71 Comments

  • I am bit dazed from Lauren’s persona.

    It seems to me that whatever she says we ought to do it.:-) Certainly no one wants to displease her and if Germany were to elect her as the new Chancellor I might even scale back my general opposition to anything of Teutonland nature.

    Nevertheless, to expect Syriza to win this Sunday is not in the cards. And even if it were possible, Syriza has neither the domestic coalitions nor the European coalitions necessary to deliver its promises.

    As far as the anti-memoranda stance, which seems too fashionable lately, be reminded that Samaras invented it. Even Venizelos says so (minute 18+)

    • Once and for all.

      Syriza’s promises are irrelevant.

      What you are saying is that if Syriza makes good on it’s promises, you won’t like it because you don’t agree with them.
      If they can’t deliver, which as you say is the most probable outcome, it would be their fault.

      How about putting the onus on the other side?

      What promises have the pro-memeranda parties + EU policy masters put on the table? Is it their brilliant success so far? Is it the deeper hole they envision where the hopes and dreams of the next two generations will be burried? Or, is it the expectation to see the evil smile on Merkel’s face when she gets whatshe wanted?

      You have to decide.

    • Estrangeiro:

      No. What I am saying is that Syriza does not have the depth, experience or capacity(aka skillful people) to form a government, let alone govern.

      And New Democracy is not a pro-memoranda party. Far from it. They were the ones that started the anti-memoranda movement. Arguably as a counter weight to the policies of the ruling socialists at the time, but nevertheless that’s what they did and they are the ones who should be credited with the movement.

      It is erroneous to decide in the upcoming Greek elections to vote for a party based on their memoranda or anti-memoranda stance. The vast majority of Greeks are anti-memoranda and want to stay in the euro. So, their message to Europe is: ” please change these Merkel arbitrary rules attached to the memoranda because they don’t work”. Plain and simple.

      No one has been given the exclusive rights to such message to Syriza. And it’s therefore wrong for Syriza to monopolize such rudimentary message as it is equally wrong to paint other parties as pro-memoranda. One has to be an idiot to support a program that hasn’t worked.

      Therefore the choice comes down to experience and skill. Of which Syriza has neither.

    • estrangeiro,
      Dean has long since “decided”, to wit:
      “Yet our task is to choose experience, not untested passion.(my previous position on the May 6th elections still stands).”
      Dean has been an ND troll on this site from the beginning.

    • “And New Democracy is not a pro-memoranda party. Far from it. They were the ones that started the anti-memoranda movement”

      Sometimes you sound like you have not the slightest bit of understanding of the Greek reality.You keep chewing that “ND is the party that started the anti-memoranda movement” gum,as if you dont know that during the last 40 years,the opposition was always against the government at all,no matter if it was the right thing to do or if being against the government on a particular topic was against the opposition’s stated ideas and political views.

      Furthermore how do you prove that ND was the first to become anti-memorandum?Was ND the only party against the Memorandum in May of 2010 ?
      And if it was (though it was not) who voted for the 2nd Memorandum?Syriza?KKE?

    • David old buddy:

      I would normally give you your due for the “troll” comment. But since I have have only 4 days left in this blog and for old times sake I will let it go.

    • @Dean

      If you have determined that you will comment here for only another 4 days, this is pretty conclusive evidence that your primary purpose all along has been to influence people’s voting intentions. Otherwise known as political propaganda, some might call (have called) it trolling. It also explains the large numbers of absurd comments and even falsehoods that you have repeatedly and insistently placed here about Samaras and New Democracy.

    • @Dean

      Jam with you???
      First of all why would i want to bother “Jamming with” a john doe ?I think you are way over head if you think that.Second if you take arguments as a family feud challenge (instead of pure difference of opinion)…then either me or you have come to the wrong place.

      Last but not least i would appreciate an actual response instead of a video….after all thats too easy…

    • This is exactly how you make jam with politicians.

      Just replace strawberries with internal organs.

    • Crossover:

      I don’t understand who do you think you are and what response you think you are entitled.

      You don’t seem to be sophisticated regarding the issues at hand.

    • @Dean

      “I don’t understand who do you think you are and what response you think you are entitled.”

      I think i am the avg person next door.Im not entitled to any response.You can either give no response at all or keep posting nonesensical videos.Im merely saying that replying in my argument with silly videos,is not a sign of smartness at all.I rather call it smartassness and i believe everybody here can play this game rather easily.
      Then again,i already told you this is not family feud so no reason to exhibit either your smartness or your smartasness.Arguing is a healthy aspect of social life,you know ?

      “You don’t seem to be sophisticated regarding the issues at hand.”
      You dont seem to be sophisticated regarding giving sophisticated replies.

  • Good conversation by Greek economists. Too bad it’s all in Greek for those not speaking/understanding the language. What Κώστας Μεγήρ (Yale University) says, finds me in particular agreement:

    • Ooops. Economists. I meant.

      And a small clarification. I obviously disagree with Yanis about his politics. I don’t think Syriza is what Greece needs at the moment and I wish the remaining political choices in Greece were better but aren’t.Yet our task is to choose experience, not untested passion.(my previous position on the May 6th elections still stands).

      Yanis finds me in agreement about his theories, analyses of the problems at hand and his economist conclusions as presented in this blog on numerous subtopics of the same main theme: the European crisis and how to best cure it.

      Obviously we disagree with the “afterwards” and on how his assessments are best put to practical applications.

      I thought of letting you know since this Sunday will be our moment of official departure. And since opinions might become heated between now and then, I thought of clearing the record at a time things are still relatively calm.

