Some recent items of interest

July 30, 2015

Yanis Varoufakis explains his friendship with Norman Lamont.

He says:

When I was living in Britain, between 1978 and 1988, Lord (then Norman) Lamont represented everything that I opposed. Even though I appreciated Margaret Thatcher’s candour, her regime stood for everything I resisted. Indeed, there was hardly a demonstration against her government that I failed to join; the pinnacle being the 1984 miners’ strike that engulfed me on a daily basis, in all its bitterness and glory.

For Lord Lamont, a stalwart conservative politician, an investment banker, and long standing Treasury and cabinet minister under both Margaret Thatcher and John Major, my ilk surely represented everything that was objectionable in the youth of the day.

And yet since I became minister, and especially after my resignation, Lord Lamont has been steadfast in his support and extremely generous with his counsel.[1] Indeed, I would be honoured if he allowed me to count him as a good friend.

Fascinatingly, neither Lord Lamont nor I have changed our political spots much. He remains a solid conservative thinker and politician. And I continue to hold on to my erratic Marxism. Which brings me to the fascinating question: How is such a friendship possible?

The answer is simple: A common commitment to democracy and to the indispensability of Parliament’s sovereignty.

Varoufakis also has a piece in Le Monde Diplomatique entitled “The Defeat of Europe” (this link is to the full English text on his personal blog)


 

Shahin Vallée, a former adviser to the French economy minister and the president of the European Council, has a piece entitled “How the Greek Deal Could Destroy the Euro” in the New York Times.

His conclusion is:

This unhappy marriage could last for years, but it will substantially increase the chances of anti-establishment parties coming to power across Europe, because mainstream leaders can no longer disprove the assertion that the euro as it stands has become both economically and politically destructive.

This will force all parties, including pro-European ones, to engage in a discussion about the potential merits of leaving the currency union and it will encourage political posturing, especially in France, where there is an undercurrent of Germanophobia that is easy to rekindle.

Regardless of what happens in Greece now, the July 13 agreement has made the prospect of a future euro breakup far more likely. The question is whether it will take the form of an orderly departure by Germany or a prolonged and economically more destructive exit by France and the south of Europe.


 

Professor James K. Galbraith’s has issued a statement on the Greek Ministry of Finance Working Group convened by former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to develop the now infamous Plan B should Greece be forced out of the euro.

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