Greece’s financial crisis, unprecedented in scope, reached a pivotal moment last summer when the Greek people voted overwhelmingly against further austerity programs — ostensibly imposed to help the country pay back enormous debt. Overseeing the matter was Syriza Party Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis — a staunch opponent of the crippling austerity measures that had effected a stranglehold on the country’s economy.
Greece’s debt to the so-called Troika — the International Monetary Fund, European Commission, and European Central Bank — turned out not to be the true reason for the proposed austerity. As Varoufakis discovered, the Troika actually, if somewhat covertly, intended to decimate Greek organized labor and the country’s modest social safety net. After the Greek populace stunned the world with its ‘no’ vote, Varoufakis sensed the coming accession by Syriza to implement the plans — and he hastily and quietly resigned his post.
The Real News Network partnered with acTVism Munich for an exclusive interview with Varoufakis about those events. Discussing the lead-up to his resignation, Varoufakis said:
“The Greek people didn’t vote for yes. They voted as we were directing them to. Overwhelmingly they said no. And extremely courageously, for reasons I’m sure you know. That night [after the vote], when I spoke to my prime minister, it became abundantly clear to me that the pressure had gotten to him; and he was going to turn that magnificent no of the Greek populace into a yes. And I was not going to be a part of that. So I took my leave. I stole into the night. And since then I’ve been campaigning for that no.”
Varoufakis compares the Greek and global economic situation to that of Wall Street in the 1930s, and the impending stock market crash — with all the same social and political consequences. The first installment of the interview, How the Greek People’s Magnificent “No” Became “Yes,” can be viewed below:
In the second installment of the interview, Varoufakis discusses the Origins of the European and Global Economic Crisis. As he explains:
“Capitalism requires surplus and recycling — just like the planet requires environmental recycling — so does capitalism require a mechanism that takes the surpluses, the profits if you want, from where they are being produced and invests them in areas that are in deficit, that have losses, where demand is low and unemployment is high. Unless you have this recycle mechanism, capitalism fails. These recycle mechanisms are part and parcel of every major state, or have been, for 200 years now.”
The former finance minister discusses the implications of the Bretton Woods System on past and current state of global economics, among a number of other related issues. You can view the second part of the interview below: