In conversation with El Pais (Claudi Pérez), the complete (long) transcript

Yanis Varoufakis

Claudi Pérez, of El Pais, inteviewed me in our Athens apartment last week. Here is the article that emerged recently in El Pais. The complete, unedited, transcript (in English) follows:

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Greece and the true purpose of the euro

LARS P. SYLL

The idea that the euro has “failed” is dangerously naive. The euro is doing exactly what its progenitor – and the wealthy 1%-ers who adopted it – predicted and planned for it to do.

That progenitor is former University of Chicago economist Robert Mundell. The architect of “supply-side economics” is now a professor at Columbia University, but I knew him through his connection to my Chicago professor, Milton Friedman, back before Mundell’s research on currencies and exchange rates had produced the blueprint for European monetary union and a common European currency.

Mundell, then, was more concerned with his bathroom arrangements. Professor Mundell, who has both a Nobel Prize and an ancient villa in Tuscany, told me, incensed:

“They won’t even let me have a toilet. They’ve got rules that tell me I can’t have a toilet in this room! Can you imagine?”

As it happens, I can’t. But I don’t…

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Iceland did not do well. But it did better. Because of sound economic and financial policies.

Real-World Economics Review Blog

In the curious case of the Icelandic economy the admirable economist Tyler Cowen misses the wood for the trees. The situation is simpler than he indicates:

Iceland

A) Thanks to financial machinations of out of control banks Iceland experienced a terrible financial crisis from which it has not yet fully recovered (graph), despite capital controls and the right sizing of debts and devaluation ( Mind:  devaluation does not seem to increase exports. See this recent ECB study, look here for J.W. Mason on this. Devaluation might however direct domestic demand from imported to domestic goods).

B) It did, however much better than, for instance, the Baltic states (and Ireland, see below),

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Rational expectations — totally incredible bogus

Absolutly must read

LARS P. SYLL

2-format2010Roman Frydman is Professor of Economics at New York University and a long time critic of the rational expectations hypothesis. In his seminal 1982 American Economic Review article Towards an Understanding of Market Processes: Individual Expectations, Learning, and Convergence to Rational Expectations Equilibrium — an absolute must-read for anyone with a serious interest in understanding what are the issues in the present discussion on rational expectations as a modeling assumption — he showed that models founded on the rational expectations hypothesis are inadequate as representation of economic agents’ decision making.

Those who want to build macroeconomics on microfoundations usually maintain that the only robust policies and institutions are those based on rational expectations and representative actors. As yours truly has tried to show in On the use and misuse of theories and models in economics there is really no support for this conviction at all. On the contrary. If we…

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