    • I am with you in your assessment. Prof Varoufakis has educated me way over my economics 101 ( in 1961) background, and I also disagree on his estimate that a Syriza win would be good for Greece and Europe. If it happens, it might be good for Europe, but Greece will descend into chaos very rapidly, in addition to the economic woes of the return to the drachma, that may be inevitable.

      the road to chaos:

      1) Syriza is speaking with many tongues, a symptom of its being a coalition of organized leftist groups. Only the maoist-leninists and the leninist-maoist are missing. These groups will try to assert their equality in a Syriza government and the whole coalition will dissolve since they have very different goals, and there will be new elections in two months.

      2) The immigration problem is being overlooked, but it is a real problem at grass roots. Already a young veterinary student has destroyed his life by killing a thief who with his brother had come from Albania on a thieving spree of audacity that boggles the mind. Hunting weapons are out and neighborhoods are organizing watches since policing is erratic and not enough.

      3) There is a real danger that once the economy dissolves the starved and without work illegal immigrants who are really a 1.000.000 moslem army of men will organize themselves somehow.

      Do we want another army dictatorship?

      Unwelcome though the choice of PASOK and ND is, it is one we should hope the populace is wise enough to choose.

    • “And since opinions might become heated between now and then, I thought of clearing the record at a time things are still relatively calm.”

      Boooooo. Off with his head.

      Just joking.

    • @anna

      Obviously. you also need to be educated on some other points too. Such as, (1) all the large political parties have different factions that compete with each other. Do you seriously think that Pasok or ND are ideologically more coherent than Syriza?

      (2) The issue of killing a burglar after he has left the premises (ie murder as opposed to self-defence) is a rather sad indictment of most people’s knowledge of the law. Perhaps the solution is to educate them about legal rights and obligations (especially with regard to human life) instead of blaming immigrants. Would it have been any different it they have been Greek burglers? Only a racist would answer Yes.

      (3) Your figure of 1,000,000 Muslims is a pile of crap. At this moment, there is not even a total of 1,000,000 immigrants of all nationalities — since so many have left in the last 2 years. Admittedly, there has been an increase of asylum seekers and irregular migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh in recent years — but the numbers remain relatively small. Besides, what has their religion to do with anything? All that they ask is for some respect and right to pray. Greeks had that over four centuries of Ottoman rule, and you think it ok to deny what even the Turks granted Greeks?

    • @Guest (Xenos)

      a) the difference between the internal factions of ND and Pasok is similar to the difference between benign bacteria and hostile bacteria in a body. The factions have worked together for a common goal for a long time, and it takes a long time for them to split, so some stability can be expected. The groups comprising Syriza are aggressive, new to power ( it they reach it) and unused to cooperation, hence all those splits. It will be like herding cats.

      b) the killing is a sad statement that policing has failed the communities, something that will become exponentially more evident if we descend into chaos. Educations takes years, we have weeks or maybe even only days when chaos becomes a possibility.

      c)Let us say that the muslim sleeping army is only 500.000, that is still a lot. They only need to organize in gangs and that will be enough. The religion is important, because their orthodoxy blesses the killings of infidels, that is us.
      One has started to hear of incidents downtown where 10 or 15 attack two and take whatever valuables they have.

      Lets pray that you will not become educated the rough way, when we do descend into chaos.

    • @anna

      On point (1), it seems that you are actually saying that you don’t want a new political party to assume power. Fine, if you are happy with the result of the idiots in Pasok or ND then vote for them. Your argument is one of conservatism, and is the style of reasoning that has prevented Greece from making any economic progress in the last 20 years.

      on point (2), no. The lack of education of the population (and lawyers and judges) on the meaning of law is systemic and goes back decades. This is the only country I have known where the lawyers and judges do not know the law, and prefer to give their personal opinions. It is hardly a surprise, then, that ordinary people have no grasp at all of legal concepts.

      (3) no, there are not 500,000 muslims in Greece. People are making up these figures to cause trouble. I am a leading authority on immigration in Greece, and cannot tell you exactly how many muslims are here because the Greek state doesn’t keep proper records of anything. However, it is a fairly small number if you exclude Albanians. Moreover, your claim that Muslims wish harm to Greeks (Christians) is pure ignorance. I suggest that you go and meet with some of the immigrant communities, and discuss your fears with them. You will find them all friendly, helpful and very concerned at strange ideas such as yours.

    • @anna: they are not serious sources at all. It is not your fault, so I should apologise that I was a little rude before.

      No, there are no recent sources. I have not published anything in the last 3 years on this issue, because the data are missing. Anyone who does is a fake and liar. It comes down to a matter of professional judgement, and these guys are not professional. They are just propagandists.

      I stand by my comments before: the number is small, probably less than 100,000

    • @anna;

      a correction, I thought you were talking about Muslim immigrants (I had a phone call in the middle of writing my reply to you).

      The number of irregular migrants stated is nonsense: most of them were unable to renew their documents because they didn;t have enough insurance stamps. These are not illegal migrants, they are victims of the Greek recession.

      The latest figure for residence permits was about 250,000; to that you need to add homogeneis permits (the state refuses to say how many) and applicants for political asylum (quite large numbers) and recognised refugees.

      Anyway, both those sources are crap. You should ignore them. There are two research organisations here which are serious on migration research — Mediterranean Migration Observatory and ELIAMEP.

    • @Guest (xenos) I found some numbers fro 2006 here: http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%94%CE%B7%CE%BC%CE%BF%CE%B3%CF%81%CE%B1%CF%86%CE%AF%CE%B1_%CF%84%CE%B7%CF%82_%CE%95%CE%BB%CE%BB%CE%AC%CE%B4%CE%B1%CF%82 and also through your ELIAMEP reference, both give a total ( legal and illegal) about 500.000. More than 80% are albanians. About 50.000 are the the ones who are glaringly foreign due to their color, from asia and africa. Now it is six years later and they have continued crossing the borders in their thousands.

