Saturday, January 14, 2017

Dave Rubin interviews Yanis Varoufakis

Below. Interview begins at 4.20:

This interview is embarrassing, and embarrassing because of Varoufakis’ nonsense.

That Yanis Varoufakis thinks that his arguments as former Greek finance minister against EU demands for austerity and a budget surplus in Greece were “Reaganite” is simply bizarre. Wasn’t Yanis in favour of Keynesian stimulus and debt restructuring?

And, even worse, Varoufakis now says the influences on his economic thinking include Hayek and Mises, as much as Marx.

And he still defends the European Union – and thinks that rotten, dangerous corporate tyranny should be defended from pro-independence political movements in Europe. Varoufakis still clings to his mad Marxist internationalist fantasy that the EU can be transformed into some kind of “socialist” institution. His analogy with the United States is utterly misplaced: the US has a degree of linguistic and cultural homogeneity that Europe utterly lacks. There will be no United States of Europe any time soon, given the huge linguistic, ethnic and cultural differences that divide Europe.

In reality, it is far more likely that Europe will shift to the populist right and perhaps – if things get bad enough – to fascism, if the EU is allowed to continue with its program of unending neoliberalism and open borders.

At one point, Varoufakis even lauds Mises and Hayek, as if their business cycle theories and pro-free market theology have some profound role to play in modern economic science.

He is also wrong that there was no theory of the business cycle before Marx. Oh, really? What about the ideas of the Birmingham School? And the late Classical economists? Even the latter did have a real, if not robust, theory of the business cycle.

Varoufakis is also wrong that Marx deserves no blame or moral responsibility for the terrors of authoritarian Marxist states like the Soviet Union. See here. The Soviet Union was certainly the sort of revolutionary transitional state envisaged by Marx and Engels.

If there is proof of how worthless the type of politics being peddled by Varoufakis really is, we now have that from his own words: we have a former Marxist (Varoufakis) who describes himself as a “libertarian Marxist” influenced by Austrian economics – a political program combining the two most extreme and cult-like ideologies of the past 160 years.

The final insult is that Dave Rubin misinterprets what happened in Greece as a vindication of right-wing economics, and is hardly even challenged by Varoufakis for this nonsensical view.

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