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Modern Money & Public Purpose: Yanis Varoufakis and Marshall Auerback on the Eurozone Crisis

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One of the reasons the public knows little about economics is that most economists are lousy speakers. Part of that is their reliance on jargon, which is often shamanistic, designed to obscure rather than communicate. But the other reason is that a lot of economists don’t bother to try to be engaging.

The remarks by Yanis Varoufakis and Marshall Auerback are informative and lively, if ultimately pretty grim. The comments at YouTube are extremely positive. The video includes a Q&A section, so don’t be put off by the 2 hours taping time. The talk proper is a bit more than an hour.

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24 comments

  1. brazza

    Thanks for this posting! I would add another element that helps make a presentation on economics more palatable to the uninitiated … a sense of genuine concern for things other than capital itself. A perception that the speaker is not abstracting the issues from social reality. The speakers exude this in spades.

  2. The Dork of Cork.

    This Euro deflation genie goes very far back…….

    In the 1970s the Irish banks created credit on the back of new EEC Agri – fiscal flows………..
    In 1979 we came out of the Sterling zone………..after a deflationary mini depression between 1982 -86 they only printed in extremis during 1986……… of course after 1987 there began the biggest credit hyperinflation per capita in the history of the world which covered up the weakness of the remaining rump rational domestic economy to the point where it now no longer exists.

    Our domestic elites have destroyed our society over a very long time period…..
    All for the euro dream / nightmare

    Even a bad boy / neo liberal economist whose policies destroyed Ireland in the 1970s (via car,road / bank credit capital destruction) that the Irish elite drag out every Sunday to state we must get out of dodge wants to remake the experiment in a Euro 2.0..
    Its very funny really

    This after the Euro 0.5 destroyed our small farmers and fishermen….
    The euro 1.0 destroyed any economic redundancy or social cohesion post 1987
    What will the Euro 2.0 destroy ?

    Everything remaining I imagine.

    No thanks
    Our only hope is that the euro will collapse because of its own weird internal contradictions.

  3. The Dork of Cork.

    Yanis wants a Euro superstate to Fiat guarantee the 25 connected banks…………….

    What a nightmare !!!!!
    Not only does the state become even more distant from the people but the banks are now even closer to this monster state….
    The US is a failure.
    What do yee want to repeat this experiment ?

    Banks in the post 1648 world farm the goverments fiat money supply – the assets they hold have no value which explains why they did not care about the utility of their “investments”

    Whats is most important to them is the legal right to farm the fiat.

    1. Jim

      Regrettably, many liberals want this, even at the expense of democracy.

      Many liberals believe that they alone can better understand what needs to be done to ensure the integrity of the EZ, and are willing to sacrifice democracy if need be, as they believe that the common voter isn’t “smart enough” to realize that sovereignty is an “atavistic” construct.

      These same liberals can’t understand why 90% of Spaniards will drop whatever it is they are doing to watch the Spanish soccer team play against its German counterpart in the World Cup final.

      1. Calgacus

        Regrettably, many liberals want this, even at the expense of democracy.

        Many liberals believe that they alone can better understand what needs to be done to ensure the integrity of the EZ, and are willing to sacrifice democracy if need be, as they believe that the common voter isn’t “smart enough” to realize that sovereignty is an “atavistic” construct.

        Jim, the point is that German & Spanish sovereignty has already been sacrificed, in a treaty procedure which was the opposite of democracy. Sovereignty is not at all atavistic, but essential. But the Eurocrats think that it can maintain a half-way pregnant state forever, no matter how much it tortures Europe.

        No. Either give birth (fiscal union) or abortion (return to national moneys) – because the Euro was a rape of democracy. But the current status is more insane than either, with Germany & the ECB torturing itself & everyone else because of its denial of arithmetic. Torturing by preventing money issuance and deficits because of the idiotic idea they are inflationary, or will hurt Germany – they would help it, probably more than any other state.

  4. The Dork of Cork.

    This can clearly be seem in this video….

    The chief exec. Bank of Ireland (not the Irish CB) was recently grilled in a Parliamentary Committee.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richie_Boucher

    He repeated that it was all about the CASH FLOW of the customers and not the value of the present assets and he was right in the present context of banking units of account mixed up with goverments units of money account.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_right_of_kings

    This divine right of the King has been replaced by the banks divine right to speak gobbledygook to the masses……the entire 1648 thingy has turned in on itself.

    Its a absurdity

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3YkCWJIMXE

    Riche B. is correct within this current monetary framework

    “this is not a pawnbroking business”

    They (the connected banks) are messing up the FIAT money supply to preserve their credit Kingdoms.

    And remember, this is why Wim Duisenberg so proudly stated that the euro “is the first currency that has not only severed its link to gold, but also its link to the nation-state.”

    But you have merely replaced one divine right for another…..ultimate power corrupts don’t you know.

    The banks can create infinite credit that cannot be paid off as there is no King to counter the banks and produce Greenback like currency.
    Auerback fails to understand or want to understand that Spain traded one overt dictator for the dictatorship of the hidden credit banks.

    What did it gain ?
    It reduced its redundancy and exposed itself to the full power of the spice malange.

    Yanis wants to destroy what remains of the German nation state by binding itself to a external surplus recycling mechanism , (the nation state although flawed gives some limited executive checks on the growing euro market states.)

    What does that tell you ?

