mfioretti: varoufakis*

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  1. Yaroufakis agrees that there are numerous design flaws with the currency. Not least, he adds, “the fact that there are no controls, no democratic checks and balances of a bit issue and no way of back-stopping financial transactions by means of some kind of insurance policy for those that get defrauded.” Yet his central criticism focuses upon what he refers to as “the fantasy of apolitical money.”

    To Varoufakis, money is inherently political. The decisions regarding whether money is produced or not, how it is distributed and who receives it, all have significant political consequences, benefiting certain social groups over others. Bitcoin’s central design feature, that it is not governed by a central bank or decision-making authority, means that responsibility for its distribution is forfeited. This can have profound social and political implications in times of crisis.

    To understand what Varoufakis means by the political nature of money, consider how governments respond to financial crises. When a major financial crisis occurs, it is usually caused by the failure of widespread and interconnected debts. Once these debts fail, what happens is that a large part of the money supply effectively disappears. With this money gone, governments have a choice whether to replace it or not. Choosing not to replace it through the creation of new money (inflation) becomes a political decision with political repercussions. As Varoufakis suggests, “effectively you are choosing to shift the burden of a crisis onto the debtors and usually the weakest and poorest of debtors. So effectively you are redistributing power and wealth against the weaker members of society.”

    If the decision is made to replenish the money supply, like it was in 2008 through Quantitative Easing (QE), then how this money is channeled through the economy will also influence the political economy. In Varoufakis’ opinion, QE was engineered in a way to benefit large corporations.
    https://www.wired.co.uk/article/yanis-varoufakis-bitcoin-bubble-interview
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  2. So what can Theresa May do?

    The only way May could secure a good deal for the UK would be by diffusing the EU’s spoiling tactics, while still respecting the Burkean Brexiteers’ strongest argument, the imperative of restoring sovereignty to the House of Commons. And the only way of doing this would be to avoid all negotiations by requesting from Brussels a Norway-style, off-the-shelf arrangement for a period of, say, seven years.

    The benefits from such a request would be twofold: first, Eurocrats and Europhiles would have no basis for denying Britain such an arrangement. (Moreover, Schäuble, Merkel and sundry would be relieved that the ball is thrown into their successors’ court seven years down the track.) Second, it would make the House of Commons sovereign again by empowering it to debate and decide upon in the fullness of time, and without the stress of a ticking clock, Britain’s long-tem relationship with Europe.
    1:03
    Barnier: Brexit deal will not be quick or painless – video

    The fact that May has opted for a Brexit negotiation that will immediately activate the EU’s worst instincts and tactics, for petty party-political reasons that ultimately have everything to do with her own power and nothing to do with Britain’s optimal agreement with the EU, means only one thing: she does not deserve the mandate that Brussels is keen to neutralise.
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/...it-traps-that-will-defeat-theresa-may
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  3. L’argomentazione di Brancaccio (l’intervista ha avuto sul web una eco enorme, è stata ripresa da “Mediapart”, continua a circolare, e del resto è in sintonia con lo sciagurato ponziopilatismo di Melanchon) in sostanza è la seguente: la politica finanziaria iperliberista è la causa del lepenismo, dunque sarebbe assurdo immaginare di combattere l’effetto sostenendo la politica che l’ha causato.

    L’argomento ha fatto presa, sembra accattivante, come del resto tutte le più efficaci fallacie logiche. Perché di violazione della logica innanzitutto si tratta.

    La politica finanziaria (ma anche economica in tutti i suoi aspetti) liberista, infatti, non è la causa del lepenismo, è la responsabile della crisi economica, della mostruosa hybris di diseguaglianza che avvilisce e mina la democrazia in Europa e negli Usa, della crescente e giusta rabbia di masse popolari sempre più vaste, del loro anelito sacrosanto e razionale a punire gli establishment. Il lepenismo è solo una delle risposte a questa situazione. La politica di Sanders, di Podemos, e altre che potranno nascere, costituiscono altrettante risposte possibili alla mostruosità sociale e all’inefficienza economica che il liberismo sempre più selvaggio (ma egemone ahimè da tre decenni e mezzo) incuba e produce.

