Confessions of an Erratic Marxist: Keynote speech, Subversive Festival, Zagreb, Croatia – 14th May 2013

To listen (as audio only) to my keynote speech at the 6th Subversive Festival (Kino Europa, Zagreb), 14th May 2013, click CONFESSIONS OF AN ERRATIC MARXIST. For the complete program click here. For the abstract as well as full text of my talk…

FULL TEXT

ABSTRACT: When I chose my PhD thesis, I intentionally concentrated on a method within which Marx was not simply wrong, he was irrelevant. When I landed my first economics lectureship in Britain, the implicit contract between my university and me was that the sort of economics I would teach our students would be as far removed from Marxism as is humanly possible. When I moved to Australia in 1988, unbeknownst to me, I was recruited by the right wing of the Sydney University Economics Department in order to keep out of the Faculty another candidate whose former supervisor was thought of (quite rightly!) as a dangerous Marxist. Later I moved to Greece where I (foolishly) became, quite officially, an advisor of George Papandreou – the man whose government was to mediate Greece’s passage to Hell a few years later. While I resigned that position in 2006, having gotten whiff of the impending disaster, I carried on teaching, at the University of Athens, quaint (and admittedly vulgar bourgeois) subjects like Game Theory and Microeconomics to a large number of Greek undergraduates, who (unlike our brave and extremely well informed graduate students) remained touchingly oblivious to the catastrophe about to befall them. Back in 2002, well before the Global Crisis erupted, Joseph Halevi and I tried to sound a warning – but we failed to make an impact. Even though in 2006 I did my best to warn Greek society, and anyone who would listen, of the impending disaster, I shamefully remained part of Athens’ and Europe’s ‘polite society’, not once taking to the streets. When the Global Crisis erupted in 2008, and soon engulfed the Eurozone, I began writing articles and making frantic appearances in established and less mainstream media alike, promoting a fundamentally bourgeois agenda for saving capitalism from itself! When the going got really tough, at a personal level, in Greece, I migrated to the USA and took up an appointment at the University of Texas. To this day, I am struggling to impress the powers-that-be that they must urgently adopt specific bold policy recommendations in order to prevent an inevitable crisis from crushing capitalism. In summary, not one of my academic publications can be thought of as explicitly Marxist, while my energies are channeled into preventing capitalism’s collapse. Nonetheless, all along, from my student days in Britain to this very day, the only way I could make sense of the world we live in isthrough the methodological ‘eyes’ of Karl Marx. In itself, this ‘fact’ renders me a theoretical Marxist. Moreover, I feel Marxism in my bones every time I am engaged in any form of intellectual pursuit: from discussing the Arab Spring to debating the intricacies of Art with my artist partner. Furthermore, a democratic, libertarian, socialist future is the only future that I would be willing to fight for. A most peculiar Marxist no doubt, but a Marxist nevertheless.

56 thoughts on “Confessions of an Erratic Marxist: Keynote speech, Subversive Festival, Zagreb, Croatia – 14th May 2013

    • The ERM did not work then and will not work now. We shall end up with a Gigantic Depression instead.

  1. Another wonderful, heartfelt talk. Thanks for posting it here. In the end, I was struck by your insisting several times, in the response to questions about sleeping with the enemy, that our actions must be directed to reduce suffering. Reverend Gotama (aka the Buddha) taught the same path. Keynes refused to take the advice of the Austrians that one should do nothing in the face of the Great Depression. And Marx, while insisting on abolition of the wage system, also insisted on unlimited capacity of the human being. And human beings don’t leave the ground clear for fascists. They act to reduce suffering, which you have been doing so well.

