Archive for the ‘europe’ Category

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The globe-trotting Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis who flies around the world on other peoples money to spread his Cassandra doomsday scenarios about the European Union and especially of Greece, in his latest preoccupation, deviously and exuberantly praises the leader of the opposition Alexis Tsipras for his speech before an assembly of Austrian Social Democrats in Vienna. Well that he is doing so, since the speech is a copycat of his own ideas as encapsulated in his Modest Proposal as well as in other of his writings, and therefore his praise of Tsipras, in the event, is an ungracious self-praise of himself. He has kept silent as to the authorship of the speech and to the questions of some of the commentators on his blog whether he wrote it, he doesn’t answer yes or no. He answers his questioners with an obfuscating one word that the speech is “verbatim,” but he doesn’t explain of what and of whose text it is verbatim of, hence his deviousness. But even if it is true, which is highly unlikely, that our professor is not the writer of the speech, then the latter cannot be anything else but a complete plagiarism committed by Tsipras of Varoufakis’s ideas and thoughts.

The following is a brief reply to Professor Varoufakis, which was sent to his blog for publication, but he refused to publish it.

Professor Varoufakis, you are displaying your intellectual bankruptcy by becoming the ventriloquist to Tsipras’s speech. To allow a mediocrity such as Tsipras to be the propagator and presenter of the ideas of your Modest Proposal and other of your own writings, not only shows the self-demotion you inflict upon yourself unconsciously, but also, your narcissistic temperament urging you to exhibit your intellectual wares to wider audiences by any means, even by vendors of disreputable standing.

P.S. I know you don’t have the guts to publish my comment, but at least I’ll get the pleasure that YOU read it.


By Con George-Kotzabasis-May 22, 2013

The Marxistoid professor of economics Yannis Varoufakis (In his keynote speech in the Subversive Festival of Zagreb, Croatia, on 14th May, 2013, confessed himself to be an “Erratic Marxist”), whom Marx himself would have placed under the category “vulgar marxist” for following the footsteps of the great man erratically and loosely, in a choleric and ideologically tendentious article on his website, argues, that the “The Greek Success Story” is “The latest Orwellian Turn of the Greek Crisis.” All the favorable indices by which the “international press and the money markets seem to concur,” to quote him, that the country is on the road to recovery, are to the professor a contrived fiction and “vile propaganda” by the Samaras government to deceive and fool investors and to inveigle them to make “cheap investments” in the country with the prospect of high profits.

According to Varoufakis’ argument, among the deceived and the fools are not only investors but also renowned credit rating agencies, such as Standard and Poors, and Finch, which have upgraded the Greek state’s credit worthiness and four Greek banks, a number of serious economic commentators who foresee the reigniting of the Greek economy the following year and a growth of 0,6% in 2014 –some indeed write about a “booming” economy in the near future—and a bevy of the best and brightest of the European Commission that praises Greece for its rapid and effective reforms that enhanced its competitiveness. And to top it all, the ‘trickster’ Samaras was even able to deceive the economically astute and hardheaded Chinese and lure them to make investments in the infrastructure of the country and in real estate.

Only Professor Varoufakis is disabused of this deception and remains realistic about the dire prospects of Greece in the midst of this fictional euphoria that was able to entice cerebrally reputable institutions and people to see in this ‘mirage’ a “Greek Success Story.” It is rare to see such arrogant omniscience, of a second rate economist and Marxistoid to boot, attempting to trump all other economists and institutions that on a factual basis prognosticate an economic recovery of Greece.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The politically thoughtless and opposing stand of Pasok and Demar (Democratic Left) to the closure of the corrupt, wasteful, and non-transparent opaque ERT, by the Samaras government, that needed three or eight times more staff than it was necessary, and its replacement in the next few months by a new public broadcaster employing its personnel on axiocratic criteria and not on corrupt government appointments, could endanger the cohesion of the tripartite coalition that is so crucial of Greece’s exit from the economic crisis. Venizelos and Kouvelis must realize that the political fortunes of their parties, since they made their intelligent, brave, and politically responsible decision to support a New Democracy government, are tied-up with the success or not of the Samaras government of extricating the country from its economic woes and thus saving the country from a devastating and calamitous bankruptcy. The electorate will not remember or extol their parties for their stand against the closure of ERT or for any other issue that is secondary to the main goal, i.e., pulling Greece out of the crisis, but will punish them electorally if the Samaras government fails in this great task.

