The Modern Greek Studies Association (MGSA) kindly invited me to deliver its 2013 Keynote, at the MGSA biannual Conference held at Indiana University. I grabbed the opportunity to speak auto-biographically and to place the Greek and global crises in a broader context of the discursive battles raging within economics. You can listen to the talk below, click here for a pdf copy or read on for a web version of the text… Continue reading
On Saturday 12th October, I was interviewed by Geraldine Dooge for the ABC Radio National’s program ‘Saturday Extra’ on the theme of Greek claims on Germany for wartime reparations and on a strange ‘loan’ that was extracted from the Greek government by the Nazi authorities. You can hear the interview here:
Read on for an analysis of the wartime Greek loan to Germany and for a proposal on how to settle two thorny issues (the settlement of that loan and the inevitable. impending haircut of Greek debt) at once… Continue reading
- “Did anybody ever come back from the dead?”… “Put the guns into our hands and we will use them. Give us the slogans and we will turn them into reality.” Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun
- “We think Piraeus and Alpha, two banks we have a position in, are now very well capitalised and poised to recover… They have good management and we think the Greek economy is improving, which should benefit the banking sector.” John Paulson, of Paulson & Co.
When John Paulson moved into Greek banking shares in recent weeks, and came out in public to ‘talk up’ his new investment, Europe’s authorities and the Greek government rejoiced: Greece must, clearly, be on the mend beginning with its recently ‘recapitalised’ banks.
(This article was commissioned by The New Left Project – click here for the NLP’s site)
A few days before the German federal election, the American commentator Bob Kuttner called upon German Chancellor Angela Merkel to use the election victory that was clearly in the making to change tack regarding the European Periphery. Focusing on Greece, Kuttner added to a chorus of commentators who have called for a Marshall Plan, accompanied by a generous degree of debt forgiveness, as a ‘second phase’ of the program of budget austerity and reform imposed on Greece over the past three years. Kuttner even suggested labeling it The Merkel Plan, so as to afford the Chancellor a timeless legacy for genuine ‘tough love’, as opposed to being permanently remembered, at least in the Mediterranean, for unremitting heartlessness toward citizens of countries bankrupted when the Eurozone’s architecture was found wanting.
The problem with Kuttner’s noble suggestion is that Germany cannot afford such largesse. Continue reading
Regular readers will recall my pieces on the closure of the Greek public broadcaster. A longer and more comprehensive version, in which I took the time and the space to unfold my memories of ERT’s presence in our collective Greek experience, became our third contribution to Witte de With’s Review. For the WdW Review site, click here (it contains additional photos that are related to the story). Otherwise… Continue reading
When anti-racist rapper Pavlos Physsas was stabbed to death by Nazi thugs in the streets of working class Keratsini, near Athens, Greek society was forced to acknowledge that the serpent’s egg had not only hatched but that it had produced a venomous snake intent on taking a terrible toll. No longer content to bash migrants and to intimadate their opponents, the Golden Dawn thugs had calculatingly adopted a new tactic: Unleashing deadly violence against leftwing activists – first against a group of nine communist party members, whom they hospitalised, and soon after with Pavlos’ deliberate murder. Click here for my radio interview with Radio 2SER, Sydney, Australia, on the deeper causes of this ‘incident’. For a piece on what needs to be done,… Continue reading
Asymmetrical monetary unions, wherever and whenever tried in combination with free trade and deregulated capital movements, ended up in tears and retribution. The Gold Standard, the various pegs between domestic currencies and the US dollar (S.E. Asia, Argentina, Mexico etc.), the ERM (European Exchange Rate Mechanism), the Eurozone that followed the latter’s collapse etc. they all resembled invasions of Russia – that is, a brisk beginning full of enthusiasm and hope, rapid progress that seemed unstoppable, followed by a heart wrenching slowdown as Cruel Winter took its toll, ending up with blood on the snow and infinite retributions thereafter.
This short paper offers a theoretical explanation of asymmetrical monetary unions’ inexorable slide toward crisis and explains:
(a) Why the Eurozone’s current response to its crisis (e.g. the so-called banking union decided upon, the ECB’s OMT, the insistence on austerity with ‘structural reforms) will ultimately fail, and
I live in hope that, one of these days, I shall be in a position to say something positive and cheerful upon being asked by a journalist after my views on the latest ‘Greek Success & Recovery’ story as put forward by Greece’s Prime Minister. Unhappily, I am not able to do so presently. Continue reading
Is Chancellor Merkel right when she recently said: “Greece should not have been admitted into the euro area”? Continue reading
The back cover of a portuguese magazine dedicated to politics and critical thinking recently depicted a car mirror in which a Greek flag was clearly visible, complete with the sign: WARNING – OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR. With no further comment from me…
As a child, I was fascinated by my mother’s, and her mother’s, tales from the 1940s, and in particular their stories about life under the Nazi occupation. It is perhaps not a coincidence that children’s books used to be replete with grim tales of murder, dismemberment and assorted horrors. Continue reading
Readers of this blog will recall that, years ago, I was predicting that the (mis)handling of the Euro Crisis by Brussels-Berlin-Frankfurt would cause parts of the Eurozone Periphery (Greece in particular) to metamorphosise into versions of Kosovo. This reference of mine has, I must add, upset friends in Kosovo. My message to them is to take my parallelism not as an attempt to put Kosovo down but, rather, as a pragmatic assessment of the convergence of the Eurozone’s Periphery to the current state of Kossovo’s social economy. After all, Kossovo is an EU protectorate, where the major decisions (including privatisation, energy, security) are taken by a Brussels’ functionary, the euro is the country’s currency (without of course any Kosovar official playing any role in monetary policy decisions), the local government is monopolised by a local cleptocracy and, tragically, unemployment is so high that the country’s greatest export is its young people. In other words, Kosovo is the limit toward which other EU countries, like Greece, are now tending. Neither Kosovo nor the Eurozone’s Periphery deserve this fate. Alas, Europe’s compounded political failures have given rise to this hideous, and yet utterly avoidable, catastrophe.
On 8th August 2013 Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, of The Telegraph, took up my analogy in this piece, entitled “Greece becoming new Kosovo as youth jobless hits 65pc“