Oct 13, 2016
KGNU's Claudia Cragg speaks here for KGNU Fall Fund Drive (please DO consider supporting this public radio community station for the Denver/Boulder Area and beyond) with Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek Finance Minister.
In his latest book, And The Weak Suffer What They Must?, Varoufakis (“the most interesting man in the world” according toBusiness Insider) offers a potted history of post-war global finance, the rise of the euro, and its spectacular fall, along with his own prognosis and solution for the interminable crisis of European capitalism.
As is explained in the book, the rather clunky title comes from Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War, in which the vainglorious Athenians assert their right as victors to do as they please with the vanquished Melians: “The strong actually do what they can and the weak suffer what they must”. The Melians’ reply is that it is in the interest of the strong to show mercy to the weak lest their own fall “would be visited by the most terrible vengeance, watched by the whole world” - an argument which Varoufakis reproduces in relation to the treatment of Greece by their mighty German creditors.
For Varoufakis, the key to redressing the contradictions and imbalances implicit in the Eurozone (and any system of fixed exchange rates for that matter) is for “the strong”, i.e. Germany, to rule in “enlightened self-interest” by providing a stimulus to the Greek economy (and all other deficit states) rather than the current programme of devastating austerity.
The example given by Varoufakis is that of the intervention of the United States’ Federal Bank to prop up the state of Nevada after the 2008 crash. It is the lack of this “political surplus recycling” mechanism which, according to Varoufakis, has condemned the Eurozone to its present crisis-ridden state.