    Insomma, il liberismo finanziario sfrenato, di cui Macron è grand commis, non produce una risposta politica (il lepenismo), produce una catastrofe sociale, il cui esito politico dipende dalla capacità delle culture, dei cittadini, e soprattutto delle elités politiche, che quel liberismo combattono.
    http://temi.repubblica.it/micromega-o...minore-e-una-scelta-assurda-e-tragica
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  4. A common myth, promoted by the rich, is that wealth is produced individually before it is collectivized by the state, through taxation. In fact, wealth was always produced collectively and privatized by those with the power to do it: the propertied class. Farmland and seeds, pre-modern forms of capital, were collectively developed through generations of peasant endeavor that landlords appropriated by stealth. Today, every smartphone comprises components developed by some government grant, or through the commons of pooled ideas, for which no dividends have ever been paid to society.

    So how should society be compensated? Taxation is the wrong answer. Corporations pay taxes in exchange for services the state provides them, not for capital injections that must yield dividends. There is thus a strong case that the commons have a right to a share of the capital stock, and associated dividends, reflecting society’s investment in corporations’ capital. And, because it is impossible to calculate the size of state and social capital crystalized in any firm, we can decide how much of its capital stock the public should own only by means of a political mechanism.

    A simple policy would be to enact legislation requiring that a percentage of capital stock (shares) from every initial public offering (IPO) be channeled into a Commons Capital Depository, with the associated dividends funding a universal basic dividend (UBD). This UBD should, and can be, entirely independent of welfare payments, unemployment insurance, and so forth, thus ameliorating the concern that it would replace the welfare state, which embodies the concept of reciprocity between waged workers and the unemployed.
    https://www.project-syndicate.org/com...al-income-by-yanis-varoufakis-2016-10
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  5. Sia l’elettricità che il lavoro possono essere pensati come merci. Tanto i datori di lavoro quanto i lavoratori lottano per mercificare il lavoro. I datori di lavoro usano tutta la loro ingegnosità, e quella dei loro manager delle risorse umane, per quantificare, misurare e omogeneizzare il lavoro. Allo stesso tempo i potenziali impiegati si dannano l’anima in un tentativo ansioso di mercificare il loro potere lavorativo, scrivendo e riscrivendo i loro curricula per ritrarsi come fornitori di unità di lavoro quantificabili. E questo è il problema! Perché se lavoratori e datori di lavoro riuscissero a mercificare completamente il lavoro, il capitalismo morirebbe. Questa è una prospettiva senza la quale la tendenza del capitalismo di generare crisi cicliche non potrà mai venire pienamente compresa, una prospettiva alla quale nessuno, senza una conoscenza di base del pensiero di Marx, avrà mai accesso.

    ogni singola teoria economica non marxista che tratta gli impulsi produttivi umani e non-umani come se fossero intercambiabili, quantità qualitativamente equivalenti, adotta il presupposto che la de-umanizzazione del lavoro umano sia completa. Ma se tale processo giungesse mai ad essere completo, il risultato sarebbe la fine del capitalismo inteso come sistema capace di creare e distribuire valore. Innanzitutto, una società di simulacri de-umanizzati, o automi, assomiglierebbe ad un orologio meccanico pieno di ingranaggi e molle, ognuno con la sua propria funzione, e che nel complesso producono un “bene”: la misurazione del tempo. Ma se questa società contenesse nient’altro che automi, la misurazione del tempo non sarebbe un “bene”. Sarebbe un “prodotto”, certamente, ma perché mai un “bene”? Senza esseri umani reali a sperimentare il funzionamento dell’orologio, non potrebbero esserci cose come “beni” o “mali”. Una “società” di automi sarebbe, così come gli orologi meccanici o dei circuiti integrati, piena di ingranaggi funzionanti, dimostrando una funzione, una funzione che però non potrebbe venire descritta né in termini morali, né di valore.

