Read The Global Minotaur: America, the True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy by Yanis Varoufakis Online


In this remarkable and provocative book, Yanis Varoufakis explores the myth that financialisation, ineffectual regulation of banks, greed and globalisation were the root causes of the global economic crisis. Rather, they are symptoms of a much deeper malaise which can be traced all the way back to the Great Crash of 1929, then on through to the 1970s: the time when a ‘GlobIn this remarkable and provocative book, Yanis Varoufakis explores the myth that financialisation, ineffectual regulation of banks, greed and globalisation were the root causes of the global economic crisis. Rather, they are symptoms of a much deeper malaise which can be traced all the way back to the Great Crash of 1929, then on through to the 1970s: the time when a ‘Global Minotaur’ was born. Just as the Athenians maintained a steady flow of tributes to the Cretan beast, so the ‘rest of the world’ began sending incredible amounts of capital to America and Wall Street. Thus, the Global Minotaur became the ‘engine’ that pulled the world economy from the early 1980s to 2008.Today’s crisis in Europe, the heated debates about austerity versus further fiscal stimuli in the US, the clash between China’s authorities and the Obama administration on exchange rates are the inevitable symptoms of the weakening Minotaur; of a global ‘system’ which is now as unsustainable as it is imbalanced. Going beyond this, Varoufakis lays out the options available to us for reintroducing a modicum of reason into a highly irrational global economic order.An essential account of the socio-economic events and hidden histories that have shaped the world as we now know it....

Title : The Global Minotaur: America, the True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy
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ISBN : 9781780320144
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Number of Pages : 252 Pages
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The Global Minotaur: America, the True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy Reviews