      My “anti muslim ” attitute centers on their cultures which a) give little value to women and b) little value to infidel life. The gross killings every day for a few euro show this clearly, no matter the political correctness of reporters, it comes out that the ruthless killers are foreign.

      Things will get worse in an uncontrolled slide to the drachma, gangs will inevitably form ( hopefully not greater organizations) but the public desire for order will be ready made for a dictatorship solution, that is all I am saying. Im my opinion one should not vote Syriza because they are gambling with uncontrolled default. When we default it should be in a smooth way to the bottom.

    • @anna

      The WP figures are rubbish; they even use the CIA world factbook LOL.

      The 2004 estimates that I made were accepted as the best data by the Greek state and the IMF; they were 900,000 allogeneis or 1.15million immigrants including homogeneis without citizenship.

      There is no record of ethnicity, so anyone claiming to know that is a liar. There can only be estimations. Finally, you may not know that about 20% of immigrants in Greece were born here, educated in Greek and know little about their country of passport. That is why Pasok tried to pass a new citizenship law, to allow these people to become Greek citizens.

      Since 2005, the situation has changed so much that nobody has any idea. Many immigrants (especially Albanians) have left — the 80% ratio you quote is quite wrong even for 2006 — and some asylum-seekers have arrived mostly via Turkey. If you are concerned with Muslim immigrants,then it is greece’s defective asylum policy that is relevant. [Albanians are not all Muslims, and even those who are do not show much religious interest.] These new immigrants cannot find work, are left on the streets of Athens, and engage in drugdealing and petty crime just to survive. UNHCR is the best source for info on this.

      However, I insist that there is no problem with Muslims in Greece, other than their reaction to bad treatment by the police and the continued nonsense about not allowing them to have legal mosques to pray in. Go and meet the migrant groups, if you are in Athens. Try the Greek Migrants Forum, they would probably be interested to discuss matters with you. The real issue is the terrible state of the Greek economy, and how it affects everyone living here.

  • Dear Yanis Varoufakis, is the conclusion of this interview concerning the elections next Sunday not slightly different to the one you did with “Die ZEIT”?
    It’s clear, as you told us in “die Zeit”, that a solution can’t come out of the elections only. Greece, Spain, Ireland alone can’t solve any of the problems put upon the countries by our austerity-people like Merkel, Lagarde, Draghi and many more.
    But as far as I understand it you told “die Zeit” that it wouldn’t make such a big difference if Nea Dimokratia/Pasok or Syriza won the election. Here in this interview you say it would?

    In Germany the (not so many) people who are all against Merkel’s neoliberalism indeed look at Greece, June 17…
    The greece people could show that they didn’t believe in the “Alternativlosigkeit” (“there is no alternative” is one of the most stupid terms Merkel constantly uses to force her opinion onto the masses). If Syriza won and Tsipras wouldn’t later obey to the austerity-politicians (would be a tough fight, for sure. Merkel is called “Mrs. sms” in my country, a not so democratic but highly successful way of maintaining power) – couldn’t that indeed be a first step out of this horrible one-sidedness?
    Maybe as a former advisor for Papandreou (2004-07, if I know it right) you just dislike Syriza :-)? Well, I’ll find out!

    I’d wish we could see something like your interview here in Germany. Our media are so utterly one-sided, apart from very very few exceptions at the far left which only a few read. (A greek mate told me it wouldn’t be much different in Greece too).

    Now I’ll just shut up and read your book which I’ll get today. I read in your “taz”-interview (23.4.2012, “Die Deutschen drehen immer durch” to be found here in the archive, “April”^^) that you’d welcome a german leadership in Europe in the “global minotaur”. Well, I’ll see what you mean with that.
    It sounds like an especially horrible thought to me, but well – I’ll have to read the book first^^.
    At least you all can see how Germany and France led Europe throughout the last 10 and more years. There was not much of a difference if “social”democrats/green or CDU/FDP were ruling the country.
    Just mention “Euro-bonds” here, and someone wants to cut your throat…

    • I never told Die Zeit that the electoral result in Greece would not make a difference. What I said was that the Greek people are facing hard times either way. But that a Syriza would increase our chances that this hardship would not be wasted.

  • Thank you so much Mr Varoufakis for setting the important issues on the table each time.
    Everybody is talking about how lighter the collaterals were for Spain, ignoring that the numbers don’t add up. Ignoring the fact that Italy is next. And most importantly that countries like Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain are out of control in unemployment and local economics.

  • A “Scurrilous” Thought For Greece

    For whom might it make sense to help Greece, as impasse with Germany hardens and Greece approaches default? And what sort of offer of help would make sense for Greece?

    Europe and in particular the Germans have painted themselves into a Teutonic corner. It will make no more nor less sense for Germany to blink in two or three weeks time than now. Of course as the reality nears, of their own banks and those in France having to come clean before their own populace about the bad loans they made to Greece, they may lose their nerve. I strongly recommend Mr Tsipras reiterate his determination to set up a Debt Commission. The prospect of Europe’s and America’s banks having all their grubby and quite possibly fraudulent dealings with Greece’s oligarch families when they were in government, paraded in public will leave many powerful people wondering if an unfortunate helicopter accident couldn’t be arranged by some friendly…. no, no no. What am I saying! Or perhaps a fire inside a sealed room? Only joking.

    So who?

    I think it would make perfect political sense for Russia, China, India and Iran as a loose group to offer to help Greece in its hour of need.

