens’ role in society. From what I’ve read out of your new book, it sounds like land holdings played a huge role in the status of a participant in one’s society.

Ancient citizenship, voting rights – and social obligations – were based on landholding

Michael: In America down to the time of the Revolution in the 18th century, and in early Australia I assume also, in order to be a citizen and vote, you had to be a landowner. And all the way back in Rome and earlier times, Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Sumer, citizens had to have their own land. In Rome each citizen’s voting rights were defined by the land area he owned. I say “he” because only the males were citizens. It was a patriarchal society, with voting rights proportional to the size of one’s landholdings.

Much as today, debt was a major factor concentrating landholdings. Finance always has been the great lever to appropriate the land rent and interfere with widespread land ownership. If you owe money on a mortgage and you can’t pay, you can be evicted. That began to happen already around 2000 BC in Babylonia.

But the process was limited and reversed, because when creditors evicted land-tenured citizens, this caused a problem for rulers. The former landholder no longer was a citizen – and if he’s not a citizen, he can’t serve in the army.

One’s rank in the army down through Roman times was defined by how much land one had. If you had just a basic subsistence plot, you were in the infantry. If you had a lot of land, you were able to support yourself in leisure, have a horse and participate in the cavalry, practicing military training and buying your armour and weapons. You find much the same thing in Japan. All over the world, citizenship, landownership and one’s rank in the army were linked together.

Karl: Yes, the English military had the same arrangement. So you can see a point that if you own lots of land, you want to defend it, so these landowners need to be involved to defend their land. How times have changed.

Michael: They weren’t merely defending; they were also aggressive. There was continual warfare. Attacking and defending also had a financial dimension. In Greece a military manual in the 3rd century BC was written by a man who took the pseudonym of Tacticus – not Tacitus as in Rome, but Tacticus for tactics. He wrote that if a general planned to attack a city, he should promise to cancel the debts and free the slaves, in order to get the debtors to come over to his side. And if you’re defending a city, you also promise to cancel everyone’s debts and free the slaves. That’s how you get people on your side.

Coriolanus did that in Rome, and Zedekiah in Judah. But both rulers went back on their word as soon as the fighting was over. However, in Babylonia we have more or less regular debt cancellations whenever a new ruler would take the throne. This is in our third volume, Debt & Economic Renewal in the Ancient Near East. Babylonian rulers would proclaim andurarum and misharum – their words for a Clean Slate. David Graeber picked up this historical analysis in Debt: The First 4000 Years, discussing it from an anthropological point of view.

These proclamations did three things – the same three things you find in the biblical jubilee year (which used a cognate word, deror). These acts liberated the debt servants and let them return to their family of origin; they canceled all the personal debts that were owed (but not commercial business debts); and they returned the land rights or crop rights to debtors who had pledged them to their creditors. These royal proclamations restored order by making things the way they were in an idealised past. It was a situation where everybody was supposed to own their own self-supportive land to provide their means of subsistence free of debt. That was their idea of economic balance.

This is the opposite of debt serfdom reducing more and more people to debt peonage, obliged to pay their income to creditors. If they finally lost their job, they lost their home and their house and the banks get to keep it. That practice would have depopulated the ancient world. If that would have happened, debtors would have just got up and left, or they’d go over to the enemy when other armies would attack. You’d have defections. So reversing personal debts preserved widespread landownership and liberty from debt.

Karl: Right, so reiterating, the Clean Slate would build that social contract with the ruler and help continue the goodwill that led to this massive public development that was voluntarily provided tax in-kind, usually in labor. It sounds fascinating that people would just defect and move to another country under another ruler if the debt stayed too high, even back in those times when we weren’t anywhere near as mobile as today.

Michael: We have all sorts of documents around the 14th and 13th centuries, especially about the hapiru, bands of debt fugitives and others, who some people translate as Hebrews. Rome was said to have been founded by exiles and runaways, mainly runaways from debt who created their own society there. Flight from debt goes way back.

