Yanis Varoufakis: The Straw That Breaks the Ponzi’s Back?


Cognitive Dissonance


What do you do when your opponent won’t play by the rules? Worse, what do you do when your loan ‘partner’ (aka ‘debtor’) declares Calvinball, where the only rule is there are no rules, and proceeds to go off the deep end? The result, to put it mildly, is utter chaos, at least for those who expect the (self serving) rules to be adhered to. After all, the central bankers’ henchmen admonish, we’re all civilized here. So come back to the table and play nice. “Do it for the kids,” they plead - the epitome of hypocrisy since their stacked deck and tilted playing field does precisely the opposite.

There is an old and familiar saying in the financial world, no doubt a product of game theory brinkmanship, which speaks to the role reversal of power and leverage once the monster debtor owes such an astronomical amount they can no longer pay to service the note, let alone chip away at the principal. The supposedly weak suddenly inherit the Earth, or at least they wield a very long lever along with a fulcrum with which to move the central banker’s world.

It is most likely a safe bet to say those reading this article clearly see the unsustainability of the present day economic system. The vicious cycle of debt requiring ever more debt just to tread water leads nowhere else but into the abyss of inexorable socioeconomic crumble, if not all out chaos and collapse. At the very least we are facing war; the only real question is will it be worldwide and involve a nuclear exchange.

As individual pawns cavalierly exchanged back and forth, one for one, in the same manner high ground is taken, only to be conceded, then taken again in a bloody game of war only those at the top could possibly win, you and I must step back and ask ourselves the only two sane questions left. How did we get here and where do we go from here?

I can’t count the number of times I have heard, read or seen one commenter after another declare with the highest piety their belief that capitalism has been tragically subverted, perverted and co-opted into what it is today. Often the unspoken, but clearly implied, thought is that aside from a few bad apples stinking up the joint, capitalism would be humming along just fine thank you, providing full employment, the proper allocation of capital and apple pie justice for all.

While clearly the above description is an exaggeration, though not by much, when will “We the People” begin to question the basis for our most fundamental and indoctrinated premise, one that declares ‘Capitalism’ is the greatest thing since sliced bread and clearly superior to any other socioeconomic system out there?

When the ideological blinders are removed, or at least cleaned up enough to allow a modicum of peripheral vision, it becomes increasingly clear the present day socioeconomic disaster is not ‘just’ an aberrant case of food poisoning, but rather a fundamentally organic and intimately integrated deliberate flaw ranging all the way from garden to gut. When the body politic grows weaker by the day and various interventions only hasten the degradation, everything must be called into question and preferably not from the grave.

Similar to any team sport, the credibility and sustainability of capitalism depends upon a fair playing field governed by rules applicable to all, policed and enforced by independent referees that rewards the most innovative and talented without exploiting the weak and defenseless. While many will pine on and on about how things used to be so much better during the Golden Age of capitalism, an honest reading of the history of America, ‘Capitalism’ and the monetary system will disabuse most of this notion. Capitalism didn’t just go bad like some two week old fish mistakenly left out of the freezer. Capitalism has been, and always will be, corrupted and co-opted by the rich and powerful in order to form a more perfect union of slave plantations.

When End of Empire comes calling, only the illusion of invincibility, one perpetuated both by those desperately dependent upon the Empire for sustenance and power along with those whose bones the Empire grinds to make its bread, stands between “We the Trampled” and the last of the Empire’s ideological guards. Reduced to the lowest common denominator and groveling at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid begging for handouts and scraps, both prison guards and prisoners find they are sharing the same living quarters while blindly following their assigned roles in the nearly exhausted controlling narrative.

Sadly, tragically, by the time End of Empire is at death’s door, those best positioned to seize the day and thrust their swords into the belly of the beast have lost all hope and any remaining desire to walk point and be the first to confront the decomposing remains of the self savaged beast. The final agonizing death throes and delirium tremens of Empire consume friend and foe alike long before the remains are scattered in the gutter to be picked over by the hovering vultures and newly arrived squatters.

Vultures - CleanThe End of Empire clean up crew on standby.

To battle the beast from within, particularly when the Empire is at death’s door, is utterly futile for the beast is all consuming and totally corrupt. One must be an insider, thus corrupt to the bone, in order to reach the guarded halls of power. Once within the outer gates of hell, the disruptor is thoroughly co-opted and corrupted, thus they have become the problem and no longer the solution. To be anything else means entry is never gained and at best they remain impotent, at worst thoroughly spent.

Similarly, the emboldened and inspired revolutionary faces Hobson’s Choice if s/he is to overthrow the still-mighty-in-the-minds-of-the-native-population Empire. Damned if they adopt the most effective and expedient tactics of resistance, thus seen as indistinguishable from the Empire itself, and damned if they follow the rules of fair play and compassion in the face of a savage and cruel Empire desperate to cling to power, thereby ready and still able to shatter the native population in order to suckle the teat one last time.

But now there appears to be a third path, potentially enabling the man walking point to avoid the road to perdition, a trail and technique that strikes terror directly into the heart of Empire for it assaults the cancer at the core. An ascendant assassin from within, unconstrained by the cloth of corruption, inflamed by revolutionary ideology and armed with the Empire’s own debt weapons reversed for maximum effect, the perfect blunt instrument to bludgeon with.

Held together with baling wire and chewing gum along with heaping helpings of hubris and avarice, the Empire is vulnerable to internal destabilization wrought by those suddenly parachuted in by a population no longer believing or benefiting from the lies and deceit of Empire. A migraine headache repeatedly suppressed by opiates is eventually experienced as an agonizing wakeup call to those ready to do anything to relieve the pain of suffocating debt. The fiat party is eventually recognized as over either by consent or death. The Greeks have opted for consent over death.

