Last summer (an aeon it seems before my recent sojourn into politics&government) I spent ten days writing a short book in Greek on economics. The idea was to write it as if it were addressed to my young daughter, so as to keep complex ideas simple and to test my capacity to home in on what matters while discarding unnecessary complication. Now, a German edition of that book is about to be published and I was asked to author a preface for my German readers. Here is the result:
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?
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!
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.
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.
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?
Interviewed today by la Repubblica. CLICK HERE (Italian version only). Or read on… Continue reading
Interviewed by Alessandro Bianchi on Greece and Europe in the run up to the Greek general election of 25th January 2015
Click here for the L’Antidiplomatico site or, for the English original,…
Thomas Fazi has just interviewed me for ONEURO on Greece and the Eurozone two months before a possible Greek election. To read the interview as published in Italian click here. For the Q&A in its English original… Continue reading
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...
(For the Portuguese language version of this interview, click here. Otherwise read on…)
In 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.
Prompted by this critical review article of Professor Thomas Piketty’s Capitalism in the 21st Century, which I recently published in Real World Economics Review, Andrew Mazzone (of the Henry George School Social Science) kindly interviewed me on the subject of inequality and Professor Piketty’s book.
With 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.
Continuing the discussion we began on modern parallels to the Versailles Treaty (the Greek Bailout, as I claimed here, or Maastricht, as Klaus Kastner juxtaposed here – see also my rejoinder here), Klaus Kastner takes stock with this, latest, missive. Continue reading