    Dunque, per ricapitolare, se il capitale dovesse mai riuscire nel quantificare, e dunque nel mercificare completamente, il lavoro, così come prova a fare in ogni momento, lo prosciugherebbe anche di quell’indeterministica, recalcitrante libertà umana che permette la generazione del lavoro. La brillante rivelazione di Marx riguardo l’essenza più profonda delle crisi capitaliste era precisamente questa: maggiore sarà il successo del capitalismo nel convertire il lavoro in una merce, minore sarà il valore che ogni unità genererà, minore il profitto e, infine, più vicina la prossima odiosa recessione sistemica dell’economia. Il ritratto della libertà umana intesa come categoria economica è un aspetto unico del pensiero di Marx, rendendo possibile una peculiare e astute interpretazione drammatica e analitica della propensione del capitalismo a piombare nella recessione, persino nella depressione, a partire dalle fasi più sfrenate di crescita.

    Questi erano i tempi in cui Marx aveva capito, e confessato, di aver sbagliato sul versante del determinismo. Una volta passato alla stesura del terzo volume del Capitale aveva capito che, persino una minima variazione (ad esempio l’ammettere differenti gradi di intensità del capitale in differenti settori) avrebbe confutato la sua argomentazione contro Weston. Ma egli era così dedito al proprio monopolio sulla verità che passò sopra la questione, in maniera stupefacente ma troppo brusca, imponendo per legge l’assioma che avrebbe, alla fine, difeso la sua dimostrazione originale; quello che avrebbe inferto il colpo fatale a Citizen Weston. Strani sono i rituali della fatuità e tristi sono quando portati avanti da menti eccezionali, quali Karl Marx e un numero considerevole di suoi discepoli del XX secolo.
    Quest’ossessione nell’ottenere un modello “completo”, “concluso”, la “parola finale”, è una cosa che non posso perdonare a Marx. Si rivelò, alla fine, responsabile di una gran quantità di errori e, ancora di più, di autoritarismo. Errori e autoritarismo che sono largamente responsabili dell’odierna impotenza della sinistra intesa come forza del bene e di controllo sugli abusi dei concetti di ragione e libertà perpetrati oggi dalla ciurmaglia neoliberista.

    Un’uscita greca, portoghese o italiana dall’Eurozona si trasformerebbe ben presto in una frammentazione del capitalismo europeo, producendo una regione in forte recessione a est del Reno e a nord delle Alpi, mentre il resto dell’Europa giacerebbe in una palude senza scampo di stagnazione economica e inflazione. Chi pensate trarrebbe profitto da questa situazione? Una sinistra progressista, risorgente dalle ceneri delle pubbliche istituzioni europee come una fenice? O i nazisti di Alba Dorata, i neofascisti vari, gli xenofobi e i maneggioni? Non ho assolutamente dubbi in proposito. Non sono pronto a spingere per la realizzazione di questa versione postmoderna degli anni Trenta. Se questo significa che è compito nostro, dei marxisti eretici, salvare il capitalismo europeo da se stesso, così sia. Non per amore o apprezzamento del capitalismo europeo, dell’Eurozona, di Bruxelles o della Banca Centrale Europea, ma solo perché vogliamo minimizzare i superflui tributi umani a questa crisi; le innumerevoli vite le cui prospettive sarebbero ulteriormente distrutte senza un qualsiasi beneficio per le future generazioni in Europa.
    http://www.controlacrisi.org/notizia/...-marxista-irregolare-nel-mezzo-di-una
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  6. The truth of the matter is, the very powerful Troika of creditors were not interested in coming to a sensible, honorable mutually beneficial agreement," Varoufakis said, referring to group that represents foreign creditors, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission (eurogroup), and the European Central Bank (ECB).

    Varoufakis admitted that during negotiations his government did make some mistakes, but mostly in assuming that they were holding "a rational bargaining session."

