Varoufakis: How much did I cost?

Yanis Varoufakis is on the defense. Answering to a host of critics who accuse him of a destructive negotiation process with Greece’s lenders (among them, even his former Premier and friend, Alexis Tsipras, who admitted that while adding considerable momentum to the negotiations in the beginning, Varoufakis consequently became a ‘sinker’ for the Syriza-led government), Varoufakis just wrote a letter explaining how much he really cost the Greek people.

And how much is that? Yes, you’ve guessed it right! According to Varoufakis himself, the cost of his negotiation shenanigans amounts to… zero!

The full article is published in the Greek newspaper EFSYN. Below, you can find my translation of the excerpt available online. It’s definitely worth a read. But, whether one loves or hates Varoufakis, one thing is for sure: his arguments have become increasingly sloppier and his rhetoric more populist than ever before.

 

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GR Political Economy Digest #10

Ilias Makris (Kathimerini, 24 Jan 2015)
Ilias Makris (Kathimerini, 24 Jan 2015)

Only one day left before the Greek elections. With Syriza leading the polls, and New Democracy trailing far behind (Syriza is ahead with at least 4-5%, based on the most recent polls), a scenario in which Syriza can form a government without depending on any other party is all the more plausible. Regardless of the electoral result, the economic consequences of these unnecessary snap elections for Greece and its people are going to be felt for many years to come. Dire times are ahead, and only a few people seem to fully realize the upcoming repercussions.

A vast majority of Greeks expects Syriza and its leader, Alexis Tsipras, to perform an eloquent somersault (‘kolotoumba’ in Greek) in the next few days, or weeks, going back on the programmatic promises of ‘tearing to pieces the Memoranda’ and playing hard-ball with the Troika of lenders. They expect Tsipras to agree on a new MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) – even if Syriza will not actually call it like that – which they hope will be more lenient than the existing agreement with our lenders. Even if such a somersault does occur, however, and given that the Troika requests can be met somehow, Syriza offers no persuasive guarantees of continuing much needed structural reforms, of opening up a relatively closed economy prone to crony capitalism, and of fighting the existing clientelistic and oligarchic structures. On the contrary, it seems ready to implement a host of anti-liberal and statist measures on the tradition of the two former parties of the status quo, PASOK and ND (PASOK began this tradition in the 1980s, and ND quickly followed in order to ensure its electoral competitiveness).

Today, one day before the elections, things look quite gloomy and extremely volatile, to say the least. Tomorrow, we will be one step closer to ending this grandiose string of speculations. Will we also be closer to a Greek knockout? Let’s hope not.

Without further ado, here are the hottest articles on the Greek political economy in the past 24 hours:

  1. Greece goes to the polls and Europe holds its breath, by Harris Mylonas and Akis Georgakellos | The Washington Post (Monkey Cage), Jan 24 2015
  2. Greece: Austerity, Relief or Exit?, by Marcus Walker | The Wall Street Journal, Jan 23 2015
  3. After an anxiety-filled campaign, Greek voters consider a turn to the Left, by Suzanne Daley and Dimitris Bounias | The New York Times, Jan 23 2015
  4. Syriza’s rise fueled by professors-turned-politicians, by Charles Forelle | The Wall Street Journal, Jan 23 2015
  5. The last stand of Greece’s ruling elite, by Nathalie Savaricas | The Independent, Jan 23 2015
  6. Greece to need another bailout extension – euro zone official, by Robit Emmott | Reuters UK, Jan 23 2015
  7. Greece’s hope and change moment, by Yiannis Baboulias | Foreign Policy, Jan 23 2015
  8. HuffPost Exclusive: Greece pre-election poll | Huffington Post, Jan 23 2015
  9. Inside Syriza: Why young Greek are voting for the left, by Matthew Cassel | Al Jazeera America, Jan 23 2015
  10. As Greece prepares to vote, a new age of Eurozone tension begins, by Times / Fortune Editors | Fortune, Jan 23 2015
  11. Greece’s solidarity movement: ‘it’s a whole new model – and it’s working’, by Jon Henley | The Guardian, Jan 23 2015
  12. Greece’s Syriza could face schism after likely election triumph, by Damien Sharkov | Newsweek, Jan 24 2015
  13. Greek shares surge, by Alexis Barley | Wall Street Observer, Jan 24 2015
 Photo: Ilias Makris (Kathimerini)

