For more than two years now international attention has been on and off. George Papandreou milked it as much as he could. Having the potential to blow up Europe or even the world economy according to others is a feat unmatched even by Bin Laden. Unfortunately nothing constructive has been done with this spotlight.
Yannis Varoufakis is a prime example. Our rather dim witted prime minister had legions of advisers. Varoufakis was one of them and realised the potential better than others. The world economic crisis has changed the role of economists in general. A lot of interesting debate has come of it. Some rise to the challenge and put old theories into new shoes from a communications point of view. And some, like Mr Varoufakis, decide it is easier to simply become militant. The joy of economics is that you can always construct a counter argument which seems convincing.
Try reading his “message to the BBC and other assorted international media“. Chomsky can crossover from linguistics to economics and to media analysis and still be a reference point. Varoufakis can’t. Using vocabulary pretty similar to the SYRIZA party he supports. We learn about the “Assault on Truth” and that international media are “violating every journalistic standard and principle known to man or woman”… (is that even logically possible?) …you get the point.
Even better, he writes a whole blog post about how the BBC cut him off before he was ” given a chance to complete my point”. The rather interesting video shows him on a uniquely boring monologue of more than two minutes during which he is only briefly interrupted with a question. Not even heads of State, or major international personalities with few media appearances get such an easy time on the BBC. He is right, there is bias. I suspect the journalist doing the interview just didn’t know how to cut him off politely! It was a hot day and he probably just thought “ah, let him rant and I will take another sip on my frape instead…”
If the BBC faked a technical glitch to cut him off well, that’s a pretty good call from the viewers’ point of view. Anyone with experience in such interviews knows damn well that you are usually lucky to even get a soundbite through intact. Varoufakis complains about them not letting him develop his argument as if he is structuring a lecture. (Though the rest of his interview doesn’t bode well for his lecturing capabilities.) And all this strong wording and rather unfair criticism from a man who the BBC has on various shows quite often! (Listen for example to a more usual interview here – after 16′ 55″ where he speaks much less and the journalist interrupts him much more.)
So why does this obviously clever man do all this? Why does he bark “wolf!” regarding an – always – imminent Euro collapse even though he has been barking up the wrong tree for some time now? Obviously it works! According to another report by the same, highly biased, BBC, he got offered a job through the attention. It doesn’t really matter if the Eurozone doesn’t crash. People like Varoufakis will simply reinterpret the data into some other conspiracy theory. Much like the US was going to “collapse” back in the 70s with the oil crisis. He brags on his blog of his “duel with the bank exec” as if it is a game on the one hand and/or that he is the only saviour of the Truth and all the planet’s underdogs on the other.
Betting on the future has been big business for fortune tellers for thousands of years. Shame that some people choose to ridicule their countries when they do it publically and internationally like Mr Varoufakis.