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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  1. Dave Rubin never challenges people. He lets people tell their own story under the 'give them enough rope' argument. It's quite a refreshing style.

    But you've got to admire Yanis. He's got Friedman's skill for self promotion. Hence why he's on the Rubin Report and not Stephanie Kelton or Bill Mitchell.

    1. Yes. It's all about persuasion and therefore it's easier for Yanis to get on these shows as opposed to Kelton or Mitchell. I'd love to see Mike Norman on the show. I think he'd have the best chance in terms of that realm and he actually supports Trump, so it would be easier to appeal to the audience that subs to Rubin.

  2. Varoufakis is out for personal celebrity, nothing more.

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  4. I would like to point out that whether you like or not like Varoufakis or disagree with him, you should take the time and watch the whole interview and judge by yourself and not rely on anyone's comments.

    Not saying that you haven't, but I was quick to take LK's comments for granted, given to my agreeing with him in most of his articles, and despite of generally agreeing with Varoufakis.

    After having watched the interview, I really don't see, for example, how one would perceive his sarcasm regarding making "Reaganite" arguments as an admission that his proposals were "Reaganite" in essence.

    Nor do I see anything wrong with allowing oneself to be influenced by e.g. Austrians on some points while you reject the large bulk of their theory. Seriously, how Austrian was the modest proposal or the proposal he offered to the Troika ?

    I think the criticism here was a bit too harsh.

  5. Varoufakis still has an old school collectivist mentality, despite his veneer of radicalism. He was against Brexit, for example, and is actually pro-EU despite his criticisms.

    I don't trust him. I prefer Keen, even if he is a typical delusional anti-authoritarian boomer.