If there is one piece of media that can help you understand
What has happened to Greece,
What is now going on in France, and
What is coming next for America,
it is this one.
The conversation between Varoufakis, the Syriza finance minister who refused to sell his country out, and Chomsky, the man who has been watching the rise, decline, and fall of the American dream, is a insider’s view on global finance and how neoliberalism works.
Some major points that come out from this:
- The major underlying theory of neoliberal economics, the game system ideas of thinkers like John Nash, are based in an idealized utopia where the basic coordinates of capitalist excess (monopolies, labor market competition, war, etc.) do not exist. It is not that they are negated by a control lever, they simply do not exist. If you add in Marx’s labor theory of value…well…yeah…
- The financiers in Brussels who are dictating immense social turmoil, radical political upsurges for the Left and Right, the destruction of the social contract that underlay the New Deal and Marshall Plan, understand very well that they are sowing this and do not care. They are getting policy and economic study papers by various academics and economists within their own institutions saying every policy they have dictated over the past eight years of austerity measures has failed abysmally and they dismiss these points as nothing.
- The Troika is upholding a veneer of a neoliberal ideology by saying things about “fiscal responsibility”, “lower taxes”, “no entitlements”, and the rest. Yet in reality they are treating bankers to a typical Keynesian welfare state. When they got Varoufakis in a room, they handed him a list of demands that required raised taxes and things that would mollify a true-blood member of the Libertarian Party in America. It is all a complete sham.
- There was never any money in the debt relief package that Varoufakis was told to accept that was going to end up in the pocket of an average Greek citizen. Instead, the money was going directly into the German banks. It was a massive bail-out for the Germans that needed to destroy Greek democracy as a side-show to distract from the freebies.
- Eventually all that money ends up in the pockets of Wall Street.
- When the money gets to Wall Street, it is marked down as “growth”. However, it is not real economic growth, meaning that our community is doing great. Instead, it is a clique of bankers and financiers who in turn use this cash to influence politicians via SuperPACs.
- The neoliberal financial system is and always has been a new form of imperialism. It rapes and plunders nation-states for their resources through debt as a mechanism. Instead of the old-fashioned colonial state apparatuses (police, governors, native collaborator militias, etc.) the colonial system is maintained and run by bankers. When a nation-state refuses to accede to colonization, it is held hostage and subjected to vilification. Witness Iran, North Korea, Libya, Venezuela, Bolivia, Yugoslavia, and Russia. This siege does create strong “strong man” leaders who operate under the auspices of martial law. But this is symptomatic of abuses caused by imperialism, not defects of a nation-state.
- The only way to end this would be for a serious political leader to publicly challenge the banking and financial system in a way that would require the 21st century equivalent of show trials. The campaign of Bernie Sanders frankly failed to elicit that level of public rage due to his failure to articulate a critique of Clinton’s role in furthering neoliberal policy agenda items over her career, such as the near-privatization of Social Security that Monica Lewinsky scuttled or the raiding of pension funds.
Oh, here is a memo released by WikiLeaks that Varoufakis mentions in his talk.