“Our enemy is apathy.” –Yanis Varoufakis

In 2015 today’s guests were propelled onto the global stage by their efforts to take on the European banking establishment and restructure the Greek government’s financial system.  For 5 months they worked to negotiate alternatives to further austerity measures; trying to extend loans while moving Greece toward a more solvent state. 

Their efforts to confront the Eurozone and proceed democratically to carry out the wishes of the Greek people were ultimately defeated, but it was this battle lost that was the impetus of their current endeavor—to reform Europe and institute a transnational, pan-European democracy called DiEM25 –Democracy in Europe Movement.

Yanis Varoufakis is the former finance minister of Greece, author of Adults in the Room: My Battle With the European and American Deep Establishment, and co-founder of the DiEM25 –Democracy in Europe Movement.

James K. Galbraith is an eminent economist, an assistant to Mr. Varoufakis while he was the Greek finance minister, and he chronicled his time in Greece with the book Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe.

They were in Austin for a conference on Democratic Reform in Europe at the LBJ School for Public Affairs.

 

Op-Ed by James K. Galbraith

From The New Deal until the present moment the architecture of The United States formed around some basic principles of public policy; principles that will no longer apply under a Trump administration. With all the questions that are on the table when it comes to this transition, Dr. James K. Galbraith asks: “Is the study of public policy still useful? And can it serve as the basis of a rewarding and productive life?”

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Dr. James K. Galbraith holds the Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations and a professorship of government at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. He holds degrees from Harvard University and Yale University. He studied as a Marshall scholar at King’s College, Cambridge in 1974-1975 and then served in several positions on the staff of the U.S. Congress. He directed the LBJ School’s Ph.D. program in public policy from 1995 to 1997. He directs the University of Texas Inequality Project, an informal research group based at the LBJ School. Galbraith’s most recent book is “Inequality and Instability: A Study of the World Economy Just Before the Great Crisis” (Oxford University Press, 2012). Previous books include “The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too” (Free Press, 2008), “Created Unequal: The Crisis in American Pay (Free Press, 1998) and “Balancing Acts: Technology, Finance and the American Future” (Basic Books, 1989). “Inequality and Industrial Change: A Global View” (Cambridge University Press, 2001) is co-edited with Maureen Berner. He has co-authored two textbooks, “The Economic Problem” with Robert L. Heilbroner and “Macroeconomics” with William Darity Jr. He is a managing editor of Structural Change and Economic Dynamics.

The story of sugar in the Western world is sordid and bitter, however this past gets quickly candy coated in our day to day lives as consumers. In this special op-ed from the eminent economist, writer and historian James K. Galbraith we get a peak into the sickly underbelly of the sociopolitical and economic past of sugar.

If one’s only knowledge about the Greek economic crisis of the early 2000s came from the television news or the New York Times, the complexity of the situation and what it means to the Greek people could well have been lost.

On this edition of The Secret Ingredient, Raj Patel, Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy recorded a show in front of a live audience at the Cactus Cafe in Austin, Texas with the eminent economist James K. Galbraith author of, “Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe.”

Galbraith was an advisor to the former finance minister of Greece, Yanis Varoufakis, during the crisis, and his account of the events, discussions and nuances of the process shed a critical and urgent light on the Eurozone – and the future of Europe – as he talks about inequality, the Greek debacle, prospects for social democracy in America and more.

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The response to the crisis and austerity measures from Greek artists and poets is significant. Karen Van Dyck’s “Austerity Measures”  and Theodoros Chiotis’ “Futures: Poetry of The Greek Crisis” , offer poignant and cutting insights. Chiotis was kind enough to send along one of his poems from his new collection to include here.

Perfusion by Theodoros Chiotis

1.

Yes –

perhaps in utero

but it was in another machine

I became this:

the result of a thousand

mechanised eyes.

2.

Laura Mars

furiously click-clicking

her way into endurance.

A riot scene like magnets colliding:

the result of high population densities expanding

and then imploding across minute distances.

3.

The perfect grip of a hand

that is no longer of any use

landscapes the present.