Radio and TV interviews on the Euro/Greek Crisis and the Modest Proposal. Plus an announcement…

For those interested, a number of links to recent radio and TV interviews on the latest twists and turns of the Greek-euro crisis follow:

Lastly, let me pre-announce that, tomorrow morning, a Declaration of support with the Modest Proposal’s basic tenets will be mentioned/published in the Financial Times, Der Spiegel and quite possibly other European publications. The full text, plus an explanation of the Declaration’s intent and pre-history will appear on this blog. Watch this space!


  • A great article from Hans-Werner Sinn is Professor of Economics and Public Finance, University of Munich, and President of the Ifo Institute.

    “Farewell to the Euro?”

    He is one of the most remarkable people I have ever met. I think it is important that people realize, that we do not only have politicians with moderate intelligence and a 2nd class eduction in Germany (Merkel et al), but also some very smart guys.

    • @Georg:
      I tend to ignore economists that are paid by banks, insurances and politics. These are the types that often disagree with him. Sinn has intellect and balls, a rare combination these days.

    • @ Knut,

      OK, we differ here, it was not ‘only’ Olaf, but a bunch of other people from Ex- FED, Central bankers, Hans Boeckler Stiftung (Gustav Horn, Fabian Lindner) as well as Juergen Stark himself who stated, rightly so imho, that Sinn is risking his entire reputation with the flaming articles and false statements – TRAGET 2 – he continues to publish.

      In my view, if Ackermann is the most dangerous Banker, the Sinn is the most dangerous economist.

    • In the essence Hankel, Henkel and Sinn are not so far apart. Sinn is just much more fun to talk to. Most likely he is the the most intelligent among the three, which makes him dangerous, just as Gregor Gysi.

    • MARK MAZOWER has shown for years that he know as better then we would dare to know ourselves… This man has a great sensitivity concerning the historical suffering of Greece.
      Indeed nice article Anna v. I would try to translate it to Greek.

  • What i would like to add as a comment after listening the conversation in China International radio is the use of the expression “canary in the coal mine” .

    I had a completely different understanding than your explanation in this conversation .

    Problem = faulty european design (you may want to add other things too)
    Symptom ( Deadly Gas ) = unexplicably severe european financial crisis
    Canary = Greece

    Within the context that Mr Varoufakis used this expression , it was clear to me that he used the above analogy to manifest that Greece is really the first piece of a european domino or that Greece is not the problem but just an alarm targeting a bigger problem .

    The problem is that i have heard other people using the same expression but within a completely different context . So whenever i heard this expression , i was anchored to a different mindset .

    Alternative mindset= more powerful countries want to further expand their domination to southern countries by imposing legislations which give them access to public and private assets , overiding national sovereingty . In the implementation of such plan , it may sound strategic to hit the weakest country first .
    (People from northern countries or more powerful ones may find this mindset non realistic or consider it as a conspiracy theory but if they look at the treaties signed , loan agreements etc, they will acknowledge that one may very well draw such conclusions ).
    Within this context , Greece is the first country to be dealt with , one can say that it resembes a canary or it’s the first strategic goal of a wider plan .

    I am aware that everybody in the panel of China International Radio were familiar with the first scenario but i just wanted to share my misunderstanding .

    Irrelevant —> I would like to complain about the conversion of a political issue to an economic one .I dont underestimate how important a financial system is and how inter-connected modern world is but i strongly opposed to a further european integration based only on financial terms .
    I would like to add to Mr Varoufakis overview of the problem ( 1)bank insolvency 2)underinvestment 3) debt ) a fourth one : democratic deficit and corruption at european level . Or in other words , why national greek deficit was hidden from greek people for so long and why european bank insolvency problem is hidden from the german , french etc people ?

    • Let me address #4. Was the Greek deficit hidden from the Greek people for so long? It looks like Greece was running a 100% debt to GDP for over a decade, so hitting 110% after an economic shock should not be a surprise. The IMF even issued papers warning on Greek debt in 2005. I think the “hidden” story was about the revision of the 2009 yearly deficit from 6% to 9% and then 11% or 13%. That was the shock. But the size of the actual deficit was not such a mystery. as for European bank insolvency, those are private companies with kooky accounting methods, and it would not be a surprised that if the state of the actual finances were actually being hidden from various people in those companies. Some people knew about Enron in the USA, these things are rarely a mystery.

