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Interesting but ideologically blinkered.
on 8 January 2013
This is undoubtedly a good read , for anyone interested in the underlying economic, political, and pyschological, dynamics behind the Greek debt crisis, and the broader current world debt and economic crisis too.
Be warned however that the title itself suggests a certain political radicalism in the author's overall approach to this European and world capitalist crisis. this is, far, far, from the case. The author is a very conventional bourgeois capitalist economist - thoroughly ideologically blinkered by the conventional capitalist economic frames of reference to which he ascribes. This is particularly ironic, as some of the best insights throughout the book are precisely around the mistaken ideological "groupthink" assumptions of the elite decision makers, bankers/speculators, and politicians who drove the world in general, and Greece in particular, into the 2008 Financial Crash and its still deepening World Slump aftermath.
The "solutions" the author proposes to the economic mess Greece , and the entire Eurozone, finds itself in, are in some cases undoubtedly necessary - eg, an end to endemic curruption and cronyism and tax avoidence in countries like Greece, and an end to the policy domination of national governments and international institutions by the over powerful global finance capital institutions. However because the author is, (regardless of his protestations of a need for "controls" , regulations, etc of its worst excesses)profoundly in love with the ideology of the unfettered " world economic market" despite his detailing of the disastrous, corrupting, impact on governments and the operation of markets worldwide, of the key capitalist players in this unfettered market, he can't separate the wood from the trees.Hence the author thinks Europe simply "can't afford" its "welfare states". He thinks trades unions are in just the same category of undesirable "barriers to trade" as the corrupt business cartels and systemic bribery and financial manipulations operated by the world's 1% of supperrich and their lesser fry supporters .
As with so many ivory tower economists the author has forgotten that it it is the economic and social wellbeing of the 99% of citizens in society that is important , not the interests of the tiny , endlessly greedy, capitalist class who have benefitted most from the last 30 years of neo liberalist economic and social policies throughout the western world. If the requirements of globalised economics is that the living standards of workers across Europe (and the USA) have to be so unprotected that eventually wage levels and welfare support has to fall to the level of the most oppressed worker in Guandong province in totalitarian China, then it is perfectly reasonable for the majority of the populations in the western nations to say "sod that then.. we'll try a more rational way to run our economic system then, in the majority's interests , not the interests of the 1% of capitalist superrich who own the overwhelming majority of the productive resources of our planet".
The cut price Kindle version of this otherwise expensive book is worth a read, for its extensive detailing of the irrationality and greed which underlies the operations of the current economic system. Don't expect any radical answers to that reality in this book though.