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150

Invincible spring

1
terms
6
notes

Varoufakis, Y. (2017). Invincible spring. In Varoufakis, Y. Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, pp. 150-401

(adjective) using or involving the use of a minimum of words; concise to the point of seeming rude or mysterious

185

‘I agree,’ Thomsen replied laconically.

—p.185 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
1 year, 1 month ago

‘I agree,’ Thomsen replied laconically.

—p.185 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
1 year, 1 month ago
212

[...] his theory that the ‘overgenerous’ European social model was no longer sustainable and had to be ditched. Comparing the costs to Europe of maintaining welfare states with the situation in places like India and China, where no social safety net exists at all, he argued that Europe was losing competitiveness and would stagnate unless social benefits were curtailed en masse. It was as if he was telling me that a start had to be made somewhere and that that somewhere might as well be Greece.

My rejoinder was that the obvious solution was the globalization of welfare benefits and living wages, rather than the globalization of insecure working poverty. In response, he reminisced at length about a secret mission he had undertaken in the 1970s and 1980s, to liaise with the East German authorities on behalf of his Christian Democrat party. ‘The DDR people were not bad,’ he told me. ‘They had good intentions for a social welfare system that was not economically possible.’ The insinuation was perfectly clear.

schauble. feb 2015

to play devil's advocate: on what grounds what schauble be right? maybe insecure working poverty is the only possibility given the current conditions of production? it's the best way forward in the long run, in order to spur innovation etc in the short term?

the rebuttal to that is: there is no way to viewing our current conditions wtihout a bias, as if from the heavens. can only view from a given position, assess acc to a particular earthly perspective. the current situation works for those who are benefiting from it, and sucks for the rest, and that is all you can say

—p.212 by Yanis Varoufakis 1 year, 1 month ago

[...] his theory that the ‘overgenerous’ European social model was no longer sustainable and had to be ditched. Comparing the costs to Europe of maintaining welfare states with the situation in places like India and China, where no social safety net exists at all, he argued that Europe was losing competitiveness and would stagnate unless social benefits were curtailed en masse. It was as if he was telling me that a start had to be made somewhere and that that somewhere might as well be Greece.

My rejoinder was that the obvious solution was the globalization of welfare benefits and living wages, rather than the globalization of insecure working poverty. In response, he reminisced at length about a secret mission he had undertaken in the 1970s and 1980s, to liaise with the East German authorities on behalf of his Christian Democrat party. ‘The DDR people were not bad,’ he told me. ‘They had good intentions for a social welfare system that was not economically possible.’ The insinuation was perfectly clear.

schauble. feb 2015

to play devil's advocate: on what grounds what schauble be right? maybe insecure working poverty is the only possibility given the current conditions of production? it's the best way forward in the long run, in order to spur innovation etc in the short term?

the rebuttal to that is: there is no way to viewing our current conditions wtihout a bias, as if from the heavens. can only view from a given position, assess acc to a particular earthly perspective. the current situation works for those who are benefiting from it, and sucks for the rest, and that is all you can say

—p.212 by Yanis Varoufakis 1 year, 1 month ago
237

As he spoke, Schäuble directed a piercing look at Sapin. ‘Elections cannot be allowed to change economic policy,’ he began. Greece had obligations that could not be reconsidered until the Greek programme had been completed, as per the agreements between my predecessors and the troika. The fact that the Greek programme could not be completed was apparently of no concern to him.

What startled me more than Wolfgang Schäuble’s belief that elections are irrelevant was his total lack of compunction in admitting to this view. His reasoning was simple: if every time one of the nineteen member states changed government the Eurogroup was forced to go back to the drawing board, then its overall economic policies would be derailed. Of course he had a point: democracy had indeed died the moment the Eurogroup acquired the authority to dictate economic policy to member states without anything resembling federal democratic sovereignty.

what is even the point of elections then lol. if you cant declare bankruptcy, what are you supposed to do? let the greek state fall and get occupied by somebody else? move your whole life elsewhere? submit to your humiliation?