    Why them?

    a) they have already formed a loose, though not so very loose, group who will accept each others’ currencies in international deals

    b) they already use the Yuan as a Settlement Currency (a currency considered safe and stable enough for major deals, like oil and gas, to be conducted in it) and

    c) they have been accumulating gold so that they could, in the event of a major currency incident, mention that their currency has large gold reserves behind it.

    Russia or China as the lead country, could tell the Greeks that whatever their new currency might be, it could become part of a rival currency group. The Euro nations are, I think, assuming Greece will run its currency in parallel with the Euro perhaps still using the euro for all its international dealings.

    The Russia/China group would score a major coup if Greece even appeared to consider such an offer. For them to be able to reach inside the EU’s back garden and offer the hand of help to Greece and the Greek people, when Greece’s neighbors ‘refused’ would be a major psychological and diplomatic event.

    The offer would not entail China taking on any of Greece’s debts. It would leave them untouched as business between Greece and its ‘old’ friends. So the offer would cost China et all nothing.

    I think Greece could potentially get a lot from such an offer:
    They, if they were bold, would serve notice to Europe that they were not Europe’s cur. They would not be tied to the Euro as its poorest and most powerless relation. Instead they would be poor but not powerless. They would have new diplomatic friends. Instead of being ‘outside’ the Euro they’d be inside something else.

    Would this alienate them from Europe? No I don’t think it would. No more than they will be anyway. Diplomatically it could actually cast Europe and Germany in particular as the ‘false friends’ in contrast to Greece’s ‘new friends’.

    Greece would also be wise, in my opinion, to make sure their new friends offered them the chance to not only use the yuan as its Settlement Currency, but also allow it to use Hong Kong to do all its sovereign business. This would be very attractive to the Chinese as I think they would like to see Hong Kong start to rival NY as the centre for sovereign settlement. HSBC would be the obvious bank to handle it. But one of the large Swiss banks could also. In partnership with a mainland bank of course.

    One massive advantage this would give the Greeks is the ability to thwart the Vulture funds who operate in the Southern District Court in Manhattan. The vulture funds use that court as their private bully pit for suing nations. If Greece could do its business in Hong Kong instead, the vulture funds and even vulture nations would be.. to use the technical term, stuffed.

    I realize this is scurrilous fantasy but it has, I think, enough of a ring of plausibility about it that I wonder if both sides, Greece and China/Russia/Iran/India haven’t wondered themselves.

    Both sides could potentially gain major advantages: The debt commission would still run, the fraudulent debts would still be defaulted, the banks would still run crying to their countries to force the tax -payers to bail them out AGAIN – nothing there would be changed, but politically it would be a whole new world.

    http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2012/05/a-scurrilous-thought-for-greece/

  • “But that a Syriza would increase our chances that this hardship would not be wasted.”

    independently of what i think about it ,wish you are right professor,really wish,but…

  • Thank you for explaining what you meant in the ZEIT interview!! I just misunderstood the last passage of the interview. Now I know better. Thanks! Just got “the global minotaur” from the bookshop and will tell those germans around me who are not ‘up in the trees at three’ about it after a careful study.
    Thanks to the blog of Michalis Pantelouris (in german) i found my way here. I am very grateful to him.

  • @ anna v: In the interview with Lauren Lyster Mr. Varoufakis states he doesn’t like many positions of Syriza (the passage starts at about 21’45 with a question, where he tells us what he thinks about politicians, and goes for the next around 45 seconds or abouts^^. He speaks of a “weak confidence” he has in Syriza. Apart from our problem here he seems quite to share yours and Dean Plassaras’ thoughts about Syriza, just watch the passage again^^.).

    For me it is most interesting to read yours and Dean Plassaras posts about the elections. Funnily enough, in Germany the only people who do not talk real rubbish about Greece (often sounding like coming from a yellow press’ madman’s mind, a real shame) are all in favour of Syriza! Nearly 100% of our more conservative voters want to see Nea Dimokratia/Pasok win, so the Merkel-way will go on.
    I am so very tired of all the mis-information and conservative propaganda we get from german media (there are a few exceptions) that i try to talk to as many greece people as I can find.
    People here in Germany, those thinking about Europe and not only Germany, wish that Syriza would win. A few greek internet-“friends” i found told me the same. They say, someone *has* to start stopping this. To me it seems Syriza must win, or we’ll all continue talking against huge grey walls, and all in favour of austerity politics will just go on like they do now. It is a humiliating and ugly way of doing politics, and I can’t think anyone in your country would really wish that. To admit it, it is a very tough job to understand what all the different countries wish for, the USA, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, and your country, Greece. I would be happy if some detector would exist to tell us if Lagarde, Merkel, and all those people really, really believed in what they tell us about their “ther is no alternative”-politics. Do they know about the trouble that is waiting for us, or do they really believe in their old neoliberal ways?

    • Klemperer85:

      Of course it’s your right to support Syriza, especially if you are part of the German Left.

      Your contention however that Merkel is pro-Samaras is completely untrue. Merkel hates Samaras’ guts a fact which quite frankly has me giving my support to Samaras. Because he is clearly the person who irritates Merkel the most, hence he is the right man for Greece. Re: PASOK they don’t even count any more, so PASOK is not a real choice.

      If Syriza were to be elected (an outcome possible but not probable) the following will apply:

      1. Merkel’s job will get much easier because she will have in front of her an inexperienced ideological opponent with no support from the European officialdom (hence a guy that she could easily defeat).

      2. Syriza will implement domestic only solutions (aka nationalizing Greek banks and reintroducing salaries and pensions at previous levels) which means that the primary deficit for Greece will go overnight from the 2+Bil. euro neighborhood to 12 Bil+ or so. Therefore Syriza will open an even bigger hole by giving amble reasoning to Merkel to disengage from trying to solve the “Greek problem”. At such point, Tsipras will become the “Greek problem” even though Tsipras is a 100% product Made in Germany.

