Being Greek and an Economist While Greece Burns, MGSA Keynote 2013, Yanis Varoufakis

The biannual Modern Greek Studies Association meeting took place last weekend in Bloomington, IN. Yanis Varoufakis gave the keynote address. Below is a link to his talk and the full text. He begins with a sustained critique of his own profession–economics–and then an overview of his own work and intellectual development, which led to the publication of The Global Minotaur (see the talk for an overview). Varoufakis is something of a contrarian, and he certainly works from the left of the political spectrum. Nevertheless, he was one of the few economists in the pre-crisis period who warned that unsustainable bubbles were building in the global economy and that the world would be plunged into recession (or depression) once these popped. Regarding the Eurozone crisis and the austerity programs foisted upon the “peripheral” states, here’s his conclusion:

“Greece was never bailed out. And nor were the rest of Europe’s swine – or PIGS as we are now called collectively. Our bailout was a cynical ploy for transferring large losses from the books of the French and German banks to Europe’s taxpayers, and in particular to Germany’s taxpayers. All in the name of… European solidarity which, like the banking union, is constantly proclaimed in name to be denied in substance. This sinister subterfuge, this successful attempt to mislead seventeen Parliaments all at once, led to a death dance of insolvent banks and bankrupt states – sad couples that were sequentially marched off the cliff of competitive austerity – with the awful result that large sections of proud European nations were dragged into the contemporary equivalent of the Victorian Poorhouse.”

Full text here.

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