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The Global Minotaur: America, the True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,726 ratings  ·  141 reviews
In this remarkable and provocative book, Yanis Varoufakis explores the myth that financialisation, ineffectual regulation of banks, greed and globalisation were the root causes of the global economic crisis. Rather, they are symptoms of a much deeper malaise which can be traced all the way back to the Great Crash of 1929, then on through to the 1970s: the time when a ‘Glob ...more
Paperback, 252 pages
Published August 18th 2011 by Zed Books (first published August 1st 2011)
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 ·  1,726 ratings  ·  141 reviews

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Randal Samstag
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, economics
Continuation of the review of the book Modern Political Economics with additional material about Varoufakis's solo book, The Global Minotaur

The second part of Modern Political Economics includes an historical analysis of the post-World War II world. The authors divide this time frame into two periods: 1) The Global Plan: the period following the Bretton Woods conference in 1944 which set up the gold-backed dollar as the world’s dominant currency and 2) The Global Minotaur: the period after the b
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to hold my hands up and admit to being a virtual novice when it comes to the intricacies of economics. Like many, I find both the study and application of economic theory testy at best, but reading The Global Minotaur behooved me to question what it was that made me so about the never-ending obsession with the world of monetary policy and globalised finance.

This book helped me understand just how much of what we are told about the global economy, austerity and international trade is eith
Aug 17, 2016 added it

The minotaur.
The dragon
The tiger.
The domino effect.
The myth of Europa.
Disparate mountaineers.
Abraham Lewik
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: intellectual, real
The historical reach of Mister Varoufakis book combines with remarkable brevity of letter. We, the reader, are not inundated with statistical economic data, which most of us cannot comprehend. The elaboration of the post-WWII Global Plan, it's subsequent development into the eponymous Minotaur, then the final crisis and implications are the stuff of illusory, megalomaniac conspiracy. Mister Varoufakis in seems to resist delusion (who I am to judge?), nor do any delusions of grandeur besmirch thi ...more
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
fascinating shorter and more accesible than the big short. it also details history of capitalism from the industrial revolution to the hegemon today mixed with game theory. highly recommend.
Bobby Damore
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very illuminating!
Aria Rezaei
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social, economy
Good account of global economy after WW2 and what led to the Crash of 2008. Plenty of metaphors based on Sci-Fi movies and Greek Mythology along the way. It was really fun reading this book.
John Da ega
Aug 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
Awful book. Inaccurate data, wrong math, wrong definition of basic concepts as QE and company valuation. I share some of the conclusions, but the book is full of propaganda.
Joao Vargas
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was an incredible surprise for someone who didn't know anything about Yanis Varoufakis except the eccentric Greek Finance Minister that shook European Union for a couple of months. But Varoufakis (I know it now) is much more that a Leftist character with an empty speech against capitalism. In this book he shows his great and deeper knowledge on economy which would embarrass most of the capitalism prophets. He sketches a good overview of how USA lead the world economy towards a very cle ...more
May 13, 2020 rated it liked it
From the postscript :

“Not once, but twice, the United States smashed pre-existing realities to fashion new ones. The first time, it had no choice. World War II had thrust America into the role of an unwilling reality-fashioner. It responded brilliantly, with a Global Plan that delivered global capitalism’s finest hour. And when its Global Plan reached its sell-by date, the United States spent no time dithering, or ‘studying’ the existing reality.
Instead, it actively sought to disintegrate the de
Ben Delaney
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a read! Incredibly well informed and referenced insight in to not only the crash of 2008 but where the history behind it lay.
Mar 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Cannot be read by an average reader , i quitted ... + He usually gets lost in streams + thoughts
Aug 03, 2018 rated it liked it
“Never before have so many powerful people understood so little about what the world economy needs in order to recover,” says Yanis Varoufakis in the Global Minotaur.

And what the world needs, he says, is an international mechanism for balancing economies, a Global Surplus Redistribution Mechanism (GSRM).

In general, any economic system contains units that are prone to showing surpluses and others that are more likely to report deficits. To maintain balance, the system must feature surplus recycli
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An extraordinarily useful book outlining what I might call the political economic history of the US and global economy since 1945. He is particularly good on the Nixon era when the disastrous imbalances/inequality really got going, but his take is far from the current orthodoxies of Neo-Liberalism and it is a refreshing and well written read. What he is weak on, because I am not sure there are any, is solutions. Which is a pity and the book is a few years out of date but focusing too much on the ...more
Linda Elder
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it

The Global Minotaur is a fast course in the economic workings of capitalism, covering the major players only, and starting at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference.

Central to the author's thesis is the principle that any monetary system requires mechanisms for transferring resources and capital from supply areas to deficit areas. At the end of World War II, the West had an efficient surplus recycling system in place. US was the supply country, recycling its excesses to the rest of the world, but es
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is quite a masterwork, positing a deeper structural problem with postwar and certainly post 1971 world Economics.

