#137 Reading Another Now by Yanis Varoufakis

Imagine if Occupy and Extinction Rebellion actually won.

In Another Now world-famous economist Yanis Varoufakis shows us what such a world would look like. Far from being a fantasy, he describes how it could have come about – and might yet. But would we really want it?

Varoufakis’s boundary-breaking new book confounds expectations of what the good society would look like and reveals the uncomfortable truth about our desire for a better world…

To describe this book as a fictionalised economic treatise would do it a disservice. Varoufakis has used fiction to articulate his ideas much as Robert Tressel did in The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and whilst the reader might not empathise with Varoufakis`s characters as much as Tressel`s but the effect is more or less the same – we empathise with the system he is proposing, at least to some extent.

Another Now is essentially a science fiction novel in that it is set in 2025 and relies on a wormhole between universes for the premise to function, which it does reasonably well.

A Greek economist, Varoufakis was the Greek Minister of Finance in 2015 and Another Now explains clearly the system which landed Greece with the financial problems it has suffered as clearly as Tressel explains the money trick in his novel.

Born in Athens, he studied in Essex and Birmingham in the UK where he gained his Phd in economics. After Thatcher`s Government was elected for the third time in 1987, he left the UK and moved to Australia where he taught at the University of Sydney. HIs feelings about Thatcher are explored by the characters in his novel.

After acquiring Australian citizenship, he returned to Greece to lead the doctoral programe at the University of Athens and advised the Greek Prime Minister before moving to the US to teach at the University of Texas in Austin.

In January 2015, Varoufakis was appointed Greek Minister of Finance. He led negotiations with Greece’s creditors during the government-debt crisis. However, he failed to reach an agreement with the European troika (European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund) leading to the 2015 bailout referendum. The referendum rejected the troika bailout terms, and the day afterwards Varoufakis resigned as Minister of Finance. Another Now outlines a system in which the Greek debt crisis would never have been possible.

Varoufakis is the author of several books on the European debt crisis, the financial imbalance in the world and game theory. Adults in the Room was made into a feature film in 2019, directed by Costa-Gavras. A Modest Proposal is a set of economic policies aimed at overcoming the euro crisis. Truman Factor features select articles by Varoufakis in English and in Spanish.

The Global Minotaur constructs a historical narrative and metaphor which Varoufakis uses to describe the world economy from the mid-1970s to the 2008 crash and beyond. He argues that the global economy since the 1970s can be viewed as being built around the financing of the twin deficits of the United States – its trade deficit and government deficit. Varoufakis argues that the United States powered the global economy by consuming the exports of the rest of the world, and then the surpluses flowed back to the United States by going to institutions on Wall Street or being used to buy U.S. Treasury debt. He suggests the recycling back to the U.S. happened naturally due to the status of the dollar as the global reserve currency, and because of the profitability of U.S. corporations and returns on Wall Street. However, when the U.S. economy and banking system faltered in 2008, the United States’ ability to consume vast quantities of imports decreased, and investing in Wall Street became a much less inviting prospect, so the system seized up. This explains why the 2008 recession was felt so heavily around the world.

Another Now reminds me of some of the economic ideas in The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver and my own work in progress on the prequel to When the Well Runs Dry. My only reservation is that the world in which his ideas are adopted relies on a series of fortunate successes by activists to succeed. My own premise is that the kind of ideas he proposes will never be adopted until the current system collapses which is what I intend to happen in the prequel.

Give Another Now a go, I was pleasantly surprised how well this economist had used fiction to articulate in simple terms, very complicated concepts.

About M J Dees

M J Dees lives and works in Sao Paulo, Brazil with his wife, daughter and two cats. He has written three novels, Living with Saci, The Astonishing Anniversaries of James and David, Part One, and When The Well Runs Dry. He is currently editing the fourth and writing the fifth. You can sign up for more information on his book launches at http://eepurl.com/cTnAD5 and receive a free copy of Living With Saci.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to #137 Reading Another Now by Yanis Varoufakis

  1. Hey, Mike, thanks for the tips on the Sci-Fi series. I had never heard of it, will try to watch it. XX

    Like

  2. M J says:

    The effects are basic but it’s great

    Like

  3. M J says:

    Blake’s 7 that is

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s