Michael Hudson discusses his seminal work of 1972, Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire, a critique of how the US exploits foreign economies through IMF and World bank debt; difference between the IMF and World Bank; World Bank dysfunctional from the outset; loans made in foreign currency only; policy to provide loans for countries to devote their land to export plantation crops; US food and monetary imperialism; U.S. agricultural protectionism built into the postwar global system; promotion of dependency on the US as food supplier; food blackmail; perpetration of world poverty preferred; no encouragement of land reform; privatization of the public domain; America aided, not foreign economies; exploitation of mineral deposits; bribery; foreign nations politically controlled at the top; veto power for US only.
Full transcript below.
Bonnie Faulkner: Michael Hudson, welcome back.
Michael Hudson: It’s good to be back, Bonnie.
Bonnie Faulkner: In your seminal work form 1972, Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire, you write that, “The development lending of the World Bank has been dysfunctional from the outset.” When was the World Bank set up and by whom?
Michael Hudson: It was set up basically by the United States in 1944, along with its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund, and the purpose was ostensibly to create an international order, but an international order that was more like a funnel, that would make other countries dependent on the United States. The United States wanted to be sure that no other country or group of countries, even if all the rest of the world ganged up on the United States, the United States wanted the ability to veto any action by the World Bank or any action by the International Monetary Fund by having veto power in it so that it could make sure that any policy was, in Donald Trump’s words, “We’ve got to win and they’ve got to lose.”
The World Bank from the outset was set up essentially as a branch of the military, of the Defense Department. John J. McCloy, who’d negotiated the end of World War II, was the first full-time president—he later became head of Chase Manhattan Bank—and McNamara, another Defense Department person, was in charge of it,