    "If you look at the way they have behaved from the very first day the Syriza government » assumed power," he continued, "close inspection will reveal... that » they were far more interested in humiliating this government and overthrowing it—or at least making sure it overthrows itself in terms of its policies—then coming to an agreement that would ensure they would get most of their money back.

    Varoufakis conceded that Tsipras "was faced with an incredibly hard choice when he went to the eurogroup summit: commit suicide or be executed, effectively."

    "Alexis Tsipras decided it would be best for the Greek people, for this government, to stay put and to implement a program that this very same government disagrees with," he said. "People like me thought it would be more honorable, and in the long term more appropriate, for us to resign."

    "But," he added, "I recognize his argument is equally powerful as mine.
    http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015...a-choice-between-suicide-or-execution
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  7. il premier ha riferito in Parlamento sul progetto di una valuta alternativa messo a punto da Varoufakis: "Ho dato ordine personalmente di prepararlo ma l'obiettivo non era la Grexit. Quella semmai la volevano i creditori
    http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2015/...amo-piano-b-ma-per-difenderci/1923587
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2015-08-02)
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  8. The conventional wisdom, delivered before anyone could really ponder the fine print of the Greek debt deal, is that Tsipras surrendered to the creditors in a humiliating defeat. His referendum and prior tenacity in negotiations proved futile,according to the predominant account that has emerged in the media and the twitter and blog worlds.

    Wrong on all counts. And here’s why.

    It is well-understood that Greece’s debt is un-repayable under any plausible economic scenario. But this is the reality that many European politicians cannot admit candidly in public, above all, Germany’s politicians. With the imminent expiry of the last bailout program, Greece was faced with the predicament that, on the one hand, without more assistance, its banking system would collapse, yet a further bailout would do nothing meaningful to address the sustainability of its debt burden. At the same time, to distract their voters/taxpayers from the reality of the un-repayability of the debt the politicians, again above all Germany’s, had to punish Greece, blaming its bad behavior for the crisis and imposing ever more onerous if irrational conditions. For the German political leaders, the calculation was that the people’s satisfaction from seeing Greece punished and humiliated would be an effective Ersatz for the satisfaction of being repaid. (I will make no comment as to whether the politicians here rightly gauged the national character). Varoufakis and his colleagues were correct to see that at some point for the Germans, this exercise would only remain politically effective if Greece were given the ultimate punishment – removal from Europe.

    Tsipras and company employed a number of tactics to implement this strategy, which are widely known but wrongly thought to have been ineffective. In fact the results have been impressive:

    1) Germany, the major obstacle to ever facing the reality of debt unsustainabilty, has been isolated and disgraced; François Hollande has emerged as the new leader of Europe, someone much more prepared to open serious discussions about sustainability.

    2) The United States, including the Treasury, as well as the IMF itself, have moved to the position that some some form of serious debt relief is crucial. Merkel and other European leaders are far from immune from US pressure; getting Obama’s attention (the phone call to Merkel) is an achievement in itself, especially at a crucial juncture in other negotiations (Iran).

    3) Given Schäuble was maneuvering in the Eurogroup to bring about Grexit, Tsipras needed a commitment of political leaders to Europe as a community of fate, where cleansing of any of its nations is an unthinkable betrayal of European values and of the lessons of history. To get such a commitment required raising the Greek crisis to the level of an ontological and moral crisis for Europe, which would concentrate minds at the top political levels as well as those of European and global opinion-makers. This morning Tsipras got the commitment. Grexit as an option, even in the confused “temporary” version that was part of the deceptive rhetoric of Schäuble, is unmentioned in today’s agreement; it has become unmentionable. The EU has made a significant moral and political re-investment in Greece, and through its resolution of the ontological crisis, made the salvation of Greece into a test of the viability and justification of the European project. This is being the case, the costs to Europe of a further failure or breakdown going forward with Greece have been upped considerably.
    http://www.verfassungsblog.de/en/the-...ot-surrender-by-tsipras/#.VbZWl7yxpfE
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  9. The unfolding crisis in Greece has highlighted the extent to which we have bought into the idea that there is no alternative to the increasing subordination of society to capital. The democratic moment that excited so many people around the world soon passed.