  • Randal Samstag
    2019-01-28 12:06

    Continuation of the review of the book Modern Political Economics with additional material about Varoufakis's solo book, The Global MinotaurThe second part of Modern Political Economics includes an historical analysis of the post-World War II world. The authors divide this time frame into two periods: 1) The Global Plan: the period following the Bretton Woods conference in 1944 which set up the gold-backed dollar as the world’s dominant currency and 2) The Global Minotaur: the period after the breakup of the Bretton Woods system leading to the financial crash of 2008. This is the story of a march to devastating collapse. The third period would be our current time, the period of aporia following 2008. This story is also retold in a solo 2011 book by Varoufakis, The Global Minotaur (TGM).The Global PlanThe Global Plan begins during the waning of WWII at the international conference convened by Franklin Roosevelt at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in July 1944. The conference provided a face-off between the two primary partners in the Allied war effort: The United States, represented by Harry Dexter White, and the United Kingdom, represented by none other than John Maynard Keynes. The conference was focused on two ostensible goals: 1) design of a post-war monetary system and 2) reconstruction of Europe and Japan. Underlying issues, however, were how to prevent future lapses into Great Depression and who would be in control of what was recognized needed to be an international approach to managing the world economy.At this conference Keynes made one of the most striking proposals to ever reach the bargaining table of an international conference: an International Currency Union (ICU) that would provide a single currency (which Keynes christened the “bancor”) for the whole capitalist world. This would replace the Gold Standard that had been killed off by the Great Depression. The ICU would provide the stability provided by gold without the severe restriction that killed the Gold Standard: “the fact that by restricting the quantity of money in each country to a pre-specified level linked to gold deposits, it prevented governments from dealing with catastrophic declines in effective demand (e.g. the Crash of 1929) by means of increased public expenditures.” Keynes thought that this mechanism would provide a means to deal with two devastating problems: catastrophic crashes and systematic trade imbalances. The ICU would guard against trade imbalances by allowing member countries to borrow at zero interest up to a deficit of 50% of the country’s average trade volume. Beyond that there would be s fixed interest rate. This would give an incentive to minimize excessive debt. For countries exceeding a certain percentage of their trade volume interest would also be charged and its currency would therefore have to appreciate and in the process transfer that surplus to deficit countries.Keynes’ brilliant idea was an idea before its time. The United States, as the emerging victor in the world war, was in no mood to give up its hegemonic position. White vetoed Keynes’ plan and in its place proposed the system that was adopted: a system of fixed exchange rates with the dollar as its base, albeit tied to gold. To address the problem that there was no mechanism here to deal with depression or fiscal default, the adopted plan established the International Stabilization Fund which became the International Monetary Fund (IMF). White was to go on to the job of executive director of the IMF before being forced out under a cloud of Cold War mania. The problem of trade imbalance went unaddressed. It took another 30 years before the United States would find itself as the world’s largest deficit economy and come up with the system which made a virtue out of apparent economic failure (deficit).The Global Plan was administered by New Dealers who had been trained following the insights of Keynes from the General Theory but who, as representatives of the world hegemon, needed to turn their attention to maintaining that hegemonic power. During the years following WW II the United States was a surplus economy and it recycled its surplus by supporting reconstruction in Europe and Japan. The German Deutschmark and the Japanese Yen became supporting currencies to the dominance of the US dollar. But the Global Plan came to an end with the end of the 1960s when the Vietnam War and the Great Society turned the United States from a surplus to a deficit economy.An interesting side-story in MPE is the story that it tells about encouragement of the Middle Eastern oil price rise by Secretary of State Kissinger with the thought that while the United States would be harmed by oil price inflation, Germany and Japan would be harmed more. The inflation that followed in the seventies doomed the Global Plan. When the French sent a warship to the United States to redeem their dollars for gold, Nixon unhooked the United States from gold convertibility and imposed wage and price controls. The Global Plan was dead. But what was to follow? What was to follow was an ingenious scheme for the United States to maintain its hegemony even as a deficit economy: The Global Minotaur.The Global MinotaurThe Minotaur, of course, was the monstrous result of the coupling of the wife of King Minos of Crete with the beautiful white bull given to King Minos by Poseidon. Aphrodite had driven the wife mad with love for the bull, which Minos had kept in his household, instead of sacrificing it, as Poseidon had intended. This offspring, being an unnatural result, had no sense of proper nourishment and desired human flesh as food. Minos hired Daedalus to design him a Labyrinth in which to house the beast and required the Athenians, who were under his power as a result of a successful military campaign, to send young men and women to Crete for sacrifice.For Varoufakis the myth of the Minotaur provides a fitting image of the power of the United States to maintain its hegemony over the world economy even as it became a deficit economy. The system, as described in MPE and TGM, is one in which the United States had accumulated massive fiscal and trade deficits in the Post-Reagan years. The trade deficit reached nearly $800 billion dollars per year by 2007. The current post-2008 fiscal deficit is over one trillion dollars per year.The Matrix Economy makes a showing here as a steadily rising productivity accompanied by stagnation in real wages. Where did the increased productivity go? It went into average real profits, of course, which, by the time of the 2008 crash had reached 7 times the amount at the beginning of the Global Minotaur era in the 1970s.But how does this work? How is it possible that a country massively consuming less than it produces and accumulating debt can keep afloat? Well, the long-term answer is that it can’t; for this has led to the crash of 2008 and to our current crisis. But how is it that it lasted so long? The answer that Varoufakis gives is “financialisation”. The surpluses accumulating in the Central Banks of China and Germany during the last 20 years have been recycled by purchase of United States Treasury Bonds and other securities with the money passing through the financial centers of London and New York. With the United States maintaining a reasonable control of internal inflation, US investments became not only less expensive, but more secure.Loans were made by US-based banks during the sixties and seventies to developing countries in Latin America and several former members of the Eastern Bloc at low interest rates. As interest rates rose in the mid-1970s, these developing countries were caught in a debt repayment squeeze. Forced to go to the IMF for help, these countries were told to dismantle their public sectors and to sell off valuable public assets, like water and telecommunications utilities, which were scooped up by Western companies at bargain basement prices. “To recap, the nexus between geopolitical power and the centrality of the dollar’s role in maintaining the Global Minotaur grew stronger and stronger. A brief perusal of the Fed’s research papers during the 1990s confirms that US authorities saw the greenback as a strategic asset. The drive to use political influence in order to dollarise whole foreign economies, especially in Latin America in the 1990s, is to be understood as part of the same mindset. Dollarisation meant that the dollar became the country’s de-facto local currency. . . . . As dollars were increasingly demanded by foreigners also for their own domestic purposes, the United States’ balance of payments played a decreasing role in shaping the dollar’s value in the international money markets . . . . The deep, and deeply wounding (for local societies), crises that dollarisation led to in the later 1990s were, in this sense, mere collateral losses during the process of maintaining the Minotaur.”The Rise of Private MoneyBy 2003 the United States was devouring over 70 per cent of global capital outflows. “Mountains of cash flowed to Wall Street and from there to US corporations in the form of equity and loans.” This caused an enormous increase in the profitability of US financial corporations. This flow of cash was magnified by the creation of what amounts to private money, the new forms of derivative investments known as “collateralized debt obligations” or CDOs and their evil twins, credit default swaps, or CDSs. “The CDOs were options or contracts. In reality, and since no one knew (or really cared to know) what they contained, they acted as a form of private money that financial institutions and corporations used both as a medium of exchange and a store of value.”Friedrich Hayek had actually proposed with favor a system of private money in an astounding 30-page paper from 1976, Denationalisation of Money. Hayek blamed the Federal Reserve for the Great Depression. He thought that they had printed too much money in the 1920s. The moral that he drew from this story was that government could not be trusted to print money and that private banks should have the right to issue their own money. It seems to the authors that this is exactly what happened in the run-up to the 2008 crash; A fitting testament to a truly strange Nobel Prize winner in the strange “science” of economics.The authors end their story of the Global Minotaur with the following summary: “Keynes believed that he had a simple solution to capitalism’s tendency to stumble, fall and refuse to pick itself up without a helping hand from the state . . . . judicious fiscal and monetary adjustments . . . He was wrong. Capitalism cannot be civilized, stabilized or rationalized. Why? Because Marx was right. Increasing state power and benevolent interference will not do away with crises. . . . Marx too thought he had a simple answer for capitalism’s troubles. Convinced that its own contradictions would, effectively, force it to commit suicide; he believed that a new rational order . . . was inevitable. He too was wrong. Why? Because it has Keynes (or someone with similar ideas) on its side. . . . Regulation and state intervention do save capitalism from itself, in the limited sense of preserving property rights and buying time for capital to overcome the authorities’ renewed ambition to reign it in. . . . . The hegemon minding the shop decided to help itself to the till. . . . . Then the bubble broke, the private money burnt out . . . . and a ping-pong game began with private losses turning into public debt. . . . The problem with this type of cycle is its irregularity. Like an out of control pendulum, it threatens to exhaust the state’s capacity to bounce back because of a collapse of the state’s financial position.”The Post-2008 WorldThe Crash of 2008 has deeply wounded or perhaps killed the Global Minotaur. But what will replace it as the Global Surplus Recycling Mechanism (GSRM)? In TGM Varoufakis proposes two possibilities. The first is a “grand coalition of emerging countries, which would forge a de facto GSRM on the basis of planned investment and trade transfers between them. . . . . Such agreements between Brazil, China, Argentina, India, Turkey, and selected African countries could act as a GSRM that would promote stable growth. The fact that it would leave our Western bankruptocracies out on a limb would be icing on the cake.” The second takes off from Keynes’ proposal for an ICU at the Bretton Woods conference. He quotes the now disgraced Dominque Strauss-Kahn (DSK) in favor of this possibility. Given the enormous military might of the United States, the prospects look pretty grim to this reviewer. But why not end on an upbeat note: “Perhaps centuries later, our own Minotaur’s death will inspire the poets and the myth makers to mark its demise as the beginning of a new, authentic humanism” (the concluding lines of TGM.)For another review of this book see:

