Showing posts with label Varoufakis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Varoufakis. Show all posts

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Varoufakis movie - Fiscal Fury 1

FISCAL FURY 1 (2015)


TOMATOMETER 

94%

AUDIENCE SCORE 


95%

MOVIE INFO

Vin Diesel stars as ex Greek special forces, Yanis Varoufakis whose passion for erratic Marxist ideologies and video games drives him to teach economics in a top US college. Tom Hardy is the democratic saviour of Greece, but his poor grasp of numbers leaves him no choice but to call on his old mentor to try to balance the books in his country's darkest hour. Anthony Hopkins is back to his creepy Dr. Hannibal Lecter form as Angela Merkel, the errant auditor who has her eyes firmly on his marbles. 
Only he can face the evil tyrants relentless attacks on his people. The film's cry of "You can have our debt but you will not take our dignity!" will have you standing in the stalls.  



CAST

Vin Diesel
as 
Yanis Varoufakis

Tom Hardy
as
Alexis Tsipras



Helen Mirren
as 
Christine Lagarde




Jason Statham
as
Wolfgang Schaeuble




Anthony Hopkins
as
Angela Merkel





Rating:R (adult situations/language)
Genre:Mystery & Suspense with Cheese
Directed By:David Fincher and Yanis Varoufakis
Written By:Yanis Varoufakis
In Theaters:
On DVD:very soon after
Runtime:



Sunday, 5 April 2015

Who is the pilot on the GreekWings flight

The flight deck door is locked, autopilot is set, the passengers are frantically banging on the cabin door but can Greece bank before it crashes into the immovable Alps. And, more importantly, will we have to wait for recovery of the black box to discover who was really at the controls.

In these final few hours before impact the Eurogroup is steadfast in its position of total and complete capitulation by the Greek government before it will consider releasing €7.2 billion bailout funds. After reviewing Athens’ proposals for reform, the guardians of the purse strings have deemed them inadequate and even amateurish. So, what are the options for the eurozone if Greece does not satisfy their demands and defaults on the €450 million payment to the IMF on 9th April and who or what is driving those decisions.

The suspects are:


Alexis Tsipras, 40 year-old ‘Radical’ leader of left-wing coalition party, Syriza who has seen a meteoric rise in the last two years but has been in activism and politics since University. His mandate from the Greek electorate is the lifting of Austerity measures imposed by the Troika of creditors and to keep Greece in the single currency.



Jeroen Dijsselbloem, 49 year-old Dutch Labour party finance minister and president of the Eurogroup, the select committee of European finance ministers who since 2015 have jurisdiction over the Euro. His role is to maintain stability of the single currency.



Angela Merkel, 60 year-old German chancellor. She is the leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union. Germany’s position in the union makes it the de facto leader in negotiations but she has expressed a desire not to have the Euro fail under her watch.



Jeroen Dijsselbloem
If Greece defaults and a Grexit occurs then in the short term, the bond markets could go bear and the euro would go into free fall. In this age of bond market sycophancy, this is a big deal.

That said, any concessions given to the Greeks would become a precedent for other struggling Eurozone nations and while the band-aid needed to plug the hole in Greece is relatively small, Italy and Spain or even France could be far more damaging.

The austerity strategy appears to be working for some members such as Portugal and Ireland, both have exited the bail-out programme and re-entered the international credit market, the latter is now the fastest growing economy in Europe. However this is just balance-sheet understanding, many Irish and Portuguese are not seeing the benefits.

Many Eurozone nations would be watching Greece to see how it dealt with the divorce and depending on how painless it turned out or what could be learned from the experiment, there could be more departures from the single currency which could well lead to complete devolution.


Alexis Tsipras
In the event of an ill-prepared and messy Grexit the already fatigued Greek people would loose faith in the young prime minister, not only ending his career but sparking chaos and possibly an opening for the far-right fascist groups to seize control. Greeks have hankered for state reform for as long as I can remember but the reality would cause more collateral damage than they are prepared for.