That is why it is stupendous foolishness on the part of Pasok and Demar to jeopardise the up till now correct policies of the Samaras government that show clearly, according to all serious economic commentators and institutions such as Standard and Poor’s and Finch, that Greece has been put on the right track to overcome the crisis and these policies will reignite its economy at the beginning of next year.

The respective leaders of Pasok and Demar must be constantly alert and on guard not to derail the Samaras government, either by inadvertence or by frivolous, doltish, and politically irresponsible stunts, which with accelerating speed reaches the goal of putting an end to the crisis. As the corollary to the derailment of the Samaras government will be the total political obliteration of Pasok and Demar as a result of their association with a failed government. But it will be worse; their destruction will lead to the destruction of Greece itself. The collapse of the Samaras government will be followed by the rise to power either of the extreme left or the extreme right. Thus Pasok and Demar by contributing accidentally if not stupidly to the collapse of New Democracy will be opening the doors of totalitarianism to the country. Will they persist to oppose the Samaras government on secondary issues with the danger of creating an unstoppable momentum against it that could fracture the ideologically brittle composition of the tripartite government? Will Venizelos and Kouvelis foolishly sow their political wild oats on a ground whose pernicious crop will be Syriza or Golden Dawn?

Hic Rhodus hic salta

A reply to Professor Varoufakis on his proposal of a recycling mechanism from countries with surpluses in his talk to the OECD.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The working of a recycling mechanism from countries that are in surplus would primarily need the physical stature of Professor Varoufakis, that is, lean efficient competitive economies with no wastage baggage and lean governmental apparatuses. Most economies, however, of southern Europe are in a state of pathological obesity in both regards and thus are being unfavourable turfs for surplus countries to plough their money into them. For the wheels of the recycling mechanism to start therefore, it would be necessary to fundamentally restructure the economies and governments in the former case, on the ethos of a competitive market economy, and on the latter, by removing the destructive policies of government intervention and excessive regulation in the sphere of private enterprise.  Only countries free from the deleterious effects of un-competitiveness and government dirigisme and replete with entrepreneurial dynamism acting within a private enterprise system can be favoured to be the recipients of the manna of the recycling mechanism.

The above argument is reinforced by the two historical examples in Professor Varoufakis’ presentation where he shows that the Americans at the end of the Second World War recycled the major part of their surplus to Germany and Japan, the two countries that were renowned for their economic efficiency and technological feats and operating within the private enterprise system, and the second, when China and the oil producing countries of the Arab peninsula recycled their surpluses to America on the basis of the same principle, that is, of economic prowess and competitiveness. In neither case were these surpluses recycled to “Africanized” economies. Likewise, why European countries, such as Germany, that are in surplus, should recycle the latter to the economically sclerotic countries of the south unless the latter engaged in a radical restructuring of their economies that initially would be followed with a lot of pain as Greece presently shows with the radical changes that are taking place in its economy under the robust and imaginative Samaras government? It is easy to talk about the misanthropy of the elites but what about the misanthropy of those politicians of the left, such as Andreas Papandreou, who for years created a false prosperity for their peoples without telling them of the heavy price and suffering they would have to pay for it and the great crisis that they would be engulfed in?

Can Professor Varoufakis envisage that the great foundational changes that are required, so the recycling river of funds will inundate those countries that are at the bottom pit, can occur without pain? Is the Heracletian profound maxim that out of “great discord rises the greatest harmony” to be negated by the votaries of the “dismal science”?

Guest (Xenos) says,

Incorrect, in every way and on every level.

Per capita, Greece received more than any other country from the Mashall Plan and other forms of financial assistance from the USA. Germany andJapan received the most because (a) they were the largest countries lined up to receive funds, and (b) because they had been decimated by the war. It had nothing to do with your homespun nonsense about “Africanised countries” — whatever you think those might be.

Your speech is nothing more than empty rhetoric and has no relation to historical reality or economic analysis.

Kotzabasis says,

Greece was a special case due to the civil war and the threat of a communist take-over and the fact that America replaced Britain as the plenipotentiary of Greece and its protector from communism. And it goes without saying that part of the reason why funds flowed to Germany and Japan was their devastation. But the major reason was that the Americans wanted to create a locomotive of economic development in these two regions and that is why they chose Germany and Japan renowned for their past economic prowess. Professor Varoufakis himself in his presentation makes it quite explicit that China invested its surplus in the United States precisely because of the latter’s high competitiveness (M.E).