Bronze Age “divine kingship” gives way to classical creditor oligarchies

Karl: Given the history of Clean Slates and the jubilee, how did agrarian debt develop? And how did the conflict of interest between creditors and rulers play out?

Michael: It played out differently everywhere. There was a constant tension from the Bronze Age through classical antiquity between rulers trying to maintain a society under their control, and local headmen trying to get power for themselves. The big question was who would run society and draw up its rules. Would it be the priesthood and military rulers at the top of the pyramid, or creditors and warlords grabbing peoples’ land and trying to create their own control? Strong rulers like Hammurabi were able to centralise rule. He proclaimed andurarum upon taking the throne, and numerous times thereafter, down to his 30th year of rule. When he was sick and dying, his son Samsuiluna also proclaimed misharum to restore order to start his own reign in balance. But then you’d have Intermediate Periods with afree-for-all in which local leaders gained autonomy. And they simply disobeyed royal Clean Slates.

From 1200 BC to about 750 BC in the Mediterranean you have a Dark Age. Apparently you had not only very bad weather around 1200 BC – maybe a small Ice Age and drought – but the weather and crop failures led to mass migrations and invasions. The palaces of Mycenaean Greece were burned and syllabic writing disappeared for nearly 500 years. Then, when you have alphabetic writing emerging, the person whose title originally meant “local branch manager” of the palace workshop suddenly appears as the basileus, the ruler. But mostly you have landholding aristocracies holding the population in debt serfdom (like the Athenian hektimoroi, “sixth parters” liberated by Solon in 594 BC). It was much like the post-Soviet kleptocrats when Red Managers gave themselves control of their companies. When central power falls apart, local headmen take over. The dissolution of royal power led to privatization – including the privatization of credit, taking it and its rules out of royal hands. So Clean Slates stopped.

Much the same thing occurred in England. After the Norman invasion you had the Magna Carta when the autocratic King John tried to grab all the economic surplus for himself. The landowning barons wanted to break free. The Magna Carta limited what kings could tax without landlord agreement. The barons said, in effect, “The rent that we formerly paid to support the royal army, we henceforth will keep for ourselves. Also, we won’t pay the debts we owe to the Jews, so that we can keep our land.” The founding constitution or legal documents of almost every nation have to do with the relationship between finance, land tenure and its tax liability, and the relationship between centralised power and local power.

You could say that the progress of civilisation for the last thousand years, since feudal times, has been a dissolution of autocratic feudal power toward more democratised power. The problem is that land has been democratised on credit. So instead of owing money to landlords, homeowners now owe money to their bankers.

Creditor stratagems to evade the law and religious sanctions

Karl: That is the challenge of the ages isn’t it? Looking through these writings of yours, it becomes clear that this battle between credit and the sovereignty of this democratic process has been an ongoing challenge. In antiquity, did the vocabulary distinguish interest from usury?

Michael: No. It was only in the 13th century that Thomas Aquinas and the Schoolmen distinguished between interest and usury. Any taking of interest was considered usury in antiquity. That’s why some people tried to ban it, mainly for consumer interest. When the distinction was made, usury was supposed to refer to consumer loans, and interest was for bona fide commercial loans. These usually involved shipping to foreign buyers or transferring payments from one country to another, for instance when barons left to fight in the Crusades. The Latin word for such foreign exchange fees was agio, a premium.

Bankers managed to get around Christian sanctions against usury by saying, “Okay, it’s not interest, it’s a fee. It’s a foreign exchange fee.” They would pretend to make a foreign exchange transaction, and pay for the currency convertibility. If you’re converting Australian pounds into dollars, you have to give a few percentage points to the banker. In medieval times, interest was concealed as a foreign exchange fee and as interest or, for real estate, as rent – much as in today’s Islamic finance. This was called “dry exchange,” because it occurred on dry land. No sea transport was involved.

Karl: So when we look over the history of this era and its battle between credit and the ruling elite, the challenge was to maintain land ownership within your community and keep your people there, making sure that they had some share in the benefits of working together. This sort of independence, of people being able to live off their land, seems to have become a battle between democratic principles and creditors.

