Last week, Nicolas Maduro, the embattled president of crisis-torn Venezuela, veered a bit off course during a rambling, hour-and-a-half speech to business leaders in Caracas to heap praise on a somewhat obscure U.S. economist.
“I don’t know if you know him, but I recommend his writings,” Maduro said of Michael Hudson , a professor at the University of Missouri who specializes in subjects including international finance and debt. “He’s one of the greatest U.S. economists.”
Yet, Hudson, it turns out, appears to be no fan of the socialist leader. When contacted a few days later, he had harsh words about the state of the economy since Maduro replaced the late Hugo Chavez in 2013, saying it seems to have “entered a period of anarchy” so profound that he doesn’t know if he could help the country much even if he were asked. Which, by the way, he hasn’t been. He’s no Venezuelan expert, he stressed, but he did have one tentative suggestion for the president: If a debt default looks inevitable, as many analysts believe is the case, it’s best to get it over with as soon as possible.
“If they realize they can’t pay later, they should stop now,” Hudson said. “You might as well keep what you have and say ‘it’s obvious we can’t pay, they made us a bad debt and they should take the loss.’” …