Odrasli v sobi evropske tragedije

Yanis Varoufakis ima – ob tem, ko je visoko inteligenten in zelo razgledan –  tudi dober analitični in pripovedni dar. V svoji zadnji knjigi “Adults in the room: My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment” je znal svojo izkušnjo bitke z evropskim establishmentom, čeprav subjektivno, postaviti izven povsem subjektivne ocene in jo umestiti v kontekst tipične grške ali shakesperijanske drame. Igralci v tej igri se ne zavedajo njene razsežnosti in kompleksnosti in prav zato, čeprav vsi po vrsti nastopajo v najboljši veri, po najboljših močeh in v skladu s svojimi trdnimi prepričanji, njihova posamična dejanja, združena z dejanji vseh, vodijo v tragedijo epskih razsežnosti. Tragično dejstvo je, da se ničesar od tega ne zavedajo – ne tega, v kakšni igri igrajo in da so samo figure, in ne tega, da njihove odločitve in  dejanja, točno takšna, kot jih sprejemajo, vodijo v neizogibno tragedijo. Od grškega masakra, prek Brexita, Trumpa do globalnega nezaustavljivega  porasta populizma in nacionalizma.

Nič drugače ni bilo v 1930-ih. Nihče se od “črnega četrtka” 1929 naprej ni zavedal, kako bodo njihove parcialne akcije vodile v največjo depresijo 20. stoletja in nato, zaradi napačnega, strogo parcialnega in egoističnega, pristopa k reševanju krize, v nezaustavljiv globalni vzpon populizma in nacionalizma ter kasnejši največji masaker v zgodovini človeštva. No, nekdo se je tega zavedal. John Maynard Keynes, veliki britanski ekonomist, je protestiral v vsaki izmed faz sprejemanja napačnih ukrepov, od ponovne uvedbe zlatega standarda do politik varčevanja. Nato (1936) je napisal še učbenik, kako ravnati v globoki krizi povpraševanja in kako se s hitrim povratkom h gospodarskemu okrevanju izogniti velikim socialnim izgubam in posledičnemu vzponu splošnega nezadovoljstva in vzponu destruktivnega populizma.

In Varoufakis, kot kronik ene izmed ključnih epizod te sedanje drame in z vlečenjem vzporednic s tistim obdobjem med obema vojnama, je eden izmed najglasnejših posameznikov, ki opozarja, da teh istih napak danes ne bi smeli narediti.

Tole knjigo bi vsi, ki imajo radi Evropo in ki želijo, da se Evropska unija obdrži, nujno morali prebrati. Morda bi jim v nekem trenutku kliknilo drobno spoznanje, da je za obdržanje obeh potrebno opustiti ideologijo, dogme in mehanska pravila, stopiti izven svoje osebne pozicije in pogledati, kakšne učinke imajo posamezne politike na materialni in socialni položaj ljudi. So politike socialno vzdržne ali ne.

Spodaj je nekaj uvodnih odstavkov iz knjige.

My previous book, And the Weak Suffer What They Must?: Europe, Austerity and the Threat to Global Stability, offered an historical explanation of why Europe is now in the process, decades in the making, of losing its integrity and forfeiting its soul. Just as I was finishing it in January 2015 I became finance minister of Greece and found myself thrust into the belly of the beast I had been writing about. By accepting the position of finance minister of a chronically indebted European country in the midst of a tumultuous clash with its creditors – Europe’s most powerful governments and institutions – I witnessed first hand the particular circumstances and immediate causes of our continent’s descent into a morass from which it may not escape for a long, long while.

This new book tells that story. It could be described as the story of an academic who became a government minister for a while before turning whistle-blower. Or as a kiss-and-tell memoir featuring powerful personages such as Angela Merkel, Mario Draghi, Wolfgang Schäuble, Christine Lagarde, Emmanuel Macron, George Osborne and Barack Obama. Or as the tale of a small bankrupt country taking on the Goliaths of Europe in order to escape from debtors’ prison before suffering a crushing if fairly honourable defeat. But none of these descriptions convey my real motivation for writing this book.

Shortly after the ruthless suppression of Greece’s rebellion in 2015, also known as the Greek Spring or the Athens Spring, the left-wing party Podemos lost its momentum in Spain; no doubt many potential voters feared a fate similar to ours at the hands of a ferocious EU. Having observed the EU’s callous disregard for democracy in Greece, many supporters of the Labour Party in Britain then went on to vote for Brexit. Brexit boosted Donald Trump. Donald Trump’s triumph blew fresh wind into the sails of xenophobic nationalists throughout Europe and the world. Vladimir Putin must be rubbing his eyes in disbelief at the way the West has been undermining itself so fabulously.

The story in this book is not only symbolic of what Europe, Britain and the United States are becoming; it also provides real insights into how and why our polities and social economies have fractured. As the so-called liberal establishment protests at the fake news of the insurgent alt-right, it is salutary to be reminded that in 2015 this same establishment launched a ferociously effective campaign of truth-reversal and character assassination against the pro-European, democratically elected government of a small country in Europe.

But as useful as I hope insights such as this may be, my motivation for writing this book goes deeper. Beneath the specific events that I experienced, I recognised a universal story – the story of what happens when human beings find themselves at the mercy of cruel circumstances that have been generated by an inhuman, mostly unseen network of power relations. This is why there are no ‘goodies’ or ‘baddies’ in this book. Instead, it is populated by people doing their best, as they understand it, under conditions not of their choosing. Each of the persons I encountered and write about in these pages believed they were acting appropriately, but, taken together, their acts produced misfortune on a continental scale. Is this not the stuff of authentic tragedy? Is this not what makes the tragedies of Sophocles and Shakespeare resonate with us today, hundreds of years after the events they relate became old news?

At one point Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, remarked in a state of exasperation that to resolve the drama we needed ‘adults in the room’. She was right. There was a dearth of adults in many of the rooms where this drama unfolded. As characters, though, they fell into two categories: the banal and the fascinating. The banal went about their business ticking boxes on sheets of instructions handed down to them by their masters. In many cases though, their masters – politicians such as Wolfgang Schäuble and functionaries like Christine Lagarde and Mario Draghi – were different. They had the ability to reflect on themselves and their role in the drama, and this ability to enter into dialogues with themselves made them fascinatingly susceptible to the trap of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Indeed, watching Greece’s creditors at work was like watching a version of Macbeth unfold in the land of Oedipus. Just as the father of Oedipus, King Laius of Thebes, unwittingly brought about his own murder because he believed the prophecy that he would be killed by his son, so too did the smartest and most powerful players in this drama bring about their own doom because they feared the prophecy that foretold it. Keenly aware of how easily power could slip through their fingers, Greece’s creditors were frequently overpowered by insecurity. Fearing that Greece’s undeclared bankruptcy might cause them to lose political control over Europe, they imposed policies on that country that gradually undermined their political control, not just over Greece but over Europe.

Vir: Yanis Varoufakis, “Adults in the room: My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment

2 responses

  1. Zelo zanimiva knjiga. Tudi zelo dobro napisana.

    Sem se spomnil nanjo danes, ko sem bral intervju z Wieser-jem v Sobotni prilogi. Ali laže on ali pa Jannis? Njegove navedbe se nikakor ne ujemajo s tistimi v Varoufakisovi knjigi.

  2. Varoufakis je, kot pravi v predgovoru, vse svoje pogovore snemal. Tudi zato je njemu bolj verjeti (kot tistim, ki so želeli zgolj “odstraniti oviro” pri reševanju FR/DE bank in na koncu pokazati grškemu narodu, kdo je močnejši).

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