Review by Giles Wilkes July 19
This is some week to be reviewing Yanis Varoufakis. Greece teeters on the edge of the eurozone, its fate a matter of ferocious dispute between European finance ministers. Until recently Varoufakis was one of them, by most accounts the most irritating and self-assured man in the room. Now he lurks venomously on the fringes, spitting disdain upon a rotten bargain that he believes will doom his nation to further misery, all of which he foretold.
Did he? That is what will preoccupy anyone perusing The Global Minotaur, the polemic he has updated for the latest leg of the crisis. Regrettably it is too uneven for any clear verdict, providing material enough only to confirm the prejudices of those on either side of the argument.
Those who see Greece as the nation-state equivalent of a welfare scrounger need only turn to the dismissive explanation of what ails Europe. Lethargic growth rates are blamed not on inflexible labour or munificent benefits payments but on “the way most of Europe was falling under the spell of German surpluses”. Forever making too much and consuming too little, the Germans doom the European project through their refusal to permit a “global surplus recycling mechanism” — a phrase so common it is given the acronym GSRM.