Austerity’s Tin Anniversary
August 21, 2018 9:06 AM   Subscribe

The biggest policy mistake of the last decade? Austerity. (The Week) Don’t blame academic economists for austerity, basically no one listens to us. The Greece Bailout’s Legacy of Immiseration: “ 2010 to 2018 will go down in Greek history as an epic period of colonization; of asset-stripping and privatization; of unfunded health and education; of bankruptcies, foreclosures, homelessness, impoverishment; of unemployment, emigration, and suicide.“ (The Atlantic) 2018: the year the failure of privatisation and austerity became undisguisable “The state takeover of Birmingham prison adds to a catalogue of private sector chaos: Carillion, East Coast, Northern Rail and bankrupt Northamptonshire council” (New Statesmen) When Bosses Threatened To Close This Plant, Greek Workers Took It Over ( The Nation)
posted by The Whelk (51 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 


Reagan and Thatcher started us on this disastrous course, and I spit on both their graves for it. Not that I have much more love for the asshole Third Way Democrats (and their Labour counterparts) who failed to steer us away from the rocks.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:19 AM on August 21, 2018 [26 favorites]


As usual, when we read these it's important to know that these arguments are not new. Before austerity really hit, people predicted all these consequences. It's not that no one listened; it's that the people running the show did very well out of austerity and knew they would. Disaster capitalism doesn't happen because people don't understand what's going on; it happens because the powerful want it to happen.

It wasn't a mistake, basically. It was a plan.
posted by Frowner at 9:24 AM on August 21, 2018 [72 favorites]


This quote from the George Eaton New Statesman piece: "Should the Conservatives continue to preside over a new era of private affluence and public squalor, the UK will become a yet more troubled and divided country", seems to sum up the intention of Tory policy perfectly. There is no electoral future for the Tories in a healthy UK. The majority of voters don't like Tory policies, and consistently vote against them. So the Tories only option, unless they're going to reform into something worthwhile (hint: they won't, and don't want to), is to rely upon the distortions of first past the post elections to keep them in power. That means pandering to a limited number of voters in marginal constituencies, ignoring voters in constituencies the Tories can't win, and keeping taxes as low as possible for the richer voters in safe Tory seats. Dividing the country has no downside for them, and in some senses makes their programme easier to enact, because it makes it easier to ignore the suffering of those on the other side of that divide.

They're evil. That's what it comes down to. They don't care about the suffering of others. Unfortunately, I suspect that a great many of my fellow citizens are similarly moral defunct.
posted by howfar at 9:30 AM on August 21, 2018 [35 favorites]


A hopeful counterpoint: Portugal Dared to Cast Aside Austerity. It’s Having a Major Revival. I think the truth of both countries' financial policies is not as simple as the headlines indicate. But hoo-boy did we run a big economics experiment this last decade. Let's hope we can learn something from it.
posted by Nelson at 9:46 AM on August 21, 2018 [16 favorites]


That George Eaton quote could be applied without changing a thing to Conservative politicians in Canada, both at the federal level and here in my home province of Ontario. It's uncanny.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:51 AM on August 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


That George Eaton quote could be applied without changing a thing to Conservative politicians in Canada

I'm increasingly convinced that it's a fundamental characteristic of modern conservative thought in general.
posted by aramaic at 10:22 AM on August 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


A hopeful counterpoint

That's not a counterpoint, that's more evidence of the same. Austerity doesn't work, abandoning it does. It wasn't an "experiment," it's all just confirmation of sound principles.

There's a lot of joking about how economics is the "dismal science," and how no one really knows what's going on, and the like. Sure, it's true that consumers aren't perfectly rational (much like cows aren't perfectly spherical), and markets take longer to respond than ideal. But economists (real ones) know what's going on, but they're perpetually ignored by businessmen and lawmakers who care more about lining their pockets.

