The Global Minotaur returns: Introducing the second edition

The second edition of my Global Minotaur has entered the presses, so to speak. At least, it has left my laptop and is now with the folks at Zed books, awaiting production. The point of working toward a second edition was to ask a simple question: Since January 2011, which is when I put the finishing touches to the book’s last draft, have the facts been kind to the book’s narrative and prognostications regarding the world economy? To answer this question, I penned a brand new chapter that replaces Chapter 9 of the original. In it I discuss the empirical evidence concerning the flows of trade and capital between America, Europe and China; evidence which firmly supports the hypothesis that the global economy is stuttering as a result of America’s loss, following the Crash of 2008, of its capacity to utilise its deficits in order to recycle the Rest of the World’s surpluses. 

More on this evidence, and the Second Edition’s take on it, in future posts. For now, here is a taste of the Preface to the Second Edition:

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

 This book originally aimed at pressing a useful metaphor into the service of elucidating a troubled world. A world that could no longer be understood properly by means of the paradigms that dominated our thinking before the Crash of 2008. Its purpose was to appeal to the non-specialist reader on whose behalf my metaphor was to unveil a simple, yet never simplistic, account of a very complex global tragedy. The idea was not to discount all other explanations but, rather to provide a platform for combining many different explanations, each valid in its own way, into an overarching analysis of the global ‘arrangement’ that crashed and burned in 2008, leaving our world in a state of stunned disenchantment.

The Global Minotaur metaphor crept up on me in 2002, after endless conversations with friend, colleague and co-author Joseph Halevi. Our discussions on what made the world tick after the 1970s economic crises produced a coherent, albeit complex, view of the global economic system in which America’s deficits, Wall Street, and the ever-declining real value of American wages, played a defining and, paradoxically, an hegemonic role.

The gist of our argument was that the defining characteristic of the post-1971 era was a reversal of the flow of trade and capital surpluses between the United States and the Rest of the World. The hegemon, for the first time in world history, strengthened its hegemony by wilfully enlarging its deficits. The trick was to understand how America accomplished this and the tragic manner in which its success gave rise to the financialisation which both reinforced US dominance and, simultaneously, implanted the seeds of its potential downfall. Part of the trick was the deployment of the Global Minotaur narrative which was born as an attempt to simplify the argument’s complexity.[1]

When five years later the financial system imploded in 2008, Danae Stratou, my partner in everything, incited me to write this book on the strength of the main metaphor’s capacity to relate my complex story to a lay readership. It was her belief in my ability to do this that gave me the idea and impetus to try it. I began writing the book in our Athens home, at a time when the dark clouds around our country were still thin and most of our friends and family would not believe that Greece was about to fall into a never-ending tailspin. Against that background of resistance to bad omens, and while writing the book’s early draft, I was beginning to gain a degree of notoriety in the Greek and international media as a doomsayer who believed that not only was Greece’s bankruptcy inevitable but that it was a precursor of the Eurozone’s unravelling as well. Only then did I notice the irony of using a Greek metaphor (that of the Minoan Minotaur) by which to account for an international catastrophe of which Greece would be the worst hit victim.

Nonetheless, immersed in my writing, I refused to give Greece too prominent a role therein. A dichotomy soon emerged in my daily routine: While spending hours upon hours in radio and TV studios debating Greece’s steady deterioration, I would return to my Minotaur script determined more than ever to keep Greece off its pages. For if my diagnosis about Greece’s misfortune was right (i.e. that there is no such thing as a Greek Crisis, but rather that Greece is a symptom of a broader shift in global economic history) it was imperative that my book should reflect this. Thus, the United States was, and remains to this… edition, the analysis’ focal point.

At the level of intellectual and analytical development, it was my engagement with the larger canvass of the Euro Crisis that gave me an opportunity to test the Global Minotaur’s capacity to throw helpful light on our post-2008 circumstances, and to elicit policy suggestions. Indeed, while working on this book’s first edition, I also expended a great deal of energy writing and re-writing, together with Stuart Holland, our ‘A Modest Proposal for Resolving the Euro Crisis’. The campaign that Stuart and I run across the breadth of Europe to promote our ‘Modest Proposal’ (taking it even to North America and Australia) was an eye opener, a source of insights, a test-bed for the book’s sub-hypotheses.

As is always the case with powerful metaphors, the danger lurked that my analysis and predictions might have been covertly influenced by the allegorical power of the Global Minotaur. Especially while completing the book (some time in January 2011), at the point when I felt compelled to state my prognosis for the future of the world economy, the anxiety that my conclusions might have been hijacked by an irresistible urge to stay loyal to the chosen metaphor intensified. Had I allowed myself to be lulled into a false sense of analytical security in the comforting bosom of an allegory of my own creation? The fact that the Crisis was mutating and changing its colours at a frightening pace reinforced the angst and made me feel exceptionally exposed to the vagaries of our generation’s turbocharged history.

In the months that intervened between completing the final draft and holding the published copy in my hands, my nerves had steadied considerably: the world seemed to have done nothing that the book ‘s metaphor was uncomfortable with. Indeed, the book’s warm reception in different parts of the world suggested that I had tapped a rich vein. Still, when a year later my publishers proposed that I revisit the text with a view to producing a second edition, I jumped at the opportunity to carry out new research for the purposes of finding out, mainly for myself, whether my ‘Global Minotaur Hypothesis’ had withstood the test of time at a global scale. The result is a whole new chapter (see Chapter 9) which begins by stating which facts would have falsified my narrative, before investigating the actual facts hidden within officially published statistics. Thankfully, it is now safe to report that the ‘Global Minotaur Hypothesis’ passes the test of empiricism with flying colours.

Lastly, on a personal note, the second edition was completed in the United States, where Danae and I now live. It is from here that, somewhat guilt-ridden, I peruse the wastelands of my country, every now and then giving the odd interview to various networks that pose the same question over and over again: What should Greece do to extricate itself from its Great Depression? How should Spain or Italy respond to demands that logic tells us will make things worse? The answer I deliver with increasing monotonicity is that there is nothing that our proud countries can do other than to say ‘No!’ to inane policies whose real objective is to deepen the depression for apocryphal reasons that only a close study of the Global Minotaur’s legacy can reveal.


[1] See our joint article under the title ‘The Global Minotaur’ in Monthly Review, Volume 55, July-August Issue, pp. 56-74, 2003. 

53 Comments

  • Great work Yani

    If there was one thing missing from the Minotaur (and from Modern Political Economics for that matter) is some numbers supporting your hypothesises.

    It would also make sense to provide some similar data on the post WWII and post Bretton Woods II eras in support of your view on the events.

    • I wonder what type of empircism that Yannis is using, because as the saying goes, you cannot solve a problem at the same level it was created. I think there is a bit of a missing ingredient in Yannis’ Metaphor of the Minotaur in that I don’t think normal statistics would show the presence of the minotaur. However, it would be exciting to see how he introduces the data as to whether it is in a before and after format or some other metric.

      I think that what Yannis has said which is hard to repeat is that Global trade persists only as an illusory object (a siren of the sea), as long as it is circulating continuously through the creation of more debt. The same problem occurs when people say “prove to me that we are in a balance sheet recession”. They want to be shown through some basic numbers a phenomenon that is clearly occurring beyond the numbers. . You can only provide a testable hypothesis, agree to it, and then run the numbers. The numbers will never jump out on their own like some basis economic data methods that are commonplace. I hope that mistakes about that fact doesn’t set up a trap for the work going forward.

  • Soon the Global Minotaur will become required reading in economics.

    But here is my observation for those who resist its message. Yes, I am talking about Very Serious Sam, Martin and rest of the neo-liberal contingent which comes here to plead its case on a regular basis.

