Greece has a new government giving new hopes for Europe (what a nonsense to say that it is a threat to "Europe"). Greece also has a new finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, who has refreshing views on Europe and the world economy. You can read his views in in a blog that he has kept for many years and intends to continue: "Yanis Varoufakis thoughts for the post-2008 world".
It is great to have in Europe a new, thoughtful minister of finance. I hope he will receive support from colleagues in other European countries and from within the European Commission and the European Central Bank. Economic dogmas should stop reigning, rational reasoning should become the norm again.
A few weeks ago Yanis Varoufakis explained on his blog why he had decided to accept the invitation of the now new prime minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, to be a candidate for Syriza in the elections.
This is what he said:
engagement is a form of praxis. But there comes a time when, to retain
its relevance, critical thinking must transform itself into direct
It was never my intention to enter the electoral game. Ever since the
crisis began, I entertained hopes of maintaining an open dialogue with
reasonable politicians from different political parties. Alas, the
‘bailouts’ made such an open dialogue impossible.
As the Eurozone’s inevitable crisis was addressed by a cynical
transfer of banking losses onto the shoulders of the weakest taxpayers,
politicians and commentators who tied their colours onto the so-called
bailouts’ mast demonstrated precisely no interest in rational debate.
Instead of discussing, in the European Union’s fora, the nature of
our systemic crisis, the powers-that-be were busy fiscally waterboarding
proud nations, letting them take a few short breaths before submerging
them again into the waters of illiquidity. Thus Europe began to lose its integrity and its soul, turning from a realm of shared prosperity to an iron cage, a debt prison, a form of Victorian workhouse.
At the economic front, this crisis-denial led to contagion in the
sovereign bond markets, beginning with Greece where the combination of
savage austerity and huge loans was tried and tested, before being
exported to the rest of the Eurozone. Predictably (as this blog was illustrating day in day out)
the contagion was only made worse, reaching Italy with extreme
prejudice and forcing the ECB to step in in the summer of 2012 with Mr
Draghi’s famous “whatever it takes” moment. Only the crisis never went
away but, rather, it was transferred from the bond markets to the real
economy, yielding vicious deflationary forces that have now rendered
Spain, Italy and France fiscally unsustainable.
At the social front, crisis-denial and the logic of the bailouts gave
rise to a humanitarian crisis that Europe should be deeply ashamed of.
Again predictably, the result was the fanning of the flames of
misanthropy, of racist nationalism, of all those sinister forces that
are demolishing European democracy and replacing it with
self-propagating authoritarianism. The results of the last European Parliament elections confirmed
that sad truth but did nothing to sway the powers-that-be away from the
policies of deconstruction that are behind the emergent bigotry.
Greece is where all this started. It must be where a reversal of
Europe’s fragmentation begins too. Regular readers of this blog are
familiar with my efforts to come up with a sensible, modest proposal for resolving the euro crisis.
Such proposals have no chance, I have now understood, until and unless
they are tabled at the Eurogroup, in Econfin at the EU summit.
This is the reason that when Alexis Tsipras honoured me with the
offer to run for an Athens parliamentary seat, and with a view to play a
role in Greece’s negotiation with Berlin, Frankfurt and Brussels, I
could not but accept.
My greatest fear, now that I have tossed my hat in the ring, is that I
may turn into a politician. As an antidote to that virus I intend to
write my resignation letter and keep it in my inside pocket, ready to
submit it the moment I sense signs of losing the commitment to speak
truth to power.