It's much like how people are still (still!) unsure about climate change, because environmental policy is written by the coal industry.
posted by explosion at 10:22 AM on August 21, 2018 [8 favorites]


I'm not economancer, but it seems like austerity measures hurt and targets the poorest people, while affecting the wealth very little. It just doesn't make sense to me. If your country ever has money problems, take some money from people who have way too much money. What is even the point of letting some people have an immoral quantity of wealth if we don't ever sheer off any of their ill-gotten wool? Surely there are billionaires in Europe. Harvest them, it's the only possible redeeming quality of a rich person.
posted by GoblinHoney at 10:23 AM on August 21, 2018 [11 favorites]


What's the American equivalent for austerity? I never hear it in a U.S. context.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:24 AM on August 21, 2018


"Trickle down".
posted by tobascodagama at 10:35 AM on August 21, 2018 [11 favorites]


It just doesn't make sense to me.

Nor to the considerable majority of economists. But it makes sense if you're pulling a heist, rather than running an economy, and it's the former that is actually happening.
posted by howfar at 10:35 AM on August 21, 2018 [8 favorites]


Or "balanced budget" would be the other euphemism.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:35 AM on August 21, 2018 [15 favorites]


What's the American equivalent for austerity? I never hear it in a U.S. context.

It's called the Republican platform since 1980.
posted by kokaku at 10:36 AM on August 21, 2018 [20 favorites]


To be fair it's the Democrat platform too.

There has been a British joke for many years: "To understand American politics consider first the Republicans: they're the equivalent of our Conservative party. You can compare the Republicans to the Democrats, who are the equivalent of our Conservative party."
posted by howfar at 10:39 AM on August 21, 2018 [24 favorites]


(I should add that my snark above is somewhat unfair, as the Democrats actually responded better to the 2008 crash than anyone else in the developed world, austerity-wise. It's just that the fundamental lack of public services in the US is deeply austere by any European standard, and is not fundamentally questioned by the platform of either major party)
posted by howfar at 10:43 AM on August 21, 2018 [10 favorites]


Mark Blyth has been slamming austerity since the beginning. He even has a book out on the topic.
posted by doctornemo at 10:45 AM on August 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


Austerity has traditionally been the system imposed by organisations like the IMF since Chile in the early 1970s - it's a putative rationale for destroying social institutions, privatising resources and extracting wealth. So wherever they have instituted the Banking Crisis Scam, what you find afterwards is austerity for the mark and the slurping sound of the banks sucking all the wealth out.

What ten years of austerity (or at least that ideology - there have been periods that have not technically been austerity even if they have been austerian) have done in the UK is hollow out the social infrastructure - the education system, the care system, the social security system, the social work system, the NHS - so that they appear to be there, but are now hollow and fragile and in crisis. That crisis will very soon explode all over and all those systems will begin to fail very publicly. At the same time as Brexit, and probably as an accompanying financial crisis / recession. Which would normally be the excuse for more austerity, but further cuts imposed on the systems will simply lead to their total collapse. And this is the social infrastructure of the country - what happens when it collapses will be another of those things that would be very interesting to study with thirty years of hindsight but terrifying to live through.

As someone put it recently, the only effective opposition being shown to the current government is reality itself, who are going to find out you can't beat reality no matter how vivid your fantasies are.

(When I try to type "austerian" my computer wants me to say "Austrian", which isn't entirely inappropriate.)
posted by Grangousier at 10:51 AM on August 21, 2018 [21 favorites]


a fundamental characteristic of modern conservative thought in general.

If the last couple years in the US have taught us nothing else, they should have at least shown once and for all that there is no such thing as modern conservative thought. There is no intellectual conservative framework and never was - as much as now embittered conservative pundits like David Frum and David Brooks want to pretend there was one and they were part of it. They drank their own Kool-Aid, and I guess it really upsets them to see the facade collapse, but that's all they were. Conservative "thought" was never anything more than a facade meant to pretty up an unholy alliance of upper class greed and working class resentment.
posted by Naberius at 10:56 AM on August 21, 2018 [29 favorites]


In re Portugal, let’s see how the boom is five years from now. The current government has unraveled austerity, yes, but now they are racing headlong into the many mistakes that cost so much in the past, and led to austerity in the first place. The party/hangover/party routine is pretty tiresome.
posted by chavenet at 11:09 AM on August 21, 2018


Mark Blyth has been slamming austerity since the beginning. He even has a book out on the topic.