Government intervention always wills the good and works the bad.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The European Union’s sovereign debt crisis was neither an act of fate nor an act of a free self-dependent man but an act of deluded ideology whose sails were blown by the long-lasting winds of government dirigisme, i.e., intervention, and welfare dependency. Once again it was the work, the social engineering, of the bien pensants in the form of a state directory of planning that would put a floor of security for the masses and protect them from falling into abject economic privation that was always, according to their thinking, the omnipresent and inevitable result of the unjust, harsh, and unequal regime of the capitalist competitive free market. The trouble was that this floor was made out of straw and at the first jump of an economic crisis–whose seeds were planted by government intervention,  loose monetary policy and low interest rates–would open a gaping hole through which this security would disappear and drown in a massive pool of unemployment and poverty.

The Eurozone’s one dimensional foundation of monetary union without banking and fiscal union could not sustain the European edifice in the long run with the differentiating regime of taxes, social benefits, and pensions that existed among its constituent states. The proliferation and prodigality of unsustainable Entitlement Economies, which have been the characteristics of the welfare states of Europe especially in the south, could not have been continued without cracking the economic underpinnings of the Eurozone. Also, the European Central Bank’s enabling of low risk premiums on interest rates of government debt, encouraged Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Ireland to go on an orgy of borrowing and overspending. The inevitable outcome was a stampede of budget deficits that were unsustainable and the eventual loss of all credibility in the financial markets that the afflicted States would be able to pay back their debts and thus the shutting out of the latter from the global financial lending pool.

Since no private person would hazard to lend money to states lassoed in sovereign debt the only alternative left was for the richest countries in the Eurozone, such as Germany, to become the lenders and continue to finance the former for their economic survival. But such help would be given under very severe terms encapsulated in strict Memoranda to the receiving countries with the stipulation that the latter would adopt and implement stringent austerity measures that would decrease substantially government expenditure, would restructure and reform their economies making them more competitive, and privatizing public enterprises, whose inefficiency and lack of a diligent working ethos can only be sustained by a continuous expensive staple of government subsidies.

These austerity measures, however, whose formulators have been the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, the so called Troika, are forcefully rejected by the people of those countries who for decades have been inured to the social and economic comforts and benefits engendered by the reckless spending of their governments, and are refusing to accept any cuts to these benefits even when some are aware that the latter can no longer be provided since the governments’ coffers are empty and the convenience of funding these benefits by borrowing, as they have done in the past, is no longer available due to their nation’s sovereign debt. Moreover, these austerity measures initially had not being complemented with policies of economic development and thus led to the worsening of the economic conditions of those countries that adopted them, such as Greece, leading to unprecedented massive unemployment by the closure of large and small business enterprises and to the smashing of the middle class which is the cornerstone of free societies.

This situation is dangerously engendering the fragmentation of social cohesion in those countries and giving rise to political parties of the extreme right and left, coming out of the foam of waves of violent demonstrations that imminently threaten democracy. A latest illustration of this danger are the attacks by petrol bombs and other incendiary devices by hooded youths of anarchists and extreme leftists in Greece against the homes of outspoken journalists, offices of the governing coalition of New Democracy, Pasok, and the Democratic Left, and the burning of Bank’s ATMs. And of particular significance are the attacks on journalists, which are a blatant violation of free speech and a sinister attempt to intimidate them from expressing their opinion about events and criticizing politicians of Syriza, the official opposition, of whom obviously the fire carrying mobs are its ardent supporters.

This will be the tragic legacy of European big government and its ill-considered, indeed, destructive intervention in the processes of the free market that for at least two centuries have delivered prosperity and an unprecedented increase in the standard of living of the masses; as the socialist politicians from Francois Mitterand to Jaques Delors–the architects and enforcers of the European Monetary Union that forced Germany to succumb and pay the price of the unity of west and east Germany as demanded by France–and their present disciples of etatisme are in the process of killing the goose that laid the golden egg, i.e., the unimpeded free market, and by doing so unconsciously and unwillingly are generating and  unleashing the brutal forces of fascism and leftist directorates of totalitarianism on the landscape of Europe.

