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38

An Indecent Proposal

18
terms
3
notes

Varoufakis, Y. (2017). An Indecent Proposal. In Varoufakis, Y. And the Weak Suffer What They Must?. Vintage, pp. 38-68

the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (became the EU in 1993); signed on 25 March 1957 by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany and came into force on 1 January 1958

38

The European Economic Community (EEC), as the European Union was then known, comprised Germany, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and Italy, the original six founding members and signatories of the Treaty of Rome, signed on 25 March 1957.

—p.38 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

The European Economic Community (EEC), as the European Union was then known, comprised Germany, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and Italy, the original six founding members and signatories of the Treaty of Rome, signed on 25 March 1957.

—p.38 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

(noun) a painkilling drug or medicine

38

anticipating another anodyne meeting like all the previous ones

—p.38 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

anticipating another anodyne meeting like all the previous ones

—p.38 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

(especially in international affairs) an establishment or resumption of harmonious relations

42

Adenauer and de Gaulle put their signature on the Elysée Treaty; a treaty that was presented to the world as the cornerstone of French-German rapprochement

—p.42 by Yanis Varoufakis
confirm
3 years ago

Adenauer and de Gaulle put their signature on the Elysée Treaty; a treaty that was presented to the world as the cornerstone of French-German rapprochement

—p.42 by Yanis Varoufakis
confirm
3 years ago

an economic miracle, especially the economic recovery of the Federal Republic of West Germany after the Second World War

42

Erhard had overseen Germany’s Wirtschaftswunder, the economic miracle that had transformed Germany from 1949 to that day

—p.42 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

Erhard had overseen Germany’s Wirtschaftswunder, the economic miracle that had transformed Germany from 1949 to that day

—p.42 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago
45

[...] Eventually de Gaulle softened his opposition to the European Union, after repeated American pledges in the 1950s that France would remain Europe’s administrative center. But he would only embrace it so long as, in his own words to a visiting journalist, the European Union resembled 'a horse and carriage: Germany [being] the horse and France . . . the coachman.'

Alas, by 1963 it was clear that the horse was developing a mind of its own and the coachman was losing his grip. France’s accelerating trade deficit with Germany meant that Paris would be forced into a perpetual Sophie’s choice. Regularly go cap in hand to the IMF for permission to devalue the franc, admitting to permanent national weakness, or rely forever on the Bundesbank to print Deutsche Marks with which to buy francs, admitting to an unending dependency upon the old enemy. Either way, France’s aspirations for political and diplomatic domination of the European Union were unravelling.

fascinating (I had no idea)

—p.45 by Yanis Varoufakis 3 years ago

[...] Eventually de Gaulle softened his opposition to the European Union, after repeated American pledges in the 1950s that France would remain Europe’s administrative center. But he would only embrace it so long as, in his own words to a visiting journalist, the European Union resembled 'a horse and carriage: Germany [being] the horse and France . . . the coachman.'

Alas, by 1963 it was clear that the horse was developing a mind of its own and the coachman was losing his grip. France’s accelerating trade deficit with Germany meant that Paris would be forced into a perpetual Sophie’s choice. Regularly go cap in hand to the IMF for permission to devalue the franc, admitting to permanent national weakness, or rely forever on the Bundesbank to print Deutsche Marks with which to buy francs, admitting to an unending dependency upon the old enemy. Either way, France’s aspirations for political and diplomatic domination of the European Union were unravelling.

fascinating (I had no idea)

—p.45 by Yanis Varoufakis 3 years ago

or "Restatement of Policy on Germany"; delivered in Stuttgart on Sept 6, 1947 by James F. Byrnes, the US Secretary of State; set the tone of future US policy as it repudiated the Morgenthau Plan economic policies and with its message of a change to a policy of economic reconstruction gave the Germans hope for the future

47

his Speech of Hope--a significant restatement of America's policy on Germany. Until then the Allies had been united in their commitment to convert 'Germany into a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in character'.

incidentally, isn't it inherently fucked up that the Allies thought they had the right to do that

—p.47 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

his Speech of Hope--a significant restatement of America's policy on Germany. Until then the Allies had been united in their commitment to convert 'Germany into a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in character'.

incidentally, isn't it inherently fucked up that the Allies thought they had the right to do that

—p.47 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

held from February 4 to 11 in Yalta, USSR, 1945; FDR, Churchill and Stalin met to discuss Europe's postwar reorganization

47

De Gaulle never forgave the Americans for having denied France a place at the victors' table in the closing stages of the Second World War, especially at the Yalta meetings between Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin.