—p.237 by Yanis Varoufakis 1 year, 1 month ago

As he spoke, Schäuble directed a piercing look at Sapin. ‘Elections cannot be allowed to change economic policy,’ he began. Greece had obligations that could not be reconsidered until the Greek programme had been completed, as per the agreements between my predecessors and the troika. The fact that the Greek programme could not be completed was apparently of no concern to him.

What startled me more than Wolfgang Schäuble’s belief that elections are irrelevant was his total lack of compunction in admitting to this view. His reasoning was simple: if every time one of the nineteen member states changed government the Eurogroup was forced to go back to the drawing board, then its overall economic policies would be derailed. Of course he had a point: democracy had indeed died the moment the Eurogroup acquired the authority to dictate economic policy to member states without anything resembling federal democratic sovereignty.

what is even the point of elections then lol. if you cant declare bankruptcy, what are you supposed to do? let the greek state fall and get occupied by somebody else? move your whole life elsewhere? submit to your humiliation?

—p.237 by Yanis Varoufakis 1 year, 1 month ago
315

‘Greek shipyards are dying, and skills acquired over millennia are dying with them,’ I told the ambassador. So I proposed, in a second phase of collaboration, that Cosco and other Chinese companies should invest in our three main shipyards, turning them into repair hubs for the container ships that Cosco would increasingly attract to our part of the Mediterranean. ‘But what is the point of securing the port of Piraeus,’ I continued, ‘if the railway that will transport your containers to central Europe is derelict, slow and unsafe?’ I argued that a similar investment in Greece’s railways made sense as well. Lastly: ‘Greece has a highly educated workforce, yet wages have fallen by 40 per cent. Why not get companies like Foxconn to build production or assembly facilities in a tech park, enjoying a special business tax regime in an area close to Piraeus?’

errrm buddy

—p.315 by Yanis Varoufakis 1 year, 1 month ago

‘Greek shipyards are dying, and skills acquired over millennia are dying with them,’ I told the ambassador. So I proposed, in a second phase of collaboration, that Cosco and other Chinese companies should invest in our three main shipyards, turning them into repair hubs for the container ships that Cosco would increasingly attract to our part of the Mediterranean. ‘But what is the point of securing the port of Piraeus,’ I continued, ‘if the railway that will transport your containers to central Europe is derelict, slow and unsafe?’ I argued that a similar investment in Greece’s railways made sense as well. Lastly: ‘Greece has a highly educated workforce, yet wages have fallen by 40 per cent. Why not get companies like Foxconn to build production or assembly facilities in a tech park, enjoying a special business tax regime in an area close to Piraeus?’

errrm buddy

—p.315 by Yanis Varoufakis 1 year, 1 month ago
317

As we were making our way to lunch, I spotted a canteen where some employees were taking a break and broke away from my hosts to speak to them. They shook my hand and smiled a lot, but when I asked them about working for Cosco they were coy. ‘It’s good,’ was about as much as they were willing to say. The expressions on their faces were hard to read. Looking over my shoulder, I saw Captain Fong and his Greek white-collar entourage watching us. I made a mental note to insist on full union rights for all workers as a prerequisite for any deal before saying my goodbyes.

lol...

—p.317 by Yanis Varoufakis 1 year, 1 month ago

As we were making our way to lunch, I spotted a canteen where some employees were taking a break and broke away from my hosts to speak to them. They shook my hand and smiled a lot, but when I asked them about working for Cosco they were coy. ‘It’s good,’ was about as much as they were willing to say. The expressions on their faces were hard to read. Looking over my shoulder, I saw Captain Fong and his Greek white-collar entourage watching us. I made a mental note to insist on full union rights for all workers as a prerequisite for any deal before saying my goodbyes.

lol...