      Again I am not saying to not support Tsipras if you so wish for solidarity reasons with your own cause in Germany but it would be naive to expect that Tsipras is what Greece needs at the moment.

      Exactly the opposite applies. The only thing useful that Tsipras brings to the table for Greece is the realization for the rest of Europe of how bad the Greek situation has become and thus how urgent relaxation of the arbitrary rules imposed by Merkel ought to be. In such situation, yes, I agree that Tsipras could play the role of a useful idiot but no more than that.

      To even attempt to suggest that Tsipras should be in power one must be a real enemy of Greece. And if the Left is your cup of tea, there is also Kouvelis who is really a mild-mannered and thoughtful man. Tsipras is and will be a disaster any which way you look at it.

    • People who do not live in Greece, who have not lived through five years of army oppression, have a lot of audacity to suggest that Greece be sacrificed like a modern Iphigenia so that a changing wind will blow over Europe.

      We who live in Greece and have some years over our shoulders, have read the writing on the wall if Tsipras wins. It is an anomalous slide to the bottom, and anomalies lead to dictatorships. Whoever does not comprehend history is cursed to repeat it.

    • “We who live in Greece and have some years over our shoulders, have read the writing on the wall if Tsipras wins. ”

      Wasnt you (the people who lived for 5 years under army opression, in general,not personally) who ruled this country after the restoration (?) of Democracy ?

  • Dean,
    Your statement,” And New Democracy is not a pro-memoranda party. Far from it. They were the ones that started the anti-memoranda movement.” is simply not true. I realize that PASOK started the spin that ND were anti-memorandum, but that was only after they realized their error in not joiining ND (or vice-versa) when they failed to make a coalition govt, AND, after both PASOK and ND had plainly announced in their attacks on Syriza that they were both pro-memorandum. Both parties basically followed Merkel in saying, ‘There is no alternative.’ I realize you would like to re-interpret this historical fact into a new myth about what an “experienced”, “tough guy” Samaras is, but we know better. Samaras is a Merkel puppet, as is Venizelos – and you know it. You’re comments are just like Samaras’ as he realized after the election that he had been riding the wrong horse as a pro-memorandum candidate.

    • David:

      Let me tell you the facts as I know them and subject to your double checking with any sources you want.

      Samaras adopted an anti-memorandum policy from the very start going back to 2010. He held constantly that position until this February 2012 due to a Merkel blackmail. Merkel refused to disburse already agreed upon funds for Greece unless Samaras indicated that he was willing to abide by the terms of Memo II.

      And that’s it. That’s the whole essence of Samaras capitulating. Of course he did not. Because terms extracted under a blackmail situation are not valid nor enforceable terms.

      So Merkel has in her hands a worthless piece of paper and the last thing she wants is a Samaras in power calling her bluff. Instead she wants a “coalition” government which is a cheap form of Greek self-policing in preserving the Merkel terms. This is why I have argued extensively here that the optimum solution for Greece is an independent, self-supported government with a clear majority.

      In a few years from now the Tsipras name would have been forgotten. He does not have the skills to govern; period.

      Now, if you think that it would be a worthwhile accomplishment to come in first in the June 17th elections then by all means let’s all vote for Tsipras. Then watch him self-destruct because this new phenomenon in Greek politics is way too new for even Tsipras to grasp and understand its meaning. It’s way above his pay grade.The safe position in this upcoming Greek election is to come-in a strong second (which is precisely what Tsipras is after; a strong place to consolidate his gains and catch his breath)

      But even in the remote case that Tsipras comes in first, he still would be shy of parliamentary majority. And this is where the real problems start for Tsipras. Because there is not even one other party in the Greek left or center that is willing to cooperate with him. None.

      So if Tsipras comes in first this Sunday, then we will have to go to a 3rd election yet. I just don’t understand why you are supporting a “non-solution” with such passion. This is not what Greece wants. Another stalemate and political theater. Greece needs a solid and responsible government, in other words anything but Tsipras.

    • Also David:

      Since you seem to have great difficulty in understading what these elections are all about for us Greeks:

      Ψηφίζοντας το μη χείρον

      Tου Μπαμπη Παπαδημητριου

      Δεν είναι σωστό να καταδικάζεις κάποιον επειδή είναι πολιτικός. Δεν είναι σωστό να καταδικάζεις μιαν άποψη πριν την ακούσεις. Δεν είναι ωραίο να απορρίπτεις τις ιδέες που έχουν οι άνθρωποι για να κάνουν κάτι καλύτερο. Oλα αυτά, όμως, για να ισχύσουν στην πραγματική ζωή πρέπει να οδεύουν σε λύσεις πρακτικές και πραγματοποιήσιμες.

      Αν εξαιρέσει κανείς τους διανοουμένους (καθηγητές, δασκάλους, ιερείς και μερικούς δημοσιογράφους), οι μόνοι που συστηματικά επιδιώκουν να επικοινωνήσουν μαζί σας μέσα από τον μαγικό κόσμο των «ιδεών» είναι οι πολιτικοί. Αυτή είναι η δουλειά τους. Πρέπει να σας πείσουν πως αυτό που εκείνοι έχουν κατά νου είναι καλύτερο από το άλλο που έχει ο έτερος πολιτικός σκοπό να επιδιώξει. Ζητούν δικαιοδοσία επί της χώρας για να μας προσφέρουν όσα χρειαζόμαστε, για να διώξουν τα τέρατα, για να βρουν τα χρήματα που μας λείπουν.