    Guys, circa 2001-2 gold was worth $200/ounce. Today $1800 per ounce. Now, try going back to where gold used to be $40-$50/ounce and do the math.

    Whatever you think you have has very little real value. So, you think you are a millionaire today, then divide your nominal wealth by a factor of 20-30 and that’s what you really got. Not enough money to throw a large party in Mykonos island for a week.

    So, what is that you are obsessing about? That the little real value you have left might become even less? Now is not the time to be a misanthrope. Now is the time to look at you fellow human beings and help them at a time of distress.

    Do you really think that whatever your personal fortune is that it is survivable at this point? That you are going to preserve whatever and live off of it? Time to wake up and smell the coffee. There is not even a small chance of such..

    So, why don’t you relax and join your fellow citizens in comforting and supporting each other. Because this self-serving game of wealth preservation is already lost. Your money is gone, gone, gone. It has already disappeared. Now relax and enjoy life because after a while we will all disappear too.

    O.K..?

    • Dear Dean
      I think if you knew me you may be surprised that I am much less of a “neo liberal” than you probably think.
      I am very aware of the fragility of our financial system, the fake “wealth” that has been “created” through it in the last 15 years or so – and its complexity that even the most excellent experts find hard to fully understand – causing many different, equally convincing schools of thought that make it so difficult to make sense of what is going on.
      …and ultimately, we are all vulnerable, mortal and just a grain of sand in a desert anyway and should not fight each other – especially not along old, ethnic, national, religious or other lines that our ancestors in a not so ancient disastrous past did base their thinking on.
      Which is why I am so allergic to simplistic explanations that basically often only seem to be variations of always the same idea: “it is all Germany’s fault”. I am sure some of what’s gone wrong and keeps going wrong is – but I really despise a view that ALWAYS ONLY seems to focus on what one nation / ethnicity / religion, whatever has done wrong and how we can find a narrative that makes it possible to only and exclusively blame the Germans.
      That kind of thinking is wrong and ultimately dangerous.
      That’s all – I am always up for a good, open debate – and very willing and ready to accept that of course, Germany has made mistakes (and I am sure will make many more). It’s just this permanent blame thing that I don’t like at all.

    • Martin:

      In politics your objective is to defeat your enemy. Plain and simple.

      Why are you so sensitive about Germany’s reputation and guilt? I don’t get it. Would you be able to breath a little easier if there were no accusations levied against Germany?

      So, in your mind Germany is free to accuse others but not receive equal treatment because Germany is more advanced or enlightened?

      Who asked you to pick a fight with innocent Greek citizens on grounds that you could never win? Why did you choose the wrong people to attack? and for what purpose?

      And as the tide is surely turning against Germany on a global basis, you now plead for reason and understanding?

      What do you think this is? A history blog?

    • Dear Dean
      You wrote: “In politics your objective is to defeat your enemy. Plain and simple.”

      But luckily, we are not politicians! At least I am not. So we can (hopefully) discuss without only “defeating the enemy” as an objective – but exchanging thoughts, hopefully inspiring new thinking sometimes.
      It is not that I think Germany as such cannot be criticised. Of course it can.
      But I think the discussion becomes a little shallow if we follow nationalistic thinking always (really always in your case, it strikes me) claiming that whatever bad happens is Germany’s fault, exclusively.

      I don’t pick a fight with “innocent Greek citzens” as you put it. I have nothing against “innocent Greeks” – I have spent my honeymoon in Greece. I like the place and the people.

      It is in Germany’s interest that Greece gets back on its feet. If it does, then Greek suffering will decrease, Germany will get more of its loans back than otherwise – and, yes, Greece will buy more German products than if it continues to collapse.

      So BOTH interest in Greece getting back on its feet!

      The easiest possible way for Greece out of the current mess would be that Germany started paying massive transfers to Greece, unlimited in duration. This would be fantastic for Greece but not so great for Germany. So the conflict is ultimately about who has to carry how much of the burden. Greece’s preference, understandably, would be that the others (primarily Germany because it seems so incredibly rich, apparently) carry as much as possible of that burden. The others would appreciate if Greece could carry as much of the burden itself.

      Both is completely natural and understandable.

      Nobody has an interest in Greece being in a status of permanent depression / dysfunctional administration etc. I don’t believe in your narrative of German conspiracy / joy to see Greece suffer or whatever, that’s all.

    • Martin:

      What Greece needs is neither unlimited in duration nor in size. Greece needs 3 things.

      1. Direct capitalization of its banks, per EU decision already made but obstructed by Germany on contrived grounds.

      2. A haircut on the Greek debt held by EU central banks, to mirror the one imposed by Germany on the Greek banking sector and Greek social security system. This is known as OSI – Official Sector Involvement and is also obstructed by Germany.

      3. The release of EU funds already allocated and approved for Greece as part of the EU budget so that we can get various investments and the Greek economy going. Also here there is a substantial amount of foot dragging and German obstructionism masked as procedure, whereas the real cause is lack of desire.

      Therefore what Greece needs is very finite (as opposed to unlimited) and very specific (as opposed to general).

      Now, picture this. Suppose I put you in charge as a manager to deliver these 3 things and monitor progress along the way. Your pay and performance are directly related to these 3 goals and and are tied to outcome and speed of delivery.

      How much do you think I should pay you so far, how fast should I fire you and what have you done for me lately?

      This is how the private sector asses performance. So how would you rate yourself so far?

    • Dear Dean
      I think Greece needs much more than the 3 points you mentioned. Hardly surprising, all those 3 points are entirely up to Germany. So there’s absolutely nothing Greece can do on it’s own?
      I don’t think you really mean that but you’ve emphasized / exclusively mentioned points that would not involve any commitment from Greece.

      While I am sure the three points would be nice for Greece (and maybe even necessary – I am not an expert and I doubt that you are one) I sometimes wonder what could be achieved if the same level of energy and commitment that goes into defining what the others could do for Greece would have gone into prioritising and energetically implementing stuff that Greece could do in order to contribute to helping itself out of this mess.

      By the way: The haircut you mentioned was not imposed only on Greek holders of that debt. If was imposed on all private holders, a significant part of whom were foreign (French, German, etc). Of course you’ve conveniently forgotten that detail – billions of Euros gone abroad but hey, no problem if foreigners were stupid enough to lend the money in the first place.

      After the haircut, a lot of the Greek banks were insolvent and have been kept afloat by the ECB since. No direct recapitalization – but the fact that the Greek banking system is still operational is due to funding by the ECB – obviously not appreciated by you.

      The funds that are stuck at EU level that you mention probably refer to that part of structural aid funds that Greece couldn’t be bothered enough to arrange for the Greek co-payment necessary in order to trigger payout of the funds. As far as I understand this did not start in 2010 or 2011 when money really got tight in Greece but already years before that. How is that possible? I mean, if, say, Greece needs to commit 100 million to trigger EU structural aid of, say, 200 million, how can it be that this is not done? I emphasise that from what I understand this breakdown of Greek administration occurred already before 2010. Please correct me if I am wrong. Now, if Greece wasn’t organised enough and / or interest enough to fill in the forms necessary and arrange for the co-payment in the good times, I am not sure how much of a priority it should be now. I have thought about it and yes, it would probably be a good idea to arrange that for Greece by fully funding stuff from abroad – but Greece to my knowledge is the only EU funds recipient that has proved unable to sort out getting those funds (Romania etc managed).

      Heck, I think the others really should help in this emergency – but when you produce a list of three items other countries need to do, maybe Greece could do better than so far?
      I think that finally starting to go after tax evaders is a good step. I am just surprised it has taken so long and needed so much Greek suffering and foreign pressure to start with such basic stuff.
      Instead of writing clever lists of what foreigners need to do for Greece, maybe fix some obvious stuff yourself, too?!

