Yanis Varoufakis Oxford Union Address

Academic freedom is something we should value and cherish. Too many universities are bums-on-seats businesses with academics on fixed-term contracts judged by the income they generate for the university, measured by the number of worthless papers they churn out, meanwhile university vice-chancellors are on obscene salaries.

Man needs models to understand the universe. With greater understanding, we refine out models.

The earth carried on the back of a turtle. The sun carried across the sky in  a chariot. The stars, the heavens rotating around the earth, the earth being the centre of the universe, Man the centre of the earth. The earth rotating around the sun a minor star in a spiral arm of an obscure galaxy.

There is a limit to our models, and we must always remember our models are not reality. Wave-particle duality. Chaos theory. The observer being part of what is happening within the sub-atomic world.

Economics likes to pretend it is an exact science. It is not.

If a scientist, makes a prediction of what the universe is like, proves to be wrong, that does not change the universe.  Newton had a model of the Laws of Motion. Einstein showed these were an approximation for the world we live in, but did not apply at relativistic speeds approaching the speed of light.

Did the Laws of Motion come into being when Newton thought of them, or were they always there waiting to be discovered? A question posed in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

The earth is not flat, no matter how hard insist that it is, any more than global warming is not Man made (though those who insist, know it is Man made, they do not like the impact the acceptance has on their dirty carbon business and pointless consumption).

When an economist provides a model, society behaves as though that is the real world, that is it changes how society behaves.

The neo-liberal world is not the real world, though we act as though it is.

Capitalism is not a Law of Nature, it is not set in stone. It occupies a very small part of human history. The pyramids were not built by capitalists.

The euro was flawed from the start. It is not possible to impose a common currency on different economies. We should have learnt that when a common currency was imposed on the re-unification of East and West Germany.

In 2010, Greece was broke. It was bankrupt. It was lent more money, with conditions set that destroyed the Greek economy and made repayment even less likely. Syriza has surrendered to the EU, accepted more money, agreed to even worse conditions. Pretend and extend.

EU is a malignant, corrupt, undemocratic body. We have a simple choice, either reform as recommended by Yanis Varoufakis or destroy and replace by cooperating, sovereign, democratic states.

The role of a Central Bank is to provide banks with liquidity. Instead ECB  turned off funding to Greek banks to bring Greece to its knees

EU was only too happy to destroy Greece to protect the status quo, to send a message to other countries, dare challenge us, and we will destroy you.

Syriza had the backing of the people to stand firm against EU, to then be betrayed by Syriza. They should have taken the advice of Yanis Varoufakis, stood firm, defaulted on 27 billion euros from ECB.

In January there was hope, now following betrayal, there is despair.

In  a just society, we help and support the weakest members whether or not they are rogues. We allow evil people like Murdoch to accumulate  vast wealth and that is seen as ok.

When in a society, as in Greece, suicide rates have risen, unemployment has risen, GDP has collapsed by 28%, when pensions have been cut, when teachers have seen their salaries halved, when children faint at school due to malnutrition,  we have to say there is something wrong with the economic system.

In Manchester, students have reacted, they have objected to the economics they are being taught, that has no bearing to the real world.

Post-WWII, we had eminent economists like J M Keynes who helped draw up a new economic system. Where are the Keynes of today?

If Greece is to move forward, ordinary citizens must seize control, non-cooperation with EU, a Flatapck Democracy revolution, ordinary citizens, reluctant politicians drawn from society, not career politicians, seize control of town councils, introduce democratic reforms, public participation, network those towns, not only across Greece, but across Europe, introduce alternative currencies outside the control of Central Banks.

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