GR Political Economy Digest #9

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Sketch by Ilias Makris (Kathimerini, 20 Jan 2015)

 

You can find the hottest articles of the day, starting from the best and building down, below:

  1. How Greece and Germany brought Europe’s long-simmering crisis back to a boil, by Marcus Walker & Marianna Kakaounaki | The Wall Street Journal, Jan 22 2015
  2. Let Greece profit from German history, by Jeffrey Sachs | The Guardian, Jan 21 2015
  3. Greece in limbo: Post-election 2015 scenarios, by Filippa Chatzistavrou & Sofia Michalaki | European Policy Institutes Network, Jan 21 2015
  4. Revenge of disaffected Europe risks crisis sparked in Greece, by Maria Petrakis, Donal Griffin, Ben Sills and Thomas Penny | Bloomberg News, Jan 22 2015
  5. Germany’s debt forgiveness of 1953 – The wrong precedent! | Observing Greece, Jan 22 2015
  6. Syriza is now a mainstream party and there is little for Europe to fear in its electoral success, by Theofanis Exadaktylos | LSE EUROPP Blog, Jan 21 2015
  7. 5 Things to look for in Eurozone QE, by Brian Blackstone | The Wall Street Journal, Jan 21 2015
  8. ‘For five years Greece has been like a patient slowly bleeding’, by Helena Smith | The Guardian, Jan 21 2015
  9. Still no exit for Greece, by Kemal Dervis | The Brookings Institution, Jan 21 2015
  10. National Bank of Greece is an asymmetric risk, by The Enlightened Investor | Alpha Seeking, Jan 21 2015
  11. Greece polls: Papandreou and Venizelos locked in political battle, by Peter Spiegel | Financial Times, Jan 21 2015
  12. Landmark election in Greece, by Yannis Papadimitriou | Deutsche Welle, Jan 21 2015

 

Photo: Ilias Makris / Kathimerini

GR Political Economy Digest #8

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  1. Greece’s accounting problem, by Jacob Soll | The New York Times, Jan 20 2015
  2. Still no Exit for Greece, by Kemal Dervis | Project Syndicate, Jan 20 2015
  3. Greek current account deficit widens in November | Kathimerini, Jan 20 2015
  4. Samaras adrift as Syriza lead widens before Greek vote, by Nikos Chrysoloras & Paul Tugwell | Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Jan 20 2015
  5. Greek stocks up | Wall Street Observer, Jan 20 2015
  6. Moscovici: EU prepared for all scenarios after Greek vote | EurActiv, Jan 20 2015
  7. Greece cannot rebound without debt cut, says Syriza economist | Kathimerini, Jan 20 2015
  8. As elections approach, Greece teeters on austerity question [Interview with George Papandreou] | NPR, Jan 19 2015
  9. Greece’s Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras is ‘like Harry Potter’, by Nick Squires | The Telegraph, Jan 19 2015
  10. Young, gifted and Greek: Generation G – the world’s biggest brain drain, by Helena Smith | The Guardian, Jan 19 2015
  11. The real social challenge is kickstarting growth, by Georgios Pagoulatos | Social Europe, Jan 19 2015
  12. Can Europe really withstand a Greek exit?, by Desmond Lachman | The Hill, Jan 19 2015
  13. IMF’s Lagarde plays down debt conference for Greece at Dublin gathering | Euronews, Jan 19 2015
  14. Would forgiving Greece’s debt really be that bad?, by Holly Ellyatt |CNBC, Jan 19 2015

Photo: stories-unbelievable

GR Political Economy Digest #6

  1. Tsipras asks for ‘greater acquiescence’ among parties | AMNA.gr, 18 Jan 2015
  2. A new idea steals across Europe – should Greece’s debt be forgiven? | The Guardian, 18 Jan 2015
  3. Greek Election Looms With Samaras Racing to Catch Syriza | Bloomberg, 18 Jan 2015
  4. Greece’s Syriza Leads in Polls as General Election Looms | The Wall Street Journal, 18 Jan 2015
  5. Sapin conciliatory on post election talks with Greece | The Financial Times, 18 Jan 2015
  6. Vox pop: ‘Greece has to change course’ | The Guardian, 18 Jan 2015
  7. On The Possibility of a Greek Exit and the SNB’s Surprise Move | Investing.com, 18 Jan 2015
  8. Greek elections: Syriza’s young radicals plot a political earthquake for Europe | The Guardian, 17 Jan 2015