For some, nothing settles the mind more thoroughly than the knowledge of certain death. Yanis is blessed (or cursed depending upon your point of view) with the certain knowledge of capitalism’s death. In fact, based upon the little I have learned about this man, he knows capitalism is already dead and the problem we now face is how to keep the decomposing corpse from violently exploding after the buildup of catastrophic internal forces is released.

Essentially Yanis Varoufakis sees himself as saving capitalism from itself with a Greek pinprick to a rapidly thinning cow hide. Wait too long and the cow hide becomes thin latex, then nothing will restrain the controlled demolition. She’s gonna blow, of this Yanis and many others are certain. If true, better now than later.

For decades he labored in relative obscurity doggedly speaking his conviction, credible because of his credentials, condemned as delusional because of his dissertation. Tempered by the impact of countless arrows and continuous stoning, hardened by years of self examination as he fought to understand his flaws and failure to communicate, Yanis is now the right man at the right time in the right place. His only true vulnerability, his Achilles Heel if you will, is the seaworthiness of the ship that ushered in his ascension. No man is an island, entire of itself when surrounded by those weaker of flesh, mind and spirit. Will his newly elected political party hold the red line or will it fold under intense international pressure?

Can the teetering fiat Jenga stack be carefully deconstructed? No, absolutely not, for The Powers That Be (TPTB) are fully prepared to go to the mats and practice a scorched Earth policy if only to deny the victor the means to rebuild in their own likeness. I suspect Yanis understands that holding firm will upset the Ponzi apple cart just enough to force TPTB to madly scramble in an effort to hold the decay at bay and the pieces from flying apart. This in turn will give Yanis and his posse additional time to pivot and attack the firmly entrenched Greek oligarchy, those who are obscenely profiting from the rape and misery of their fellow citizens.

Ultimately the Ponzi continues because those who hold the power all agree to play by the rules in order to collectively benefit from the confidence game. Yanis and company are the wild cards slipped into a stacked deck the powers that be were all but assured was clear of any jokers. With Varoufakis now firmly seated at the table and unwilling to play by the rules or constrained by the common goals of greed and self dealing, TPTB are now locked in a cage match to the death they thought they could contain and thereby never truly saw coming.

After gaining a seat at the table who in their right mind would not bluff, parry, and finally settle for the chance to thrust their beaks into the feast of fiat pie. Even worse for the powerful, the joker never picks up his cards to gauge his hand. Instead, incredibly, he lays them all out on the table as soon as they are dealt for everyone to see, especially by the ignorant and unwashed. The illusion of power and invincibility is slowly being exposed by the upstart Greeks led by Varoufakis.

While for now the fiat fire is contained to the nation of Greek islands, the embers that will ignite a raging inferno are rapidly drifting towards Italy, Spain and France. The arrogant European Union has seriously overplayed its hand and now is no longer certain exactly who is the fool still seated at the table. The only thing Greece has to fear is fear itself for the Emperor has no clothes and this is rapidly becoming apparent to those who wish to see.

The only way to defeat the insanity is to be perfectly and utterly sane, then sit back as the insane spontaneously burst into the flames of a cleansing self immolation.



Cognitive Dissonance


The EU's arrogance is simply weakness disguised as strength.

Arrogance - Clean

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6 thoughts on “Yanis Varoufakis: The Straw That Breaks the Ponzi’s Back?”

  1. So far, Yanis is doing well in the Chicken Game.

    It will get a good deal more difficult though as time goes by.


    1. I agree. The tough road is all ahead.

      Based upon my reading of several of his essay’s and a few video lectures on the subject of the EU and Greece, he is fully aware what lay ahead. I suspect he is more concerned his own party will fold than he is the EU.

      Cognitive Dissonance

  2. COG, this is a great white paper.
    I first saw this yesterday on ZH. Some of the comments were truly nauseating. I am always amazed at what people focus on. Your article focused on the central conflict and its dynamics. Really good stuff.


    1. Thank you.

      Long ago I realized the Zero Hedge comment section has a vocal subsection populated by opinionated, egotistical, self righteous, easily triggered emotionally and ideologically rigid trolls, operatives, traders, malcontents and emotionally immature wannabes. The absolute cream of the crop are those who declare they did not read the article yet feel fully informed enough to comment on my thoughts.

      Regardless of all this (and more) the best part of my articles are the two or three gems left in the comment section by a select few who wish to rise above the noise and chaos and learn more about themselves and others. Also, there are times when one or two of the loud and obnoxious actually do make an extremely well informed or insightful comment that despite them and their screaming manages to come through loud and clear.

      I have learned that the best way to manage the insanity over at Zero Hedge is to consistently walk the high road while remaining as humble as I can despite the fact that sometimes I am also emotionally triggered. I try to find something of value in each and every comment, even if the only value I can find is the lesson re-learned to not take the bait and fight back.

      This approach has actually served me well over the years for there are several former angry enemies on Zero Hedge who seem to have developed a begrudging respect of me. They still rarely agree with or even read my work fully. But they trigger much less and often find areas of agreement in which to comment on. That is progress from any point of view.

      I realized even before writing on ZH that I must lead by example, if only to be at peace with myself. This means my motives for writing must be not to ‘teach‘ others, but to teach myself by way of the others. A truly symbiotic relationship is when both parties have gained equal value from the relationship. I am still far behind on my end of the bargain for I always feel I have gained far more than I gave.

      Cognitive Dissonance

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