This was the longest break I have taken since this blog began life. Two and a half books were written, during that time, plus a great deal of swimming in translucent waters, like those depicted in the adjacent photo, was done.
With Europe continuing to experience its existentialist crisis, and the world at large more troubled than ever, it is now time to leave Nature’s wonders behind and return to our societies’ troubled waters.
In the next posts I shall ‘visit’ Australia’s latest Austerian Turn, before heading for Finland – where my Global Minotaur was just published (in fluent Finnish) and where I am to deliver a keynote this coming Monday on the state of Europe.
Photo: Polyaigos Blue (Please note that the blue-ness depicted is not photoshopped or enhanced in any way. This is what it looks like, on the south west corner of the barren island of Polyaigos, close to the island of Melos.)
Over the past year I have argued that Europe needs a jolt. Continue reading
Six weeks of hard labour. That was the ‘cost’ of re-configuring my site in a manner that makes it possible for readers to gain easy access to archived material. As these posts span the whole of the Euro and Global Economic/Financial Crisis since 2010, and thus read a little like a Crisis Diary, I thought they might be of use to you in their new format. A new look was also developed to mark the re-framed content. Please note that the main header will feature a new photograph by Danae Stratou every fortnight (in a bid to ‘capitalise’ the privilege of being married to an artist of some renown).
- Personal introduction (About page) – this page contains an intimate, personal history comprisiing:
- Europe in Crisis, which subdivides into: Europe’s Crisis & Europe’s Denial, The Modest Proposal and European Democracy Imperilled
- Global Crisis
- Greek Implosion
- Radio programs/broadcasts
- Press, which comprises: Op-eds & major articles, Interviews and Talks
- Posts on Politics, Philosophy & Economics (PPE)
- Ελληνικά (Pages in Greek)
Do enjoy! And do send me feedback on the new site.
Just a quick warning, to loyal readers, that I am in the process of re-constructring the site. Over the next few days you may find new headings without the proper links and other such signs of digital chaos. By the end of the week, the ‘new’ version of the site should be complete.
Thank you for your patience!
Το «Τhe Hub Events» και ο Νικόλας Πρωτονοτάριος οργάνωσαν την Τρίτη 4 Ιουνίου 2013, στις 20:00 την τελευταία για φέτος συνάντηση του Hub Science, στο πλαίσιο του οποίου πραγματοποιήθηκε η διάλεξη του καθηγητή οικονομικής θεωρίας και συγγραφέα Γιάνη Βαρουφάκη με θέμα «Η Ευρώπη μετά την κρίση: Μεταξύ του εφικτού, του επιθυμητού και του απαραίτητου». Πατήστε εδώ για την ομιλία και τις διαφάνειες.
So, Grexit is off the table, at least for now.
Well, it was really never on the table, as some of us have been shouting from the rooftops for years now.
Back in May 2011, I was writing here that the whole idea of expelling Greece from the Eurozone was based on “an incredible treat”; on “…a flagrant lie”. “Greece” I insisted, “cannot be pushed out of the euro without the euro collapsing in short order.” The utility of issuing such a threat was, I suggested, “to exact from the Greek polity many pounds of flesh, by which to impress Northern Europe’s despondent electorates that Greece deserves another huge, expensive loan. As is so often the case with naked blackmailing, an incredible threat is pressed into the service of an ill-conceived goal: To the issuing of a fresh gargantuan loan to an insolvent country that neither needs nor wants it.”
Events of the past few months have confirmed all of the above. Now, that this revised loan agreement has been forced upon Greece, the Grexit threat has been put back in the drawer, to be retrieved whenever the powers-that-be think necessary. Meanwhile, the organised supporters of the troika’s austerian irrationalism are doing what they are good at: painting all critics of the troika program with the same brush. To give an example, Nuriel Roubini’s admission that he was wrong on Grexit is used as an excuse for celebration; as confirmation that the troika’s cheerleaders were right all along. In their enthusiasm they fill Greece’s social media with tweets such as “Roubini and Varoufakis proven wrong” and questions aimed at me like “Roubini accepted his error. You?”
Well, I prey and hope that I too can admit I was mistaken. That Greece and Europe are back on track. Alas, reality does not let me do this. For, as this post (among many others) demonstrates, I was, unhappily, spot on: Grexit was indeed used as part of a fiscal water-boarding strategy for the purposes of pushing Greece further into its curent Depression.
Grexit, as some of us were warning, should never have been taken seriously. It was never on the cards. Tragically, as a strategy of subjugation it worked a treat.
“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”—Albert Camus
Photo by Danae Stratou
Click below for a China International Radio debate on the Eurozone Crisis, the extent to which austerity has caused the latest slip of the currency union area into recession and what can be done about it.
Panel Discussion involving:
-Cui Hongjian, Research Fellow with the China Institute of International Studies.
-Yanis Varoufakis, Professor of Economic Theory at the University of Athens.
-Jan Priewe, Professor of Economics at HTW Berlin the University of Applied Sciences.
(Please note that during this whole debate I was, simultaneously, driving through New Mexico and Texas, on the way to Austin. It is a sign of how the Eurozone Crisis has gotten under our skin that we can do this sort of thing!)
