First they came for the Greeks

This week began with a debate in Greek Parliament called by the Official Opposition (the troika’s main, but not only, domestic cheerleaders) for the purposes of, eventually, indicting me for daring to counter the troika while minister of finance in the first six months of 2015. The troika who had staged a bank run before I moved into the ministry, who had threatened me with bank closures three days after I assumed the ministry, and who proceeded to close down our banks, now moved to charge me with… bank closures and capital controls. Like a common bully, the troika proved immensely keen to blame its victims, and to violate and vilify anyone who dares resist its thuggery.

My reaction to the troika’s charges, and threat of being pulled up in front of a judicial inquiry , was simple: “Bring it on!” “I shall face you”, I challenged them “in any forum you want: in an amphitheatre, a TV station, even a court room!” In the end, they chickened out and the parliamentary motion was defeated as some of them (a small party usually fully in troika’s clasps) strategically voted against. -Yanis Varoufakis


This has been obvious for a long time, but for it to be admitted is breathtaking. As Professor Varoufakis states, this is a singular moment from which to undo the horrors of recent years, and plot a better path forward. But the perpetrators will gladly stay the course, if not forced out. And they have to be run out now. The protests this should engender should (and need to) be massive. Outrage is the order if the day. Demand change! Demand a better future! Demand it now!

Charity under pressure: cash, credibility and consumerism | British Politics and Policy at LSE


Such a spectre not only raises questions about Cameron’s claims about a stakeholder economy but also why, in the fifth richest country in the world, we tolerate such poverty and inequality. It isn’t because we don’t know. On the contrary, we now live and work in an information rich world where little is hidden from view. So is it because we don’t care? The answer to this question looms large on the horizon for most Charities whose risk registers see donors declining and increasing scepticism. It’s a trend that has arisen despite thousands of ordinary folk genuinely giving up their time to help those in need and reflects what appears to be a more qualified approach to the value of charitable organisations. It invites a worrying question; have we begun to fall out of love with charity?
-Neil Serougi



The world’s going mean. If you’re not feeling it now, when will you? Should you do something now, or should you wait til it’s upon you?

The Greece of the Caribbean by Andrés Velasco – Project Syndicate

In exchange for help, congressional Republicans are threatening to impose on Puerto Rico a fiscal control board similar to the one established in 1995 in response to the fiscal crisis in Washington, DC. Bad idea. Not only would such a board smack of colonialism and be politically untenable; the scheme would also lack the flexibility needed to avoid a depression in Puerto Rico, while reassuring everyone, including investors, that fiscal policy will remain prudent in the future.A much better solution is a rule of fiscal responsibility like those adopted in countries as different as New Zealand, Sweden, Colombia, and Chile. The idea is to keep expenditure below what the government can raise in taxes in the long run (thereby ensuring sustainability), while allowing deficits whenever the economy is operating below potential and tax revenue is abnormally low (thereby guaranteeing flexibility and contributing to macroeconomic stabilization).
-Andrés Velasco

Source: The Greece of the Caribbean by Andrés Velasco – Project Syndicate

This is sound advice for those dealing with Puerto Rico’s debt woes that’s built on a solid review of the Greek tragedy. I’ll be shocked out of my gourd if it’s heeded (not by Puerto Rican leadership, but by the U.S. government and banks who the debts are owed to).