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  3. Mr. Yanis, please, could you tell me your opinion about this statement:

    ‘Since the evidence suggests that upward redistribution of income isn’t a significant cause of the recession and the persistent economic malaise, downward redistribution of income isn’t going to extricate the economy from the malaise. After all, profit is the fuel on which capitalism runs, so a downward redistribution of income that cuts into profit will tend to destabilize the system even further. Working people’s struggles to protect their jobs, incomes, and homes certainly deserve our support, but there’s no good reason to base that support on the dubious notion that successful struggles will improve the functioning of the capitalist system.’

    http://www.marxisthumanistinitiative.org/economic-crisis/%E2%80%9Cthe-99%E2%80%9D-and-%E2%80%9Cthe-1%E2%80%9D-%E2%80%A6-of-what.html

    thank you in advance,
    M.

    • This is a silly statement. It is like saying that since water played no part in a fire that now engulfs a building, it cannot help extinguish it!

    • M,

      May I be so bold as to add that the quotation you refer to wonderfully illustrates where so many have been wrong for such a long time. Adam Smith’s introduction to The Wealth of Nations gives the first clue: “The number of useful and productive labourers, it will hereinafter appear, is everywhere in proportion to the quantity of capital stock which is employed in setting them to work, and to the particular way in which it is so employed.”

      The underlying problem has been a lack of direct; competitive; investment of savings, (commonly called capital), into new, competitive, employers. If there are 100 potential employees; but only investment to employ, say, 80; then the employer can always pick and choose; there is never any real competition for their labour. On the other hand, if in the same situation, there has been investment for 110 potential employees; then the employer has to raise wages to ensure a supply of labour. It is a lack of competitive direct investment that causes low wages and the only way to increase wages is to add further; competitive; investment – “the quantity of capital stock which is employed in setting them to work, and to the particular way in which it is so employed”.

      Today, it is impossible to gain access to any form of equity investment to create new competitive industry, particularly investment of the savings of your local community, as all of those savings are now gathered into the existing financial system, (under the control of extremely complicated law favouring the existing very large corporations and their executive government supporters). Ergo, we have now evolved giant corporations; (and gigantic quasi industrial corporations owned by government departments); that treat wages and employment as though a feudal Lord of the Manor. The present investment mechanisms automatically exclude direct competition; instead, they target investment as a mechanism to allow a major corporation to grow even more powerful; by being able to buy up any potential competitor.

      IMHO, we are not dealing with a fundamental flaw in the payment of wages, per se; we are dealing with good old fashioned medieval feudalism, disguised as capitalism; that on the one hand excludes direct competitive investment; and on the other uses vast sums of government borrowings to try and disguise the, (government department’s), inability to succeed as quasi industrialists.

  4. All that is wrong with Spain.
    It is being pushed into surplus and yet cannot use tokens to pay drivers and techs to run a system which would reduce its oil balance.

    Tramway Jaen
    2 years after the first Trams ran on its rails………..

    Now nothing but traffic.
    Go figure – its easy.

  5. While we are debating the European crisis as a matter of justice and fairness, meanwhile the true issue seems to be trade. And in the trade game Germany seems unbeatable. While Europe is sinking Germany continues to record ever higher trade surpluses.

    Therefore, if you wish justice and fairness to prevail quit the ideological game which leads nowhere other than to impotence and frustration and try doing something practical in the trade front.

    All countries trading with Germany and Greece in particular need to bring their trade game with Germany on a pari passu (1:1) basis. Otherwise Germany could play this trade surplus game in perpetuity and let you complain about unfair and unjust conditions until you get blue in the face.

    Time to wise up folks and time to grow up too. Enough of the ideological inconsequence.

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/germany/balance-of-trade

    • The game you consider ‘true’ dean is a nonsense. The tinkering at the edges has led us to where we are, and despite your aversion to ideology, it is your very ideology (which you don’t recognise above) that has been denuded by the events of the last few decades.

      The question is not about ‘better capitalism’ (ie ‘better barbarity’), but about something to transcend it. Can you contribute something?

      It requires thinking outside the square.

    • And George:

      Since you are asking for a contribution here is one:

      The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. And I don’t hear the Left contributing anything but intentions and next to zero results.