—p.317 by Yanis Varoufakis 1 year, 1 month ago
327

In response I told Wieser that unless we received a sign from the creditors that they were serious about a compromise on the reform agenda and a sensible fiscal policy made possible by meaningful debt restructuring, we would not reach 30 April without a default to the IMF. ‘Independently of our preferences and political will,’ I said, ‘our liquidity will run out well before then.’

He replied that we could last much longer by plundering the reserves of non-governmental but publicly owned institutions such as pension funds, universities, utility companies and local authorities.

‘And why would we want to do that?’ I asked. If the creditors showed no interest in negotiating in good faith, why should we continue to extract yet more flesh from the scrawny body of our society in order to service a debt to the IMF that even it considered to be ultimately unpayable?

hell yeah let all those old people die, they're not contributing to the economy anyway

—p.327 by Yanis Varoufakis 1 year, 1 month ago

In response I told Wieser that unless we received a sign from the creditors that they were serious about a compromise on the reform agenda and a sensible fiscal policy made possible by meaningful debt restructuring, we would not reach 30 April without a default to the IMF. ‘Independently of our preferences and political will,’ I said, ‘our liquidity will run out well before then.’

He replied that we could last much longer by plundering the reserves of non-governmental but publicly owned institutions such as pension funds, universities, utility companies and local authorities.

‘And why would we want to do that?’ I asked. If the creditors showed no interest in negotiating in good faith, why should we continue to extract yet more flesh from the scrawny body of our society in order to service a debt to the IMF that even it considered to be ultimately unpayable?

hell yeah let all those old people die, they're not contributing to the economy anyway

—p.327 by Yanis Varoufakis 1 year, 1 month ago
367

‘Why not?’ she replied. ‘I find it just amazing that in the Wall Street Journal you defended the pharmacists. I thought, Not Yanis! I found it amazing that you support their monopoly of baby foods and cosmetics – which I know causes problems, from when I was finance minister. And I had my fights.’

I knew of the IMF’s obsession with Greek pharmacies. These invariably small family-owned businesses were protected by a law that permitted only pharmacy school graduates to own one and prohibited the sale of nonprescription drugs by supermarkets. But that, of all possible subjects that needed tackling, the managing director of the IMF, faced with a European country on the brink of default, wanted to discuss this one? I had to pinch myself. I explained that the pharmacies’ monopoly over the sale of baby foods and cosmetics had already ended, and that what I opposed was not the end of their monopoly over certain other commodities but the proletarianization of thousands of owner-pharmacists via the takeover of the pharmacy sector by one or two multinational chains.

hmmm interesting, never considered this before. useful illustration that sometimes consumers' interests and workers' interests are sometimes at cross-purposes (and that workers' interests are more important sometimes, in the absence of enough resources to find a better compromise)

—p.367 by Yanis Varoufakis 1 year, 1 month ago

‘Why not?’ she replied. ‘I find it just amazing that in the Wall Street Journal you defended the pharmacists. I thought, Not Yanis! I found it amazing that you support their monopoly of baby foods and cosmetics – which I know causes problems, from when I was finance minister. And I had my fights.’

I knew of the IMF’s obsession with Greek pharmacies. These invariably small family-owned businesses were protected by a law that permitted only pharmacy school graduates to own one and prohibited the sale of nonprescription drugs by supermarkets. But that, of all possible subjects that needed tackling, the managing director of the IMF, faced with a European country on the brink of default, wanted to discuss this one? I had to pinch myself. I explained that the pharmacies’ monopoly over the sale of baby foods and cosmetics had already ended, and that what I opposed was not the end of their monopoly over certain other commodities but the proletarianization of thousands of owner-pharmacists via the takeover of the pharmacy sector by one or two multinational chains.

hmmm interesting, never considered this before. useful illustration that sometimes consumers' interests and workers' interests are sometimes at cross-purposes (and that workers' interests are more important sometimes, in the absence of enough resources to find a better compromise)

—p.367 by Yanis Varoufakis 1 year, 1 month ago