Paul Mason does project, doesn’t he?

Elected politicians have little power; Wall Street and a network of hedge funds, billionaires and media owners have the real power, and the art of being in politics is to recognise this as a fact of life and achieve what you can without disrupting the system. That was the offer. Varoufakis not only rejected it – by describing it in frank detail now, he is arming us against the stupidity of the left’s occasional fantasies that the system built by neoliberalism can somehow bend or compromise to our desire for social justice.

Varoufakis is actually talking about the EU. Hardly a hotbed of neoliberalism.

This is right though:

The first revelation is that not only was Greece bankrupt in 2010 when the EU bailed it out, and that the bailout was designed to save the French and German banks, but that Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy knew this; and they knew it would be a disaster.

This charge is not new – it was levelled at the financial elite at the time by leftwing activists and rightwing economists. But Varoufakis substantiates it with quotes – some gleaned from the tapes of conversations and phone calls he was, unbeknown to the participants, making at the time.

Even now, two years after the last Greek election, this is of more than academic interest. Greece remains burdened by billions of euros of debt it cannot pay. Because of the actions taken in 2010-11 – saving private banks by saddling north European states with massive debts – it is French and German taxpayers who will pay the price when the Greek debt is inevitably written off.

With one slight correction. The money has already been lost. The only question is when people get told.

11 thoughts on “Paul Mason does project, doesn’t he?”

  1. Correction: The money that was in the banks was saved and the bill is coming due. Note that Greece itself was minor as part of the potential losses back in 2010/12 – it was the likelihood that Spain, Portugal and possibly Italy would go down that was the real issue.

    German taxpayers are paying for bailing out their banks. (and the French ones). Along the way they destroyed the Greek economy. Pah, minor collateral damage on the road to a European superstate.

  2. How are Monte dei Paschi doing (genuine question)? Greece’s problems were small enough for Angela to kick the can down the road …

  3. The Remainers want us on the hook as well in bailing those bastards out.

    Vote suicide for a fairer Britain!

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    the system built by neoliberalism can somehow bend or compromise to our desire for social justice.

    Neo-liberalism? The Left screws up their dreams of social justice and somehow it is the neo-liberals that are to blame?

    The neo-Liberals have been pointing out that the euro and the EU were a disaster for decades. When was the last time the Spectator praised either? But the Guardian has been hoping for a more European future. Just ask Polly.

  5. It’s all a lovely reminder of those far-off days when the Guardian was gearing up for Lexit, shocked and horrified by the fascist neoliberal facism of the EU.

    2015 I think it was? Hard to be sure at this distance.

  6. The Meissen Bison

    …it was levelled at the financial elite at the time by leftwing activists…

    for which read Paul Mason and his ilk

    …and rightwing economists.

    meaning people who can spot a pig in a poke.

    Wasn’t Spud sounding off about non-performing corporate debt the other day and how the banks were wicked, wicked, wicked?

    It would be fun to know how his tortured and tuberous mind would interpret a sovereign bankruptcy kept in perpetual limbo at the behest of foreign powers.

    Mind you, it would also be fun if he stopped burbling and decided just to model knitware fashion like Owen Jones.

  7. “the EU [is] Hardly a hotbed of neoliberalism.”

    Hmm. If the EU is not neoliberal, who is, and why?

  8. Thanks Tim & Ken.

    IIRC (probably not) the problem was that bailing out MdP broke EU rules on state support.

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