An unnamed Syriza official recently said that as a left-wing government, faced with the choice of defaulting to the creditors or their own people it was a no-brainer. Brave words indeed but also damn straight, given the choice of paying the mortgage and feeding your kids, what would you do. No-brainer, right?

But his choice is not just death or dishonour.


Greece could gain support from Russia. Syriza harbours within its ranks some far left idealists who may still hold romantic notions of allegiance to Russia. They may not have realised that Putin’s Russia has bypassed communism to revert back to the days of the Tsars. 

However, Russia has its own liquidity problems and would not bailout Greece without some pretty heavy caveats whether declared or implied. Recent events in Ukraine are very telling of Putin’s ambitions. Russian gas supplies to Greece which are used for domestic use and electricity generation have already given it a significant political foothold.

Russians also represent a huge growth in tourism for Greece who are also buying up holiday property. In some tourist areas English has been demoted to third place on menus and shop signs.

Angela Merkel
Germany’s motives have much in common with the Eurogroup’s, but Angela must play to the home audience. Germany is running a sizable surplus due to its reluctance to take advantage of cheaper than cash credit which is available to it and the austerity measures it has been imposing on its own people, which it systematically blames on Eurozone slackers like Greece. Bending to Greece would be a domestic disaster for Merkel. While a short-term fall in the Euro could hurt but foreign currency holdings and cheap exports would buffer the blow and she would be seen as a saviour.

The Euro is significantly undervalued compared to the German economy. It is the only economy that could withdraw from the Euro with money in the bank but a return to the Deutsche Mark would mean more expensive German exports and it would go back to being another European nation rather than the epicentre of an EU empire.
If Greece were to be cut loose this would mean a constriction of the European borders especially in a very strategic area of the Mediterranean.

We forget though, there is a new wave of Eurozone candidate nations in the wings including Iceland, Albania, Montenegro and Turkey. Turkey gives access to the Med and the middle east, Albania and Montenegro who give access to the Ionian across from Italy and who along with Serbia and Macedonia go to bridging the northern members to Bulgaria and ultimately Turkey and beyond.

These candidates may be seen as more manageable than Greece and not to mention, a Greek withdrawal would make Macedonia and Turkey’s integration easier.

So who is in the driving seat then? 

Well, Merkel does seem to have the most options.

Tsipras is between a rock and several hard-places. Threats have been thrown of everything from Russia to opening the roads for Islamist extremists but ultimately his hand is bluff. Varoufakis’ and his post-election European road trip found few allies. His only option may be to steer into Russian and Chinese ploughed fields.

Dijsselbloem represents the auto pilot, his role is the result of programming. He can only prepare for the fallout.

And all the while the bond markets are licking their lips with glee, fail or fly the euro will make many hedge funds even more obscenely rich.