Michael: That’s basically so. Early common law had blockages against the things that creditors could foreclose on – the widow’s ox, the blacksmith’s anvil and basic tools of one’s trade and self-support. If you were a creditor and wanted to get somebody else’s land, you needed a legal stratagem.

In Babylonia and neighbouring Indo-European speaking communities such as Hurrian-speaking Nuzi, customary land tenure rights were only transmissible within a family or clan. The aim was to enable kinship units to supply their basic needs. The creditor’s stratagem was to get himself adopted by the debtor as number one son, as his heir. When the debtor died, the number one son, the creditor, would inherit most of the land, as if he were part of the kinship-based community. A Babylonian proverb reflects this practice: “A creditor has many relatives.” These subterfuges that creditors used are much like the small print that bank lobbyists write into today’s bankruptcy laws to stack matters in their own favor. Creditors and Wall Street have always been subtle in finding end runs around laws, obeying the letter of the law but changing the spirit of the law.

The U.S. political outlook: the Democrats and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run

Karl: Changing gears, let’s speed into the current American situation with Elizabeth Warren and the Democratic ticket. I saw this week that she’s come out fighting against banks and their threat to reduce donations to the Democratic Party if she doesn’t tone things down. Did your blood boil when you read that Michael?

Michael: Not at all. The Democratic Party in America is the party of Wall Street. A Republican administration could never get away with turning over power to Wall Street, because as long as they’re in power, the Democratic opposition will block them from doing it. Although the Republican Party is almost entirely funded by lobbyists, the Democratic Party is the one that has the power to unblock the giveaways to Wall Street. Most of this was done under former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin who got rid of the Glass-Steagall Act, blocked regulation of bank derivative gambles, and inaugurated the wave of deregulation and outright criminalization of banking.

The Glass-Steagall Act was repealed in 1999, when the Clinton Administration also blocked regulation for bank speculation in derivatives. It took only eight years for the most criminal organisations, Citibank and Bank of America (which bought the junk mortgage writer, Countrywide Finance) to bring down the economy. The head of Citibank was Rubin, after having freed it from regulation. What the press called the Rubino Gang wrote fake mortgages – they’re called “liar’s loans” or “Alt-A,” based on false declarations of income and false property valuations (the liars were the banks and the mortgage brokers) and sold them to gullible investors like German Landesbanks that were naive enough to believe that Wall Street wouldn’t try to cheat them. The junk mortgage bubble was one of the biggest ripoffs in history.

You can read what my UMKC colleague Bill Black has written recently on Naked Capitalism and the University of Missouri Kansas City site, New Economic Perspectives on the Citibank criminogenic organisation. The Democrats under Obama have blocked any prosecution of financial criminals. Not a single bank crook has been thrown in jail after over $4 trillion had been stolen and bailed out by the Federal Reserve’s wave of Quantitative Easing. The crime wave of Wall Street and real estate in the last decade has endowed an entire ruling class for the next century in America.

They’re as criminal as the Russian kleptocrats, because they’re in total control of the government. They’ve used their power to re-define the meaning of a “free market.” To them, a free market is one completely free of government regulations to control banking, and free of any criminal prosecution, because they have their factotums in the Justice Department. The head of the Justice Department is Eric Holder, whose job is to protect Wall Street. He resigned recently in favour of a successor, Loretta Lynch, who also is a non-prosecutor of Wall Street’s.

So essentially the real estate and mortgage system in America has been criminalised in the way that Bill Black has been describing in four wonderful articles that he’s published in the last week on Naked Capitalism. Hillary is fully on board with the Rubinomics gang.

Finance capitalism is dominating and stifling industrial capitalism with debt deflation

Karl: Excellent Michael, I’ll look forward to reading those. That’s the horror story of banking, but I like the fact that you’ve dug into the archives and found one of the bright spots for the finance industry, and that was the Saint-Simonian banking ethos. Can you remind our listeners what that was all about, and how we hope the finance sector might evolve?

