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Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy
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Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  217 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The financial sector has succeeded in depicting itself as part of the productive economy, yet for centuries banking was recognized as being parasitic. The essence of parasitism is not only to drain the host’s nourishment, but also to dull the host’s brain so that it does not recognize that the parasite is there.

This is the illusion that much of Europe and the United States
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by Nation Books (first published December 31st 2013)
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Start your review of Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy
C. Scott
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hudson really gets it. I respect Michael Hudson more than any other economist (looking at you Krugman) because of his willingness to completely contradict the prevailing orthodoxy.

The book's thesis that the FIRE sector is parasitic is easy to understand and I think well supported by the facts. One fact alone - that almost all growth since the 2008 financial crisis has gone to the One Percent - goes a long way toward proving Hudson's point.

This book probably isn't for a wide general audience - s
Noel Aldebol
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First a quote from the book to give you a good idea of what is presented --

Fictitious economic models as tactics of deception

"In place of classical political economy, today’s foundation myth is that all income and wealth is earned productively – as if there were no economic rent (unearned income) as a legacy of feudalism’s rentier privileges, and no inherited wealth or insider giveaways. Yet these have been the shaping forces of history. That is why they were the focal point of classical politic
Mark Hartzer
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Imagine reading a non fiction book where you have to stop every 3-4 sentences to digest what you've just read and contemplate the concepts. This is not a textbook; but I got a much more intelligent analysis of economics than anything I've previously read from von Hayek to Krugman. It took me much longer than I expected to finish this book because even though I'm very familiar with the topics, he offered insights that I had not expected.

Paul Roberts, the former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
Andrew Fairweather
Michael Hudson’s ‘Killing the Host’ is a remarkable piece of work by someone with breadth of knowledge (with the details to back in up) and bold propositions. Though the sheer volume of concrete details from the 2008//Eurozone crisis brought forth all at once in parts II and III clog the stream of ideas from time to time (really, my only criticism) the salient points are never lost. The major point? Our debts will not be paid. The question is, *how* will our debts not be paid?

Drawing from classi
Ali Faqihi
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you’ve read the recent Guardian article on 26th October that reads: “World's witnessing a new Gilded Age as billionaires’ wealth swells to $6tn, Not since the time of the Carnegies, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts at the turn of the 20th century was so much owned by so few.”
And asked yourself why? and how? then this is definitely the book that you should read!

This is one of the best books I’ve ever read on economics, Hands down. Piketty might have the da
Pedro L. Fragoso
Surely, the most important book published this year in any language (and one would hope, the most influential). A masterpiece of intelligent reasoning. One of the books of my life, whose reading most resonated with me.

(There is a leaning towards socialist values that I do not condone, and makes some arguments unnecessarily weaker, but all in all, these are indeed details that can be set aside; however, the socialist rhetoric herein should be the basis for the argument by the politically left in
Michael Hofschneider
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the most important books I have read in my life. This book is eye-opening. It answers so many questions people ask about what is going wrong in our economy. It offers a historic perspective about the development of debt and how it threathens the economic well-being of us and future generations. Michael Hudson provides a brilliant and sharp analysis about the financial crisis that started not in 2008 but many years before. He offers measures how states and society can take back control fro ...more
Derek Barnes
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Classical economics should be making a comeback and Michael Hudson is leading the charge. A must-read, IMHO, on how predatory finance and debt threatens democracy. If the Big Short piqued your interest, you will love it.
Daniel Lee
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yngve Skogstad
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Hudson is a treasure. Every time I read one of his writings or listen to him talk on podcasts or Youtube, I'm left completely immersed in thoughts. I mean, the first few hundred pages of this book took me over a week to get through, owing to the fact that for nearly every paragraph I had to stop and actually think through the implications of what he was saying. This makes for an enormously rewarding reading experience, even though it means the other stuff you’d planned on reading begins ...more
"'s foundation myth is that all income and wealth is earned productively - as if there were no economic rent (unearned income) as a legacy of feudalism's rentier privileges, and no inherited wealth or insider giveaways. yet these have been the shaping forces of history. that is why they were the focal point of classical political economy - to free society from such privileges and bias."

v good, kinda repetitive and has some weird editing mishaps. overall great analysis tho. starts by rede
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very interesting explanation of the role of debt in our economic system. Hudson gives a clear picture of how the financialization of our economy is wrecking it, as if anyone needed a reminder after the collapse of the housing bubble. He also tells us how, like Matt Taibbi and Michael Lewis, how the process works, and it's being played out all over the world in Europe as well as the developing world. It's results can be devastating: Greece, Latvia, and Ireland lost ten per cent of their populat ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is honestly not that well written (although the version I got from the library may have been slightly outdated) but it is fascinating. You won't find ideas like this in a standard economics book. A good editor could make this book into a masterpiece.
Tech Nossomy
Jul 14, 2020 rated it liked it
An anthology of some recent financial crises and how misunderstandings on the functioning of economies lead to both booms and busts, with the latter almost always detrimental to tax-paying citizens. The book however suffers from quite a few shortcomings, one of the most glaring ones the absence of data or graphs, if only to summarise or even substantiate the points made.