    • “By the way: The haircut you mentioned was not imposed only on Greek holders of that debt. If was imposed on all private holders, a significant part of whom were foreign (French, German, etc). Of course you’ve conveniently forgotten that detail – billions of Euros gone abroad but hey, no problem if foreigners were stupid enough to lend the money in the first place.”

      Really? Let me tell you a funny story.Greek pension funds,greek universities,several greek institutions in general are oblidged by law ( i wonder what kind of sane person implemented it) to keep their money in deposits at the Bank of Greece.
      Well a few weeks before the haircut was applied,these institutions were FORCED to buy Greek Bonds from the secondary market with their deposits at the central bank.Bonds that were planned to get a haircut.So a lot of foreign debt holders got away with it and several Greek institutions saw their assets vanish,without their consent.Thats part of the reason why the PSI was a total failure.Whats the point of “reducing” the debt if the way the reduction happens creates further burdens for the central government?

    • Martin:

      If every time I give you the big picture you hit back with a long list of minutiae, you are unnecessarily prolonging this conversation.

      It appears that your point of view is that the program in Greece is falling due to lack of Greek effort. This is like saying to a rape victim “if instead of complaining about the rape you would have made a sincere effort of enjoying it, there wouldn’t be a rape in the first place”.

      As to you tax collection efforts, please show us how to go after your claims. In the first place, the wealthy in Greece operate from overseas bases. The shipping owners (who are the usual target of German suggestion) are running their global empires out of London and New York offices. As to a long list of so called tax dodgers in Greece, these are either small claims given to publicity for sensational reasons or very large claims which by nature are uncollectible involving a very lengthy process of appeal and counter appeal. The bottom line is this: easy pickings in tax collection are long gone. What’s left is a very laborious process of claims which will take years to get to the bottom of it because in most cases those accused simply do not have the liquid or illiquid net worth to cover it. Say you issue a tax claim to someone for 10 Mil. euros. Do you think they have such money in a jar somewhere in their kitchen to pay you?

    • Dear Crossover
      If the Greek state forced e.g. Universities to buy Greek bonds just before the haircut was implemented, then I don’t really understand what was the point. I have never heard of this and it strikes me as odd. I don’t say it is not true, but I just don’t really understand the reasoning behind it.
      One thing: On the secondary market, the bonds had already lost dramatically in value. So, as a theoretical example, if the bonds had a nominal value of 100 but had fallen to 30, then a haircut of 75 (reducing the value to 25) would not be an extremely dramatic loss. Maybe is that what was behind and the Greek government had to fill some quota of Greek-held bonds that were to be subject to the haircut, as part of the agreement with the EU concerning the haircut?
      Whatever: I am positive that even after universities and the like having spend money on Greek bonds, there were some holders of Greek bonds when the haircut happened. Those were punished. Extremely so, if they were e.g. German insurances that had maybe bought the bonds at a price of 100 (if they bought them when they were issued) and then saw their value reduced to 25.
      All non-sovereign holders of Greek debt were hit – some of them foreign.

    • Dear Dean
      I am not saying it is only the fault of Greece. The situation Greece is in is extremely difficult, no doubt about it. I just got the impression that some time and effort was wasted arguing with the EU when that time and effort and administrative manpower could have better been spent on implementing a tax collection mechanism.
      I am not sure how to implement that – but this is an extraordinary situation. I could imagine (I mentioned that months ago) that in such a situation, it may be considered justified to issue government bonds with very long maturity and low interest rate that Greek citizens from a certain level of wealth are forced to pay. This level could be, say, a net worth of EUR 200’000 or something like that.
      And now, with a lot of untaxed assets having fled from Greece to e.g. Switzerland or London, in modern times I would expect the Eurosystem to keep some kind of record of those transactions. Why not implement an emergency act that gives the govermment the authority to check what funds have been transferred abroad since 1 October 2009 by whom and then cross-check with the tax returns on file in Greece? You will find a number of individuals who claimed they had a very low income but transferred, say, EUR 100’000. That would have a few positive effects:

      1. Tax morale would be increased. A necessity if Greece wants to carry on to exist as a sovereign state.

      2. Social tensions within Greece could be managed by credibly pointing out to the not-so-wealthy that finally, the fat cats are contributing their share, too.

      3. The Greek state could get money! I have no clue how much – but I would expect certainly 10 billion EUR – and quite possibly 50 to 80 billion!

      4. It would be easier for e.g. the German government to convince its electorate that it is worth continuing to lend Greece money because there is some hope that Greece manages to implement a tax collection system that works.

    • “If the Greek state forced e.g. Universities to buy Greek bonds just before the haircut was implemented, then I don’t really understand what was the point. I have never heard of this and it strikes me as odd. I don’t say it is not true, but I just don’t really understand the reasoning behind it.”

      It doesnt sound very odd if you dare think that the Greek State too was forced to force greek institutions to buy bonds.But do you ?

      “One thing: On the secondary market, the bonds had already lost dramatically in value. So, as a theoretical example, if the bonds had a nominal value of 100 but had fallen to 30, then a haircut of 75 (reducing the value to 25) would not be an extremely dramatic loss. Maybe is that what was behind and the Greek government had to fill some quota of Greek-held bonds that were to be subject to the haircut, as part of the agreement with the EU concerning the haircut?”

      First of all,this quota thing wouldnt make sense.As i told you,whats the point in reducing the debt if it will cause the government to recover the losses of the institutions in the future.As for the losses not being big…see for yourself:

      http://www.iskra.gr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7191:tei-aei-psi-apothematika&catid=77:paideia&Itemid=177
      (use translate google)

      I will only post the numbers here (note: these arent the only isntitutions that took a haircut,thats just a part of them)

      TEI of Athens: 11mil eur. pre-haircut 1 mil. after
      TEI of Patras: 7mil eur pre-haircut 2mil. after
      TEI of Thessaloniki: 8.5 mil pre haircut 180.000 (!!!!!!!) after
      TEI of Kavala: 2mil pre haircut 400.000 after
      TEI of Serres: 5mil pre haircut 1.1 after
      TEI of West Macedonia: 370.000 pre haircut 110.000 after
      TEI of Epirus: 5mil pre haircut 1.1 after
      TEI of Crete: 5.3mil pre 1.6 after
      TEI of Lamia: 12.2 mil pre 3.7 after
      TEI of Mesologgi: 900.000 pre 700.000 after.

      In total their savings reduced to 50mil from 150.

    • Dear Martin:

      Because a bond is an “I Owe you”, you need surplus revenue to cover the payments on such bonds.

      Plus it’s impossible to issue bonds when a good part of the German propaganda focuses on Grexit.

      It’s not so much the patriotic desire of those buying the bonds, rather the EU rules of issuance. The bonds might be for the benefit of Greece but a reputable financial house must issue them. Given the catastrophic rhetoric of the German extremists, who in their right mind would issue such bonds? on what collateral? to be repaid by drachmas?

      These are few of the things that Germany did not realize that it dug its own hole. Making the situation far worse than it should have been and foreclosing on several market mechanisms which could have helped at an early stage but now based on the German mantra of lack of credit worthiness have rather become a pipe dream.

      When you want something to be supported by the bond markets, you don’t spend the last 3 years accumulating the worst possible vocabulary for it.

      You don’t say is “let’s forget how the Germans have told you what a lost case Greece is and let’s issue some bonds on it”. Or ” I really have a piece of worthless nothing; would you buy a bond on it?”

      Market response: What ??????? What’s wrong with you ?