There was a previous discussion of the Blyth's work. You might find that interesting.

I would strongly recommend watching a few of his lectures and presentations on youtube. He IMHO has an amazingly clear take on what is going on in the world at a high level.
posted by KaizenSoze at 11:12 AM on August 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Not mistake, deliberate crime.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:46 AM on August 21, 2018 [5 favorites]


they are racing headlong into the the many mistakes that cost so much in the past, and led to austerity in the first place.

They're allowing the global financial system to grow out of control into a disastrous scam that will continue to wreak economic havoc until it's stopped? I've obviously underestimated their influence.
posted by howfar at 12:23 PM on August 21, 2018 [5 favorites]


What's the American equivalent for austerity? I never hear it in a U.S. context.

"Tax Cuts"
"Small Government"
"Fiscal Responsibility"
"Economic Conservatism"
"Libertarianism"
"Personal Responsibility"
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:26 PM on August 21, 2018 [12 favorites]


Austerity was literally proven to be a scam. A grad student took the actual spreadsheets that were used to "prove" the theory and found them to be full of errors and fudged data which, when corrected, showed the opposite results of what the austerity fans claimed.

The result? Nothing. We continued anyway. Never let a good idea suffer just because it doesn't actually work.
posted by Legomancer at 12:32 PM on August 21, 2018 [12 favorites]


Never let a good idea suffer just because it doesn't actually work.
Ah, yes: the guiding principle of the Economancer.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:41 PM on August 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


You guys all forgot "starve the beast." I guess all this time off-handedly hearing austerity mentioned in the European/Latin American context, hearing how it would lead to national ruin, I never realized that it simply meant cutting government spending. Which is a testament how economically right-wing the U.S. is compared to the rest of the world, that the fetish for shrinking governments is simply unquestioned. Democrats do it too; welfare reform is a type of austerity. At least it sounds like people in Europe put up a fight.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:07 PM on August 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


There's a lot of joking about how economics is the "dismal science," and how no one really knows what's going on, and the like. Sure, it's true that consumers aren't perfectly rational (much like cows aren't perfectly spherical), and markets take longer to respond than ideal. But economists (real ones) know what's going on, but they're perpetually ignored by businessmen and lawmakers who care more about lining their pockets.

Not really on the theme of austerity, but Adam Smith nailed the pernicious hold of the capitalists on government a long time ago:
The clamour and sophistry of merchants and manufacturers easily persuade [the landlords, farmers, and labourers], that the private interest of a part, and of a subordinate part, of the society, is the general interest of the whole. (Wealth of Nations Book 1, Chapter 10)
He goes into greater detail in Chapter 11, where he describes three broad orders of people (those who live by rent, those who live by wages, and those who live by profit), how influential they are with respect to the government, and to what degree their interests align with those of society as a whole. He makes the following observation right at the end of Book 1:
Merchants and master manufacturers are, in this order, the two classes of people who commonly employ the largest capitals, and who by their wealth draw to themselves the greatest share of the public consideration. As during their whole lives they are engaged in plans and projects, they have frequently more acuteness of understanding than the greater part of country gentlemen. As their thoughts, however, are commonly exercised rather about the interest of their own particular branch of business, than about that of the society, their judgment, even when given with the greatest candour (which it has not been upon every occasion), is much more to be depended upon with regard to the former of those two objects, than with regard to the latter. Their superiority over the country gentleman is, not so much in their knowledge of the public interest, as in their having a better knowledge of their own interest than he has of his. It is by this superior knowledge of their own interest that they have frequently imposed upon his generosity, and persuaded him to give up both his own interest and that of the public, from a very simple but honest conviction, that their interest, and not his, was the interest of the public The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market, and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agree able enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can only serve to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens. The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 1:22 PM on August 21, 2018 [8 favorites]


I'm increasingly convinced that it's a fundamental characteristic of modern conservative thought in general.

Insofar as various national "modern conservative" movements are cut from the same cloth, you're surely correct.

That cloth is not really conservativism in the traditional sense, e.g. the ideology of William F. Buckley et al; it has more in common with the ideology, if one can call it that, of the post-Soviet oligarchs.

