Economist Michel Husson is dead

Michel Husson died on July 18, in Corvara in Badia (Italy), at the age of 72. The sudden death of this atypical economist-statistician, non-dogmatic Marxist, is a heavy loss for the heterodox community. The smoothness of his analyzes, his humor and his competence were very appreciated and unique.

Director of INSEE, Michel Husson worked in the Forecasting Department of the Ministry of the Economy during the 1980s, before joining, in 1990, the Institute for Economic and Social Research (IRES), an organization serving unions. He was also an activist. Politics first: he was one of the pillars of the economic working group of the Revolutionary Communist League from 1980 to 2006, before breaking with it, pointing out his responsibility for the failure of the political recomposition following the victory of the no to the European constitutional treaty, in 2005. He then supported the campaigns of the Left Front and then of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, in 2017. Associative, then: he became involved in Attac, the Copernic Foundation, Les Economistes atterrés …

Also read our archive (2007): Michel Husson, “official economist” of the LCR, slams the door of his party

For twenty years, he has regularly posted dozens of publications on his site – a valuable mine of information. The central aim of his work is to“Ensure that everyone has a decent job and / or income, access to quality public services and (…) a decent planet ”. This goes through “Employment first”, but also by rebalancing the sharing of added value in favor of wages. In terms of employment, he clearly demonstrated the ineffectiveness of the labor cost reduction policies carried out since the 1980s, and in particular the exemption from contributions. He also supported the contribution as a socialized salary.

Go beyond capitalism

Rejecting the neoliberal methods of forced part-time work and universal income, both regressive, among other things in relation to women’s right to employment, and recognizing the effectiveness of the Robien and Aubry laws on the reduction of working time, Michel Husson wanted go further, with an RTT without loss of salary, with the obligation of proportional hiring and without the increased flexibility that has accompanied these laws. According to him, we must intervene on the primary distribution of income and not, as economists like Thomas Piketty would like, on redistribution and taxation.

These measures are part of an assumed desire to go beyond capitalism. Neoliberalism, with its economic, social and ecological consequences, constitutes the coherent outcome, but this coherence is a source of instability and recurrent crises. Since the 1980s, capitalists have used profits in a non-productive way (dividends, buybacks of shares, etc.). The cause is the insufficiency of outlets and the absence of opportunities for sufficient capital appreciation, which induce a weakness in productive investments, combining with a fall in the share of wages and an increase in the rate of profit. Financialization, therefore.

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