  • Jose Gaona
    2019-01-29 12:36

    "El Minotauro Global" constituye un notable esfuerzo por hacer accesibles ideas a menudo complicadas y escurridizas. Así, como libro de divulgación cumple perfectamente su cometido. Pero su principal virtud, aquella por la que destaca, es la potencia explicativa de las ideas que nos presenta, arrojando muchísima luz sobre procesos históricos muy alejados en el tiempo. Incluso en el caso de que no se comulgue con los análisis que el economista griego propone, es bastante difícil no simpatizar con la coherencia con la que están expresados sus argumentos y la elocuencia con la que están expresados. Y es que el libro de Varoufakis se lee endiabladamente fácil. Varoufakis adereza argumentaciones densas con motitas de humor y utiliza comparaciones ágiles e ingeniosas para ilustrar ideas difíciles y farragosas. El propio título de la obra es un ejemplo de ello. Lectura absolutamente recomendable.Resto de la reseña: http://conclusionirrelevante.blogspot...© Conclusión Irrelevante

  • Κώστας
    2019-02-09 14:06

    ΠεριεχόμεναΠρολεγόμεναΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟ 1 ΕΙΣΑΓΩΓΗΤο Ορόσημο του 2008Έξι Ερμηνείες για το τι ΣυνέβηΗ Πρόκληση της Παράλλαξης και ο Παγκόσμιος ΜινώταυροςΟ Παγκόσμιος Μινώταυρος: Μια Πρώτη ΜατιάΠαράρτημα Κεφαλαίου 1: Τρεις Τοξικές Θεωρίες που Θεμελίωσαν το Οικονομικό Γίγνεσθαι πριν από το 2008ΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟ 2 ΕΡΓΑΣΤΗΡΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΜΕΛΛΟΝΤΟΣΤα Δύο Μεγάλα Άλματα Προς τα ΕμπρόςΤο Μυστικό του Condorcet στην Εποχή του ΚεφαλαίουΤο Παράδοξο της Επιτυχίας και οι Λυτρωτικές Κρίσεις Η Γένεση του Κραχ: Ο Ρόλος του Χρήματος, της Πίστης και των Τραπεζών 1929Ο Μίδας Χάνει το Χάρισμά του: Η Κατάρρευση του Κανόνα του ΧρυσούΟι Δύο Δαίμονες του Καπιταλισμού και το Παράδοξο της ΠροφητείαςΣτοιχειωμένα Μηχανήματα και η Οικονομική Σημασία της ΕλευθερίαςΕπίλογος: Η Επώαση του Παγκόσμιου ΣχεδίουΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟ 3 ΤΟ ΠΑΓΚΟΣΜΙΟ ΣΧΕΔΙΟΗ Μοναδική ΕυκαιρίαBretton WoodsΗ Χαμένη ΕυκαιρίαΗ Ανάσταση των ΗττημένωνΤο Σχέδιο Marshall για τη Δολαριοποίηση της Ευρώπης και την Επανένταξη της ΓερμανίαςΗ Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση και το Ιαπωνικό ΘαύμαΗ Γεωπολιτική Ιδεολογία του Παγκόσμιου ΣχεδίουΤο Παγκόσμιο Σχέδιο και η Εγχώρια Πολιτική Των ΗΠΑΣυμπέρασμα: Η Χρυσή Εποχή του ΚαπιταλισμούΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟ 4Ο ΠΑΓΚΟΣΜΙΟΣ ΜΙΝΩΤΑΥΡΟΣΗ Αχίλλειος Πτέρνα του Παγκόσμιου ΣχεδίουΤο Παγκόσμιο Σχέδιο ΚαταρρέειΗ Μεταβατική Περίοδος: Πετρελαϊκές Κρίσεις, Στασιμοπληθωρισμός και η Άνοδος των Επιτοκίων Το Περιβάλλον στο Οποίο θα ΓεννιότανΎστερα από Λίγο ο ΜινώταυροςΟ Παγκόσμιος ΜινώταυροςΟι Τέσσερις Χάρες του ΜινώταυρουΈνας Πολύ Περίεργος Παγκόσμιος ΜηχανισμόςΑνακύκλωσης ΠλεονασμάτωνΕπίλογος: Οι Μέρες Δόξας του Παγκόσμιου ΜινώταυρουΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟ 5 ΟΙ ΘΕΡΑΠΑΙΝΙΔΕΣ ΤΟΥ ΚΤΗΝΟΥΣΟι Υμνητές του ΜινώταυρουΘεραπαινίδα Πρώτη: Ο Πυρετός των Εξαγορών - Η Wall Street Δημιουργεί Νέες Μεταφυσικές ΑξίεςΘεραπαινίδα Δεύτερη: Η Ιδεολογία του Φτηνού στην Εποχή των Υπερβολών - Το Φαινόμενο της Wal MartΘεραπαινίδα Τρίτη: Στοιχειωμένα Σπίτια, Τοξικό Χρήμα - Η Wall Street Γεννάει το Δικό της Ιδιωτικό ΧρήμαΘεραπαινίδα Τέταρτη: Τοξικές Θεωρίες, Μέρος Α - Ο Μύθος της Διάχυσης και τα Οικονομικά της ΠροσφοράςΘεραπαινίδα Πέμπτη: Τοξικές Θεωρίες, Μέρος Β - Οικονομική Θεωρία και Λοιπές ΠλάνεςΕπίλογος: Τα Πρώτα ΣημάδιαΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟ 6 ΚΑΤΑΡΡΕΥΣΗΠύργοι από Σπίρτα, Άμμο και Ιδιωτικό Χρήμα: Διαφορές και ΟμοιότητεςΤο