—p.47 by Yanis Varoufakis
confirm
3 years ago

De Gaulle never forgave the Americans for having denied France a place at the victors' table in the closing stages of the Second World War, especially at the Yalta meetings between Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin.

—p.47 by Yanis Varoufakis
confirm
3 years ago

a radical socialist and revolutionary government that ruled Paris from 18 March to 28 May 1871. Following the defeat of Emperor Napoleon III in September 1870, the French Second Empire collapsed, and the French Third Republic rose up in its place (initially intended as a provisional government but it ended up lasting until 1940) to continue the war with Prussia, which resulted in a 4-month-long siege of Paris (ending Jan 28), which laid the groundwork for the Commune

48

France's government army was entering the French capital to commence a pitiless battle against the revolutionaries of the Paris Commune

—p.48 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

France's government army was entering the French capital to commence a pitiless battle against the revolutionaries of the Paris Commune

—p.48 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

(noun) a locking pin inserted crosswise (as through the end of an axle or shaft) / (noun) one that serves to hold together parts or elements that exist or function as a unit

49

The Bretton Woods system, already set out in 1944, posited the dollar as the sole linchpin holding together the edifice of global trade and finance.

—p.49 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

The Bretton Woods system, already set out in 1944, posited the dollar as the sole linchpin holding together the edifice of global trade and finance.

—p.49 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

(adjective) of or relating to shepherds or herdsmen; pastoral / (adjective) relating to or typical of rural life / (adjective) idyllic

49

It was not for humanitarian motives that Washington decided to spare Germany a return to a bucolic past.

—p.49 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

It was not for humanitarian motives that Washington decided to spare Germany a return to a bucolic past.

—p.49 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago
50

In a global system of fixed exchange rates, shock absorbers take the form of strong regional currencies, issued by potent central banks, to act as secondary pillars in support of the system's main currency. There was need for at least one such currency in Europe and another in Asia. Of course strong regional currencies cannot be created; heavy industry powerhouses must underpin them. But here is the tricky part: industrial powerhouses produce more manufacturing goods than their domestic economies can absorb--think China today. To keep going, powerhouse economies need markets--surrounding states in permanent deficit with them so that they can remain in surplus.

So the first question was: which would the powerhouse economies in Europe and Asia be? In Europe the United Kingdom was an early candidate. Only, like most early front-runners, Britain went by the wayside. Its elites were determined to retain their grip on an empire that, in Washington's eyes, was both repugnant and unsustainable. Its returning soldiers, having shed their blood for king and country, were determined not to return to their prewar pitiful wages and abject living conditions. This was why Winston Churchill, the nation's wartime tower of strength, was swept away in a 1945 electoral landslide that ushered in a radical-sounding (especially to American ears) Labour government. A year later a fiscal crisis ended sterling's convertibility and further tarnished Britain's candidacy as the European pillar of America's global plan. [...]

[...]

Why not France? For three excellent reasons. First, Germany industry was far more advanced than France's. In 1945, despite the hammering it had received from the Allies in the final stages of the war, German factories produced more than twice as much as France's. Secondly, the defeated Germans, fearing a pastoral future, would breathe a sigh of relief if the United States were to patronize their economy, invest in it and generally take it under their wing. In contrast, General de Gaulle and the vast majority of the French would be incensed by any hint of similar intervention, let alone a takeover. Thirdly, just as in the case of Japan America had written the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany and even created the Bundesbank from scratch. The fact that American forces controlled West Germany's land, sea and airspace did not harm the notion either.

