A question of respect (or lack thereof)… – the Greek veto over Russia that never was

On the first day in our ministries, the power of the media to distort hit me again. The world’s press was full of reports on how the SYRIZA government’s first foreign policy ‘move’ was to veto fresh sanctions on Russia. Now, I am not qualified to speak on foreign affairs but, nonetheless, I must share this with you at a personal level. Our Foreign Minister, Nikos Kotzias, briefed us that on his first day at the job he heard in the news bulletins that the EU had approved new sanctions on Russia unanimously. The problem was that he, and the new Greek government, were never asked! So, clearly, the issue was not whether our new government agrees or not with fresh sanctions on Russia. The issue is whether our view can be taken for granted without even being told of what it is! From my perspective, even though (let me state it again) I am certainly not qualified to speak on foreign affairs, this is all about a question of respect for our national sovereignty. Could journalists the world over try to draw this important distinction between protesting our being neglected from protesting the sanctions themselves? Or is this too complicated?

Finance Ministry slows blogging down but ends it not

The time to put up or shut up has, I have been told, arrived. My plan is to defy such advice. To continue blogging here even though it is normally considered irresponsible for a Finance Minister to indulge in such crass forms of communication. Naturally, my blog posts will become more infrequent and shorter. But I do hope they compensate with juicier views, comments and insights.

For hope to be revived we must all strive to change the ways of a dismal past. Maintaining an open line with the outside world may be a small step in that direction.

So, keep watching this space!

Heard the news? Greece’s finance minister is no extremist – THE TELEGRAPH

Yanis Varoufakis: Greece’s future finance minister is no extremist

The man touted as frontunner to be Syriza’s finance minister is not the socialist firebrand which one might expect

Syriza, a hard left party, that outrightly rejects EU-imposed austerity, has given Greek politics its greatest electoral shake-up in at least 40 years.

You might expect the frontrunner for the role of finance minister to be a radical zealot, who could throw Greece into the fire.

Yesterday Greek democracy raged against the dying of the light. Europe and the World should join us

Today, the people of Greece gave a vote of confidence to hope. They used the ballot box, in this splendid celebration of democracy, to put an end to a self-reinforcing crisis that produces indignity in Greece and feeds Europe’s darkest forces.

The people of Greece today sent a message of solidarity to the North, to the South, to the East and to the West of our continent. The simple message is that the time for crisis-denial, retribution and finger-pointing is over. That the time for the reinvigoration of the ideals of freedom, rationality, democratic process and justice has come in the continent that invented them.

Greek democracy today chose to stop going gently into the night.

Greek democracy resolved to rage against the dying of the light.

Fresh from receiving our democratic mandate, we call upon the people of Europe and, indeed, the world over, to join us in a realm of shared, sustainable prosperity.

The world economy post-2008 – Interviewed by the Institute of Regulation & Risk

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Since the demise of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 and ensuing great financial crisis (GFC), it would seem rather obscenely that central bankers and monetary policy has been obsessed with “deflation”, rather than remedying the actual causes of the crisis itself. Is this a fair analysis? 
Continue reading

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century from a Marxist Perspective – audio

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On 6th December, I was kindly invited by the editorial board of Science & Society (the oldest continuously published journal of Marxist scholarship worldwide) to deliver a keynote to its Editorial Board’s Annual Meeting. My talk was based on a recent critical review of Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century which can be read here. To listen to my talk, click...

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard on Greece and the rise of SYRIZA – from THE TELEGRAPH

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 10.55.14 PMIn this powerful, balanced article, published today in conservative UK daily THE TELEGRAPH, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard makes important points on Greece and a prospective SYRIZA administration:

Events have rudely exposed the illusion that the Greek people will submit quietly to a decade of colonial treatment and debt servitude… Greece was sacrificed to buy time for the alliance, like the Spartans at Thermopylae. It was subjected to an unworkable economic experiment, in defiance of known economic science and principles. Europe’s leaders have betrayed their a special duty of care to Greece. They may at last have met their match in the ice-cool Mr Tsipras.

To read the whole article, click here.

Public Debt: How the classical economists looked upon it (wonkish) – Guest article by Nicholas Theocarakis

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 8.37.25 AMWith so much talk about public debt, the so-called debt crisis etc., it is perhaps time to take a close look at the history of the concept; of how public debt was born, on the evolution of its nature and, even more poignantly, of the manner in which economists have interpreted and evaluated its purpose and impact. In this encyclopaedic article Nicholas Theocarakis (colleague, co-author and dear friend) explains. Click here for his paper (which was recently presented as the closing keynote at the 4th ESHET Latin American Conference) and here for a fabulous pdf file offering glimpses of the main texts mentioned.

MODERN MONEY: AESTHETICS AFTER THE GOLD STANDARD (video), UC Berkeley, 7th Nov. 2014

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 11.30.50 PMClick the image above to watch a 60′ keynote on Money, and its Aesthetics, after the Gold Standard, following by a presentation by Danae Stratou of her remarkable installation ‘It’s Time to Open the Black Boxes’ – click here for a full description (and pictures and video) of that work.