    • Well , when i talk about the truth hidden from greek people , i mean average people not economists .
      Another reason i am talking about lack of democracy and corruption is that opinions which are not “pleasing” are rarely welcome in mass media .

      Also take into account that when Greece entered Eurozone , it was extremely cheap for an individual to borrow money . This fact was highly misleading . Greek companies were higly profitable . Nothing was signaling the disaster before 2006 , seen by a non expert eye .

      On the other hand , greek governments were hiding the truth .For the simple reasons that if they were telling the truth , they would propably not been re-elected . No one wants to hear bad news .
      The same holds true for european officials too. There are public statements from Jean-Claude Juncker admitting hiding the reality . Ofcourse they did that for different reasons .

      The great hide from PASOK government ,before 2000 and before entering eurozone, (secret swaps from GSachs) , was presented by greek media as a great financial success story . “The PM with his ministers managed to deal with the deficit problem of Greece” . That’s what they said back then and the majority of people in Greece still believe that .

      Also , do not be surprised if deficits of other countries are as much tampered as the greek one .

      Ofcourse i dont say that as an excuse for Greeks . I am saying that because it’s a problem we have to deal with in Greece !!!

      My point is that hiding the truth is a seed for disaster . And whatever plan we follow / alltogether or individually , lobbying , mass media control and political decisions relied on marketing and image making companies won’t do the trick .

  • Professor Varoufakis:

    Your “modest proposal” has just been presented (sans your name, alas) on SKAI news at 9:00 pm Greek time … lead story!

  • Also Yanni:

    You are acknowledged in this Kathimerini article:

    Der Spiegel: Ένα «New Deal» για την Ε.E. εξετάζουν πρώην πρωθυπουργοί

    Ένα ‘New Deal’ κατά το αμερικανικό πρότυπο, προκειμένου «να διασφαλιστεί η συνέχεια ύπαρξης της Ευρωζώνης και η οικονομική και κοινωνική συνοχή», που απειλείται από την κρίση στην Ευρωζώνη ζητά μια ομάδα πρώην αρχηγών κρατών και κυβερνήσεων, σύμφωνα με πληροφορίες του γερμανικού περιοδικού «Der Spiegel».

    Το «New Deal» ήταν το αμερικανικό πρόγραμμα μεταρρυθμίσεων που εφαρμόστηκε τη δεκαετία του ’30 μέσω πολλαπλών κρατικών επενδύσεων. Η Ευρωζώνη θα μπορούσε κι αυτή, μέσω της έκδοσης ευρωομολόγων, να συγκεντρώσει χρήματα, «προκειμένου να χρηματοδοτήσει την οικονομική ανάκαμψη, αντί να επιβάλλει μέτρα λιτότητας, αναφέρει διακήρυξη την οποία υπογράφουν οι πρώην πρωθυπουργοί Γκι Φερχόφσταντ(Βέλγιο), Τζουλιάνο Αμάτο(Ιταλία), Μισέλ Ροκάρ(Γαλλία), καθώς και ο πρώην Πορτογάλος πρόεδρος Ζόρζε Σαμπάγιο.

    Η πρωτοβουλία για τη διακήρυξη προήλθε από το πρόεδρο του Οικονομικού Πανεπιστημίου της Αθήνας Γιάννη Βαρουφάκη, καθώς και από τον Βρετανό πολιτικό του κόμματος των Εργατικών και καθηγητή Οικονομίας Στιούαρτ Χόλαντ. Όπως υποστηρίζουν, με τα χρήματα αυτού του «New Deal», θα μπορούσαν να χρηματοδοτήσουν κυρίως έργα, τα οποία θα υλοποιηθούν με τη βοήθεια της Ευρωπαϊκής Τράπεζας Επενδύσεων (ΕΙΒ). Από τα μελλοντικά έσοδα αυτών των έργων θα μπορούσαν στη συνέχεια να εξυπηρετηθούν τα χρέη της ΕΕ μετά τη λήξη τους.

  • I listened to most of these discussions. I specifically enjoyed the debate on China International Radio. Excellent work Yanis! This world-wide campaign is very important. Keep it up!