      And talking about boxes, I don’t think there is a bigger box other than the box in which a generally the impotent Left resides.

      Therefore if you want my advice, quit the leftist non-ending rationalizing of things and get down to the delivery of concrete results. Because at the moment the Left has no credibility whatsoever. Words have never been considered as a substitute for action. Words, intentions and thoughts unable to be channeled into an undisputed agent of positive change are the ultimate nonsense and a complete waste of everyone’s time.

      So either perform something spectacular which betters the lives of billions of wanting citizens throughout the world or find something better to do.

    • George:

      Of course you are being sarcastic. Nevertheless, I made a contribution to the discussion and I hope you could grace us with the same.

      This non-ending grievance case from the Left without showing us a credible substitute borders a psychosis.

      It’s one thing to wish a replacement to the current system because you think it unfair and/or unjust. That it may be. But what is your plan? Waiting for a system failure to say I told you so? So what if the system fails and we at that moment of failure we remember that you told us so?

      Where is your capacity to change things yourself? Who are you expecting to do that fo you? And using what tools?

      Do not we already know that the Left is more capable of progressive thinking and compassion? So what? How does this empathy for humanism translates into a delivery of credible alternatives?

      And isn’t true that the entire European Left is marginalized and better suited to act as opposition (the easiest job in the world BTW)? Is there an example of a leftist European government post 2008 with any record of even mild success?

      So help me with the plan here because saying that you are dissatisfied with the current system is not a plan. It’s an emotion. And of that we have plenty to go around.

  6. You dismiss the viability of European national currencies a bit too easily.

    Its my belief that the euro has built Asia and in particular China through the process of massive capital export.
    You don’t need to be German to produce basic secondary products.
    It can be done anywhere near a old coal plant.

  7. Yanis, thank you for great lectures in Zagreb. The public in Croatia is to such an extent saturated with an extreme neo-liberal propaganda that it rarely has an opportunity to even hear of the existence of other voices. We have never had an open public debate on EU, I think the people of Croatia was never explained what this Union really was and what kind of future it has planned for us. And in less than 2 months we will be a part of this chaos… So, it was invaluable to hear your analysis of the recent events in Greece, Europe and the world. I hope it has reached those in the positions…

    And secondly, I’m really interested in reading your book, and since you mentioned at the book promotion yesterday (I’ll take your word for it) that there’s a copy circling around, would it be possible to get it :))

  8. For me what this boils down to is that Economics is finally an art, not a science.

    In the same way that the practise of medicine, ie being a doctor, is ultimately an art not a science.

    Both disciplines have their feet firmly rooted in science, mathematics, statistics. But dealing as they do with 2 complex and endlessly mysterious and surprising organisms – society, the human body – their application requires respect, intelligence, strong morality, and a willingness to learn from the surprising results that so often upset predictions / probabilities.

    As with any art what is needed is insight and ideas, not ideologies. Ideologies, as closed thought systems, are too clumsy (and brutal) to apply to the rich, varied canvas of reality.

    I suspect – and hope! – Yanni you agree with that too, reading between the lines :)

    • A well expressed observation Eleni. As a non-economist though, I recommend the OUDCE 10-week online course on the history of economics. (here is their brief description, to tempt you), and you’ll see that Oxford classify modern economic theory as a philosophy. I’m pleased about this because my grandson will soon go to Yanis’s ‘alma mater’ to read philosophy!

      “Economic thought has developed over time in a historical context. It can be argued that Economics has always been a philosophy rather than a Science. This is clearly evident from Greek, Chinese and Indian Economic thought. However, in the latter part of the 19th century Mathematics became the dominating force in Economics. This pivotal transformation of a philosophy into a mathematical subject, with the birth of neo-classical economics, had profound consequences for the analysis of the actions and inter-actions of human beings, and for policy debates about the role of the state in regulating national and international markets. Neoclassical economics has emphasised the rational behaviour of self-interested individuals and largely ignored the fact that humans are in essence part of nature, which the philosopher economists of Ancient Greece recognised. In recent years, aspects of economic thought have begun to make use of the insights of biological sciences.”.