Michael: In the 19th century the Industrial Revolution really taking off. The great financial question was how to create a banking system that would help industrialise countries to bring them into the modern era. Before the 19th century – ever since antiquity – you don’t find banks lending to build factories or other means of production. Loans were made against property pledged as collateral, or were made largely to export goods once they were produced. But banking before the 19th century did not actually fund tangible capital investment. James Watt wasn’t able to get the money for his steam engine from a bank, except by mortgaging his property and borrowing from friends.

Saint-Simon founded a school of reformers in France that realized that in order to industrialise the nation, to catch up with England and overtake it, it had to move banking beyond its medieval stage. Instead of making lending to businesses in exchange for interest payments – which can force them into bankruptcy when sales turn down, bank loans should really be made on the basis of profit sharing. This is how commercial loans were made back in Babylonian times. Saint-Simon’s idea was to make banks more like mutual funds. Their fortunes would rise or fall with those of their business clients.

The main country that adopted this industrial banking principle was Germany, as well as other central European countries. Their banks invested in their customers as stock owners as well as acting as creditors. They acted basically as the forward planning arm of industry, working with governments to promote export sales abroad.

Until World War I most futurists, from Karl Marx to regular businessmen, expected banks to take the lead in planning society. But after Germany lost World War I, the world reverted to Anglo-American banking. This was basically short-term hit and run. Banks still don’t make loans for industrial development. They do lend for raiders and mergers to take over companies, and also to ship exports. But they’re not set up to actually fund industrial capital formation. So society has fallen back in the last hundred years to the opposite of what classical economists and what 19th-century futurists expected banking to become.

Although we do have a centrally planned society, it is centrally planned by Wall Street, the City of London, Frankfurt and other financial centres. This planning is extractive, not productive. It seeks to extract interest payments, to profiteer from takeovers and gambles, and to make capital gains on stocks and real estate speculation. But it’s not designed to industrialise economies. That’s why most of the world outside of China is in a period of economic shrinkage and de-industrialisation.

Karl: So to wrap things up Michael, what can we learn from the Ancient Near East? Perhaps you can tell us how you got interested in this historical topic going way back through these cuneiform readings of clay tablets.

Michael: For me, the advantage of studying the ancient Near East is to see how different economies through history have dealt with the phenomenon of debts that are too large to be paid. Right now you’re having in the Eurozone with its arguments against Greece saying that if its government can’t pay its debts to the IMF, European Central Bank and the rest of the troika, it has to submit to austerity, even if its population is forced to emigrate. That is what much of the Greek population is doing. Shrinkage and emigration is what to pay for not being able to cancel debts – in this case public debts. The ancient Near East couldn’t afford the Eurozone’s pro-creditor stance, because it would have been depopulated and been conquered by neighbouring countries that didn’t submit to such austerity.

The advantage of studying the ancient Near East is to see a contrast with today. I got into this originally when I was working with the United Nations Institute for Training & Research (UNITAR) in 1978 and ’79. We had a meeting in Mexico and I gave a lecture on what I’d found when I was Chase Manhattan banks’ balance-of-payments economist. The Third World couldn’t pay the foreign debts it had run up. This was a few years before Mexico declared it couldn’t pay in 1982. There was such a fuss and denials by the banks that ‘countries couldn’t pay’ that I decided to write a history of how societies had dealt with situations where debts couldn’t be paid. I got all the way back to classical antiquity and the Jewishlands, and then found that there wasn’t any economic history of the early Near East. The economic and financial details were scattered through many journals.

In 1984, I went up to Harvard and a decade later we decided to put together a group to study the origins of economic organization, category by category, to trace how ancient economies developed the origins of modern economic civilisation. The five books  cited earlier were the result, as well as many articles you put in my website.

Karl: Well Michael Hudson, thank you very much for joining us here on the Renegade Economists’ radio show yet again, in what must be about our fifteenth interview I reckon.

Michael: Good, thank you.

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