The second question now remained: who would provide the deficit hinterland for Germany's and Japan's powerhouse economies?

to prevent recessions from spreading too much. Japan was obviously the Asian winner

—p.50 by Yanis Varoufakis 3 years ago

In a global system of fixed exchange rates, shock absorbers take the form of strong regional currencies, issued by potent central banks, to act as secondary pillars in support of the system's main currency. There was need for at least one such currency in Europe and another in Asia. Of course strong regional currencies cannot be created; heavy industry powerhouses must underpin them. But here is the tricky part: industrial powerhouses produce more manufacturing goods than their domestic economies can absorb--think China today. To keep going, powerhouse economies need markets--surrounding states in permanent deficit with them so that they can remain in surplus.

So the first question was: which would the powerhouse economies in Europe and Asia be? In Europe the United Kingdom was an early candidate. Only, like most early front-runners, Britain went by the wayside. Its elites were determined to retain their grip on an empire that, in Washington's eyes, was both repugnant and unsustainable. Its returning soldiers, having shed their blood for king and country, were determined not to return to their prewar pitiful wages and abject living conditions. This was why Winston Churchill, the nation's wartime tower of strength, was swept away in a 1945 electoral landslide that ushered in a radical-sounding (especially to American ears) Labour government. A year later a fiscal crisis ended sterling's convertibility and further tarnished Britain's candidacy as the European pillar of America's global plan. [...]

[...]

Why not France? For three excellent reasons. First, Germany industry was far more advanced than France's. In 1945, despite the hammering it had received from the Allies in the final stages of the war, German factories produced more than twice as much as France's. Secondly, the defeated Germans, fearing a pastoral future, would breathe a sigh of relief if the United States were to patronize their economy, invest in it and generally take it under their wing. In contrast, General de Gaulle and the vast majority of the French would be incensed by any hint of similar intervention, let alone a takeover. Thirdly, just as in the case of Japan America had written the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany and even created the Bundesbank from scratch. The fact that American forces controlled West Germany's land, sea and airspace did not harm the notion either.

The second question now remained: who would provide the deficit hinterland for Germany's and Japan's powerhouse economies?

to prevent recessions from spreading too much. Japan was obviously the Asian winner

—p.50 by Yanis Varoufakis 3 years ago

in a way that cannot be removed or forgotten

53

Greece's sordid 1946-9 civil war, which left every Greek family I know indelibly marked

—p.53 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

Greece's sordid 1946-9 civil war, which left every Greek family I know indelibly marked

—p.53 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

a debt relief treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and creditor nations; signed in London on February 27, 1953, and came into force on September 16, 1953

54

a conference convened by Americans to reach the so-called London Debt Agreement [...] Nations and private creditors owed money by the German state and by German corporations were persuaded to write off more than 70per cent of the money they were due.

—p.54 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

a conference convened by Americans to reach the so-called London Debt Agreement [...] Nations and private creditors owed money by the German state and by German corporations were persuaded to write off more than 70per cent of the money they were due.

—p.54 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

an American foreign policy created to counter Soviet geopolitical expansion during the Cold War; announced March 12, 1947 and further developed on July 12, 1948 when Truman pledged to contain Soviet threats to Greece and Turkey

54

The Truman Doctrine, announced by President Truman on 12 March 1947, focused on winning Greece for the West but, more importantly, constituted the president's unofficial declaration of the cold war.

—p.54 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

The Truman Doctrine, announced by President Truman on 12 March 1947, focused on winning Greece for the West but, more importantly, constituted the president's unofficial declaration of the cold war.

—p.54 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

formally established in 1951 by the Treaty of Paris, signed by Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Luxembourg; set up to regulate their industrial production under a centralised authority (but really to prevent war between France and Germany); eventually became the EU (sorta)

57

In 1950 the European Union was officially born in the form of a German-dominated coal and steel cartel, run of course by a cross-border French dominated administration located in Brussels. Its name? The European Coal and Steel Community.

—p.57 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

In 1950 the European Union was officially born in the form of a German-dominated coal and steel cartel, run of course by a cross-border French dominated administration located in Brussels. Its name? The European Coal and Steel Community.