To avoid this slide to the hell of totalitarianism only the rise of statesmen who “can act beneath heaven as if they were placed above it” is consummated. The fiscal and balance of payments crisis can only be remedied by substantial cuts in government spending and the euthanasia of big government, and by the privatization of debt ridden public enterprises–that are the last strongholds of obtuse and doctrinaire unions– and by the freeing of private enterprise to pursue profit by competition and entrepreneurial creativity and dynamism, respectively. These ‘bitter’ remedies can only be administered by statesmen of the calibre of Lee Kuan Yew and Antonis Samaras. The latter, indeed, might not only be the progenitor of the Greek Renaissance but also the paradigmatic leader of other European politicians to imitate for their own European Renaissance. The Newtonian apple that will stop the European ‘discord’ that currently threatens the demise of the EU will fall to the gravitational force of such statesmanship.

Hic Rhodus hic salta

By Con George-Kotzabasis June 28, 2012

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”  Winston Churchill

Professor Varoufakis the above quote illustrates the substantial personal difference between you and Yannis Stournaras, the newly appointed Minister of Finance, on the issue whether Greece has better than a chance under this new government to pull itself, by creative technocratic and Gulliverian efforts, out of the crisis. It saddens me to see you with your Kazantzakian character to distort the truth about the Samaras government that somehow is a continuation of the “ancien regime” when in truth the majority of its members, both from the political and technocratic stables are new and were chosen on meritocratic grounds for their intellectual and technocratic ‘sprints’ and were never associated  even in the loosest terms with the major economic policies of either Pasok or New Democracy that had brought Greece to the “edge of the abyss.” To say further that Stournaras should not expect any support from this purportedly coterie of the ancien regime and he was chosen only for the purpose of carrying the major burden of a more than probable failure and to become the scapegoat for it is a most ungracious, and indeed, malicious statement that could ever come out from the illustrious portals of Academe.

It seems to me that your absolute pessimistic views about events in Europe and Greece cancel you from the vocation of a reformist actively and optimistically engaged in the transformation of a bad situation. It is optimists that win wars and not pessimists! Also it appears to me, that your ‘undying’ wish for the disintegration of the Eurozone is directly related to your Modest Proposal so in the event of Europe’s collapse you can say that it happened because the European elites refused to adopt your all perfect remedy. Thus your disparagement of all politicians and technocrats both inside Greece and in Europe such as Papademos, Samaras, Mario Monti, Mario Draghi, and Jean-Claude Trichet, to mention few. In your planetary immodesty   to consider yourself the Sun and all the others as satellites that must reflect the wisdom of your Modest Proposal, is haughtiness of the highest degree. And it is not uncommon, that arrogance emanating from an “aggressively” Narcissistic nature defeats even the strongest of characters. Alas, do you think that at the end you will avoid the fate of Narcissus? Lastly, in your Open Letter to your “friend and colleague” Yannis Stournaras, you congratulate him for his appointment to the Ministry of Finance. My question is why congratulating someone who, according to you, by accepting the appointment he will be digging his own grave?

The following essay was written on November 2011 and it is published here hoping the readers of this new blog will find it to be of some interest.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

President Obama is placing the vibrant presidency of the most powerful nation in the world in the hands of the practitioners of euthanasia as if America were in the agony of its death throes. Cynical about America’s global political and military power; cynical about its ability to win the war against its deadly and irreconcilable enemy; cynical about its peoples’ steadfastness and determination to wage war against the fanatical hordes of Islam that threaten America’s heartland; cynical of its European allies’ resolution–under indomitable and sagacious US leadership–to fight the same war; and cynical of the capacity of the best professionally trained armed forces in the world, i.e., the American, to defeat an impromptu organized group of terrorists, who bereft of cool strategic nous in comparison to its ‘infidel’ opponents, are impulsively fighting the Great Satan and all the other little Satans of  the West  with the fanatical cry of Allahu Akbar,  President Obama has chosen, due to this inveterate cynicism and to his guileful and odious politics as we shall  see further down, most imprudently strategically and politically and sans amour propre to retreat from the battlefield, with macabre geopolitical consequences for America’s prestige as a superpower, and take cover behind a no longer fortress America.