Χρονικό Ενός Προαναγγελθέντος Κραχ: Credit Crunch, Επιδημία Πτωχεύσεων και η Κρατικοποίηση των Πάντων Μετά το 2008 - Τα Χωρίς Τέλος ΕπακόλουθαΕπί της ΟυσίαςΕπίλογος: Η Διολίσθηση προς την ΠτωχοτραπεζοκρατίαΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟ 7 ΟΙ ΘΕΡΑΠΑΙΝΙΔΕΣ ΑΝΤΕΠΙΤΙΘΕΝΤΑΙ"With a Little Help From My Friends": Το Σχέδιο Geither-SummersΗ Ευρωπαϊκή Εκδοχή του Σχεδίου Geither-SummersΔαγκώνοντας το Χέρι που τους Έσωσε: Η πιο Αχρεία Θεραπαινίδα ΑποθρασύνεταιΗ Επιστροφή του Αρπακτικού Κράτους, των Τοξικών Οικονομικών Θεωριών και της Περίεργης Τραγωδίας του Φονταμενταλισμού της ΑγοράςΕπίλογος: Το Κακόν Αμιγές ΚαλούΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟ 8Η ΠΑΓΚΟΣΜΙΑ ΚΛΗΡΟΝΟΜΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΜΙΝΩΤΑΥΡΟΥ: Ο ΔΥΩΝ ΗΛΙΟΣ, ΟΙ ΠΛΗΓΩΜΕΝΕΣ ΤΙΓΡΕΙΣ, Η ΑΜΗΧΑΝΗ ΕΥΡΩΠΗ ΚΑΙ Ο ΑΓΧΩΜΕΝΟΣ ΔΡΑΚΟΣΟ Δύων Ήλιος: Οι Χαμένες Δεκαετίες της ΙαπωνίαςΠληγωμένες Τίγρεις: Η Καθίζηση της Νοτιοανατολικής ΑσίαςΗ Ευρώπη της ΓερμανίαςΗ Επανένωση της Γερμανίας και η Παγκόσμια Σημασία τηςΤα Νέα Ρούχα του Αυτοκράτορα ΜάρκουΤο Κραχ του 2008 Αποκαλύπτει τη Γύμνια του Νέου ΑυτοκράτοραΠρώτα ως Ιστορία, Αργότερα ως Φάρσα: Η Διάσωση των Ευρωπαϊκών ΤραπεζώνΔαναοί Χρέη ΦέροντεςΚαταδικασμένοι ΟρειβάτεςΓιατί η Ευρώπη Αμφιταλαντεύεται Αμήχανα, Όταν η Κρίση Μπορεί να Επιλυθεί Απλά και Γρήγορα;Ο Δράκος Ανοίγει τα Φτερά του και, στη Συνέχεια, Καταποντίζεται στο ΆγχοςΕπίλογος: Ανάμεσα στην Πτωχοτραπεζοκρατία της Δύσης και την Εύθραυστη Ισχύ της ΑνατολήςΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟ 9 ΕΝΑ ΜΕΛΛΟΝ ΧΩΡΙΣ ΤΟΝ ΠΑΓΚΟΣΜΙΟ ΜΙΝΩΤΑΥΡΟ;Οι Διαμορφωτές της ΙστορίαςΑυτοσυγκράτηση και το Παράδοξο της ΕπιτυχίαςΜπορεί να Επιβιώσει ο Παγκόσμιος Μινώταυρος;Στο Λαβύρινθο Άνευ ΜινώταυρουΟ Μηχανισμός που ΛείπειΚαι Τώρα Τι;ΑναγνώσματαΒιβλιογραφίαΛεπτομέρειεςΟ Γιάνης Βαρουφάκης μπορεί να θεωρείται από τα ΜΜΕ κι από πολλούς ως μία αμφιλεγόμενη προσωπικότητα, η αγαπημένη του ατάκα "Δημιουργική ασάφεια" να μας έσπασε τα νεύρα και η αναποτελεσματικότητα του ως πολιτικού να σπίλωσαν την εικόνα του και να την υποβάθμισαν ως εκκεντρική αλλά...Το κάθε έργο αποκτά δική του οντότητα και είναι μοναδικό και ανεξάρτητο από την παρουσία του δημιουργού του.Είναι λάθος να το συνδέουμε με την προσωπικότητα και το χαρακτήρα του δημιουργού του. Δεν μειώνεται η αξία του χ συγγραφέα επειδή είναι ομοφυλόφιλος, του ψ τραγουδιστή επειδή είναι εξαρτημένος από ουσίες του Ζ ζωγράφου επειδή είναι αλκοολικός κ.ο.κ.Ο Γιάνης Βαρουφάκης γνωρίζει καλά το αντικείμενο του και βοηθά και όσους είναι εκτός να καταλάβουν πως φτάσαμε εδώ που φτάσαμε με γλώσσα άκρως κατανοητή που καταλαβαίνει κι ένα παιδί δημοτικού. Πρόκειται για μια εξαιρετική οικονομική ανάλυση, με έντονα ιστορικά και κοινωνικά στοιχεία που εστιάζει στο ζήτημα της παγκόσμιας κίνησης κεφαλαίων και της πυρετικής απληστίας που κατέλαβε το χρηματοπιστωτικό ναό της Wall Street ακόμη και μετά την καταστροφή. Μπορεί κάποιος να συμφωνήσει μαζί του ή να διαφωνήσει. Ο συγγραφέας μιλά πάντα με πηγές και με παραδείγματα, δεν λέει λόγια του αέρα.Όσοι βρεθούν σε βιβλιοπωλείο και αμφιταλαντεύονται ας του δώσουν δυό λεπτά ξεφυλλίζοντάς το στεκόμενοι στα εμβόλιμα κείμενα-παραδείγματα με τίτλο "Όταν η λογική υποτάσσεται στη προσδοκία" (σελ.109-110) και"Το σύνδρομο του τζαμπατζή" (σελ.396-398). Τέλος ας ρίξουν μία ματιά στο σχεδιάγραμμα της σελίδας 204.Η αντιληψή του, η οξυδέρκεια και η απόλυτη γνώση του για το αντικείμενο με συνάρπασαν τόσο που θα συνεχίσω με την "αρπαγή της ευρώπης" που αποτυπώνει και την - πικρή νομίζω- εμπειρία του ως πολιτικού με τον άχαρο ρόλο του συνομιλώντας με κουφούς.Βιβλίο στολίδι για σοβαρές βιβλιοθήκες.