—p.57 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

(verb) to catch or hold in or as if in a net; enmesh / (verb) to prevent or impede the free play of; confine

60

French farmers [...] did not like the idea of untrammelled competition from imported milk, cheese, and wine

—p.60 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

French farmers [...] did not like the idea of untrammelled competition from imported milk, cheese, and wine

—p.60 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

the agricultural policy of the EU

60

to co-opt French farmers, the so-called Common Agricultural Policy was established. Its purpose? To secure the farmers' consent to a European free trade zone by handing over to them a chunk of the cartel's monopoly profits.

—p.60 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

to co-opt French farmers, the so-called Common Agricultural Policy was established. Its purpose? To secure the farmers' consent to a European free trade zone by handing over to them a chunk of the cartel's monopoly profits.

—p.60 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation (adj: semiotic)

61

No one can deny that, when it comes to semiology, the French are unbeatable.

on de Gaulle ordering 29,5000 bars of gold from the NY Federal Reserve soon after calling for a return to the gold standard

—p.61 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

No one can deny that, when it comes to semiology, the French are unbeatable.

on de Gaulle ordering 29,5000 bars of gold from the NY Federal Reserve soon after calling for a return to the gold standard

—p.61 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

(noun) marsh swamp / (noun) a situation that traps, confuses, or impedes / (noun) an overwhelming or confusing mass or mixture

63

de Gaulle was stuck in a morass of uncontrolled inflation and rising discontent

—p.63 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

de Gaulle was stuck in a morass of uncontrolled inflation and rising discontent

—p.63 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

treay for creating the EU; signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands

67

after France and a reunited Germany agreed by the Maastrict Treaty to create the euro. The French conservative daily Le Figaro had this to say on its front page: 'In the 1920s it was said that Germany would pay reparations. Now Germany is paying. The Maastrict Treat is a Versailles Treaty without war!'

—p.67 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago

after France and a reunited Germany agreed by the Maastrict Treaty to create the euro. The French conservative daily Le Figaro had this to say on its front page: 'In the 1920s it was said that Germany would pay reparations. Now Germany is paying. The Maastrict Treat is a Versailles Treaty without war!'

—p.67 by Yanis Varoufakis
notable
3 years ago
68

[...] Germany's export-led economy could never afford its own genuinely free-floating currency. The reason is simple: if the Deutsche Mark's international value were to be determined freely by the money markets, Germany's surpluses would create demand for its money, which would push up its value until German goods became so expensive abroad that German surpluses would disappear. The ambition to remain a surplus nation could not be served by a free-floating Deutsche Mark.

While the mark was embedded in America's global plan, its value fixed within the Bretton Woods international monetary system, German leaders and officials could behave like the managers of Europe's gleaming factory. They could concentrate solely on making sturdy cars and impressive gadgets, letting America mind global capitalism--exactly as the United States had planned things in the late 1940s. Alas, once the United States jettisoned Bretton Woods, and Europe along with it, German leaders could no longer treat the global environment as they treated the weather--as a natural system impervious to their actions and beliefs. They had to concede that the international economic environment was no longer divinely ordered and independent of what they decided. They had, in other words, to do something to shape that international environment in ways consistent with Germany's continued economic success.

Hence the Euro

—p.68 by Yanis Varoufakis 3 years ago

[...] Germany's export-led economy could never afford its own genuinely free-floating currency. The reason is simple: if the Deutsche Mark's international value were to be determined freely by the money markets, Germany's surpluses would create demand for its money, which would push up its value until German goods became so expensive abroad that German surpluses would disappear. The ambition to remain a surplus nation could not be served by a free-floating Deutsche Mark.

While the mark was embedded in America's global plan, its value fixed within the Bretton Woods international monetary system, German leaders and officials could behave like the managers of Europe's gleaming factory. They could concentrate solely on making sturdy cars and impressive gadgets, letting America mind global capitalism--exactly as the United States had planned things in the late 1940s. Alas, once the United States jettisoned Bretton Woods, and Europe along with it, German leaders could no longer treat the global environment as they treated the weather--as a natural system impervious to their actions and beliefs. They had to concede that the international economic environment was no longer divinely ordered and independent of what they decided. They had, in other words, to do something to shape that international environment in ways consistent with Germany's continued economic success.

Hence the Euro

—p.68 by Yanis Varoufakis 3 years ago