As we predicted early in 2009, during the long gestation of the president’s ‘new strategy’ for Afghanistan which under the pretence of giving serious consideration to the request of his senior commander in Afghanistan General McChrystal to increase the troops by 40,000, he dithered his decision not however for the purpose of how to win the war but for the purpose of weighing the political costs that would accrue to him if he had accepted the advice of his general. And when finally he made his decision, he increased the troops by 30,000 while handing to his National Security team a memo setting the strict terms that this increase included the July 2011 start date for a US troop withdrawal. Hence, Obama as Commander-in-Chief, whilst his brave soldiers and astute generals were spilling their blood in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan fighting the Taliban with the aim of defeating them, all he was thinking about were the political costs that would bear upon him as a result of his apparent greater involvement in the unpopular war. So Obama’s ‘serious’ and long deliberations before he made his decision had nothing to do with a new strategy, emanating from his status as Commander-in-Chief, to defeat the Taliban but had everything to do with his status as political shyster who was only concerned about his polls.

The increase of troops by 30,000 was strategically meaningless as it had not the aim of defeating the enemy since it merely served Obama’s political rationale of not seeming to be weak on war while at the same time placating the anti-war crowd by announcing the withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan. What strategist of any substance would increase his forces in the field of battle only to withdraw them without inflicting upon his enemy a mortal blow? And what kind of leader would place an increased number of his soldiers in danger and continue a war that he thinks is unwinnable when his main purpose was to withdraw them from such war, why would he have increased them in the first place if he was planning to withdraw them if not for his concealed ill-design to dupe the American people, to present himself as both a war president and a peaceful one? In reality of course, Obama is neither of these but a political Shylock who demands his pound of flesh from his troops fighting in Afghanistan in order to play his despicable politics at home so he can placate both those Americans who support the war and those who are against it.

From Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Charles Martel, to Napoleon all strategies had a clear and unique goal, to defeat the foe. Only President Obama, who as the most repulsive of political manipulators is wantonly sacrificing the interests of the nation to his own narrow political interests, is disgracefully and timorously traducing this irreversible principle of war and turning himself into a cartoonist mockery as Commander-in-Chief of a great nation.

Afghanistan during Obama’s political campaign was a “war of necessity” that was neglected by President Bush and a war that must be won. But according to Bob Woodward’s new book titled Obama’s Wars, this is no longer so.Obama is quoted as saying, “This needs to be a plan about how we are going to handed it off and get out of Afghanistan.” And the outcome of the policy review and its long deliberations was the offspring of “political considerations,” according to a State Department official. Obama himself reportedly said to Senator Lindsey Graham, “I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party” on the issue of Afghanistan. General Petraeus felt so affronted by White House demands for an exit strategy at all costs that he told his aids, “They are f…king with the wrong guy.” Another senior general said that the announcement of the withdrawal by President Obama, gave “sustenance to the Taliban.” Moreover, the policy review has engendered serious divisions within the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Council, and the Defense Department and between American and Afghan officials. Jim Jones, the National Security adviser, calls the ‘bosom’ advisers of Obama, David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel variously as the “mafia” the “campaign set” and the “politburo.” And General Petraeus has dubbed Axelrod as the spin artist in residence, and I would add the spin-master who can win elections and lose wars.

These revelations of Bob Woodward are toxic to Obama’s presidency and threaten to unleash a spate of resignations of top echelons of the Administration. In short, the presidency at this critical moment of national security and war is in a state of disarray. And no matter how he is going to re-arrange the musical chairs of his sinking presidency after losing the better performers, the future ones that will occupy them will be the worst performers that he could get. No one of sterling qualities, of the best and the brightest, will have an inkling to join an intellectually, politically, morally, and strategically bankrupt administration and be branded everlastingly with such an ignominiously failed presidency. Obama by debasing the political currency of a great nation will become the victim of Gresham’s Law. The bad and base currency of circulating officials that will bid for the positions of the Administration will drive the good and golden currency of officials out of circulation for these posts. Hence Obama’s future administration will be filled by political parvenus, professional opportunists, and Cagliostro like political impostors and all ‘playing their tunes’ under the conductors of spin. Such an outcome will seriously undermine America’s prestige and éclat as a superpower. It will momentously endanger the vital interests of the nation and its security by enticing its mortal enemies to attack it, as they see that the rudder of America in the rough seas of the world is in the hands of an incompetent and weak president. The question is whether Americans will allow this to happen and whether they will have the intelligence and courage to use all means to stop it and put an end to Obama’s Directorate of social democracy and to stop at the eleventh hour the euthanasia of the presidency.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now