  • Carrie
    2019-02-10 12:58

    TOO MANY METAPHORS.The minotaur.The dragonThe tiger.The domino effect.Helen.The myth of Europa.Disparate mountaineers.

  • Luke
    2019-02-02 12:40

    I have to hold my hands up and admit to being a virtual novice when it comes to the intricacies of economics. Like many, I find both the study and application of economic theory testy at best, but reading The Global Minotaur behooved me to question what it was that made me so about the never-ending obsession with the world of monetary policy and globalised finance. This book helped me understand just how much of what we are told about the global economy, austerity and international trade is either extremely skewed or outright fallacious. Like many acclaimed leftist economists, the-many-times-vindicated Varoufakis is often treated by mainstream pundits and commentators (yeah, *those* guys) as little more than a dogmatic marxist technocrat.Of course, Varoufakis (who has time and again imbibed a frankness and dynamism into a rapidly stagnating contemporary Westernised political arena) is anything but. Always communicated in an accessible yet mercurial style of prose, his methodology is informed more by statistics and hard facts than basic neo-Marxian ideology. This shines threw in the depth of his research, his interrogation of ideas, anecdotes concepts and dissection of predominant "economic actors". In many sections of the book, it actually read more like a historical text, such was the quality and comprehensiveness of the research contained within. Put simply, Varoufakis is a breath of fresh air amidst all of the neoliberal apologia we see on our tv screens, and one of the most brilliant thinkers of out times. For those looking to make sense of the state of global economics since the end of ww2 and the role of the U.S. in enslaving us all to the whim of capital (or as Varoufakis appropriately refers to it, "The Minotaur") put Picketty et al to one side for now and read this instead. You won't regret it.This excellent extrapolation of mid to late capitalism is too good not to read immediately.