  9. There is no such thing as a “theoritical” marxist. There is no seperation of theory and practice in marxism where your actions are consciously aiming to save capitalism but your theory, method and perspective remains somehow anticapitalist or marxist. This is a key philosophical contribution of Marx, that you cannot seperate actions (practice) from ideas, although you cannot collapse the one to the othter. The way you live and act is bound to have an impact in the way you interpret the world. And if you add Zizek to the equation, the ideological mystification lies not in what you are thinking but in what you are doing. So if what you are doing is trying to save capitalism by convincing the elites to act “rationally”, then your true ideology must be the omnipotence of capitalism.

  10. First you misattributed Blink of an Eye to USS Enterprise (ST) when you should have instead attributed it to USS Voyager (ST).
    Then you couldn’t recall who Patrick Stewart is without first being explicitly reminded of ST.
    Hubris!! O tempora o mores!

    P.S. :P

  11. “…a Marxist nevertheless”. Of course Yani, or a dialectical materialist… perhaps… if we are to be more precise and pin down the general form of interpreting the surrounds. We must awaken now. If you get a chance, please take a look at Jodi Deans recent book, The Communist Horizon.

    Well done with all your work, I follow as best I can, and as time allows.

    And as for being a Marxist, well, Marx was known (by Engels) to have said: All I know is that I am not a Marxist!

    And I suppose that, in keeping with that tradition, we are all Marxists now.

    Or should be.

  12. The way I see it is that revelations of this type amount to the experience of early Christians being an underground movement. For as long as the early ideologues of faith were heavily persecuted, they kept a certain purity of faith. Once their religion was adopted as a means of governing an empire, none of the original intentions of faith were kept. Articles of faith became codices for ruling over people and the true spirit of the original ideology was kept only for appearance purposes.

    Therefore Yani, you could be a frustrated Marxist or whatever other combination you wish but I guarantee you this with absolute certainty. That once your ideas or direction are adopted by the officialdom you will not recognize them at all in their execution form. In fact I am pretty sure that you will come to despise them.

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  16. Thank you Yanis for inspirational and motivational lecture today at Kino Europa, Zagreb.
    It was really inspiring.

    One thing, I didn’t quite like, if I may confess now, as you have confessed your ‘sins’, is it was depressing. I wanted to ask you this, but the time unfortunately ran out, so I’ll ask you here.
    The thing you said about ALL economic models, that they are irrelevant. Well, it was depressing for me, since I’m an ‘soon-to-be economist’, I’m about to finish my undergraduate economics course. Anyway, what I wanted to ask you is: what is the solution for that irrelevance for a young economists? To put simply, your advice for a young economist who is well on his path and cannot turn back.
    Are you proposing, with that negative attitude towards economic models which are inherent and very large part of the economic education, a radical reform of economic education system?

    Best wishes.

    • This is a tough question. Unlike in physics, our economic models are constitutionally incapable at capturing the essence of capititalism’s dynamic. We need to study them and toy with them as long as we do not fool ourselves into believing that truth about capitalism will spring out of them. It won’t. So, do study economic models so as (1) to avoid economists from fooling you (about what the models say or don’t say) and (2) as an intellectual exploration of the limits of analytical reason when it comes to grasping the evolving social economy.

    • Maybe it is good idea for the economics researchers to abandon model-driven theories and decisions and move to data-driven techniques. Try to use many many non-aggregated data, real-time data as google and amazon do.

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  18. Hi Yanis, I am a veterinarian by profession, living in Canada. One day I was driving my car and listening to your conversation with Mrs Rocktel in the program ( writers and company). After that , I bought your book the Global Minatur. I guess, your explanation to what had happened to in 2008, was more credible than any other book in this matter. Thank Professor Yanis, you have incited me to go back and read more of your books, and probably be serious about learning more about marxism.