Here is the preamble as presented by China International Radio
Europe slipped into recession for the second time in three years against a backdrop of large and often violent demonstrations against austerity measures.The 17-nation Eurozone’s economic output further fell by 0.1% in the third quarter. These economies had already registered a 0.2% drop in the second quarter.Five eurozone countries are in recession-Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Cyprus. Those five are also at the center of Europe’s debt crisis and are imposing austerity measures, such as cuts to wages and pensions and increases to taxes, in an attempt to stay afloat.
- When: Tuesday, November 20, 2012, 7:30 – 9:00pm
- Where: Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street. $5
- Click here for Seattle Town Hall’s webpage
Financialization, ineffectual bank regulation, greed, and globalization were not the root causes of the global economic crisis, says economist Yanis Varoufakis; rather, they are symptoms of a much deeper malaise that can be traced from the Great Crash of 1929 to the 1970s: the time when a “Global Minotaur” was born. Just as ancient Athenians maintained a steady flow of tributes to that Cretan beast, so the world began sending incredible amounts of capital to America and Wall Street, making the Global Minotaur the engine that pulled the world economy from the early 1980s to 2008. The result, says Varoufakis, was a system as unsustainable as it was imbalanced, and not only in (present-day) Greece and other European economies making headlines today. When it buckled under its hubris, it delivered a world economy that could not regain its poise.
- Presented as part of the Town Hall Civics series with Elliott Bay Book Company.
- Series supported by The Boeing Company, the RealNetworks Foundation, and the True/Brown Foundation.
Tickets are $5 at www.townhallseattle.org or 888/377-4510 and at the door beginning at 6:30 pm. Town Hall members receive priority seating. Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street.
It is with great pleasure that I received the news that the Spanish translation of The Global Minotaur is out. The published text is that of the second edition, which will not be appearing in English, until February of 2013.
Many thanks to my Spanish publisher, Capitán Swing (click here for their webpage).
For an immediate reaction to the book, in the form of a review by leading Spanish newspaper El Pais, read on or click here.
The Occupied Times ~ of London honoured me with a request for an interview. It has just been published here. The text of the interview is also copied below. Please support them any which way you can.
Money Talk$: Yanis Varoufakis
If you happen to be in the Netherlands today and tomorrow (Thu 6/10 and Fri 7/10) and wish to participate in a debate on the Modest Proposal, this is your chance. Come along.
The adjacent poster concerns the Groningen event. Click here for an interesting introduction to this event.
For the Amsterdam debate-presentation that follows on the next day click here.
When the Modest Proposal argued, a year ago, in favour of a debt management system, for the eurozone as a whole, with the ECB at its centre, the general response was that it was a good idea containing a major flaw: the suggestion that the ECB issues its own eurobonds (for the purposes of financing the servicing of the eurozone’s Maastricht compliant debt). The rejoinder was that this is not what Central Banks do. It is my feeling that our answer to this objection was complete and comprehensive. Indeed, it seems to be winning the argument across different schools of thought. Today I want to go a step further: To argue that the ECB must issue its own eurobonds for its own sake, in order that is to retain its credibility and independence.
This blog has been risking its readers’ sanity by repeating ad nauseam, and in a myriad different guises, the claim that the euro crisis is, at root, a chain of bank insolvencies causally attached to another (derivative) chain of member-state insolvencies. And that, as such, all attempts to deal with the resulting Crisis by rivers of liquidity (to the banks by the ECB and to the states by the EFSF/IMF/ECB/EU) are bound to worsen the problem. So, when Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, said the following a few days ago, I found it hard to fight off a creeping sense of gratification: Continue reading
In yesterday’s FT, George Soros sided with two of three main policies in our Modest Proposal 2.0 and took a position largely in tune with our third policy. First, he agreed that the current euro crisis is significantly a banking crisis and, thus, adopted the policy (that the Modest Proposal 2.0 first made) that the EFSF or its ESM offshoot (after 2013) should be utilised primarily to force banks to recapitalise. Secondly, he also proposed a transfer of the existing level of Maastricht-compliant debt to eurobonds. Thirdly, he prognosticated that the medium term effects of the policies that will be approved formally on 25th March at the EU summit will be a two speed Europe, meaning that the periphery will be condemned to an investment crisis that will drag the whole of the continent down. In this sense, Soros’ prognosis is utterly consistent with our third policy recommendation: namely, energising the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund as the agents of Pan-European Recovery.
In the next couple of days, we touched up variant of the Modest Proposal (Version 2.1?) will appear here, taking into account the recent contributions of a number of participants in this debate, George Soros and Lorenzo Bini Smaghi included. So, watch this space. For the time being, here are a couple of telling quotes from the recent Soros article:
- Germany blames the crisis on the countries that have lost competitiveness and run up their debts, and so puts all the burden of adjustment on debtor countries. This is a biased view, which ignores the fact that this is not only a sovereign debt crisis but also a currency and banking crisis – and Germany bears a major share of responsibility for those crises.
- Berlin is imposing these arrangements under pressure from German public opinion, but the German public has not been told the truth and so is confused.
- First, the European financial stability facility must rescue the banking system as well as member states. This will allow the restructuring of sovereign debt without precipitating a banking crisis.
- Second, to create an even playing field, the risk premium on the borrowing costs of countries that abide by the rules will have to be removed. That could be accomplished by converting most sovereign debt into eurobonds; countries would then have to issue their own bonds with collective action clauses and pay the risk premium only on the amounts exceeding the Maastricht criteria.