      Ο καθημερινός άνθρωπος, με όλες τις έγνοιες και τα βάσανα που έχει, περιμένει από τον πολιτικό να του προσφέρει ιδέες, για να διαλέξει την καλύτερη. Αυτή είναι η δουλειά τους. Διακινούν ιδέες, προτάσεις, επιλογές και εμείς υιοθετούμε τις καλύτερες.

      Μπορεί όλες οι ιδέες να είναι σεβαστές, ακόμη και οι πλέον επικίνδυνες ή παράλογες ή εξτρεμιστικές. Οταν όμως πρόκειται για την ανθρώπινη υπόσταση και για την προστασία των κοινωνιών μέσα στις οποίες και μόνον μπορούμε να υπάρξουμε χρειαζόμαστε καλούς και συνετούς πολιτικούς, ώστε να επιλέξουν προς συζήτηση μόνον τις ιδέες εκείνες που απαιτούν οι περιστάσεις.

      Εμπειρος συμπολίτης μου είπε το εξής: «Οταν μου παρουσιάζουν τους στόχους τους συμφωνώ κατά 80%. Οταν όμως μου δείχνουν τα μέσα για την υλοποίηση των στόχων το ξανασκέφτομαι». Συμφώνησα απολύτως μαζί του και σας το μεταφέρω.

      Επομένως, δουλειά του πολιτικού δεν είναι μόνον να επιλέξει τις σωστές ιδέες. Πρέπει να προτείνει και τα κατάλληλα μέσα. Αυτή η διαλεκτική σχέση υπάρχει αυτή τη στιγμή στην Ελλάδα μεταξύ των εκλογών και του Μνημονίου. Στις εκλογές, οι βασικοί διεκδικητές κατεβαίνουν με «ωραίες ιδέες» για μια χώρα στην οποία όλα θα δουλεύουν… ρολόι και οι άνθρωποι θα μοιράζονται την ευτυχία.

      Απέναντι στο «όνειρο» βλέπουν μόνον το τέρας του Μνημονίου. Απειλούν και καταδικάζουν, αλλά δεν αντιτάσσουν μετρημένες προτάσεις. Απειλούν ότι θα κατατροπώσουν τους γίγαντες που κατέλαβαν τη χώρα, αλλά φοβούνται αν εκείνοι μας αφήσουν μόνους μας. Κάνουν ό,τι και ο ιππότης του Θερβάντες όταν τα έβαλε με τους ανεμόμυλους – γίγαντες, ενώ έπρεπε να βρει χρήματα για τη Δουλτσινέα του. Πολιτικοί που συμπεριφέρονται ως ανειδίκευτοι επαγγελματίες ή απαίδευτοι ιδεολόγοι της καταστροφής. Εξ ου και η επιλογή του μη χείρονος!

    • Dean,
      My problem with Samaras is not his “magical world of Ideas”, it is his cowardice. He failed when confronted by a whimpering bitch. He has shown us his cowardice, and you excuse that hoping he will have courage the next time?

    • Dean: could you stop the lies and disinformation here? It is clear that you are a propagandist for ND, so nobody is taking you seriously now.

    • @Dean: the correct spelling is “sour”, just for your information.

      I am not aware of any preconceptions on my part. I disagree with your arguments and evidence.

      I consider you to be the loser, as do most of the people on this blog. Sorry to say it, but you were the first with this word…

    • Xeno:

      Don’t be ridiculous man. You are an absolute nothing. You are clearly my intellectual inferior by thousands of miles.

      Who invited you to have opinions about Greek politics? What’s to you?

    • And Xeno:

      There is no “sour” loser. The term is “sore loser” but in your case the “soar” part was an invented term to show your towering and soaring emptiness. And of course I know you are of Karagioz origin.

      What is you true name? do you dare sharing it with us?

    • @Dean

      I really wonder about people like you. You parade up and down the internet as if you really are somebody. OK, you meant sore as opposed to sour loser: how am I to know what your semi-literate intent was? It most certainly is not “soar”. Your arrogance is hilarious. And how dare you tell me that I am nothing!. It is clear that you cannot comprehend your own limitations, and think you have the right to troll for political purposes and to insult those who disagree with this.

      I no longer use my real name on the web, after threats and very nasty direct action that started about 5 years ago. Some of the people involved were Chryssi Avgi, others were just nationalistic morons. I see no point in exposing myself to nastiness for no gain; I imagine that you too would like to start trying to humiliate me on this blog. I know how people behave on the net, and you look like a typical nasty troll.

    • Troll here ,gomblin there.

      How about a game of dungeons and dragons? 🙂

      Or maybe we could play this nice game called Illuminati that had mentioned the 9/11 before it happened and that it also mentions the destruction of the Big Ben now during the Olympics.

      Who wants to be the Grant Mage? The dwarf? The grey slave? The reptilian? Let’s throw a Klingon there somewhere as well.

  • As with any decision there is always a degree of uncertainty. Yes, perhaps Mr. Tsipras was not part of the corruption of past years, but was it because he is actually a good person or because he was not given the opportunity to be corrupted? That remains to be seen depending on the election results. I would like to question though your notion of “skill” and “experience”. I think we have had enough of the “skilled” and “experienced” politicians who merely served as vehicles of corruption and were skilled in navigating and manipulating the system for their benefit regardless of the long term costs. If being skilled means subscribing to antiquated or “convenient” ideas or becoming a part of a corrupt system where banks instead of mere facilitators of wealth become the primary beneficiaries of it at the expense of actual working people that produce actual goods and services with real and not worthless private money then some lack of that type of “skill” and “experience” is a plus in my book. In my view the truth is easy to utter and if cool minds prevail a solution is possible. It is the lies that have to hide behind fancy words and notions, false dilemmas and fancy webs of deceipt.The Euro in its current conception is a vehicle of mutually assured destruction. Only with open dialogue, cool heads and collaboration from all members can we work towards mutually assured survival and in time, fairness and prosperity.