    Even Yanis Varoufakis, the lone Greek hero taking on the medusa-like power of the European Union, has capitulated.

    These experiences are all too familiar in Africa where sovereignty has often been ground away in the cycle of loans, debt and structural adjustment. As Thomas Sankara, president of Burkina Faso for four years in the 1980s, famously argued:

    Debt is neo-colonialism, in which colonisers transformed themselves into “technical assistance”. We should say “technical assassins”.

    In a 1986 speech at the Organisation for African Unity in Addis Ababa, Sankara asked his fellow African leaders to challenge the use of debt to enable neo-colonialism saying:

    The Paris Club is there; let’s create the Addis Ababa Club for cancelling our foreign debt. Our Club should say: our debt will not be paid.

    Sankara’s advice was not heeded and throughout the 1980s indebted African countries had to surrender their autonomy to Structural Adjustment Programmes. Since then it has largely been accepted that there is no alternative to the domination of imperial overlords and the financial interests that they serve.

    Today, many African countries continue to creep along a predetermined path that takes them away from any real possibility to defend their sovereignty and meet the needs of their people.
    https://theconversation.com/why-what-...onversationedu+%28The+Conversation%29
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  10. This conflict has nothing to do with Greek debt or finances. Syriza’s strategy was based upon the rational assumption that the nation’s debt and recovery are being stifled by austerity. As we know from most any respected economist, Greece’s debt can never and will never be repaid. On the continent that prides itself as the cradle of the enlightenment, there should have been an amicable, lasting solution to Greece’s untenable financial situation. Greece has had to learn the hard way, that the EU is no longer a European project for peace, democracy and prosperity, but a German tool for hegemony.

    This has been a conflict between a small European nation, led by a leftist government, attempting to reassert its autonomy under crushing German predominance. That may sound simplistic, but there is not much more to it.

    Syriza’s main goal was debt relief. They always saw Chancellor Merkel as the lone decision maker in the negotiations. Ms Merkel on the other hand has unremittingly demanded unconditional capitulation. The rest has been spectacle. There is a saying: “Clowns entertain in the intervals between the acts. The circus director runs the show”. Dijsselbloem, Juncker and the rest may have had a lot to say to the media, but little to say in negotiations. Finland, Slovakia and Slovenia are irrelevant. The only other player of any importance besides Merkel was ECB president Mario Draghi, who assisted Germany’s financial blitzkrieg by questionably terminating the ECB’s support of Greek banks. Schäuble was Merkel’s executioner.

    The intervention of France’s President Francois Hollande was uncannily reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain. The only thing lacking was his arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport brandishing a letter from Chancellor Merkel. The conclusion of “negotiations” was reminiscent of the Munich Dictate. Greece has been “saved”, much as Czechoslovakia 77 years ago.

    The history of the “good Germans” has always been one of ineffectuality. In the course of history there have been many Germans who believed in the enlightenment, be it Martin Luther, Immanuel Kant or Wolfgang Goethe. These however never questioned the authoritative role of the state against the will of the people. The class of “enlightened” Germans always regret what their nation is doing, but more often than not, in the end participate in the very actions they deplore.

    Under German hegemony we are seeing heads of state removed by financial pressure (Italy and Greece), nations forced to take over debts from reckless private banks (Ireland and Spain) and Greece being pounded into submission and having its autonomy reduced to passing legislation dictated by Berlin.

    the Germans have a primordial fear and hate of eastern Europeans, resulting in a commensurate brutality. When the opportunity arrives to subjugate these peoples, the process will not be as gentle as in Greece. Ukraine could already be the first example of this.

    The only exception might be Poland, which throughout history has been invaded and occupied by the Germans.

    The Poles are fortunately highly distrustful of the Germans – with good reason – and are still not members of the eurozone . They surely have been following the developments in Greece and hopefully comprehended the writing on the wall.
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/0...is-in-europe-has-only-just-begun.html
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