    • Just like you cannot have your Adam Smith or Joseph Schumpeter and still believe that financialised capitalism is compatible with the Good Society. In any case Jerry, the trick is to swallow none of these -isms but, instead, to be Francis Bacon’s bee that samples the nectar of a thousand flowers and convert it, inside its gut, into something new and appetising; something that owes a great deal to no single flower.

  19. Could you please post a transcript for those who can’t listen in?
    That would be great.
    Thank you for your work!

  20. “who remained touchingly oblivious to the catastrophe about to befall them”…For those at UADPhilEcon, you know very well the above statement does not apply.
    We were fascinated by your lectures, diversity and pluralism and had common worries. The problem is that we could not react as bravely as you did.
    How could we influence politics – politicians – elit when all the others had failed – punished?
    However, a lot of us we are already punished, but at least, we were (are) all aware of the Utopia of Democracy!

    Best Wishes,
    JS

    • You know I was not referring to our UADPhilEcon community but to the undergraduate students who strove almost exclusively for a pass grade. (I shall clarify this!)

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  22. This open letter was placed up on iTulip.com some months ago and I believe has in turn sparked at least one Green paper.In it I quote Frederic Seebohm.

    An Open Letter to: Group of Thirty
    Regarding your new report:
    Long Term Finance and Economic Growth

    Dear Paul A. Volker, et al,

    I write, not to present a detailed analysis, rather, I wish to direct your ongoing thinking towards a wider viewpoint than that already expressed within. To that end, and by pure chance, I discovered the following in an old book I purchased a few weeks ago:

    “To statesmen, whether of England or of the new Englands across the oceans, the importance can hardly be over-estimated of a sound appreciation of the nature of that remarkable economic evolution in the course of which the great English speaking nations have, so to speak, become charged in our time with the trial of the experiment – let us hope also with the solution of the problem – of freedom and democracy, using the words in the highest political sense as the antipodes of Paternal Government and Communism.

    Perhaps, without presumption, it may be said that the future happiness of the human race – the success or failure of the planet – is to no small degree dependent upon the ultimate course of what seems, to us at least, to be the main stream of human progress, upon whether it shall be guided by the foresight of statesmen into safe channels or misguided, diverted, or obstructed, till some great social or political convulsion proves that its force and its direction have been misunderstood.

    ….. But still the deep sense I have endeavoured to describe in these few sentences of the importance of a sound understanding of English Economic History as the true basis of much of the practical politics of the future will be accepted, ……..

    It is simply an attempt to set English Economic History upon right lines at its historical commencement by trying to solve the still open question whether it began with the freedom or with the serfdom of the mass of the people – whether the village communities living in the `hams’ and `tons’ of England were, at the outset of English history, free village communities or communities in serfdom under a manorial lordship; and further, what were their relations to the tribal communities of the Western and less conquered portions of the island.

    On the answer to this question depends fundamentally the view to be taken by historians (let us say by politicians also) of the nature of the economic evolution which has taken place in England since the English Conquest. If answered one way, English Economic History begins with free village communities which gradually degenerated into the serfdom of the Middle Ages. If answered in the other way, it begins with the serfdom of the masses of the rural population under Saxon rule – a serfdom from which it has taken 1,000 years of English economic evolution to set them free.”

    (Preface, The English Village Community, an essay in economic history, Frederic Seebohm, LL.D, F.S.A., Longmans, Green and Co, 1896)

    There are two very important aspects that stand out within Seebohm’s thesis; that our economic cultural heritage stems from much more than 2,000 years of evolution; from slavery, through serfdom, into freedom, and that all of the progress was made through the process of ownership of very small, privately owned, local community enterprises. In ancient times starting with the simple practice of gaining ownership of very small plots of land upon which to grow crops for onward sale; while in more modern times, we can see that that simple concept was extended to become the foundation for the small, local, free enterprise businesses; providing prosperous employment for the citizens of each local community

    It is my contention that the grass roots, free enterprise, very small, private business; form the foundation for the rest of the wider economy; that every aspect of the continuing success of Group of Thirty entirely depends upon their return to prosperity.