    • Dear Dean
      My idea regarding the bonds to be issued was that they could be some sort of “national solidarity emergency recovery bond” that wealthy Greek would be forced to sign. So they would have no choice. It would be a difficult instrument – but in a national emergency like this, I’d say it would be justified. That’s the type of bond I was referring to in my post. A couple of months ago there was a discussion in Germany about such an instrument (to be implemented in Germany itself or Eurozone-wide in case things went totally belly-up). From what I understand about Greece the poor and middle class have suffered a lot but at least a significant part of Greece’s wealthy got through so far without having had to carry much of the burden. I’d say: go for it – I’m surprised the rich get away contributing next to nothing while e.g. pensioners and primary school teachers are made to pay. I think you are taken for a ride by your cleptocratic “elite”.

    • Dear Crossover
      This university thing still strikes me as odd. How does a university just happen to have hundreds of million of Euros sitting in a bank account that they can buy bonds with?

      In any case: as you say, the Greek universities are funded by the state. If the Greek government now forces some universities to buy Greek debt, then that’s ultimately as if the government has bought a part of it’s own debt. Some sort of accounting trick or whatever. Still, the part of the debt that was subject to the partial Greek default which affected bonds held by foreigners still lightened the load for Greece. Not by enough to make the debt sustainable – but still.
      Some funny account fiddling between the Greek state and it’s Universities does not change that effect, does it?

    • “This university thing still strikes me as odd. How does a university just happen to have hundreds of million of Euros sitting in a bank account that they can buy bonds with?”

      Thats money that they pay for everything with.Wages,researches,maintenance…everything.Furthermore the troika cut the State’s funding levels to Universities long time before the haircut.The new law forces the unis to be mostly self financed and look for sponsors.That makes the losses even more painfull.I wonder what will happen to them if they get indebted etc And anyway just because they had money (which for whatever reason seems odd to you) is no reason for them to forcefully buy bonds with it and get a haircut on top of it.

      “In any case: as you say, the Greek universities are funded by the state. If the Greek government now forces some universities to buy Greek debt, then that’s ultimately as if the government has bought a part of it’s own debt. Some sort of accounting trick or whatever. ”
      First, if the government has to bail them out later then the haircut is no good.Second, you sounding so cool about “government buying a part of its own debt” makes me wonder then whats wrong with CBs buying debt and even getting a haircut on it.Especially when a CB cannot go broke while a uni surely can.

      “Still, the part of the debt that was subject to the partial Greek default which affected bonds held by foreigners still lightened the load for Greece. Not by enough to make the debt sustainable – but still.”
      You say it like we should be thankfull or something.Whoever is a bondholder should sustain losses if something goes wrong.If it was me i would exclude small investors from the haircut (no matter if foreigners or not) and thats it.The difference is foreign bondholders bought the bonds with their consent.They werent forced to buy them,let alone forced to buy them in order to apply a haircut to them later.

    • Dear Martin:

      I have 3 questions for you:

      1) How many wealthy Greek citizens do you think there are?
      2) How many of them do you think they live in Greece?
      3) What entity will issue such bond and what would be the bond collateral?

    • @ Crossover

      About the 1st haircut (more will come, for sure) you state that “Greek pension funds, greek universities,several greek institutions” were forced to buy greek bonds.

      If this is indeed true (any proof, please?): obviously, the force must have been the Greek government since there is no other force who could have imposed this on Greek institutions of all kinds.

      Further you state, “So a lot of foreign debt holders got away with it ” Well, not the German taxpayers, the 1st haircut cost them already a nice little 14 billion euro

      (one source out of many: http://www.faz.net/aktuell/wirtschaft/griechenland-schuldenschnitt-kostet-deutschen-steuerzahler-14-milliarden-euro-11678283.html)

    • @ Dean

      “It appears that your point of view is that the program in Greece is falling due to lack of Greek effort. This is like saying to a rape victim “if instead of complaining about the rape you would have made a sincere effort of enjoying it, there wouldn’t be a rape in the first place”.

      No. To stay in your picture, Greece enjoyed the ‘rape’ of getting cheap money to finance her party between 2001 and 2008 a lot.

    • “If this is indeed true (any proof, please?): obviously, the force must have been the Greek government since there is no other force who could have imposed this on Greek institutions of all kinds.”

      There goes your proof: http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20120402213156178

      Yes lets pretend that the government is comprised by masochists and with no external pressure,they just woke up one day and decided to buy bonds with public institutions’ money without their consent.Makes a lot of sense.

      “Well, not the German taxpayers, the 1st haircut cost them already a nice little 14 billion euro”

      7th grade economics: Profit= Income – Cost. This 14bill figure doesnt show anything.Im pretty sure Germany’s gains from the crisis until now are far larger than 14bil.Furthermore if you would rather let your banks (and not Greece because thats not who you are helping) collapse the losses would be huge compared to the 14bil.

      After all you once again werent asked by your elites about it,but its all good i guess.Last time you said only we need to overthrow our elites.You are happy with yours so why bother mentioning the 14bil.

    • Dear Dean
      Regarding your three questions:

      1) How many wealthy Greek citizens do you think there are?
      2) How many of them do you think they live in Greece?
      3) What entity will issue such bond and what would be the bond collateral?

      Here’s some information I’ve found ist this:
      https://www.credit-suisse.com/news/doc/credit_suisse_global_wealth_databook.pdf

      1) On page 83, you can see that there are approximately 2.5 million Greeks that have a wealth of at least 100’000 USD.

      2) I understand that the figures refer to individuals living in the respective country. So those 2.5 million individuals are in Greece, I guess.

      3) There would be no collateral. That’s the whole idea behind it. Greece needs to desperately raise money and the willingness of the outside world to just give it or lend it deteriorating, I think it would not be out of place to consider milking your rich. They, after all, have an interest in a Greece that does not collapse. Good for them if they can sleep at night because there are no desperate burglars trying to get into their home. Good for them if they don’t get robbed walking on the street. Good for them if – in case either of the two unfortunate things happen – there is a police that is still operational.
      So your rich have an interest in your society not completely falling apart and some vital administrative functions staying operational.

      They will not exactly ask for being forced to buy Greek bonds. But maybe, it will be possible to convince them that there is no other way. And that it is ultimately in their interest that Greece does not break apart.

      Just a ballpark figure of what could possibly be raised if you milked your rich, that so far (from what I understand) has gotten through this rather unharmed:

      Assume that of the 2.5 million that have USD 100’000 and more, maybe 700’000 have 200’000 USD and more. Some of them will have a lot more than 200’000. So let’s assume the average within that group is USD 400’000. If Greece forced the lucky ones that have USD 200’000 and more to buy Greek government bonds worth 15% of their wealth, then Greece could raise USD 42 Billion!!
      Wouldn’t that be worth a bit of hassle with the rich?
      15% of a pretty significant wealth invested into Greek government bonds would not be exactly unbearable when pensioners and the poor and middle classes suffer so much, don’t you think?

      I think that if Greece managed something like this, then there would be a lot more opportunity for Eurozone leader to convince their electorate that Greece is not a completely hopeless case. So probably, those USD 42 billion would count double because of course, there are ways to help Greece. But it would help to see that Greece is doing what it can to help itself.
      And this does not mean driving poor people into committing suicide but getting money from where it can be found.

      Raise that money and energetically collect taxes (that could easily be another 42 billion if you charge not only lost taxes but also tax evasion penalties).
      To be honest, I think that would really work.
      Why do I have to come up with something like this and not your “elite”?
      I’d say, kick then in their ass and make then serve the people – at the moment pretty much any measure could be justified, so do it!

    • Dear Very Serious Sam
      I am enjoying it, to some extent.
      😉
      I don’t think it will be possible that Dean, Crossover and me will at some point really agree – and that is not necessary, either. Natural that they see things differently.
      But I think it would be a beginning to agree on the facts…

    • @VSS

      With every comment you make, you reveal your extreme ignorance of Greece and how the country works. The way in which government-financed assets of universities were abused is immediately comprehended by every Greek (and xenoi who know Greece well). The fact that you and all Germans cannot comprehend this, is clear evidence of the stupidity and mismanagement of the eurozone from the very outset.