  • Mariella
    2019-01-28 12:03

    fascinating shorter and more accesible than the big short. it also details history of capitalism from the industrial revolution to the hegemon today mixed with game theory. highly recommend.

  • Ben Delaney
    2019-02-05 11:39

    What a read! Incredibly well informed and referenced insight in to not only the crash of 2008 but where the history behind it lay.

  • Samovitae
    2019-02-01 17:02

    Wbrew obiegowej opinii, to jednak nie jest książka dla laików. Ale warto.

  • Ed
    2019-02-08 11:56

    An extraordinarily useful book outlining what I might call the political economic history of the US and global economy since 1945. He is particularly good on the Nixon era when the disastrous imbalances/inequality really got going, but his take is far from the current orthodoxies of Neo-Liberalism and it is a refreshing and well written read. What he is weak on, because I am not sure there are any, is solutions. Which is a pity and the book is a few years out of date but focusing too much on the immediate situation, is why the coming Stock Market crash will be such a surprise. And of course what I think he most shows up is that the left has no Plan B if Neo-Liberalism takes a hit. the left has been mentally asleep at the wheel for 50 years or more: no new ideas, no systemic alternatives.

  • Linda Elder
    2019-02-14 13:57

    The Global Minotaur is a fast course in the economic workings of capitalism, covering the major players only, and starting at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference.Central to the author's thesis is the principle that any monetary system requires mechanisms for transferring resources and capital from supply areas to deficit areas. At the end of World War II, the West had an efficient surplus recycling system in place. US was the supply country, recycling its excesses to the rest of the world, but especially to the former enemies, Germany and Japan, whom it favoured for development to the detriment of all others, even including the US itself.This went swimmingly until 1971 when excesses of the Vietnam war moved US into a deficit position. At that point, America made an audacious strategic decision. Instead of reining in spending to tackle its twin deficits, they decided to do the opposite: to boost those deficits. Thus, the roles of the players were reversed, and for the next several years, the leading surplus economies, i.e. Japan, Germany and later China recycled almost 70% of their profits back to the US – they gave their money to Wall Street!The Minotaur, a monster from Greek mythology, is Varoufakis’ metaphor for the aberrant structure of the monetary system after 1971. This monster has four charismas and three handmaidens. Charismas are: the American dollar, American firepower, rising energy costs, and cheapening labour costs. Handmaidens are: Wall Street, Wal Mart, and toxic economic theory built on mathematical hoaxes.For non-economics types like me, this book is a steep learning curve. Luckily, there are on-line interviews with the author and these are a great help. I came to realize just how immense is the structure of exchange in goods and capital, and also how carefully planned. Yes, Jennifer – there is a conspiracy. But as it turns out, that is the good news.Varoufakis claims that surplus recycling could easily solve the present Euro crisis. He contends that known mechanisms are not being discussed because the biggest players enjoy too much their own hegemonic positions. The author challenges us to look again at the Keynes proposal of 1944, which was passed over at the time in favour of an American model. Keynes had envisioned a global currency with a global surplus recycling mechanism or GSRM, to be administered by an international central bank.Keynes GSRM was as follows: each member country would have the right to borrow at zero interest up to 50% of the country’s trade volume. Loans above 50% of trade volume could also be made but at the cost of a fixed interest rate. This would give the deficit country flexibility to boost demand without having to devalue its local currency. Secondly, any country with a trade surplus exceeding a certain percentage of its trade volume should be charged interest, which would force its currency to appreciate. These penalties would, in turn, finance the loans to the deficit countries, acting as an automatic GSRM.The Keynes system, as described, has a nice ring to it and for this reason I would recommend The Global Minotaur for everyone with eyes trained on the future. Many countries are non-players in the book which can only mean there is a sequel to write.

  • Jemma
    2019-01-26 08:54

    This is quite a masterwork, positing a deeper structural problem with postwar and certainly post 1971 world Economics. Over the years since the Crisis, I've come to realise (with dismay) that I'm much better informed on Economic matters than most. An A Level in Economics and an lot of Socio-Economic History in my History Degree, somewhat worryingly is enough to give me a comparatively and reasonably deep understanding of Economics. So, it is refreshing to read something where I know I don't know enough to say whether the thesis is correct or not. Frankly, this is where I would expect to be in a subject I don't have a degree in and Varoufakis restores some faith that there are others who understand the situation better who could be left to remedy the situation.Neither simply Marxist, nor Keynesian, Varoufakis's critique seems to plough it's own ideological furrow. Indeed, for the first time I've encountered the term "shallow Keynesian" which I believe is what I am. If this thesis is true, then I am still on the right lines in my approach to this subject but a true and lasting resolution will be much more difficult than I expected. The only critique I would make is that the central metaphor doesn't work terribly well. If we all knew the Minotaur legend more thoroughly, then we might find the theme of tribute to the modern Myceans (i.e. the Americans) as inspired; whereas we tend to think of the monster, which can be confusing. I presume that Greeks are more profoundly schooled in their myths and legends though, so this is perhaps the only aspect in which Varoufakis's nationality is evident. Otherwise, this could be by any Western academic, so this work should not be dismissed as the work of Greeks with an axe to grind - as I'm sure many will try to portray it.