This is important, because in different places you see the same thing going on, but with very different parties. (In some countries, its the traditionalist parties, in other countries it's the Liberal parties, in a few places it's putatively leftist parties, etc.) They're hosts, basically, that have been parasitized; once that happens, what they used to be becomes increasingly irrelevant. They may sometimes talk and act in the same way that we're used to seeing them, but engaging with them on that basis isn't really productive. It's like asking a zombie what they want for dinner. Maybe they'll say "sushi", but what they really want is brains—and when you're busy looking at the sashimi menu, they're probably going to use the opportunity to try and munch on your face.

Whether austerity "worked" in the sense of being good for the economy was never relevant; austerity worked in the way that they wanted it to work, which was that it allowed them to enrich and empower themselves. There is no ideology beyond that, at least that I've found. It's like they discovered postmodernism in undergrad and just ran with it (in some cases, I think this is literally what happened), stripping away quaint ideas of objective morality or justice until all that's left is the science of accruing power, and then using that power to accrue more. If by saying some magic words ("austerity", "deficit", "migrants") they can make people give them more power, they're going to say those things; it's just vibrating air to them.

In the same way that the 20th century was marked by the effective, de facto defeat of fascism (first half of the century) and communism (second half), I think it's entirely possible that defeating this new lack-of-ideology could well be the defining struggle of the early 21st.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:06 PM on August 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


Yep. I keep seeing people responding to various outrages with "don't they realize that this violates [supposed principle]??" and I'm like... yes? Of course they do? That's not a gotcha. If your actual base principle is "might makes right" then you really don't have to worry about being a hypocrite.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:14 PM on August 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


What's the American equivalent for austerity? I never hear it in a U.S. context.

"Tighten our belts" -- directly from the lips of Barack Obama. Despite some of the good work he did, Obama was terrible on austerity. And this starting in 2009 at the very bottom of the recession.
posted by JackFlash at 2:19 PM on August 21, 2018 [11 favorites]


You'd think Adam Smith was explicitly calling out Bezos and Musk, from a few hundred years in the past.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:37 PM on August 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


People intuitively, and incorrectly, believe that government budgets are essentially like household budgets. Debt is bad and savings are good. That's really all it's about. It's why the Germans are fanatical about this -- it's a strongly held cultural value.

We can talk about the difference between sovereign debt in one's own currency or in someone else's. We can talk about who does and who doesn't hold that debt and when that matters. We can talk about -- and should -- how austerity benefits the rentier class. We can talk about how austerity is an opportunistic rationale for those policymakers (and their benefactors) who wish to reduce public spending and privatize regardless.

But I don't think this common fallacy will ever be eliminated because, unfortunately, it seems eminently reasonable. It will persist in the public imagination and it will be leveraged by those who benefit from it, usually, and cynically, during economic downturns. It will immiserate and the public will mostly accept that it's for the best.

I'm deeply pessimistic about this. I hear this reasoning everywhere, from people across the political spectrum. I hear it here on Metafilter. The core idea seems so self-evidently true that it's entirely taken for granted and therefore will always be at hand for those who wish to exploit this popular sentiment for their own hidden purposes.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:46 PM on August 21, 2018 [9 favorites]


But I don't think this common fallacy will ever be eliminated because, unfortunately, it seems eminently reasonable. It will persist in the public imagination

"It will persist" is rather passive framing. These feelings don't arise out of nowhere. The Republican Party has been banging this lie forever. You may as well say that racism, xenophobia and immigrant bashing will persist in the public imagination because it is eminently reasonable.

It don't think this is the case. These irrational feelings are deliberately nurtured through lies and fear.
posted by JackFlash at 2:57 PM on August 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


There was a previous discussion of the Blyth's work. You might find that interesting.
I would strongly recommend watching a few of his lectures and presentations on youtube. He IMHO has an amazingly clear take on what is going on in the world at a high level.


