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The Global Minotaur: America, The True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy (Economic Controversies)
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The first two chapters, the introduction and "Laboratories of the Future", are the most rambling and unclear, and therefore may put off readers unfairly. In it, Varoufakis discusses and then dismisses various popular explanations for the crisis and explains the Keynesian theory of capital and of crisis in general terms, but I doubt whether anyone will be much the wiser for it. The later chapters, however, are excellent. Varoufakis systematically traces the two world-systems led by the United States that have existed since WWII. First this is the gold standard convertibility system of Bretton Woods, in which the United States financed its vassals in Europe and east Asia in order to provide itself with a market for its own manufactures, in exchange for which it could rely on their political loyalty in the struggle against its rival, the Soviet Union.Read more ›
The book's two major attributes are: (1) its fluidity with classic myths and pop culture, weaving them to create and sustain metaphors that engage the reader and help them visualize concepts that would otherwise keep the reader at arm's length; (2) its willingness to wound the sacred cows of the accepted (read: Alan Greenspan's) wisdom relating to laws and rules of the global economy. Varoufakis isn't a contrarian for it's own sake, but rather does the reader a great service by simply putting those laws and rules to the simple tests of logic and experience.
The book goes back and retells the economic history of the last 90 years or so, nicely summarizing the concerns of the major world players during the Great Depression and through the postwar period of the Marshall Plan and the gold standard. He writes of the Bretton Woods global economic regime as a particular paradigm called the Global Plan, one in which the US played a central but mostly magnanimous role in the free world's economy. That paradigm changes in 1971, when Nixon abandons the gold standard, and the pillars of the Global Plan come down, to be replaced by a new economic paradigm that depends upon the US importing tons of goods from the rest of the world, and issuing tons of its own debt to pay for those goods, which the world gobbles up because there's no currency like the US dollar, stability wise.Read more ›
Many recent authors have attempted to make sense of the post 2008 world. Martin Wolf presented his charts and graphs for years in the pages of the Financial Times showing how far global trade imbalances had gone out of whack and remarking on the strange appearance of the United States as the "spender of last resort". Wolf's analysis has been put between covers in his book Fixing Global Finance. But Wolf's quote from Valery d'Estaing about the "exorbitant privilege" enjoyed by the United States in the economic world that it created after Bretton Woods where it could borrow cheaply and apparently without limit in its own currency doesn't capture the situation so brilliantly as the image of The Global Minotaur, the rapacious beast devouring the tribute to its military might. Robert Skidelsky covers much the same ground in his recent book, Keynes, The Return of the Master, but from the single perspective that one would expect from Keynes' biographer. Reinhardt and Rogoff treated us to the historical background of the 2008 financial meltdown in their book, This Time is Different. Their book is crucial in laying bare the historical familiarity of today's sovereign debt crises.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting book and point of view of the writer. I enjoy a lot reading it as is very detailed and even if is a quite technical book explanations are made it very well.Published 4 months ago by Benedek Csaba
Roughly the first 100 pages are spent on setting up the stage for American hegemony and I think he should have spent less time on this and more on Bretton Woods & Gold Standard. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Fatcat
Wonderful conceptualization of what has gone wrong in the World Economy for the last century. I found great parallelisms with another book that I was reading recently, Currency... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Mitch S.
The Global Minotaur is a very comprehensive review of historical events affecting the global economy. Worth reading by all concerned citizens.Published on January 29, 2013 by Ronald B Ellis
This is book is about the financial crisis which started affecting the world in 2008. While there have been many such books about this crisis, from many points of view, and most... Read morePublished on November 28, 2012 by The Peripatetic Reader
I saw a video interview of the author on the INET site and found his interpretation of the events leading to the 2007/8 financial crisis to be worth learning more about, so I sent... Read morePublished on October 11, 2012 by familyshopper
Excellent in every way. A must have book in the field of economics. Yanis Varoufakis is a deep thinker and an economist philosopher - a very rare combination indeed.Published on May 4, 2012 by Dean Plassaras