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Friday, 20 March 2015

What will Greece do after the GREXIT

Last night Alexis Tsipras entered talks with Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande and select members of the Eurogroup for yet more discussion on what is essentially how to do what fewer and fewer people want and what more and more fear; keeping Greece in the Eurozone. The result wasn't much different to the previous summits; we'll wire the money if you play ball. Tsipras has not played ball and it seems just a matter of time before one side or the other calls time on this game of ping pong. So what will Greece do after this push/jump scenario plays its logical conclusion.
Eurozone tug o' war
Game Theory: Candy Crush vs World of Warcraft
In a recent interview with Costas Lapavistsa, Economist at London's SOAS and Syriza MP he said they were 'Flogging a dead horse'  he added that Syrizas' strategy had come to an end and it was time to negotiate an amicable departure from the Eurozone. Indeed, after a huge show of strength by Tsipras and Varoufakis it seems that Yanis' famous game theory has been but Candy Crush to the Eurogroup's World of Warcraft. The question on everyone's lips now is what will the bankrupt nation do after default or a negotiated withdrawal from the single currency system. The one would leave Greece with cleared debt but no line of credit with international financiers, the other with a huge debt hanging but maybe some line of credit. Recent example of these scenarios being played out are Argentina and Iceland, two quite different cultures that resulted in very different outcomes. 
Yanis Varoufakis, Greek finmin and self proclaimed Erratic Marxist subscribes to the theory of growth through massive public investment, the Keynesian approach to economic development. This is the same strategy that brought the US's New Deal which many believe brought the country out of the Great Depression in the 1930s under Roosevelt. But this was a programme implemented by a country with huge resources in a time very different from now, when people's expectations from the state were almost non-existent. We now live in a world of state benefits, healthcare and education, undeniably progress but also costly. Varoufakis believed that this strategy could be successful from within the Eurozone but it is obvious that this is not compatible with the Eurozone's strategy. In fact, Germany has been tightening its purse strings with its own people. Their idea of a New Deal is Quantitative Easing (QE), pumping money into the top and preying that it will reach somebody grateful. The Keynesian approach is to pump money into projects that put money in the public's pocket so they will share it with each other and industry.  
The common misconception with Keynesian capitalism is that it is a spendfest. The Greek government is historically bad at making free with capital. Tsipras has already committed to re-bloating the public sector and while this may put a few more Euros (or Drachma) on the high street it will do little to stimulate industry or entrepreneurial activity. On the contrary, a more populous public sector tends to increase bureaucracy to keep the bodies busy. This has traditionally been Greece's major obstacle for foreign investors as well as local entrepreneurs. 
So, where could the money, if there were any, be spent to get the country's economy moving.
AGRICULTURE: Investment in farming could boost the economy, there are few places as fertile and the quality of its produce is world-class. But, the industry will need to change fundamental attitudes. This has already begun but years of unrealistic state compensations have made it more viable for many producers to be less competitive. A turnaround in approach with higher productivity could well save the country’s ailing fortunes. Farming has traditionally been viewed as peasantry but food technology is a growing and the world needs food, not just from mass consumption but also premium quality, something that Greece could do very well at.
RENEWABLE ENERGY: Greece has more than twice the sun-hours per year than the UK. While there has been huge investment in solar farms in recent years, changes in policy and the national electricity company reneging on contracts has made this area much less attractive. Farming and domestic waste could also be a good source of fuel for anaerobic digestion plants that may not be an export but they would take the pressure off imports of oil and gas from Russia.
MINERAL RESERVES: Greece has untapped reserves of gold, rare-earth metals while speculation of oil and gas reserves have yet to be fully explored. The exploitation of these may be another way forward but this must be approached cautiously as there is a lot of resistance from groups that maintain that the ecological impact could damage tourism, Greece’s major income. It must also be ensured that profits find their way into the Greek coffers and not Swiss banks.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: Greece has one of the highest levels university graduates in Europe and a thriving entrepreneurial community but the lack of jobs and funding has caused a huge haemorrhage of graduates and young entrepreneurs abroad. Their startups ultimately contributing to the GDP of other countries, their skills acquired and paid for by Greece, working for foreign interests. This trend needs to be reversed with support, funding and stripped-down bureaucracy for new ventures. 

And don't forget: Greece is a fabulous winter destination with history, clement climate and even skiing. Visit this site for ideas 
It is painfully obvious that the Euro has failed on so many levels but mostly it has failed the people it was supposed to serve, the European citizens. Instead of unifying a continent it has bred mistrust and acrimony. 
The Greek exit will be traumatic, as will be the exit of other members. But, it is good management that will make the difference. Iceland made a quick turnaround but Argentina continues to suffer and I fear that Greece has more in common with the latter.
I believe that the Keynesian approach is the way forward, Hayak/Friedman's free market neo-liberalism has already devastated many nations at a social level (let's forget the markets for one moment). Good management is the key, funding needs to find its way to stimulation of GDP not the deficit.


