A #1 Sunday Times bestseller [UK]
A titanic battle is being waged for Europe's integrity and soul, with the forces of reason and humanism losing out to growing irrationality, authoritarianism, and malice, promoting inequality and austerity. The whole world has a stake in a victory for rationality, liberty, democracy, and humanism.
In January 2015, Yanis Varoufakis, an economics professor teaching in Austin, Texas, was elected to the Greek parliament with more votes than any other member of parliament. He was appointed finance minister and, in the whirlwind five months that followed, everything he had warned about-the perils of the euro's faulty design, the European Union's shortsighted austerity policies, financialized crony capitalism, American complicity and rising authoritarianism-was confirmed as the "troika" (the European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund, and European Commission) stonewalled his efforts to resolve Greece's economic crisis.
Here, Varoufakis delivers a fresh look at the history of Europe's crisis and America's central role in it. He presents the ultimate case against austerity, proposing concrete policies for Europe that are necessary to address its crisis and avert contagion to America, China, and the rest of the world. With passionate, informative, and at times humorous prose, he warns that the implosion of an admittedly crisis-ridden and deeply irrational European monetary union should, and can, be avoided at all cost.
The financial catastrophe that nearly undid the euro, the flawed, fragile currency of most of Europe, is placed under a microscope by Varoufakis (The Global Minotaur), an economics professor whose seven-month tenure as Greece's finance minister in early 2015 was marked by debt crisis and bitter disputes with more powerful Eurozone members, particularly Germany. To tell this story, he delves back into economic history, starting with the "Nixon Shock" of 1971, which unraveled the Bretton Woods global monetary system installed at the end of WWII. Economists will debate the rightness of Varoufakis's convictions, summed up by a quote from ancient Greek historian Thucycdides that "rights are only pertinent between equals" and that strong powers "actually do what they can and the weak suffer what they must." He sees this principle in the decades-long development of the euro, a process marked by fractious debates between France and Germany. At his pithiest, Varoufakis is a trenchant critic he observes that the bridges and arches decorating euro banknotes are as fictitious as the political unity they represent but the density and jumpiness of the book makes it difficult to understand how his proposed solutions to Greece's, and the Eurozone's, problems might be achieved.