Michel Husson: an activist in the economy and an economist who inspired politics

by Eric Toussaint
22 July 2021

Michel Husson’s decease will leave many comrades all over the world with a deep sense of loss and bereavement.

Michel Husson (1949-2021), who had a solid training as an economist, was a keen observer of the capitalist system and its evolution in order to contribute to its overthrow and to social emancipation.

Michel always clearly claimed his adhesion to Marx’s economic theory and contributed to its modern day progress by studying and interpreting the present. He had been inspired by the works of Ernest Mandel (1923-1995), one of the leaders of the Fourth International and one of its leading economists. Michel Husson devoted several articles to Mandel, the most recent was written in 2020 during the CoViD-19 pandemic.

Michel Husson was an internationalist. In the 1980s he had been attentive to the social and political struggles in Latin America and in Mexico in particular where he had worked from 1985 to 1987. At the time there was a revolutionary upsurge in Central America (Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala,…). His Mexican experience yielded a book published in 1987 under the name Maxime Durand, La tourmente mexicaine (freely available at http://hussonet.free.fr/tourmente1987.pdf ) which provides a good introduction to the politico-economic history of Mexico since the early 20th century. Michel Husson was active in the Fourth International and its French section, the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire. At the time he was very much interested in the issue of the Third World and with his comrade and friend Thomas Coutrot he had written a short book Les destins du Tiers Monde (1993), which became a reference work for understanding the economic and social situation of countries of the ‘South’ in their diversity. When the CADTM, Committee for the Cancellation of Illegitimate Debts, created in Belgium in 1990, began to develop its activities, Michel Husson immediately offered an active collaboration. He participated in international meetings and provided articles for publications. He regularly contributed documents that proved useful for the CADTM’s activities and analyses.

Michel Husson took part in many training workshops and seminars to advance Marxist economic theories and practices, notably at the International Institute for Research and Education in Amsterdam.

From the second half of the 1990s, Michel Husson published several books in quick succession in which he analyzed the evolution of the international capitalist system: Misère du Capital, une critique du néolibéralisme (1996); Six milliards sur la planète : sommes-nous trop ? (2000); Le grand BLUFF capitaliste (2001); Un pur capitalisme (2008). In 2012, he also published Le capitalisme en 10 leçons. Petit cours illustré d’économie hétérodoxe illustrated by Charb.

He supported ATTAC from its creation in 1998 and became a member of its scientific council. From 2001, he participated in the dynamic of the World Social Forum and of the European Social Forum. He also participated in the activities of the Society of Latin American political Economy founded in Mexico in 2005. He and I, together with Gérard Duménil, had been invited to its creation and had regularly participated in the conferences organized in various countries in Latin America.

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