      Equally, the fact that the Greek political elite is corrupt and incompetent either eluded you, or you decided to pretend not to know it. I have recently explained much of this in a Berlin newspaper; readers commented that they hoped Merkel would pay attention. She did not, which means that there is a deliberate and conscious denial of the realities of Greece by the German government. Such a government is not capable of helping Greece, let alone saving the eurozone.

      Basically, the history of Germany tells us that Germans are good at two things, only: abstract philosophy (such as Hegel) and high-quality factory production. Germans suck at making war (despite causing world havoc twice in the last century) and have no positive experience in managing empires or complex political structures. In other words, stick to the things in which you have a comparative advantage and leave the governance of Europe to more skilled professionals — even though they are in very short supply. The pathetic posturing of Merkel and her cronies is pitiful, and is the death knell of Europe. For the third time in modern history.

    • Martin:

      Liquid wealth and asset wealth are not the same thing. If a Greek has real estate, for example, but no market to sell it his/her paper wealth does not really matter for either taxation or bond buying purposes.

      Now, here come the shocking statistics: In 2011 there were a total of 5000 Greek taxpayers declaring annual income more than 100,000 euros. My guess is that in 2012 the number will be even less due to further deterioration of the Greek economy.

      So, let’s do the math. You said that Greece could have a minimum of 10 Bil. form the bond issue maybe higher. Let’s stick with the low estimate.

      10,000,000,000 / 5,000 = 2 Mil.

      Where would these people find 2 Mil. each to pay for the bond scheme?

      Let’s now say that you don’t believe that the Greeks file honest tax returns. How long do you think it will take to go after the suspects and prove in court that you – the state – have a winnable case against them. And the further question: Say you prevail in court after 2-3 years litigation process. How would you collect the award if these people have no liquid assets? By confiscating their fixed assets? and how long would it take for the state to liquidate such assets? In this market? Why would you want to liquidate fixed assets at a time there is no market of buyers of fixed assets? So, now instead of reducing the public sector you need to hire more public employees to take care of liquidations and other matters. And doesn’t this sound to you as a medium to long term process? What does this have to do with short term tax and bond revenue the government needs today?

    • VSS:

      Since you like forced solution, I hope you enjoy the downgrading of Spain to above junk status and the pressure increase on Germany to act.

      Don’t worry. It won’t be long before we do the same to you and I can assure you it will be a great day….

    • Dear Guest (xenos)
      You mention that your explanation in a Berlin newspaper. I would be very interested in reading it. Could you provide a link, please?

    • Dear Crossover
      In your comment from 10 October at 14.01, you quote me when I said:
      “Still, the part of the debt that was subject to the partial Greek default which affected bonds held by foreigners still lightened the load for Greece. Not by enough to make the debt sustainable – but still.”

      Then you comment on that saying:
      “You say it like we should be thankfull or something.Whoever is a bondholder should sustain losses if something goes wrong.”

      Of course you should not be thankful for Greek universities buying Greek debt that the insolvent Greek state then defaults on.
      But when there is an agreement which allows Greece to default on a significant part of its debt that to a significant part is held by foreigner, then a bit of gratitude for that would not be completely out of place.
      At least much better than stating stuff and focusing on details that suggest to me that you don’t even realize what has happened.
      As I said: The default was not big enough but of course, by the very nature of a default, it as such has lightened the debt burden for Greece. Can’t you see that? The fact that also some domestic holders of Greek debt lost money does not matter that much. The objective was to reduce the debt burden to a more sustainable level. It has not been enough (I’d say is safe to say that now) but to claim that it has not even helped a little if foreign creditors of Greece write off the majority of their claims makes me a little desperate.

      In the second paragraph here, it says that the debt was reduced by EUR 110 billion by the “debt restructuring”.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_default
      That is a HUGE amount. It still was not enough but I would like you to recognize that it has happened.

      By the way – if you are reading the wikipedia article I’ve linked, then maybe also read the bit a bit further down labelled “Causes”…

    • “Of course you should not be thankful for Greek universities buying Greek debt that the insolvent Greek state then defaults on.
      But when there is an agreement which allows Greece to default on a significant part of its debt that to a significant part is held by foreigner, then a bit of gratitude for that would not be completely out of place.”

      Are you serious? So if you go bankrupt and cant repay your loan to your bank you show gratitude to the bank?Seriously?Greece could have defaulted anyway and the bondholders wouldnt be able to do anything about it.The only reason we had to go through procedures such as agreements with the bondholders etc was because the EU didnt want a trigger of the CDS so the default had to include the voluntary agreement of the bondholders.

      But guess what, the CDS did trigger anyway.And nothing happened actually, but i guess it was difficult to know that before the default,cause these contracts are spread in a labyrinth way..
      I dont know if you are aware of the fact that they needed a certain portion of the bondholders to agree to the default in order for it to be voluntary and thus not cause the CDS to trigger.For that reason,I assume that they werent able to find enough bondholders to agree and thats why they used the institutions’ money to buy the bonds.In the end,the institutions lost their money and the cds were triggered, so that was an epic failure.Please dont tell me i should show graditude towards that.If the CDS were triggered it wouldnt affect Greece in any way.Actually its the people who didnt want the CDS to trigger,that should show gratitude both towards the bondholders AND towards Greece or more specifically to the entities that their money were used without their consent for the purpose of not causing the cds to trigger.

    • Dear Dean
      I think neither of us believes that there were only 5000 people in Greece who have a taxable income of EUR 100’000 and more per year.

      I’s sure the Greek state could raise a two-digit amount of billion Euros if they energetically went after tax evaders and charged them taxes owed plus penalties.

      But income does not matter that much for my proposal concerning the bonds that wealthy Greek are forced to buy. I am aware that the 15% of their wealth that I suggested they should be obliged to buy Greek government bonds with (with very low interest rates) are in most cases not sitting in thair cash accounts.
      But there will be a way to mobilise the money. Banks could be forced to lend them the money so that they have to only mobilise e.g. 5% of their wealth per year. Do you think they could do that?
      The banking system is kept alive by the ECB and such a scheme could really work.
      I don’t see why it could not work. If people have predominantly real estate as assets, the banks could be forced to allow the wealthy to take out a mortage worth 15% of the property and pay it off over a number of years.
      It would even be a win-win-thing: if Greece does not collapse, real estate will be worth more than if itgoes under. So let real estate owners contribute to the recovery – they will also benefit?
      Why are you so shy with touching the wealthy??

    • Dear Crossover
      Sure – I remember trying to avoid triggering the CDS was a big issue in the negotiations convmcerning the haircut.
      Whether or not that fully worked as intended I honestly have no clue. I was under the impression the CDS were not triggered – is that wrong (it may well be – I was just not aware of it).

      I thing avoiding a default in principle was a good thing both in the interest of Greece and it’s creditors. The whole point of a default would be that the debt burden is reduced.
      The way it played out, that was achieved (unfortunately not by quite enough) but Greece was spared the complete internal collapse and external pariah status that it might it have suffered if it had gone for a full, unilaterally declared default. What was so bad about that?

      If I understood you well, then triggering the CDS to the maximum extent would have been brilliant. Why? I don’t assume that most CDS were held by the Greek government itself.
      So they probably were held by investors trying to get insurance against a Greek default and speculators like Goldman Sachs. I am not sorry that the speculators did not benefit from this mess even more than they probably do already.
      Plus, triggering CDS-payments worth dozens or hundreds of billion Euros would have made the financial system tumble.

      I see that things are not brilliant but I fail to see what’s so bad about the stuff you mentioned in particular.

