Recently I was at a coffee shop, and to test a metaphysical hunch I asked a few of my fellow caffeinated confreres this question: “What is money?” They all gave answers along the following lines. Money is an arbitrary symbol of exchange value that we just make up in order to facilitate trade and investment. Money itself isn’t any thing but it is a collectively believed in fiction which operates as a very useful means of exchange. Continue reading
In this radio interview I am talking with Norman Swan (standing in for Phillip Adams) on Europe in the light of the recent European Parliament elections. Click here for the ABC RN site or just click on the player below:
Proposals for resolving the Eurozone crisis, and re-designing its architecture, are multiplying – especially as evidence mounts that the crisis is continuing, despite all the official announcements of its end. Our Modest Proposal was the first to have been tabled, along with Breugel’s Blue Bond Proposal, back in 2010. In this review article, J.K. Galbraith and I argue that, while there is now a plethora of proposals for ‘fixing’ the Eurozone, there are only two competing camps. One is our ‘Modest Camp’, whose policy recommendations would re-configure the Eurozone immediately, using existing institutions, and without cumbersome federal moves that would legitimate a permanent Austerity Union. The other being, what we described as, the Federalist Austerians’ Camp. Click here for the OPEN DEMOCRACY site
Europe’s appalling handling of a euro crisis that was always going to happen, given its faulty architectural design, has triggered an electoral result in the recent European Parliament elections that is a clarion warning that Europe is decomposing. And it is decomposing precisely because of the Left’s spectacular failure to intervene both during the construction phase of Europe’s economic and monetary union and, more poignantly, after the latter’s crisis had begun. Continue reading
The ECB is now reaping the grim deflationary harvest it sowed by dithering for so long in the face of shrinking credit and a diminishing money supply – all due, of course, to four years of universal austerity at a time of frantic de-leveraging by bankrupt banking sectors too cosily intertwined with fiscally stressed governments. Continue reading
Solitary Subversives is about the Power of One in the face of oppression. About how one person’s refusal to succumb to authoritarian lies can make a difference. It begins with an almost forgotten Greek film, that I vividly recall having made an impression upon me along such lines, and then relates two other stories highlighting the capacity of one person to resist against all odds.
Solitary Subversives is our sixth article for the Witte de With Review (an initiative of Rotterdam-based Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art) of which we, vitalspace.org and I, are their… ‘Athens Desk’). Click here for the Witte de With Review site which contains several photos missing here. Or read on…
Stepping Out/In. Photo by Maria Papanikolaou (with the assistance of Dimitris Lazoulos), vitalspace.org
Finland, like my homeland, Greece, is a small country at a treacherous geopolitical crossroads that traditionally inspired great anxiety amongst its people, but also instilled into their character considerable resilience. Unlike Greece, from the mid-1990s until fairly recently Finland succeeded in turning itself into a net exporting nation, ostensibly capable of powering its way into the ‘core’ of Europe’s monetary union. So, when in 2010 my country sank in a sea of debt, Finland ended up as one of the countries that, reluctantly, guaranteed the gigantic loans afforded to countries like Greece. Soon after, Finland fell into the second ‘dip’ of its post-2008 recession, where it still languishes today. Continue reading
How the current policies of the Brussels-Berlin-Frankfurt triangle are based on a propaganda campaign reflecting continuing Crisis Denial and why they constitute an attempt to create a new financial bubble – Why SYRIZA is a pro-European progressive party, in contrast to UKIP and Ms Le Pen’s FN – What should we expect of the new Italian government and why there is important room for an alliance between Italy and a SYRIZA-led Greek government. In conversation with Alessandro Bianchi of L’Antidiplomatico (click here for the Italian version) Continue reading
Alexis Tsipras, leader of Greece’s largest political party (SYRIZA), and the European Left’s candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission, has just given Mrs Merkel (and her merry disciples around the Eurozone) an important lesson in democracy.
Europe went to the polls last weekend. Here is my take on the election results – in an interview with Thomas Farzi (author of The Battle for Europe: How an Elite Hijacked a Continent – and How We Can Take It Back).
- What’s your general take on the results of the European elections? Continue reading
In this European Parliament election, Europeans are confronted with a stark trilemma; with three competing narratives on the state of the Union one of which we must adopt and vote accordingly. Continue reading
Is there Life After Money? A Summary, with comments, of Yanis Varoufakis’ The Global Minotaur: America, Europe and the future of the world economy, Zed Books
By Dr Paul Tyson, Honorary Associate Professor, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Nottingham.
The sordid relationship between the owners of the Bank of Pireus and MIG (a holding company that used to own one of the two failed Cypriot banks, as well as a swathe of Greek companies) is well documented. Recently we witnessed a new chapter in this saga, one that went almost unnoticed and which was quietly condoned (like all recent scandals) by the Athens government and the troika. Klaus Kastner blogged on this deal in a highly informative recent post, entitled MIG: A great place to invest €250 million?, and also sent me an email with the following question/point: “It baffles my mind how a bank like Piraeus where the state has part-ownership would buy €250 million convertibles of the holding company of a group which is as shaky as the MIG Group (unless, of course, the 250 MEUR were used to repay loans to Piraeus). MIG may have operating companies of operational worth and market prominence but the whole group is built on hot air and, at least for the time being, the operating companies are incurring horrendous losses.” My answer to Klaus follows… Continue reading
Tom Bowker, of the Central Banking Journal and centralbanking.com, has written about my proposal that the ECB’s Quantitative Easing program should be aimed at purchasing bonds issued by the European Investment Bank/Fund as part of an Investment-led Recovery Program for the Eurozone as a whole. Continue reading
The ECB has no alternative to enacting some form of Quantitative Easing (QE) in order to prevent deflationary expectations from setting in fully. Core inflation has already reached a level that, even according to Mr Draghi’s own pronouncements on 24th April, should have already triggered off QE. (See also Wolfgang Munchau’s well argued case here.) However, the ECB’s governing board is finding it hard to agree on what assets the ECB ought to buy. In this post I suggest a simple answer to this debilitating question.
On 15th May, the Bellwether Economist Conference (see program) posed the broader question “Who will fill the funding gap?” and the narrower but crucial question “Is Europe Reforming?” In this post the reader can find/hear my contribution in lieu of an answer to the second question, as well as to questions on how the ECB should practise quantitative easing, how the Greek debt crisis ought to have been handled etc. Continue reading
In conversation with Andrew Brady of USiLive regarding the state of Europe now.
In 2013 Greek taxpayers borrowed from the rest of Europe’s taxpayers €41 billion to pump into the Greek banks. This is well known. What is not known is that, also in 2013/4, the Greek banks received an additional, well hidden, €41 billion bailout loan from Greek and European citizens. This bailout was never authorised by any Parliament or even discussed in public anywhere in Europe.