  • Alejandro Shirvani
    2019-02-19 10:50

    This is a passionate, direct left wing challenge to mainstream economic thinking and offers an interesting explanation of the development of postwar global economics: first there was an era of US global economic management, with the US producing trade surpluses that it invested in to Germany and Japan; then following the Vietnam war and the US beginning to run up both large budget deficits and trade deficits, the US became a 'global minotaur' that required 'feeding' with large capital inflows. However this position gave a certain stability to the world economy because it provided a mechanism for recycling global surpluses (a core theme of Varoufakis' book) and the collapse of the minotaur means the global economy is now unstable due to a lack of global surplus recycling mechanism. Well written and self-confident in its opinions.

  • Joseph Jammal
    2019-01-21 15:37

    The central thesis of the book ie the world economy requires some form of agreed upon global surplus recycling mechanism is insightful. However, the book seems to overstate the importance of trade and currency questions while overlooking the microeconomic reasons that growth is created. Furthermore, in the historical and evidence sections of the text the author has a tendency to lapse into hyperbole which undercuts what should be some very strong arguments. Certainly a good read, however, The Great Rebalancing is a more balanced and insightful read that approaches a similar question but from a more diverse set of perspectives.

  • Bjoern Rochel
    2019-01-31 12:37

    Fits perfectly in line with Naomi Kleins Shock Strategy, George Packards The Unwinding and Michael Lewis Big Short & Flash Boys. What I like about the book is that it tries to explain why we ended up in the mess we're currently in and what role the US might have played on the way. Varoufakis might no get everything right in his theory but he's the first author who at least delivered a convincing reason of why destabilizing the world might be in the strategic interest of he United States.Highly recommended read!

  • Crt
    2019-02-07 14:36

    Con la economía me pierdo. Hay implicaciones que él ve triviales mientras yo creo que deben ser corolarios de infinidad de pequeñas implicaciones que sumadas llevan a lo que él ve meridianamente claro mientras yo no llego a la esencia. De todas formas interesante. Ayuda a entender la deriva histórica dirigida sin duda por la económica desde la II Guerra Mundial.

  • John Da ega
    2019-02-06 14:57

    Awful book. Inaccurate data, wrong math, wrong definition of basic concepts as QE and company valuation. I share some of the conclusions, but the book is full of propaganda.

  • Malcolm Pellettier
    2019-01-29 12:55

    May've even understood it too. bonus.

  • عمر الحمادي
    2019-02-15 16:57

    في عام ٢٠٠٩ أرسلت ملكة بريطانيا سؤالاً إلى ٣٥ من كبار الخبراءالاقتصاديين (لماذا لم تنبؤوا بحصول هذه الأزمة؟) فكان جوابهم أنهم أخطأوا في تقدير فقاعة كبيرة عظيمة لعالم رائع جديد، لقد فشل الخيال الجماعي في فهم المخاطر التي يتعرض لها النظام في أزمة ٢٠٠٨ الاقتصادية، عجز ٤٠٠٠ مدير إدارة مخاطر في البنك الملكي الاسكتلندي عن التخلص من مخاطر الأزمة فابتلع الاقتصاد الثقب الأسود، البشر مخلوقات بشعة وعندما يُمنحون أدنى فرصة سيقومون بالسرقة والنهب والتنمر، مضافاً إلى ذلك علماء اقتصاد نالوا جائزة نوبل ساعدوا في إعادة تصنيع الجهل وتسويقه بنجاح ليُبنى عليه شكل جديد من الديون المتراكمة.المينيتور هو ذلك الوحش الإغريقي الضبابي القابع في جزيرة كريت اليونانية، نصف جسده إنسان ونصفه الآخر ثور، كان يُدفع لملكه الجزية من البشر والمال من أجل الحفاظ على السلام حتى أتى أمير شجاع وقتله، يمثل العجز الأمريكي ذلك الكائن الأسطوري الذي سقط بغتة بعدما كانت تُؤدى له الأموال والسلع.اقتبس المؤلف نظرية ابن خلدون في سقوط الأنظمة (العصبية)، والتي تقول أن السلطة التي بنيت بالعصبية ومع مرور الوقت تبدأ وتفقد العصبية مع تصارع القوى الداخلية الطامعة، وتضعف قوة الحكام فتسقط دولتهم، كذلك الشركات الناجحة تنمو نمواً كبيراً ومرضياً ثم يستولى عليهم المبتكرون الجياع محدثو النعمة لتفشل لاحقاً.الكتاب فيه تحليلات اقتصادية متسلسلة لما جرى، يستحق القراءة خصوصاً من قبل غير المتخصصين، مع تناول فنجان قهوة كل ربع ساعة.