Over the years since the Crisis, I've come to realise (with dismay) that I'm much better informed on Economic matters than most. An A Level in Economics and an lot of Socio-Economic History in my History Degree, somewhat worryingly is enough to give me a comparatively and reasonably deep understanding of Economics. So, it is refreshing to read something where I know I don't know
Alejandro Shirvani
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a passionate, direct left wing challenge to mainstream economic thinking and offers an interesting explanation of the development of postwar global economics: first there was an era of US global economic management, with the US producing trade surpluses that it invested in to Germany and Japan; then following the Vietnam war and the US beginning to run up both large budget deficits and trade deficits, the US became a 'global minotaur' that required 'feeding' with large capital inflows. H ...more
Joseph Jammal
May 19, 2015 rated it liked it
The central thesis of the book ie the world economy requires some form of agreed upon global surplus recycling mechanism is insightful. However, the book seems to overstate the importance of trade and currency questions while overlooking the microeconomic reasons that growth is created. Furthermore, in the historical and evidence sections of the text the author has a tendency to lapse into hyperbole which undercuts what should be some very strong arguments. Certainly a good read, however, The Gr ...more
Bjoern Rochel
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Fits perfectly in line with Naomi Kleins Shock Strategy, George Packards The Unwinding and Michael Lewis Big Short & Flash Boys.

What I like about the book is that it tries to explain why we ended up in the mess we're currently in and what role the US might have played on the way.

Varoufakis might no get everything right in his theory but he's the first author who at least delivered a convincing reason of why destabilizing the world might be in the strategic interest of he United States.

Highly r
Malcolm Pellettier
May've even understood it too. bonus.
Constantinos Kalogeropoulos
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting examination of the post-Bretton Woods capitalist system of accumulation by one of the foremost academic minds alive today.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
While Yanis Varoufakis’ star may have faded somewhat, he will forever be remembered by many of a certain age for having spoken out against the “There Is No Alternative” brigade during a moment of intense group-think amongst the economic and political elites of Europe, but also he was weirdly hot, had a cool accent, and spoke in metaphors.

The Global Minotaur really feeds on the whole crazy metaphors thing.

From the end of the Second World War to 1971 was Varoufakis’ golden era, the era of the “Glo
Oct 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
It's a narrative-building book, moreso than an in-depth economic study. Interesting in places, but there isn't nearly enough research, to the point you can't really trust some of the book's points without blind-vesting in the author's authority. He has a tendency for glibly spewing explanations which seem to be contentious or at least not obvious, without a citation in sight. That being said, the worst part about this book is the writing style. It's written with so much aplomb and willful styliz ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Utilising the metaphor of a crazed, half-human monster that regularly devours human sacrifices to ensures it docility in its labyrinth prison, Varoufakis paints a lurid picture of the US-led global economy that crashed so spectacularly in 2008 and has been revived but kept in the ICU ever since. Varoufakis summarizes the arc of the US economy in three chunks. He starts in the lead up to the Crash of 1929, the war-inspired upsurge of America to global economic and military eminence under the Glob ...more
If you've read your Marx and Adam Smith or the following generation of Keynes and Polanyi, the first half of the book has very little novelty to offer. The lengthy reference to the 1929 economic crisis remains rather descriptive, while the opportunity for a deeper comparative analysis with the 2008 crisis is not well taken. The second half of the book does provide a detailed yet descriptive account of the way 2008 crisis progressed, with some cross-country analysis and the spillover effect, yet ...more
Choudhry Shuaib
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great breakdown of the economic crises of 1929 and 2008 and the intervening years between them. Describing America's rise as an economic power during and after the 2nd world war and how it implemented its hegemony to becoming the greatest producer and also how the new dealers more benevolent economic policies that were borne out of their childhood in the years of the great depression manifested themselves. Then the book goes on to describe a few economic crises during the 70's and America switch ...more
Maciej Sochacki
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Yanis Varoufakis does a great job in educating the reader in the honest truth of how America came to power and stayed there until 2008. The book focuses on the dark politics inspired ways of America making economic allies at the expense of freedom. The read was intriguing and I highly recommend it to those that are interested in economic history. The author toots his own horn in the revised addition I have read a few years after his original. He basically says 'see, even now, my theory about the ...more
Samo Oleami
Maybe the translation in Slovene was atrocious, but to me this book seemed like a decent 30 page article expanded into a book. There's simply not enough information here to warrant such a lenght, but it is accessible for average reading audience, so there's that.

Otherwise a crucial insight into post WW2 global economy and has US shaped it, focusing on two eras - pre and post 1972. It explains the bizarro world of financial products that fueled the 2008 crash.

I recommend "And the weak suffer wh
Frans Sheya
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you want to understand where the world is coming from, from an economic and livelihood perspective, and you want to know what happened during the 2008 crisis, you should read this book. You will understand America’s role in the world and it will help you see what is necessary for global and regional economic balance. I finished reading this book in 2019 and even the comments on China were accurate... So the knowledge base is solid. The writing is humerous and witty too. Was the easiest read o ...more
John Mills
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible read on what is a normally dry topic, economics. Varoufakis takes us on a journey of how things devolved from the end of WWII to what is happening to the world economy in the mid 2000 teen years. His revelations make the current situation an obvious outcome of where capitalism has taken us and what its future looks like. This is a very worthwhile read for anyone who has any interest in the world situation.
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Let me begin with a confession: I am a Professor of Economics who has never really trained as an economist. While I may have a PhD in Economics, I do not believe I have ever attended more than a few lectures on economics! But let's take things one at a time.

I was born in Athens back in the mists of 1961. Greece was, at the time, struggling to shed the post-civil war veil of totalitar

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