Then some arbitrarily picked examples:
Regulations that would have helped to avert crises, but are not mentioned by name: EMIR,
Brett Swabey
The Author gets all in one place with diligent research on what has been going on in the World of finance between 2008 and 2015; this achievement, I feel must have been at some personal cost to the author with a descent into the murky and tangled underworld of corruption, brushing the deadly tentacles of Goldman Sacs, the IMF, the ECB and EC; how can one emerge sane and rational after such a journey into the depths of Hades? welcome to the modern World of high finance. The result is to educate t ...more
George Haun
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is great book with insights that can change the way you think about the way the world is run today. Hudson makes the argument that we are entering an era of neo-feudalism on a world scale because the modern oligarchs have mostly gained control of governments, major banks, and monetary systems allowing the 1% to own or extract rent from an ever increasing amount of the world's wealth producing assets. He also goes on to explain the tactics used to keep the attention of the rest of society of ...more
Jameson Goetz
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Finally finished this one. 👍🏻💯 The most elucidating writing about economics I have ever read. Hudson does a great job explaining the differences between industrial capitalism and financial capitalism and how conflating the two has lead to dangerous consequences. Hudson demonstrates how the financial sector has come to act as a parasite on the industrial capitalist system, lowering wages and shrinking markets leading to debt deflation & austerity. One of his main arguments is that the financial s ...more
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
Hudson is pretty repetitive. This book could very likely have been shortened by 100 pages with decent editing but he is a highly knowledgeable source. Add his viewpoints to those of Piketty & you have a pretty clear picture of the economic reality we face in the early decades of the 21st Century. I especially like the fact that Hudson has concrete proposals for what we can do to combat our ruling regime of crony capitalism. ...more
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, finance
Densely packed with information, references and arguments in favor of an industrial rather than a rentier economy.
It's not something I would have on my casual reading list (I prefer The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy for that), but it definitely has a comparable caliber of writing.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
If this is the dumbed-down version, I'm sure I'd find the more advanced work incomprehensible. The basic point is right--debt destroys economies. This is something overenthusiastic free marketeers seem to ignore, but it really shouldn't be considering the distortions debt creates on the market. This books is pretty long, though; like a lot of things, an article will get you the point probably just as well unless you are extremely knowledgeable about the subject.
R.J.Cicisly Jr.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished after picking it up and putting it down , reading a lil here, a lil there..The author is very interesting and explains what’s going on without all the bs language.
One thing about debt though, according to the movie Zeitgeist, all the debt will never be paid off since the monetary system runs on debt. Money is debt and debt is money.,
Anthony James
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: political, resume
Started strongly, ended strongly. Needs to be rewritten and the repetition reduced dramatically but engaging and full of little nuggets of information. a few misconceptions too but worth the read. Reminded me of Shock Doctrine.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Unbelievably good! Every politician should be able to recite the principles found within this book... better yet, to govern by them. A reckoning approaches. Thank you, Mr Hudson!
Mary Case
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic!! Want to understand what’s happening in the world? This is THE book that helps one understand the way the world works. I’m going to read EVERY Michael Hudson book.
Simon Harrison
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Poorly edited and highly repetitive, appearing to be a string of articles tied together, and yet compelling, convincing and (no doubt helped by the repetition) memorable.
A rollercoaster.
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economy, abandoned
Highly repetitive.
Aug 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm sure this book is well-informed, but is not accessible to a non-economist.
Hudson's book is previewed in this thought-provoking interview.
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54 likes · 24 comments
“To set the stage for this discussion, it is necessary to explain that what is at work is an Orwellian strategy of rhetorical deception to represent finance and other rentier sectors as being part of the economy, not external to it. This is precisely the strategy that parasites in nature use to deceive their hosts that they are not free riders but part of the host’s own body, deserving careful protection.” 4 likes
“Ideally, a fair and equitable society would regulate debt in line with the ability to be paid without pushing economies into depression. But when shrinking markets deepen fiscal deficits, creditors demand that governments balance their budgets by selling public monopolies. Once the land, water and mineral rights are privatized, along with transportation, communications, lotteries and other monopolies, the next aim is to block governments from regulating their prices or taxing financial and rentier wealth. The neo-rentier objective is threefold: to reduce economies to debt dependency, to transfer public utilities into creditor hands, and then to create a rent-extracting tollbooth economy. The financial objective is to block governments from writing down debts when bankers and bondholders over-lend. Taken together, these policies create a one-sided freedom for rentiers to create a travesty of the classical “Adam Smith” view of free markets. It is a freedom to reduce the indebted majority to a state of deepening dependency, and to gain wealth by stripping public assets built up over the centuries.” 3 likes
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