  • Malachy
    2019-01-30 09:00

    Très, très long....mais en même temps, un ouvrage illuminant qui met en avant un modèle explicatif et plutôt convaincant - "le recyclage politique des excédents" - de la réussite du capitalisme dans la période de l'après-guerre - "les trentes glorieuses" dans le jargon français. Varoufakis explique par la suite comment les Etats-Unis ont réussi à réorganiser leur hégémonie économique après leur abandon de l'étalon or (le système Keynésian de "Bretton Woods") en 1971 en adoptant un modèle de financiarisation libérée qui privilégiait la dette comme moteur de croissance (en gros, le néo-libéralisme). Cette même explication passe par la crise actuelle qui, pour Varoufakis, nous amène vers une désagrégation lente mais inévitable du système du commerce international. Plus généralement, les conclusions de Varoufakis ne sont pas des plus optimistes, surtout dans un contexte où l'Europe n'est pas à la hauteur des solutions requises pour faire face à ses problèmes structurels. Néanmoins, à lire absolument...

  • Aslihan
    2019-01-27 11:51

    If you've read your Marx and Adam Smith or the following generation of Keynes and Polanyi, the first half of the book has very little novelty to offer. The lengthy reference to the 1929 economic crisis remains rather descriptive, while the opportunity for a deeper comparative analysis with the 2008 crisis is not well taken. The second half of the book does provide a detailed yet descriptive account of the way 2008 crisis progressed, with some cross-country analysis and the spillover effect, yet the book as a whole is disheartening and disappointing because of its theoretical weakness. We already live in a post-crisis setting and to think of future possibilities is more interesting than whining for the past. The author is superbly equipped with the necessary theoretical capacity, but does not use it to develop a deeper, more questioning analysis. The expressive prose enriched with heavy symbolism does not save the day for Varoufakis.

  • Maciej Sochacki
    2019-01-20 10:46

    Yanis Varoufakis does a great job in educating the reader in the honest truth of how America came to power and stayed there until 2008. The book focuses on the dark politics inspired ways of America making economic allies at the expense of freedom. The read was intriguing and I highly recommend it to those that are interested in economic history. The author toots his own horn in the revised addition I have read a few years after his original. He basically says 'see, even now, my theory about the this global minotaur is right' Sometimes academics' egos steer them away from the fact that the typical reader does not give a crap about them. I also didnt like how most of the book kept coming back to the 2008 recession. I get that it was a major historical event but can no economic books be written that dont focus on this?!

  • Taru Luojola
    2019-02-16 14:04

    Luin 2. painoksen, mutta koska sitä ei täältä löydy enkä jaksa lisätä, merkkaan tämän 1. painoksen. 2. painosta on hiukan täydennetty.Yleistajuinen ja vetävästi kirjoitettu esitys kapitalistisen maailmanjärjestyksen viimeisestä sadasta vuodesta, siitä kuinka Yhdysvallat on saanut maailmantalouden pyörimään vuosikymmeniä tietoisen politiikan avulla, ja siitä kuinka vuoden 2008 jälkeen tämä tietoinen politiikka on ollut rikki eikä uutta ole kyetty luomaan tilalle.Tällaiselle vanhalle marxilaiselle kirjan esittelemät historian vaiheet ja käänteet ovat pääosin vanhastaan tuttuja, mutta uusia detaljeja ja yllättäviä näkökulmia löytyy silti tästäkin kirjasta.

  • John Mills
    2019-02-12 15:52

    This is an incredible read on what is a normally dry topic, economics. Varoufakis takes us on a journey of how things devolved from the end of WWII to what is happening to the world economy in the mid 2000 teen years. His revelations make the current situation an obvious outcome of where capitalism has taken us and what its future looks like. This is a very worthwhile read for anyone who has any interest in the world situation.

  • Darya
    2019-01-30 09:57

    Varoufakis is certainly a good storyteller, who catch the reader with his poetic language and captivating metaphors, but there is desperate lack of strong argument and row data to support the author's ideas. He doesn't try to convince but impress, and this is, in my opinion, the weakest point of this book, who leaves the reader more questions than answers.

  • Andrew
    2019-01-25 13:50

    A thoroughly enjoyable read. Lays bare the structural problems and greed at the heart of global finance since the Nixon shock of 1971 and the financial crash of 2008.Written in easily understandable prose which is ideal for the layman reader trying to get a handle on world economics and the machinations of capitalist economies.Highly recommended

  • Liam Fitzpatrick
    2019-02-16 10:03

    Interesting and thought-provoking with a well-reasoned thesis. The analysis feels slightly shallow at times (though this is likely to make it readable for a general audience) and the metaphors get to be a bit much.

  • Rob Trump
    2019-01-26 10:06

    Great on international trade politics of the post-World War II era and their ultimate effects (mostly chapters 3 and 6). Rest is pretty standard issue on the financial crisis but still good.

  • dimwig
    2019-02-07 16:05

    [to come]

  • Thomas
    2019-02-05 14:55

    A well written explanation of world economics following WW2 and how the decisions made impact our pessimistic financial future.

  • Kiridaren Jayakumar
    2019-02-19 11:05

    Very great narrative of global issues and problems. Very much needed in this era.