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Monday, 23 February 2015

Is Greece ready for the New Drachma

On Friday 20th February Tsipras, Varoufakis and the Greek people found themselves between a rock and a hard-place. The rock was supplied by Wolfgang Schäuble who has been quite gloating in his intentions to break the Greek delegation and continue with EU's strategy for the Eurozone. The hard place was supplied by the Greeks themselves as the announcement on Greek media that around €20 billion had hemorrhaged from Greek bank deposits since December and the scene was set for a full-on run on the banks. Of course, telling people that their deposits may not be safe can have but one result; their deposits will not be safe. An insolvent banking system would be politically disastrous for the most popular government since ousting the junta in 1974. Finally Tsipras ad Varoufakis had no choice but to capitulate and return home with their tails between their legs.

           

Tsipras has vowed that if he doesn't get a fair deal he will leave slamming the door so hard that the whole house will fall in. Has that time come. The win that has be lauded, in lieu of anything else to say is that the Eurogroup has agreed to see a list of proposals for exactly how they intend to bring the economy into check, this is seen as a positive but we must also consider that while the knot has been loosened, it is also possible to wriggle the noose tighter still. There is no way that the Eurogroup (Schäuble) will be satisfied with the proposals this whole exercise is a last ditch demoralisation tactic, maybe even to force Tsipra’s to play his hand. The backlash has begun with the most audible coming from within Syriza’s own ranks, Manolis Glezos has accused Tsipras of trying to get away with calling meat fish with reference to the lexical realignment of the Eurogroup agreement.

Are the Greeks finally ready to bite the bullet and embrace the Drachma again.

There have been no reliable domestic polls on a Grexit and return to the Drachma and none could possibly done as merely putting the question to the people would cause the mother of all runs and a collapse of the economy before anything could be done. I have been trying to gauge public opinion here on the subject and the first impression took me by surprise, people are reluctant to talk about it. This is strange for a people who have always had a preoccupation with politics, taken relish in criticising the government and more recently the governments of its European partners but now starting the conversation provokes nervous fiddling with smart-phones, shoulder-shrugging or irritated changes of subject. So tired by hope against hope, so weary of broken plans, many have shut down completely. Their last burst of excitement spent, they are resigned to a new status quo and are trying to get on with breathing again. The world outside the political rallies and euro zone negotiations is calm detachment. According to Robertson and Bowlby’s attachment theory Greece has come to the third stage of ambivalent attachment, a survival stage that avoids any further emotional investment and the pain that accompanies disappointment.

Is Greece ready to embrace a new drachma. According to Bowlby, Robertson and even Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, Greece is neither ready nor resistance to anything any more and those who feel powerless will just get on with breathing regardless of the flavour of air they are given. 

The one thing I have realised is that for the first time the Greeks have leaders to rally behind and that could just make the difference. 


UPDATE: WHAT WILL GREECE DO AFTER THE GREXIT


Monday, 16 February 2015

Alexis and Yanis are screwed

And it came to pass that in Europe’s darkest hour came forth two horsemen from an ancient land to slay the dragon and free the good and the pious from servitude. These dashing knights held aloft the swords of righteousness and wisdom to hack away at thorn and bracken to bring hope and light. And now deep in the dragon’s lair they fear no evil, for they have been summoned in the hearts of men to right wrongs. We shall all feast on roasted beast, my brothers, before spring blossoms the trees.


Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis are these brave knights who bring hope of a renaissance of classic Greek democracy once more unto a world that has lost its way. But irrespective of what happens in Brussels in the coming weeks, they are screwed.


The whole of Europe if not the world is beguiled by these two men who have seemingly sprung from nowhere to take on the might of the Eurozone policy makers (Read: Angela Merkel). Not since Barack Obama’s first campaign in 2008 has a political leader evoked such idolisation, before him it was Tony Blair, delivering a desperate Britain from Thatcherism in 1997. History is littered with similar stories. And, herein lies the problem. Each of these beacons of hope have ultimately disappointed, exposed as flawed men in a near impossible situation (and maybe I’m being kind). 

