Here for Sydney Writers’ festival – he doesn’t hold back.
The former Greek finance minister is in town for the Sydney Writers’ festival to promote his new book – And the Weak Suffer What They Must? and he’s touched down at an excellent time for an interview: on the verge of an election – Australia is having the most fervent debate about fairness that it’s had in decades.
Who better to intervene than Varoufakis – a man who in challenging European elites to be fair to his bankrupt nation reached rock star status and was subsequently labelled “the most interesting man in the world”.
Varoufakis is quite possibly the man who made fairness fashionable again.
His anti-austerity views may have been dismissed in Brussels but they earned him a global audience.
He is also a star recruit on the speaker circuit – addressing parliaments – financial institutions (‘the fact they want me to talk to them is a sign of how deep this crisis is’ he told the Australian) and universities.
He recently appeared in conversation with Noam Chomsky to a sold-out audience at the New York Public Library in what looked suspiciously like a passing of the mantle.
And so what would the erratic Marxist make of the former Australian treasurer Joe Hockey’s obsession with labelling Australians as either ‘lifters’ or ‘leaners’?
Or the current treasurer Scott Morrison’s claim that eight of 10 taxpayers work just to pay the social services bill?
Varoufakis shakes his head.
‘The vast majority of the social net funding comes from the poorer people’ he says.
‘If you look at how the system works – and this is how it was designed from 1945 onwards – in Britain where it started and in Australia afterwards – it’s the working class paying for the working class primarily.
The rich contribute a very small quantity of money to this.
Don’t forget they have the best lawyers and they have the best accountants and they know how to work the system.
(ed:..pretty much everything varoufakis says about the australian economy also applies to the new zealand economy..
..’negative-gearing’ for the richest/elites..et. al…)