    Group of Thirty have had the good grace to openly admit:

    “There are deficiencies in the systems that should channel savings from households and corporations into an adequate supply of financing with long maturities to meet the growing investment needs of the real economy; that long term finance should be supplied by entities with committed long-term horizons.”

    Your report concentrates upon every aspect for the ongoing survival of the existing financial community; in a sense, quite right too. That is your primary responsibility; but as we know full well, your sometimes excellent report is a wish list and even with the very best efforts of everyone involved; it might take decades to fully implement.

    My duty today is to change your perspective.

    Your natural working environment is at the top; both literally and operationally. Your viewpoint is from the highest aspect of the debate; but as I see it, what you must now do is take yourselves right down to the ground, the pavement or sidewalk of your financial economy and look down at the invisible foundations.

    All your problems stem from far below your natural working horizon; down at the smallest business structure, (the same one that Seebohm illustrates), the villager that has thrown off their serfdom and set out to embrace the freedom of being their own boss.

    In past history it was the very simple process of gaining access to a small strip of land adjacent to their village, on terms that allowed them to prosper; that through their hard work, they could better themselves. Over many centuries; they evolved the underlying rules to ensure they owned the rights to their means of economic progress; they became free to manage; managers that owned their business. Their long term freedom was firmly embedded into free enterprise. That strip of land eventually becoming a share in a free enterprise.

    In which case, the most important lesson is to remember that to enable the continuance of a free nation; the foundations of the economy must be, (not should be), must be; built upon an ongoing acceptance of the principles of free enterprise for the millions of first stage business founders. It is their supreme example, to every other member of their local community; of the long term benefits of hard work and enterprise; that form the foundations for any successful free nation or group of nations. It is their needs that you must concentrate upon; not yours.

    Today, as a direct result of what were, I am sure, unintended consequences of financial policies pursued by institutions under your direct control; and taking account of the structural difficulties built into the present economic model; there are now somewhere near 100 million inappropriately, under and unemployed “serfs” within the Western economies. Ergo, we are facing the potential reversal of thousands of years of economic history.

    Moreover, and again, with the greatest of respects; you do not have to hand the necessary resources, particularly with regard to people with deep experience of free enterprise down at that level, to enable you to deliver a rapid reversal back onto a stable path forward.

    Another aspect is that you do not have what one might describe as good old fashioned business control over your situation. You are constrained by being unable to act without political input; which is surely why, again and again within your report, you used the word “should”. I discovered this when attempting to gain help from both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank. Both institutions are similarly constrained; nothing gets done without political agreement and consequent direction. That then begs the question; do any of you have the necessary authority to implement new thinking?

    By the same token, surely, is it not fair to say that you cannot, at your level, produce such a report and then stand idly by to watch continuing destruction of the underlying foundations of your free market economy? Time is not on your side.

    You are the directors of the financial industry; you have no option but to step forward and take charge of the creation of the solutions.

    There is no one above you to implement your findings.

    What you have to learn to understand is that without your input, guidance and direction; we here on the outside are powerless. That, while you will, indeed must, inevitably, concentrate upon your own needs and responsibilities; you must also accept that those of us on the outside need your help. May I be so bold as to suggest that; if you delegate the solutions to the renewal of the foundations of the economy, to those of us that have long carried the torch for the previous failure to invest; you both free yourselves to concentrate upon the needs of the wider financial system; while allowing those of us with the detailed knowledge of the underlying difficulties; to establish the new institutions you have accepted must be created.

    We cannot do that without you; you will lack credibility without us. We must work together.

    No, I do not mean fancy conferences, huge public debates; instead, we need an open door to a direct conversation with your authority; a workable interface, between the innovators outside and the financial structures inside; always remembering that we are free to move very quickly indeed, if adequate resources are made available.