Yanis Varoufakis is another such clear thinker/speaker on the austerity racket. (Anybody catch him in Edinburgh over the weekend?
posted by progosk at 4:37 PM on August 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


These lessons will only be learned if they are taught; the propoganda organs of the powerful be they public or private schools, media, celebrities, churches etc will continue to re-illusion people with a self-serving economic morality tale. Empiricism can't withstand short term selfishness of the powerful and life-long propagandizing of the exploited.
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 5:44 PM on August 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


I've been telling people about Blyth ever since catching him on Radio Open Source, KaizenSoze.
I'm not sure why he doesn't have a bigger audience.
posted by doctornemo at 7:33 PM on August 21, 2018


Yanis Varoufakis is another such clear thinker/speaker

I cannot recall the last time I was more disappointed in a politician.
posted by aramaic at 10:25 PM on August 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


Yanis Varoufakis did more damage to the advancement of non-austerity than any other individiual in recent time. His arrogance towards EU-polititians by not even having dinner with them, working with them, compromising with them, shows that many academics have zero understanding of politics. But his thoughts remained „pure“ and thats why he personally makes good money on the speaking curcuit.
posted by mmkhd at 11:22 PM on August 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


aramaic, disappointed by what, exactly (his 2015 resignation? interviews/articles? starting the DiEM25 movement?), and with respect to which expectations you had of him?

mmkhd, he did not / does not fit the mould of politicianship as usual, true - who do you see as the effective anti-austerity politicians/initiatives that have been thwarted by his appearance on the scene?

(Both honest questions.)
posted by progosk at 12:42 AM on August 22, 2018


I've been dropping Danny Dorling's names into threads recently. His focus is more on inequality, which is a related concept (after all the real but hidden aim of austerity is to increase inequality). His suggestion is that inequality is just peaking now, being limited by what reality will bear and will begin to come down. His site links to a number of talks he's done all over the place and he's very clear and entertaining.

The roots of the current wave of economic wreckers can be found in the 1960s and 1970s - the beginning of the resistance to social democracy. Adam Curtis has done a lot of interesting stuff about these people - The Mayfair Set in general and part two in particular, for example) .

And Chile, of course. It's only fitting, perhaps, that a disastrous adventure that was born in fascism (out of a set of ideological assumptions that purported to be a response to fascism) should end (hopefully) the same way.

(Yes, I know, Adam Curtis. But he's the only person who really gets deep into the historic detail and presents it in a clear way. A broad Curtis viewing can give a sense of the stories of our disastrous intervention in the Middle East, technocracy, dodgy-asset-strippers-turned-disaster-capitalists and the growth of the internet-mediated culture and how they're all connected in a way that nothing else really can.)
posted by Grangousier at 2:00 AM on August 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


"It will persist" is rather passive framing. These feelings don't arise out of nowhere. The Republican Party has been banging this lie forever.

john steinbeck: "SURE I remember the Nineteen Thirties, the terrible, troubled, triumphant, surging Thirties. I can't think of any decade in history when so much happened in so many directions. Violent changes took place. Our country was modeled, our lives remolded, our Government rebuilt, forced to functions, duties and responsibilities it never had before and can never relinquish. The most rabid, hysterical Roosevelt-hater would not dare to suggest removing the reforms, the safeguards and the new concept that the Government is responsible for all its citizens." (a bit more history! ;)
posted by kliuless at 3:59 AM on August 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


Austerity has traditionally been the system imposed by organisations like the IMF since Chile in the early 1970s - it's a putative rationale for destroying social institutions, privatising resources and extracting wealth. So wherever they have instituted the Banking Crisis Scam, what you find afterwards is austerity for the mark and the slurping sound of the banks sucking all the wealth out.

In Greece, even the IMF objected to what was being imposed.

Austerity was literally proven to be a scam. A grad student took the actual spreadsheets that were used to "prove" the theory and found them to be full of errors and fudged data which, when corrected, showed the opposite results of what the austerity fans claimed.

Is that the case? My recollection was that one calculation was seriously flawed and that the effect of high public sector debt on GDP growth was therefore much lower than Rogoff's original paper. The data still shows that high public sector debt is associated with lower GDP growth in advanced economies.