    • “Whether or not that fully worked as intended I honestly have no clue. I was under the impression the CDS were not triggered – is that wrong (it may well be – I was just not aware of it).”
      Yes it is wrong.The default was eventually characterised as a credit event and thus the cds were triggered: http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2012/03/09/916791/isda-greece-credit-event-there-is/

      “I thing avoiding a default in principle was a good thing both in the interest of Greece and it’s creditors. The whole point of a default would be that the debt burden is reduced.” WHat are you talking about? That was no different than a default in principle.

      “The way it played out, that was achieved (unfortunately not by quite enough) but Greece was spared the complete internal collapse and external pariah status that it might it have suffered if it had gone for a full, unilaterally declared default. What was so bad about that?”
      Greece would collapse because its bondholders would go bust? I dont understand.

      “If I understood you well, then triggering the CDS to the maximum extent would have been brilliant. Why? I don’t assume that most CDS were held by the Greek government itself.
      So they probably were held by investors trying to get insurance against a Greek default and speculators like Goldman Sachs. I am not sorry that the speculators did not benefit from this mess even more than they probably do already.
      Plus, triggering CDS-payments worth dozens or hundreds of billion Euros would have made the financial system tumble.”
      You dont know what you are talking about.
      1st, either the CDS trigger or not,it doesnt affect GREECE by a bit.Its not Greece who had to pay for the CDS.Its the entitities that agreed to enter into such contracts.Also i did tell you that the speculators DID benefit (and their counterparties did not benefit) from that, because the CDS were triggered.
      And no, the global economy didnt tumble because the NET NOTIONAL AMOUNT was way too small: http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2011/10/27/713826/how-gross-and-net-cds-notionals-really-work/

      And since you tried to move the discussion away from its main topic,which was the fact that public institutions were forced to buy bonds without their consent, do you still see nothing wrong with that?Do you still believe we should show gratitude to the bondholders ????

  • “Thankfully, it is now safe to report that the ‘Global Minotaur Hypothesis’ passes the test of empiricism with flying colours.”

    Would it not be better to use some other expression like empirical facts?. Using the notion “empiricism” raises the exercise to a Meta level, which I think is an unnecessary seismological commitment.

    PS.
    In any way thank you for your engagement as a public intellectual!

    • You are right. I overdid it. Less boisterously, I should have said that the empirical observations of the past two years do not seem to have falsified my hypothesis.

    • Νο wonder why we will have a moratorium until US elections. If these guys win it will be German kind of policy against the German version of Europe.

  • Dear Yanis, could we people -that purchased the 1st edition, a few months ago, have as an upgrade the ‘brand new replaced chapter 9’ of the 2d edition, via download or email ?
    After all why not having updates / upgrades in the books business.
    (Or having books printed in a way that pages can be inserted or extracted)
    Best wishes for many editions to come
    George Kakarelidis

  • Mr. Varoufakis,
    I admire your views on global economy and financial system and I find your way of writing very consistent. I’ve recently read “The Global Minotaur” and I found it very informative from a historical point of view. Nevertheless, I believe that economists of your acclaimed status should include in their writings theories of more specific fields of microeconomics (which are able to offer practical thoughts) because a common reader may get easily confused while exploring economy from the macroeconomic view. Thank you for your sharing thoughts with economic community

    With respect,
    H. Fransis

    • I think part of the reason several people dont/cant understand some of his points (the MP for example) is precisely because they are thinking in microeconomic terms.Thinking of economies (and governments) as single households or businesses is not going to help one much,in understanding the situation.

  • Yanis, do you have already any -indicative- date when the 2nd edition will be available in German language? I want to give it as gift to some friends.

  • Αγαπητέ Γιάνη,

    είχαν περάσει λίγες μέρες από την ανάγνωση του Παγκόσμιου Μινώταυρου, όταν στη λάβα ενός ηφαιστείου έπεσα πάνω στον ΘΥΜΩΜΕΝΟ Μινώταυρο. Αυτό θα το πάρω! είπα. Θα το στείλω στον Βαρουφάκη για το εξώφυλο της δεύτερης έκδοσης…

    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/7661680/VarufakisCimomenosMinotavros.jpg

    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/7661680/VarufakisCimomenosMinotavros2.jpg

    Γιάνης Δημολιάτης
    Επίκουρος καθηγητής Υγιεινής & Επιδημιολογίας
    Πανεπιστήμιο Ιωανίνων

  • Ιβάν Σαββίδης: “Αν η Ρωσία έρθει εδώ, η Ελλάδα μπορεί να μείνει ανεξάρτητο κράτος”

    Σε σημερινή του ομιλία στο Βελλίδειο συνεδριακό κέντρο σε δημοσιογράφους, ο Ιβάν Σαββίδης ανέφερε:

    «Εμείς οι Σοβιετικοί Έλληνες είμαστε τυχεροί. Οι Ρώσοι μας αγαπούν περισσότερο, από ότι οι Έλληνες τους Πόντιους. Εμείς θέλουμε η Ρωσική αυτοκρατορία, με τις τεράστιες δυνατότητες που έχει, να έλθει και να βοηθήσει την Ελλάδα. Η Ελλάδα βρίσκεται μπροστά σε μία καταστροφή. Έχετε παρακολουθήσει και περιμένατε την έλευση της κυρίας από την Ευρώπη».

    Στη συνέχεια προσέθεσε πως «είμαι περιχαρής, που ο Σαμαράς είχε πετυχημένη συνομιλία με αυτήν την κυρία και ότι ο ελληνικός λαός έχει κάποιες δυνατότητες να διατηρήσει τη χώρα του. Μου αρέσει η στάση του Σαμαρά, που λέει ότι δε χρειαζόμαστε χρήματα, αλλά χρόνο. Σε αυτήν την περίοδο, αν η Ρωσία έρθει εδώ, η Ελλάδα μπορεί να μείνει ανεξάρτητο κράτος. Με τη δική μου πράξη, θέλω να δείξω στους Έλληνες πολιτικούς, ότι εμείς οι Ρώσοι είμαστε κανονικοί άνθρωποι. Μπορούμε να βοηθήσουμε και στον αθλητισμό, να εξυγιάνουμε τον αθλητισμό. Οι Ρώσοι έχουν αποδείξει ότι είναι δίπλα στα ομόδοξα αδέρφια».

    Όταν ρωτήθηκε για το ποιοι Ρώσοι θέλουν να επενδύσουν στην Ελλάδα, ο κ. Σαββίδης τόνισε ότι «αν η Ελλάδα πει σε Ρώσους επιχειρηματίες ότι έχετε ένα χρόνο να κάνετε κάτι στην Ελλάδα, τότε τον Οκτώβριο του 2013 η Ελλάδα θα είναι σε θέση να πει ότι είναι οικονομικά εύρωστη χώρα. Αυτός που δίνει τα χρήματα κανονίζει και τους όρους του παιχνιδιού. Αν η Ευρώπη σας έδωσε τα χρήματά της, αυτή θα θέσει και τους στόχους, τι πρέπει να κάνετε κα πως να ζήσετε. Είμαστε έτοιμοι να συμμετέχουμε ενεργά, στην οικονομία της Ελλάδας, που θα της αποφέρει την ανεξαρτησία της».