  5. craazyman

    yet another NC knock on shamanism. Economics makes shamanism look like mathematics! Many doctors make shamans look like magicians! I’m sorry, but I’ll have to give this post a citation for “supercilious condescension”. The fine is $1.15 payable whenever the defendant gets around to it. — Lotenint D. Tremens, Thought Police Patrolman

    1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

      Dat so true craazy. At least shamans can conjure me up sometimes. Have you ever noticed how broke people always find an MMTer to talk to? They must be the psychiatric ward of the economics profession.

      1. craazyman

        well, for me MMT is just another word for “sharing”

        you don’t really need the first M or the last T, but you do need the middle M and you have to share it somehow

        defendant smith knows very little, obviously, about shamanism, comparative religions and wacky woo-woo-foo-foo

        did you know there was a dude who had a split personality and one was diabetic, but when he shifted to the other the diabetes went away.

        it’s not easy giving citations. I could never be a cop in real life, it would be too traumatic. Speaking of traumatic, Mr. Auerback should be given a citation for showing a horror movie in an ecomics lecture. a citation for inventiveness. unfortuantely for me, it happened right before my lunch.

        they should do econoimics with polar coordinates around a circle in three dimensions. it would make a lot more sense than the Cartesian method. it’s a circle not a line. that’s what recycling surpluses means. but the money is not enough, there has to be sharing somehow. that requires a sense of destiny. or at least destination. or at least desperateness. it goes that way with lines.

        1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

          Yes, well, remember how athiests can’t even swear good?

          I think MMTers can’t even share good. Would you want someone to hand you a pile of drachmas and expect you to be eternally grateful while a bunch of rich dudes buy up everything worth buying with euros?

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        The same DNA did this then and now, as Veblen knew and Hudson knows. They are eternal conjurers, making the world in Their Image.

        “THE BUBBLE THAT BROKE THE WORLD” by Garret Garrett (1932)

        “CONJURING HITLER: How Britain and America made the Third Reich” by Guido Giacomo Preparata (2005);

        “TRADING WITH THE ENEMY” by Charles Higham; “HITLER’S BENEFICIARIES” by Goetz Aly; “FUNNY MONEY” by Mark Singer; “BABYLON’S BANKSTERS: The Alchemy of Deep Physics, High Finance and Ancient Religion; “THE SHOCK DOCTRINE” by Naomi Klein.

  6. Max424

    I highly recommend digesting the question and answer beginning at 1:36 –it’s the best part, of what I thought, was a very informative talk.

    The question by the Greek historian gets to root of the matter, which comes first, the propaganda, or the media sellout.

    Without one, you can’t have an effective other. And if you have both, and the sellout is complete, and irreversible, then the situation is hopeless.

  7. Susan the other

    That was a great discussion. I’m familiar with Auerback from here and also Varoufakis whom I always read, but I’m not familiar with the moderator whose name sounded like Xe in Chinese, but he is French and blogs on Huffpo; good attitudes all around. I liked the ancient Greek historian’s question too – ‘Where is the transparancy about what caused the mess?’ which led to derivatives as the culprit, especially CDS et al. (Well – that’s a more pointed discussion than we will ever get from our esteemed President and our great leaders, right?) And Varoufakis confirmed yes it was all the toxic money fabricated by the banks that blew the bubble. Nobody blamed housing like they try to do here. Nobody put too fine a point on it, but derivatives speculation is the sore spot, the thing that Germany is still pissed about – because they borrowed lots of money too thinking it would pay off. Wall Street and the City of London speculating on European success and then taking their money and running after they exploded it all with speculation. And whatever else. Nice to hear them discuss this and look beyond to the solutions. And the only thing that matters which is public purpose.

    I didn’t hear quite the clarity I needed, to the effect that the system needs to pay money into the economy and provide jobs without using the banksters – who are synonymous with thieves… but I’ll be patient.

    1. Jim

      This is preposterous.

      How can anyone who has taken Econ 101 blame derivatives?

      The fundamental flaw with the Eurozone is the Euro. Milton Friedman envisioned its collapse well before derivatives became so trendy.

      Why can’t these overpaid pols and eurocrats admit that the EZ has been a colossal failure, and that the best path forward for the rank-and-file is the dissolution of the EZ?

  8. emptyfull

    I posted this on Wolf Richter’s site 2-3 days ago. After watching this, I’m feeling even more pessimistic. It’s like nobody remembers how bad the 1930s were….

    How long before the generals in Spain and Greece ride waves of nationalist rage back into power, missles pointed towards Brussels? 2 years in Greece, 3 in Spain?

    Really, what do the neo-liberal idiots in the EU think they’re doing? If the Southern European middle classes are impoverished, we’re going to start seeing real political violence in Europe again. To make the dreamed-of U.S.E. will require tremendous military repression. They’ll have to “manage democracy to save it.” Even without democracy interfering in the glorius plan to Unite Christendom under the “englightened rule of the market,” the Germans ain’t gonna be happy sending any of their shrinking pie to those lazy, starving Southern Europeans. Can you think of a better recipe for a return to ethnic warfare in Europe than a “federal Europe”?

    Steer away from the charybdis, idiots! The sinking of the middle classes will unleash demons you really don’t want to see.

    The most ironic nobel peace prize ever!

  9. Chuck Roast

    Great presentation on the creation of the Greater German Co-Prosperity Sphere. The contradiction of recycling the “surplus”. Where’d that come from anyway?

Comments are closed.