    • HarryM.:

      You are mixing apples and oranges.

      In the short term, Greece is engaged in a tactical and strategic political fight which must be won. For that we need our most experienced politicians and your labeling of “corruption” it’s for us to apply as we see fit. Sorry to say this to you but you have absolutely no say, no opinion and no background in deciding who is corrupt in Greece and who is not. That’s an internal issue and that last thing we need are naive interpretations on the subject by those who know the least.

      In the long term, you can engage all you wish in dialogue and understanding and all the other stuff that makes you feel elevated as a person and as a citizen.

      As to the here and now, one thing we will not do for certain would be to allow Germany to drag its feet while profiteering at the expense of all Europe by having bleeding hearts like you pleading for more time.

      As long as Greece is a net loser in this game there is no more free time. As soon as we put Greece in a winning position we can then grant you all the time you wish. Two can play this game.

      Idiot’s time is over in Europe and Merkel has to go.

    • Dean,

      For some reason, the reply button under your post is not active so please forgive the inconsistent response placement.

      I completely agree with you that Greece is engaged in a tactical and strategic political fight but if you expect ND and PASOK to fight that fight given what their actions so far based on FACTS and not OPINION, is like putting the wolves as guardians of the sheep.
      Their actions thus far can be attributed to either sheer incompetence (not very likely) orselling out to corruption and the primary beneficiaries are the bankers who back them and
      the special interest lobbyists who hound them.

      I also completely agree that if Merkel stays the course and does not alter her approachonly the upcoming German election may allow for a true change in climate.

      But remember most of the true campaign contributions come from big
      investors and bankers who expect fair value in return. Free speech does not get you spots on TV or ads in magazines and papers and most politicians are fully “sponsored”

      To expect the “experienced” politicians who are only out of jail right now because of a certain abomination of a law to fight for us, as opposed to supporting the
      status quo with only an illusion of “negotiations” and pre-arranged
      below the table dealings, is ultimately a delusion. Oh, and in case you were wondering Greece does not hold a monopoly on corrupt politicians, it is a global phenomenon (i.e. Germany has them too)

      I was taught by Harvard Economist back in 1998 and got my full measure of “koutoxorto” and used to think that Alan Greenspan was a true genius and that unbridled markets would solve everything. The events after 2008 have caused serious reconsideration.

      As for engaging in discource it is not for “blessing our beards” and to feel elevated. I have been watching Mr. Varoufakis’ statements and posts and have found him to not only be the most courteous speaker when he had every right to be irate and thundering
      at the situation, but also vindicated by all that has happened and to me, he is one of the few voices of reason, especially because the modest proposal is a realistic way out. Many can point out the faults but always come short on applicable solutions.

      Politics were supposed to be thesis+antithesis= synthesis
      Now it is thesis+antithesis=impasse and that serves the status quo. Ultimately a corrupt system that has endured for so long cannot be fixed with a couple of elections. But not having a clear picture of what things could be that this page provides we will always be condemned to things as they are.

    • HarryM:

      You may dislike the existing Greek politicians but those are the ones we got. To even suggest that an untested, naive and green horn politician like Tsipras is the answer to Greece’s problems is beyond amateurish.

      Let me ask you this. If the national team of Germany had football problems on the pitch would you replace the whole team with 4th category players?Absolutely not. You rearrange the team talent and make corrections in positions as required. You just don’t throw the whole team out because the team suffered a series of defeats.

      If Tsipras has an idea worth exploring such idea belongs to Greece not him. We are not going to elect Tsipras for a discovery that others could implement much better than him and his utterly deficient political network. We will use what he says (if such is valid) and we will ask those of our politicians who have the skill to maximize it.

      The issue here is that of governance. If Tsipras is elected, he can not form a government. If Samaras is elected then his governance would have serious flaws because it would rely on fragile coalitions.

      Can’t you understand that what is happening in Greece is a form of resistance to Merkel’s desire to form an obedient Greek government? The only way to correct the Greek situation is to get rid of Merkel first. Then Greece would immediately reset.

      If you think that the June 17th elections would produce a Greek government of any time duration you are mistaken. At best such government would last for about a month and then we will have a 3rd election and a 4th election and a 5th election. As many elections are necessary to outlast Merkel. Don’t you get it?