    «Αν έβαλα λεφτά στον ΠΑΟΚ θα κάνω τα πάντα για να μη χαθούν. Δεν ξοδεύω τα χρήματα μου για να χαρώ με τη δεύτερη θέση. Αν τα ρωσικά χρήματα έρθουν στην ελληνική οικονομία, οι Ρώσοι θα κάνουν τα πάντα για να μην τα χάσουν. Είναι κατανοητό γιατί υποστηρίζω ότι η ελληνική οικονομία θέλει τα ρωσικά χρήματα. Είχα πει ότι ο αγωγός Μπουργκάς-Αλεξανδρούπολη είναι ευκαιρία για την Ελλάδα. Μου έλεγαν ότι το ψάρι θα φύγει, αλλά δεν έφυγε και η Ελλάδα, μπήκε στην κρίση. Υπάρχουν πράγματα που πρέπει να κάνουμε. Μιλώντας με τον κ. Σαμαρά, προτού γίνει πρωθυπουργός, του έλεγα ότι πρέπει να κινείται μπροστά. Αν σε 1000 χρόνια, η Ρωσία δε γύρισε το πρόσωπο της από την Ελλάδα, νομίζετε ότι θα γυρίσει την πλάτη της τώρα; Η Ελλάδα ως χώρα του ΝΑΤΟ, δε μπόρεσε να λύσει στοιχειώδη ζητήματα. Πόσο μπορούμε να περιμένουμε; Γιατί θα πρέπει να διοικούμαστε από ένα άλλο κέντρο; Θα πρέπει να κάνουμε αυτό το βήμα, Να μη φοβόμαστε», σημείωσε.

  • Μ. Γλέζος: «Νόμπελ Ειρήνης σε μια ΕΕ που ζητά εκκένωση ελληνικών νησιών»

    Την ειρωνική διάσταση που αποκτά η απονομή του Νόμπελ Ειρήνης στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, την ώρα που η Τρόικα ζητά την εκκένωση ελληνικών νησιών, επισημαίνει σε «αιχμηρή» δήλωσή του ο κ. Μανώλης Γλέζος.

    Ο αγωνιστής ενάντια στη γερμανική κατοχή αναφέρει ότι «στην Ελλάδα, αυτή τη μικρή μα όχι ασήμαντη γωνιά της Ευρώπης, χαμηλόβαθμοι Ευρωπαίοι υπάλληλοι τόλμησαν, λίγες μόνο μέρες νωρίτερα, να ζητήσουν το αδιανόητο: να εκκενωθούν τα ελληνικά νησιά με λιγότερους από 150 κατοίκους, για λόγους… οικονομίας!»

    Και συμπληρώνει: «Η πανηγυρίζουσα για το Νόμπελ Ειρήνης Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση ας σκεφτεί μόνο ότι ένα από τα μικρότερα αιγαιοπελαγίτικα νησιά, η Κέρος των Κυκλάδων, έχει χαρίσει στην ανθρωπότητα το μεγαλύτερο μέρος από τα έργα που εκπροσωπούν τον κυκλαδικό πολιτισμό. Ας σκεφτούν, ακόμα, την ιερότητα ενός άλλου μικρού νησιού, της Δήλου».

    «Και μετά» συνεχίζει, «ας πάνε να παραλάβουν το βραβείο τους, αν πιστεύουν ακόμα πως έχουν κάνει ό,τι μπορούσαν και ό,τι έπρεπε να κάνουν για το λαό μας».

    Τέλος, υπογραμμίζει: «Νόμπελ Ειρήνης, λοιπόν, στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση! Τη στιγμή ακριβώς που απειλείται η κοινωνική συνοχή ολόκληρου του ευρωπαϊκού νότου, που τα παιδιά πηγαίνουν πεινασμένα στα σχολεία τους, που οι πολίτες ζουν υπό το κράτος ενός ακήρυκτου οικονομικού πολέμου, που η ανθρωπιστική καταστροφή καραδοκεί!».

  • “Ὁ ἀνθελληνισμὸς τοῦ Βατικανοῦ εἶναι μόνιμος, ὅσο ὁ Ἑλληνισμὸς μένει ἑνωμένος μὲ τὴν Ὀρθοδοξία”

    Τοῦ Πρωτοπρεσβυτέρου π. Γεωργίου Δ. Μεταλληνοῦ

    Μοῦ ζητήθηκε νὰ δώσω κάποια στοιχεῖα, πού νὰ τεκμηριώνουν την καθιερωμένη ἀνθελληνική στάση τοῦ Βατικανοῦ καὶ τῶν Λατίνων τοῦ Ἑλλαδικοῦ Χώρου. Διότι πολλοὶ εἶναι ἐκεῖνοι, πού μὴ γνωρίζοντας τὰ κείμενα, ρωτοῦν μὲ ἀπορία: Ὑπάρχουν ἀποδείξεις; Ἡ ἀπάντηση, δυστυχῶς, εἶναι: Ναί, ὑπάρχουν! Μακάρι νὰ μὴ ὑπῆρχαν καὶ νὰ μὴ ἤμασθε ἀναγκασμένοι νὰ ἀσχολούμεθα μὲ αὐτὸ τὸ θέμα. Δυστυχῶς ὅμως τὰ πράγματα ἀποδεικνύουν ὅτι ὁ ἀνθελληνισμὸς τοῦ Βατικανοῦ εἶναι μόνιμος, ὅσο ὁ Ἑλληνισμὸς μένει ἑνωμένος μὲ τὴν Ὀρθοδοξία τῶν Ἁγίων, πού συνιστᾶ ριζικὴ ἀνατροπὴ τοῦ παπικοῦ οἰκοδομήματος.

    Μένουμε ἐνδεικτικὰ σὲ κάποιες χαρακτηριστικὲς περιπτώσεις:

    Ὁ ἐκλεκτὸς συνάδελφος κ. Ἀντ.Παπαδόπουλος (Καθηγ. Παν/μίου Θεσσαλονίκης) στὴ μελέτη του «Ἡ στάση τῶν Ἑλλήνων Καθολικῶν ἔναντι τῆς ἐπαναστάσεως τοῦ 1821 (1971)» τεκμηριώνει τὴν ἀντίθεση, ἀπὸ τὴν ἀρχή, τῶν Λατίνων τῆς Ἑλλάδος στοὺς στόχους τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς Ἐπαναστάσεως, ὁ δὲ συνάδελφός μας στὴ Θεολογικὴ Σχολὴ Ἀθηνῶν, Ἐπίκ. Καθηγητής κ. Κων. Μανίκας στὴν διδακτορική του διατριβή προσάγει πλῆθος ἀρχειακῶν μαρτυριῶν γιὰ τὸ θέμα. Οἱ ρωμαιοκαθολικοί τῆς Ἑλλάδος κατευθυνόμενοι ἀπὸ τὴ Ρώμη, ἀρνήθηκαν νὰ στηρίζουν τὸν Ἀγώνα, δείχνοντας παντελῆ ἀνυποταξία καὶ προσφεύγοντας στὴν προστασία τῶν….

    δυτικῶν (καθολικῶν) δυνάμεων (Βλ. Κ. Μεταξᾶ, Ἱστορικὰ Ἀπομνημονεύματα…, Ἀθῆναι 1956, σ. 48 ἑ.ἑ.). «Προετίμων τὸν τουρκισμὸν ἀντὶ τοῦ ἑλληνισμοῦ», σημειώνει καὶ ὁ Ἰ. Φιλήμων (Δοκίμιον Ἱστορικὸν περὶ τῆς Ἑλλην. Ἐπαναστ., τ. Γ’, Ἀθ. 1861, σ. 116 ἑ.). Οἱ Ρωμαιοκαθολικοί της Ἑλλάδος τελοῦσαν μόνιμα ὑπὸ τὴν καθοδήγηση τῆς Propaganda (Ρώμη), δηλαδὴ ὑπὸ ξένη ἐξάρτηση, κάτι πού συνιστᾶ κατ᾽ οὐσίαν τὸ πρόβλημα τῶν αἱρέσεων στὴν Ἑλλάδα μέχρι σήμερα (ἐξάρτηση ἀπὸ ξένα κέντρα). Παρὰ τὶς προτροπὲς τοῦ ναυάρχου Δεριγνὺ οἱ Λατίνοι ἠρνοῦντο νὰ με- τάσχουν στὰ ἑλληνικὰ πράγματα, προτιμώντας, κατὰ τὸν ἴδιο, νὰ δοῦν τὸν τουρκικὸ θρίαμβο (Ph. Argenti, The Expedition of the Colonel Fabvier…, 1953, σ. 72).