    So, why not try some new thinking?

    Yours sincerely,

    Chris Coles

    The Capital Spillway Trust

    • Chris Coles, your libertarian dream is what we have, now. Unregulated markets and economies all over the Western world, what you call freedom. Except it won’t be the small entrepreneur that you wish could revitalize our economies – corporations have replaced the small businessman as the engines of production. Nostalgia for the 19th century is OK, I guess, but times have changed, as Yanis pointed out in his brief description of economic history from the time of Marx through the industrial revolution to now.

      Freedom is what we’ve got; it’s just not for you or me; it’s freedom of corporations to rape and plunder the masses any and every way they can, particularly the bank and financial corps. The banker’s coup that took place in US and Europe will not be solved by small business, in fact the banks are starving entrepreneurs. You remind me of my sister, saying, ‘if we could just get honest people elected to office, everything would be all right.’ As Yanis said, the banks control the media, the elected politicians, and economic discourse at every important level. In other words, you can’t get “there” from “here”.

    • Many thanks for your thoughtful reply David Sheegog, and also many thanks to Yanis for allowing me to place such a long comment, (and this reply), on his personal web space.

      My “libertarian dream” was never about “Unregulated markets and economies all over the Western world”. In 1994, having sparked a debate within the Governor’s office at the Bank of England, about the lack of available capital to enable me to obtain European patents in 1992, I sat down and created a set of rules for such investment under the title of The Capital Spillway Trust as a direct response to the UK government proposal of Venture Capital Trusts.

      Central to my own input was that finance was not, and still, is NOT; abiding to the rules of a true free market. My primary example is that a bank can change the rate of interest charged downstream of the deal being struck. That simple mechanism breaks every rule for a free market and my argument is set out in great detail in chapter 4, What is a Free Market?, page 58; chapter 5, The Rules for a True Free Market, page 61 and chapter 6, Feudal Venture Capital and M&A, page 68, in The Road Ahead from a Grass Roots Perspective.

      You will see that I am arguing that the entire financial system is against all idea of a true free market; that modern finance is instead; deeply feudal. Yes, you are correct to suggest that I show nostalgia for past history; what you seem to fail to understand is that we will not recover control of the economy by standing back and saying, as you have here: “Freedom is what we’ve got; it’s just not for you or me; it’s freedom of corporations to rape and plunder the masses any and every way they can, particularly the bank and financial corps.”

      Even though I have never received any direct financial support; I keep getting my chance to stand up in public to pass on my comments. An excellent example was when Yanis stood up to give his presentation in London last year; particularly in the House of Commons Committee room. I was told by the staff of the European-Atlantic Group, http://www.eag.org.uk/ that had organised the debate; that within the EAG, they were still remarking on the points that I had raised, more than a month after that event.

      Again, I have been granted free passes to major European banking and finance conferences. This year so far a major Islamic Finance Summit in London where on the second day while sitting down for dinner, the most senior delegate was brought to my table to be introduced to me. Again, The International Financial Law Review invited me to attend their European Capital Markets Forum. No, certainly not everyone was impressed with my input. But now, this month, I am invited to attend the Berggruen Institute on Governance “New Deal for Europe” Public Forum in Sciences Po in Paris, May 28th. http://berggruen.org/councils/the-future-of-europe

      All through this I have stuck to the remit of “Do not come to us with your problems, but instead present us with solutions”. As such I do believe that my input has, to some extent, sparked several Green Papers. A good example being the European Commission “Long-Term Financing Of The European Economy” COM(2013) 150/2. So it is relevant to ask; did you know of this green paper? Are you planning to present your input to it? On the negative side, it would appear that no major UK bank will now respond to any attempt on my part to ask them to work with me; I suppose hardly surprising.

