View more on these topics

Media Spotlight: The Global Minotaur, by Yanis Varoufakis


Yanis Varoufakis, author of The Global Minotaur – America, Europe and the Future of the Global Economy, has a claim to having held possibly the toughest job in the world this year. 

Until only a few weeks ago, he was still in position as Greek finance minister.

For those among us who have lived under a rock for the past 18 months, Greece’s burgeoning debt has brought the country to its knees and this summer Varoufakis finally stepped down from his role – despite a Greek vote showing the majority of citizens supported their finance minister’s stance.

In a nutshell, Varoufakis had been unflinching as he told any and all who would listen that Greece could not – and would not – pay back its debts.

With the freedoms afforded him having left public office, Varoufakis has laid bare his view not only on the Greek tragedy still taking place in his home country but on the wider ills that helped bring it all to the fore.

The Global Minotaur – as the author calls it in reference to the mythical Cretan monster to which tribute was forcibly paid – is in fact the US.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, America set in play a series of motions to ensure its position as the world’s banker – including the Bretton Woods agreement after which the US dollar emerged as the world’s reserve currency and the creation of the International Monetary Fund.

Wall Street bankers have spent decades creating more complex financial instruments backed with promises of fortunes to be made and designed to attract as many capital inflows as possible. The US has, in Varoufakis’s estimation, rather gluttonously been banking most of the world’s activities in one form or another for the past 70 years.

At the same time, America’s trade deficit has spiralled out of control (currently well over $1tn and counting) and, as a result, its dependency on those capital inflows has rocketed. It is this dichotomy that Varoufakis says has left the world in a precarious position.

He makes a second point that, following the global markets meltdown in 2008, policymakers missed an opportunity to correct the mistakes of the past.

Instead, billions of dollars-worth of toxic debt were made public through bailout schemes while only minimal attempts were made to regulate the excesses of a rampant banking system.

Varoufakis points out that most of the bailout money offered to Greece went immediately to repay French and German banks, rather than pay Greek nurses and policemen. 

There is a flawed architecture behind the structured debt and, sadly, this book offers little hope for resolution. The author has a fatalistic view of what is to come – the US, he says, is teetering on the edge of financial collapse and the once-fabled spectre of a Chinese-led recovery also seems beyond reach now. Commodities markets have slumped and basic food costs are rising.

The Global Minotaur is a sombre read. While the author’s passion for the subject is tangible and his views are logical, this book leaves a grim aftertaste.

At best, readers will hope that Varoufakis may inspire a solution to what seems like the most vicious cycle of all. 



Teachers BS added to PTFS panel

Teachers Building Society has joined Personal Touch Financial Services’ mortgage panel. The society offers mortgages to teachers and other professionals across England and Wales as well as other individuals of any profession looking to purchase or remortgage in Dorset, Hampshire or Wiltshire. Teachers chief executive James Bawa says: “Our intermediaries are extremely important to our […]


Remortgage lending continues its recovery

The remortgage market’s recovery continued in July with the numbers of loans up 26 per cent year-on-year. Figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show there were 31,000 remortgage loans in July. By value, remortgage loans were up 34.2 per cent year-on-year at £5.1bn. The number of loans for house purchase hit 67,800 in July, […]

Analysis: MCD – no grace but plenty of favours

In around six months’ time the Mortgage Credit Directive will be active and the expectation is that all intermediary firms will be fully compliant with the new rules. Whereas many perceived the MMR to be mainly for lenders, with the MCD there are a number of areas where mortgage intermediary firms will have to make […]


NatWest set for return to interest-only market

NatWest Intermediary Solutions has confirmed it will re-enter the interest-only market. To qualify, borrowers must earn at least £100,000, excluding discretionary bonuses, and have an “acceptable” repayment strategy. The maximum LTV is 75 per cent. Borrowers cannot take out an interest-only loan if they plan to repay it within three years, if they want to […]

Trouble ahead - thumbnail

Pensions: trouble ahead?

The pace of change in the pension’s space has been little short of astonishing, and has left thousands of employers struggling to keep their pension policy compliant, and also on the right side of current best practice and governance. Many employers, and indeed many in the pensions industry itself, would like to see a period of no change during the next term of government. This would give all sides a chance to catch up and draw breath. 


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up