    • Dean,
      No, we have settled for the past 40 years. It is because of this complacency that we have what we have today. It is in our human nature to live in two worlds, the broader one and the one viewed from our blinders. If on the latter we make it by, we tolerate the former and all its ills. This crisis has reached enough critical mass to where people are finally out of their blinders enough to consider a different way that things could be done. Some people have to go and new people people have to come in. It will not happen overnight. But it MUST happen and there is a real chance for it to happen for the first time in a long time.
      Again I cannot stress this enough, you CANNOT send people who colluded for Memoradum I and Memorandum II to “negotiate”. I will concede that you need people streetwise enough to know the lingo and be informed enough to call them on their BS, that is, people who know the tricks of the devil, but the crucial requirement is also to NOT be sided with the Devil otherwise we are kidding ourselves!
      I would not discount a Syriza goverment forming that readily. I do not have a crystal ball, but I would not be as dismissive of the possibility for a collaborative government. Syriza + Dhmar + maybe some MPs from other parties that go independent. The system will fight it tooth and nail. You have seen all the contradicting statements false statistics and supposed establishment “experts” frothing at the mouth with terrormongering. The question is at this last week, will people be scared back in the barn, or say “the heck with them I want a change?”. We shall see.
      I do not have any delusions that Tsipras will be the Messiah. We have a history littered with them to hopefully know better. What I do know is he does speak the lingo and from his statements it seems that something did stick from the three meetings he had with Mr. Varoufakis. He has not been involved in past scandals compared to other politicians and that is really important and encouraging. In addition, the timing is in his favor. Spain just threw the towel and next in line is Italy. People are also catching on to the fact that the banks in France and Germany are not looking too great. (They were problematic from the start but people were too busy scapegoating Greece to notice.)
      Going back to your team analogy I would not be against a Team helping with the negotiation from a broad spectrum of parties as long as those members were not involved in the corruption of previous years. I really wished that Professor Varoufakis would be there at least as a consultant.
      The paradox is that the corruption has been institutionalized to the degree that reasonable and competent men like Mr. Varoufakis and others that Greece desperately needs, want to stay out of politics because of the polarization, loss of discource and all of the ills that serve to perpetuate this vicious circle.
      I do agree with you that the required is for Greece to buy enough time for at least a year until the German elections, but repeated elections is neither a guarantee, nor a desire.
      What Mr. Varoufakis had suggested (reduction in Public salaries top to bottom (take the highest, lower it to the next highest and so on), plus the tax bond, which I would like to add defense spending if not in personnel, but in equipment), should allow enough time to say no to more loans until the enviroment becomes more receptive to change. (If we feel enterprising we could keep one of the subs and make a museum for the “Leaning Sub of Psara” and see if we can get some ticket sales going 🙂 )
      Even if everything goes right in Greece, things can still go terribly wrong in Europe. We claim that we are rational beings but we rarely act rationally. The stakes are high, the special interests enormous. If the Eurozone restructures with livable terms for Greece and the others, fine. If stupidity prevails hopefully we have enough time bought with the measures already mentioned to wait until the Euro is no more and go back to the Drachma. What we should not become is Ifigeneia because the fleet will find that even after the sacrifice Aeolus has forsaken them.
      You seem too certain about outcomes and you should not. Ultimately Dean, we can agree to disagree. I for one, am very, very, very, very reservedly optimistic. I will say no more.

    • Dean ,HarryM

      Hey Dean ,this time i do not have to converse with you on the subject. HarryM is doing a fine job. Let’s see more. 🙂

  • My apologies, I meant my previous commend as a response to Dean Plassaras not your original post Mr. Varoufakis.

  • Xenos don’t get cute with me.

    The reason I am leaving this blog is that
    a. it’s a censored environment and
    b. the crisis at hand it’s political not economic.

    How many times do you have to say to Yani that he is on the right path? and how many times do you have to hear him fine tune his approach?

    The purpose of this blog is not to aid someone to write a thesis paper. The purpose of this and all other blogs is to be conduits of truth. And as such, a censored blog is a contradiction in terms.

    May 6th was my original schedule departure and I extended it to June 17th because of the undecided issues. There is a very good chance that June 17th will just lead to another Greek stalemate followed by yet another Greek vote soon. But I have no intention of sticking around because anything and everything that needed to be said is already said. All we are doing every day is repackaging the same-all, same-all in new but highly predictable ways.

    So, what is your contribution here?

    • I don’t know who you think you are, but I am not going to debate anything with you. You have a limited understanding of both economics and politics, yet appear to have a very high opinion of yourself. Why don’t you create your own blog instead of trolling?

      As far as this blog is concerned, there is no censorship that I have seen, other than some general requests for politeness and no racial attacks. If anything, the policy here is rather lax. If you feel the need to constantly reassure Yanis, I do not see that. I happen to agree with the approach, usually: fine-tuning is something that we all have to do, because we are not born perfect. Perhaps you consider that you were?

      Your comment that nothing new is being put here is nothing other than childish and petulant, as well as a deliberate lie. The complexity of the global and eurozone situation is a challenge for all of us, and Yanis is making a major contribution to the global debate. It is as much a political problem as economic, but that is true of all major economic crises in history.

    • The reason I am leaving this blog is that

      a. it’s a censored environment

      What drivel you spout, Dean. Am sure Yani got a good laugh out of that one.

      So, what is your contribution here? [referirng to xenos]

      You have a nerve asking that of xenos (or anyone else here, for that matter), Dean. Don’t you recall? Some months back, Xenos was kind enough to explain to you the difference between a commercial bank and an investment bank. 🙂

    • I have not felt censored in this blog. It is not censorship if other contributors disagree with what I say.
      It is inevitable that there is a chorus of agreements in blogs like this, that from educational become political, but that is fine.

      My late father used to say: αλοίμονο στον νεο που δεν είναι επαναστάτης και αλοίμονο στον γέρο που είναι.

      The chorus of the elders is supposed to speak wisdom 🙂 .

    • Is Greek from Canada now a compliment? Both countries seem to do really well in the last years!

  • Great explanation of what CDOs roughly are. Thanks Mr.Varoufakis!
    Yet again, without any exaggeration, you seem to be the only source of crisis commentary, really explaining things to a bewildered public.
    One has to be concerned of oversimplification. But considering the size of your blog entries or this interview, you really offer a great deal of answers to important questions!

  • right , samaras will magically create 150k jobs out of thin air for starters.

    then proceed make blinds see etc etc i guess.

  • Yanis – your appropriately described phrase ‘ponzi austerity’ makes perfect sense and is becoming more and more obvious as we see the return of conditions in which workhouses were the order of the day.

    All power to the Greek people!

  • Unlike your example of Spanish banks and the state as “sinking swimmers” I read, that housing crisis in Spain was the reason for the problems, the Spanish banks are facing now. The over all debt of the state seems to be rather low.

    This makes a difference. I would like to know which version is correct.