      But we must remain positive; they simply cannot avoid accepting that there is now a desperate problem with youth unemployment, the theme in Paris on the 28th.
      Central to my input are these four points, below, which were presented to a web cast by J.P. Morgan Asset Management Institutional Client Group this last week. (They did not refer to my question, but their debate was very illustrative of the underlying problem where they only deal in a very few potential investment areas).
      http://event.on24.com/r.htm?e=617464&s=1&k=562DAB9D76AD15D2F923142FD9C8F1EE

      Four notes to back up question from Chris Coles regarding The Capital Spillway Trust. http://www.chriscoles.com/page4.html (I had asked them if they knew of my input).

      1. Trading in “Markets” has placed all prosperity under your control. But now you have no new growth because you do not have a system to capitalise millions of micro free enterprise businesses; a function once provided by small local community prosperity.

      2. My input has been to create a set of acceptable rules to enable such low level, grass roots investment; the idea being all dams, (financial institutions are finance dams), must have a spillway or, you end up, as now, with a financial desert downstream.

      3. With world wide needing tens of millions of new businesses to be capitalised, you must have a very simple mechanism to provide the necessary flow of capital.

      4. You must quickly re-capitalise the grass roots economy. Vanishing bonds are simply a way of making a rapid transfer of prosperity; from repayable, but poor value bonds, into non-repayable equity capital entirely targeting job creation.

      All anyone can do is keep presenting solutions. They have no option but to accept the need for change; when their own economic model has very effectively destroyed the grass roots economy, (where the youth of the planet get their first leg up into productive employment).

    • Chris, here’s a link to a Raging Bullshit blog post with a recent movie, “The Brussels Business”, embedded in it. Watch the movie, understand the bankers’ coup that took over the EU.

    • David Sheegog,

      A very polished movie, but far too padded out for my taste; it should be reduced to 30 minutes. It shows life as it is; large companies always have the resources to fund such lobbying. With Europe, as also the US, the pendulum has swung too far to one side and all we can do is ease it back to a point where everyone can feel more comfortable about the underlying process.

      Without intent to distort; I too am a lobbyist. I have a point of view and I express it. In my case, I see that what is required is an understanding of the need for acceptance of rules for a true free market; alongside recognition of the need to always fund new entrants into ANY market to ensure competition.

      My platform is that I believe that free enterprise based equity capital; invested with minimum rules; into any new start up business; leaving the originator of that business in complete control; with the manager of the business owning the business; is the only way to increase prosperity of the entire economic system.

      That investment must start at the grass roots level; allowing the business to grow organically into a new competitor of any existing business supplying the market they address.

      I stand for Free Enterprise.

  23. Does this end-confession exonerate your previous ‘theoretical’ writings Mr. Varoufakis? Why are you giving up trying to ‘save capitalism” now, is one question? Are you going back to Isvan Meszaros’ BEYOND CAPITAL, is another? How will you explain the deadly silence of Greeks in the sinking boat in Marxist terms? And the 1% trillionnaires increasing their goods by leaps and bounds? Should we wait for (Godo) Global Capitalism to go down… the next millenium?

    • Good questions Eleni, with an eye to the future! We need a salvation for Greece.

  24. There is something I’d like to say, and don’t know quite how to formulate. There’s Howard Zinn’s reference to being on a moving train, and that perhaps starts to capture it. What I increasingly feel is that my life is not stable, and the world around me is not stable, however,at the same time I have discovered that there is a source of understanding (which is not yet a means to arrest the uncontrollable jerking of the vehicle in which I travel) which originates in the writings of a bearded man long dead, but which is today kept alive by those who have read and studied his writings…………..and all the while, I am thrown about and off balance.

  25. thank you Yannis for sharing. from the first time i heard you on Doug Henwoods show, to your books (Modern Political econ. Global minatour and Fundamentals of econ, I have sincerely apprecited your works . I was an econ major then switched to Labor studies though i enjoyed the econ component of the discipline but was turned off from the mainstream for exactly the reasons you stated so many people are turned off by how econ is taught. do not discouraged your work is invaluable………….ABEL

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