Alexis Tsipras came from left-wing student activist roots to pull off a democratic coup in the Greek parliament. Despite not managing an overall majority in the house his support has snowballed spreading far beyond national borders to garner support from throughout the austerity-stricken Eurozone. He has vowed not to wear a tie until his mission is complete, a sentiment that his finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis has taken to heart and run with. This is a man who embodies the Greek economic situation; he needs growth, not a haircut, his charismatic presence belies his true stature and he is definitely not dressed for the bank. He has proved to be an inspired choice. An academic Goliath, highly respected by his economist peers, has a penchant for game theory and a dynamic youthful demeanour rarely seen in his position. The two of them have become the Kirk and Spock of modern politics showing up many for the out-of-touch dinosaurs that many believe them to be.

To all intents and purposes though, the Eurozone is Angela’s game, its her ball and she will be captain, she can even decide to adapt the rules should anyone get out of step. Then along come these two upstarts from a cigarette kiosk of a country telling her she’s off-side. The task ahead of them is formidable and the chances of walking away with all they ask is a snowball’s chance in hell.

The real problems begin when they get back home. Let’s say that they get the majority of what they ask for. Which, if you follow Varoufakis is not a haircut but a restructuring of debts, something akin to consolidating all your credit cards into one low interest loan with a manageable payment plan. But what they really want is to be freed from the conditions of the loan, the austerity measures that have forced Greece's economy to shrink a 1/4 in the last few years and the selling off of public assets to foreign investors. This is the real bone of contention. For while Greece has been forced to take loans to pay the loans which pay the interest, the economy has had its laces tied together by a series of cuts that have forced anorexic shrinkage of an already troubled economy. If they get all this then they have to make it work and be seen to work and that means that people are going to have to magically pop back into full employment, debts accrued during the last years will have to go away and taxes will have to return to being an avoidable nuisance. Things will have to go back to the good ole days (during which everyone would tell you they had never been so bad) things will have to be right for everyone and they won’t.

They have promised to reinstate public employees who were sacked over the last government's term. this is part of what put an unsustainable burden on Greece's resources in the first place and had come about due to successive governments trading votes for jobs. Its result was a public sector bloated with the wrong, unqualified people who didn't give a jot about solving your problem because they had tenure. They have also vowed reopen the state TV and Radio channel ERT, a popular move but will need to be well-managed if it isn't to fall back into the habits of its public sector peers. These are expensive promises, though and neither of them are growth catalysts.

So much is being expected of these two men that there is no way that they won’t disappoint. The best that can be expected is for them to return from Brussels with their dignity and integrity intact carrying the means to create an environment where businesses can begin to build on stable ground. There is still a lot of hard work and sacrifice ahead but what many are going to have to digest is that it will not be only Tsipras’ and Varoufakis’ hard work and sacrifice but their own. They can only do so much and there is still so much domestic reform that needs to take place before the benefits of the concessions that can realistically be expected can take hold.

There will be a backlash. Not only from the Greek people, but all the other nations watching closely to Greece for sign of light at the end of the austerity tunnel. When things do not work out as they hoped or as they chose to believe that T & V had told them. They will cast aside Tsipras and Varoufakis in a wave of told-you-so wisdom. Such is the fickle nature of the people. This will allow the next wave of cure-all promises from whoever has the public ear.

The world has taken these two men to their hearts at a very vulnerable phase in its history. Expectation will be unrealistically high. I hope you have factored this into your game plan, Yanis. 


UPDATE: After more final hours and more renegotiations and more broken promises, the general consensus is getting closer to just roll over and let it happen, already. People are tired and I feel that they are ready to vote back the old order if only to let the screwing be done and lubricate appropriately.
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