    Αὐτὸ τὸ πνεῦμα δείχνει ἀνάγλυφα ἔγγραφο τοῦ Γενικοῦ Προξένου τῆς Γαλλίας στὴ Σμύρνη Pierre Etienne David (1η Ἰουνίου 1828), στὸ ὁποῖο σημειώνεται: «… Γνωστοποιοῦμεν ὅτι ὁ Ἐπίσκοπος καὶ ὁ Καθολικὸς Κλῆρος τῆς Ναξίας καὶ ὅλη ἡ Καθολικὴ Κοινότης τῆς ἰδίας ταύτης Νήσου, ὡς καὶ αἱ Ἐκκλησίαι, τὰ Παρεκκλήσια, Φιλανθρωπικὰ Ἱδρύματα καὶ ἄλλα Θρησκευτικὰ Ἱδρύματα εἶναι ὑπὸ τὴν προστασίαν τοῦ Βασιλέως τῆς Γαλλίας, καὶ ὅτι ἡ ἐλαχίστη ὕβρις κατ’ αὐτῶν, κατὰ τὰς παρούσας ταραχάς (sic) διὰ τὰς ὁποίας εἶναι ξένοι (sic), θὰ ἐθεωρεῖτο προσβολὴ διὰ τὸν Κραταιὸν Μονάρχην…» (τὴν μαρτυρία ὀφείλω στὸν κ. Κ. Μανίκα). «Παροῦσαι ταραχαὶ» εἶναι ἡ Ἑλληνικὴ Ἐπανάσταση! Οἱ Λατίνοι «Ἕλληνες» μένουν «ξένοι» καὶ πιστοὶ στὸν «Κραταιὸν Μονάρχην», δηλαδὴ τὸν Σουλτάνο!

    Θὰ μποροῦσε κανεὶς νὰ ἰσχυρισθεῖ ὅτι οἱ συμποσούμενοι τότε σὲ 20-25.000 Ρωμαιοκαθολικοί τῆς Ἑλλάδος τὸ ἔκαναν αὐτό, διότι ἀντιμετώπιζαν ἐχθρότητα ἀπό τους Ὀρθοδόξους καὶ αἰσθάνονταν ἀνετώτερα σὲ ὀθωμανικὸ περιβάλλον.

    Δὲν εἶναι ὅμως αὐτὴ ἡ ἀλήθεια, διότι οἱ Ἕλληνες πολιτικοί, ὅπως π.χ. ὁ Θ. Νέγρης, ὄχι μόνο ἦσαν ἰδιαίτερα φιλικοὶ ἀπέναντί τους, προβαίνοντας σὲ ἕνα σωρὸ γιὰ χάρη τους παραχωρήσεις, ἀλλά κατοχύρωναν συνταγματικὰ τὴν προστασία τους (ἦσαν οἱ μόνοι ἑτερόδοξοι στὸν ἑλλαδικὸ χῶρο τότε), κάτι πού ἰσχύει ὥς σήμερα ἀμετακίνητα. Γιὰ νὰ μὴ δυσαρεστηθοῦν, μάλιστα, οἱ δυτικοὶ προστάτες τους, σημειώθηκε στὸ Σύνταγμα ἤδη τὸ 1822: «Ὅσοι αὐτόχθονες κάτοικοι τῆς Ἐπικρατείας τῆς Ἑλλάδος πιστεύουσιν εἰς Χριστόν, εἰσίν Ἕλληνες…», ὥστε νὰ συμπεριληφθοῦν καὶ οἱ ἀντιτιθέμενοι στὴν Ἐπανάσταση Λατίνοι, καὶ ὄχι: «οἱ ὀρθόδοξοι». Καὶ αὐτὰ μὲν γιὰ τὴν Ἐπανάσταση. Ὑπάρχει ὅμως καὶ συνέχεια.

    Ἡ γαλλικὴ ἐφημερίδα «Univers», ὄργανο τοῦ Βατικανοῦ, χαρακτηρίζει τὸ 1868 ἀτύχημα τὴ Ναυμαχία τοῦ Ναυαρίνου καὶ τὴν ἀπελευθέρωση τῆς Ἑλλάδος, γράφοντας: «Τότε μόνο θὰ ἔχουμε ἀφορμὴ νὰ εὐχόμασθε τὴν πτώση τῆς Τουρκίας, ἐὰν ἀντ’ αὐτῆς ἱδρυόταν στὴν ἀνατολὴ ἕνα καθολικὸ κράτος» (Σ. Βουτυρᾶ, Ἡ παπικὴ μοναρχία καὶ ἡ Ὀρθόδοξος Ἐκκλησία, Ἀθ. 1902, σ. 52 ἑ.). Ὅταν δὲ κατὰ τὸν Α’ παγκόσμιο πόλεμο φάνηκε ἡ δυνατότητα νὰ ξαναπάρει τὸ Οἰκουμ. Πατριαρχεῖο τὴν Ἁγία Σοφία, τὸ Βατικανὸ δήλωνε, ὅτι προτιμοῦσε «νὰ βλέπει τὴν ἡμισέληνον ἐπὶ τῆς Ἁγίας Σοφίας παρὰ τὸν Ἑλληνικὸν (sic) Σταυρόν»! Καὶ κατὰ τὴ μικρασιατικὴ καταστροφὴ τὸ Βατικανὸ ἔστελνε συγχαρητήρια τηλεγραφήματα στὸν Κεμὰλ Ἀττατούρκ (Σεπτέμβριος 1922) (Βλ. Χρυσοστ. Παπαδοπούλου, ἀρχιεπ., Φύσις καὶ χαρακτήρ τῆς Οὐνίας, Ἀθ. 1928, σ.45).

    Ἐξ ὄνυχος τὸν λέοντα! Ἡ ἔρευνα τῶν διαφόρων Κρατικῶν Ἀρχείων θὰ φανερώσει καὶ πολλὰ ἄλλα ἀνάλογα στοιχεῖα γιὰ τὴν ἐποχή μας. Ἡ στάση, ἄλλωστε, τοῦ Βατικανοῦ στὸ «σκοπιανὸ» πρόβλημα, στὸ ὄνομα «Μακεδονία» καὶ στὰ ἑλληνοτουρκικὰ βεβαιώνει, δυστυχῶς, συνέχεια τῆς πολιτικῆς τοῦ Βατικανοῦ. Δὲν ἀπορρίπτουμε, φυσικά, ὅλον τὸν Ρωμαιοκαθολικὸ κόσμο, διότι ὑπάρχουν σ᾽ αὐτὸν κάποια ἐλεύθερα πνεύματα, πού διαφωνοῦν μὲ τὸ παπικὸ κέντρο (κράτος). Τὸ Βατικανὸ δὲν θέλει νὰ δεχθεῖ Ἑλληνισμὸ ὀρθόδοξο, παρὰ μόνο Ἕλληνες-Οὐνίτες, ὑπηρέτες τῶν πολιτικοοικονομικῶν σχεδίων του. Γι᾽ αὐτὸ ἔμεινε πλέον στὴν ἱστορία τὸ ρητορικὸ ἐρώτημα τοῦ Μακαριστοῦ Ἀρχιεπισκόπου μας κ. Σεραφείμ, ἂν «τὸ Βατικανὸ εἶναι Ἐκκλησία». Διότι, δυστυχῶς, δὲν εἶναι.

    Ορθόδοξος Τύπος,12/10/2012

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