The problem with the original paper is that it never did a good job of causation analysis. If economic growth stalls, advanced economy public sector spending on transfer payments goes up while tax take goes down. That doesn't mean that persistently high public sector debt leads to slow economic growth.

As the OPs say though, none of this matters. These policies were not based on economic theory and a change to economic thinking is not what will end them.
posted by atrazine at 5:17 AM on August 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


The data still shows that high public sector debt is associated with lower GDP growth in advanced economies.

But the bend point turned out to 20% of GDP instead of 90% of GDP. 20% of GDP covers most of the developed countries in the world, making it a rather moot point.

As you point out, the result is that the causality seems backwards. Slow growth leads to high debt. High debt does not cause slow growth. High debt is not the dangerous cliff Rogoff and Reinhart made it out to be.

Rogoff has done very good work and everyone makes a mistake sometime. But the problem in this case was that Rogoff actively inserted himself into a very political process, even testifying himself before congress, and put his thumb on the scale in a way that hurt millions of people. It was not his finest hour.
posted by JackFlash at 8:09 AM on August 22, 2018 [2 favorites]




In addition to the Adam Smith cited above, here's more evidence that austerity as reactionary policy is very not new: Worrying About the Deficit is So 17th Century. The only mistake this 19th century critique of two previous centuries of deficit panic makes is that it repeatedly calls the misplaced worry over the deficit a "mistake." That is far too generous. There's a very good reason the mistake has been so universally shared among all the rich and powerful (including their economist courtiers) for so many centuries. "Austerity" is basically the apotheosis of white collar crime.
posted by chortly at 10:45 PM on August 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


Yanis Varoufakis is another such clear thinker/speaker on the austerity racket.

Yet when he was minister he promoted an economic programme that was pie in the sky, miscalculated the appeal of his ideas, brought unnecessary capital controls, delayed growth and ultimately saddled us with more debt while pontificating from his fancy house with a few months of MP salary and subsequent access to the speaking circuit. He was measured and found too little.
posted by ersatz at 1:06 AM on August 25, 2018


ersatz - it's interesting/sad that YF so often invites ad hominem attacks. Though true that he was an uncompromising idealist in the face of the EU, but that idealism seems to have been what the July '15 60%+ OXI referendum vote was actually backing, no?. Wouldn't it be fairer to say that it was actually Tsipras' betrayal of that vote that's finally saddled Greece with 50 more years of unbearable debt?
Certainly the EU establishment measured him, and found him to be incompatible, an unrepentant outsider. Whether his current engagement is self-serving... remains to be seen - but I do understand how from a Greek perspective it might be very taxing to take him at his word, for now.
posted by progosk at 3:31 PM on August 25, 2018


Though true that he was an uncompromising idealist

Or he was a petulant child more interested in feeding his Uncompromising Idealist ego than in actually helping his country in the real world, one who lacked the basic self awareness to know he was unsuited to the job or that his dipshit behavior played right into the hands of the banks. Tomato, tomahto.

I remember watching that whole shitshow in utter horror, myself, not least because it meant no one would stand up to austerity policies again until...is it about apocalypse time now?

Seriously, that whole farce is an excellent argument for actual experienced politicians. I suppose every thing has a purpose.
posted by schadenfrau at 3:54 PM on August 25, 2018


Sorry. I’m just apparently still pissed off and embarrassed about that whole thing. The left had been taking a beating for a long time at that point, and an own goal was just...
posted by schadenfrau at 4:29 PM on August 25, 2018


But how do you account for the government's about-face on the July 5 referendum?
Enough of the current anniversary narrative (here in Europe, at least) of what happened in Greece is as the last gasp of the left-in-name-only, no-one believes the country's crisis to be in any way "solved". So what remains of that July was a rare occasion of the EU being forced to face its lies and chicanery, as demonstrated by what Greece is being made to suffer, now and for generations. To put this at squarely/only at Varoufakis' feet... seems a bit of a tall order.

Also: by your read his current activism - which is pretty articulated by now - is all bullshit?

I'm wary of his charismatics, but what it's getting people across Europe to stand for is not unreminiscent of the DSA's current groudswell.
posted by progosk at 2:16 AM on August 26, 2018


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