Thursday, May 12, 2016

Yanis Varoufakis interviews Noam Chomsky

The trouble is that, despite good points on economics, both Yanis Varoufakis and Noam Chomsky are pushing a leftism that has become intellectually bankrupt in important ways.

Yanis Varoufakis supports the European Union and opposes nationalist left-wing or conservative movements who (rightly) want to leave it, despite his endless evidence given above on its utterly grotesque bankruptcy. Pathetic.

Neither understand the catastrophe of mass immigration or the regressive left, or if they do would never talk about it in public.


  1. Its ironic that ex finance minister of greek want the disaster called EU continue.

    1. Ironic that a libertarian Marxist would think a disaster should continue? Ironic a priest should believe in god I suppose.

    2. It seems to me LK, and I am curious if you agree, there are broadly two kinds of leftists: communists and trade unionists. Socialists are mostly in the first group, as you discover when you hear them talk about grand abstractions like The People. They want to control things -- the economy in particular, but people's lives more generally. The trade unionists are different. They don't hanker after control, but they think government has a significant role to play in regulation and social welfare.

      I put you, with Keynes (and Bevan at the extreme end) in the trade unionist group.

    3. Bingo, Ken B.

      The communists also have unhinged and utopian fantasies about internationalism and human nature and had mad ideas about a stateless anarchist utopia as the final stage of communism.

      I don't think you have it quite right, though.

      The two groups are:

      (1) communists and doctrinaire Marxist socialists, and

      (2) revisionist socialists who abandoned Marxism for sensible reformism and ultimately Keynesianism + pragmatic trade unionists + liberal social democrats in the tradition of Keynes.
      Historically, socialists in (2) and trade unionists were often nationalist, anti-mass immigration, and some even religious (e.g. Christian socialists).

      More and more, I would favour liberal nationalism, strong labour market protection (part of the latter being opposition to mass immigration) and intense hostility to regressive bullsh*t.

    4. "regressive left bullsh*t." lol

    5. Here, I have a question for you, Ken B.

      Have a look at the political positions of one member of the so-called "Alt Left":

      What's you opinion of this?

    6. Not very much. For such a long detailed list it is actually rather short on substance to judge. I'm to right of you on economic issues, so I don't sympathize with him there.
      In his litany I do agree with the parts rejecting the kind of cultural left we have been dissing here. Something about the rest feels hinky but it's hard to identify quite what. Like a prude (with a thing about Jews) on a rant maybe?

    7. As I have suggested before, read Scruton on nationalism. I think you would like what you find; I did.
      His main point is that the most important notion in a free society is "the loyal opposition." But loyal to what? Creed, race, class, party all lead to disaster. But loyalty to at least some forms of the nation state seem to work.

    8. "Its ironic that ex finance minister of Greece wants the disaster called EU continue." Arguably not.

      What Varoufakis is clearly aiming for is some sort of PERMANENT fiscal transfer from north European taxpayers to Greeks. I.e. people in north Europe work in factories to pay for Greeks sitting in the Sun. If he gets that, staying in the EU is well worthwhile for Greeks.

      But obviously if Greece's pain goes on for too long, the it becomes absurd, and they may quite the EZ.

    9. They are not sitting in the sun they have recession because they cant devalue their currency because its not their while north european countries enjoy weaker currencies which is better for export.

    10. Daniel, this dot not address why they are in this fix in the first place. Lower productivity, yet more "benefits". Less tax compliance, more subsidies. So, more lying in the sun after all.
      What you are missing is the part about PERMANENT transfers.

    11. Ken b

      Permanent transfers in this case important as well as permanent transfers in the country itself or between u.s states.

      Because of course they are less productive with overvalued currency while germany and france enjoy cheaper currency (a great permanent export subsidy).

      Not to mention that the problem with 20 percent unemployment not in productivity, productivity can affect economic growth can affect your potential gdp and gdp growth but it cant affect the percent of unemployment

    12. Right you are, such transfers are also undesirable in the USA. Low productivity is not a cloud that descends on countries at random.
      Arguing for such perpetual subsidies on the basis of the monetary union shows the monetary union is a problem.
      We are not talking stabilization transfers that would flow back and forth as conditions change but underwriting one group at the expense of the other.

    13. If the monetary union has screwed the Greeks then short term transfer 's are arguable together with e ding the union. Establishing both permanently is not.

    14. if we will assume the idea of fiscal union where this transfers made they are made indeed back and forth.

      and this transfers if the EU will create fiscal union (very unlikely) will be in this model.

      because if one is utilize more of its capacity than expected there will be more tax revenue (less people on unemployment less welfare recipents more jobs higher salary),while the opposite is right as well.

      so in the u.s this transfers are going forth and back and thats what stabilize it.

      now about greece if there is no fiscal union they will have to inject transfers all the time in countries like greece and italy and etc because their economy is weaker and its make the euro weaker and its helping with exports for stronger countries (germany).

      so there should be transfers to weaker countries to be able to deal with weaker capacity utilization in this case.

      thats why i think EU is crazy idea

    15. So you admit Ralph is right after all? He is talking about permanent subsidies not transient transfers back and forth to smooth fluctuations. That really is Germans toiling so Greeks need not.

    16. Smooth fluctuations is not impose ridicouls austerity measures.

      The eu 2 options about greece

      1.cancel deficit rules make countries like germany make transfers which will be strong enough to elimnate unemployment

      20 percent unemployment means one thing the transfers germans give to greece are not sufficent actually far from it.

      If germany transfered funds when the unemployment figures in greece been around 1-4 percent i will understand it as permanent subsidies to compensate low salaries to compensate low producitivty.

      But until full employment achieved its not subsidy of greek people and their lifestyle but its healthy transfers to insure full utlization.

      So no i dont accept ralph point of view.

      Not to mention as i already pointed out that weaker countries subsidize germany because of cheaper currenxy which make german exports more attractive and its permanent subsidy which distort the economy permanently for germany so its should counter this distortion with transfers toward countries like greece to balance it out.

      Or to change the rules about fiscal stimulus in the eu

  2. Its ironic that ex finance minister of greek want the disaster called EU continue.

    1. Yah, "crazy" is a better word. This is what internationalist communism/Marxism does.

  3. I think you are committing a fallacy LK, that goes as follows :
    (1) XX claims to believe in whateverISM
    (2) XX has a flawed political agenda
    ergo : (3) WhateverISM is the cause of XX's flawed agenda
    I think there is confusion here between what causes some behaviour and the nice WORDS someone describes it with.
    Let's try another guess : Varoufakis belongs to greek internationalised elites. He stems from a wealthy family. He went to prestigious anglo-saxon universities. So whatever good will he might have, he lost touch with the common man's concerns and feelings. He just cannot imagine a world with strong nation states, no open borders and the like. As a happy international scholar he does not need one either.
    Then comes whatever "-ISM" on might come to think of so as to make the acceptance of globalisation, weaker nation states etc. look "progressive" "generous" etc.
    Criticise Freud and Marx all you like, but they got a point on this : the reasons people give as accounting for their choices are quite often "rationalisations" of deeper,less rationally and/ or morally appealing drives.
    BTW, Bertrand Russell agreed with psychoanalysis on that and even criticised Marx for being too much of an XVIIIth century rationalist on psychological matters.

  4. Good Kaldor citation by Chomsky.