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And the Weak Suffer What They Must? Europe's Crisis and America's Economic Future

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  2,574 ratings  ·  277 reviews
A #1 Sunday Times bestseller [UK]

A titanic battle is being waged for Europe's integrity and soul, with the forces of reason and humanism losing out to growing irrationality, authoritarianism, and malice, promoting inequality and austerity. The whole world has a stake in a victory for rationality, liberty, democracy, and humanism.

In January 2015, Yanis Varoufakis, an econom
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published April 12th 2016 by Bold Type Books (first published January 5th 2016)
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Lubinka Dimitrova
Regardless of my personal opinion of Mr. Varoufakis (him being an arrogant, attention-seeking clown of a politician), this book was an insightful page-turner and a crash course in capitalist economics and global economy, clearly presented even for the layman with virtually no previous economic knowledge whatsoever.

The book is divided roughly in two parts. It begins with the post-war economic decisions America and Europe took, the role Bretton Woods played for the future of the world in general,
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
A succinct breakdown of the Eurozone crisis, And the Weak Suffer What They Must? critiques the ideology of neoliberal austerity and calls for democratic European unity in the face of fascism’s resurgence across the continent. Written by Greece’s former finance minister, much of the book takes a look at monetary policy in the postwar period; in concise prose it analyzes the formation of the technocratic European Union in the wake of the Nixon shock, and critiques the E.U.’s many flaws, tracing ho ...more
David M
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is essential reading. It should fill you with rage. Varoufakis shows very clearly how the powers-that-be of the EU, unelected 'experts' and technocrats, repeatedly destroyed the possibility of any humane solution to the economic crisis. They repeatedly sided with the French and German financial sector against the peoples of Europe, helping create the conditions for this neofascist shitshow that now seems to be sweeping western civilization.

At times as I read I couldn't help cheering on
The abstract volatility of global Finance Capitalism opens the door to Fascism's scapegoating...

Economics as the Modern Religion:
--The modern world is built on abstraction, on “economics” (political economy, more accurately, since it is a constant struggle of power relations). How much do you really understand of the global commodity chain, financial speculation, central banking, asset and stock pricing, etc.?
--A society of immense inequality and economic volatility built on abstract
MJ Nicholls
Money, the procurement of, the managing of, the retaining of, or the sharing of, has never been one of my strongest areas of comp. In fact, it is not a thick fat lie to say that economics, both personal and global, has induced violent terror and paranoia in me over my three decades of breathing. These coins and rectangular crinkles of paper are our true masters, and wield ultimate power over us, and steer the courses of our lives so strongly as to crush our free will completely, relegating us to ...more
This book left me gasping for air more than once. Varoufakis looks at postwar European history through the lens of global monetary policy, from Bretton Woods to the ongoing reverberations of the euro crisis. And a powerful lens it is to help us understand the turbulence we are witnessing today. Through Varoufakis’ version of the facts the European project appears as a total fraud. Worse, macro-economic machiavelism and institutional insouciance have created a Frankensteinian monster that has now ...more
Wick Welker
May 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The global economy is hollow.

This is my second Varoufakis read and I'm already stunned and impressed by his reserved brilliance and cutting insight into global markets, political economy and the erosion of a democratic economy. This is a big picture book at the failure of the Euro zone and the weakness it exposed in relying on the Wall street surplus recycling of speculative financialization.

The Bretton Woods system was designed after the Great Depression with a great purpose: the US enormous
Malcolm Pellettier
The titular quote is from Thucydides, and refers to the Athenians mistreatment of the defeated Malians. Essentially, the Athenians pig-headedly demanded a pound of flesh from their defeated enemy. (ring any bells??)

this is well-nigh vital reading for understanding the colossal cluster-fck currently raping Europe. Yanis doesn't mince words, either, warning that the Greek Golden Dawn (unrepentant Nazis/fascists) are the tip of the iceberg, and that continental fascism is precisely what's
Tadas Talaikis
Oct 03, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: economics

Severely flawed. The main argument is - fascists don't give money. Well, but we'all know the reality. First, the only meaningful debt is when it finances some value generating projects, but the corruption. Second, if you want to live well, don't borrow in the first place.

I remember when some Greece government bitch (I'm not sorry for that) came to Lithuania to argue for their trouble. When we told her that our people\'s pensions are 3x lower than theirs, she said - "but cocktails at your bars ar
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Regardless of what Dr. Varoufakis thinks about his books he is an academic and this is an academic book about the Euro and the role of currency in modern economies and our modern sovereignty expectations. I enjoyed it but I have an interest in and I have done a lot of reading on modern economics and currencies. I read Dr Varoufakis's blog religiously and I consider him a modern economic and political leader worthy of taking very seriously. If you watch some of his discussions on YouTube you will ...more
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading ‘And The Weak Suffer What They Must?’ in November 2016 and rapidly gave up as I was depressed about Trump. In the intervening two years I’ve developed coping mechanisms for Brexit and Trump-related despair, so it was time to give Varoufakis another chance. He is relentlessly critical of the EU in general and the euro in particular, in a fashion that to me clearly shows the fallacies of Brexit. Varoufakis begins by explaining how the EU and Eurozone were constituted, based on th ...more
Sep 24, 2018 added it
Shelves: economics
The best reason for reading about economics is the way it makes you realize how little you understand about the global shifts of power and how they play out. I'm reminded of when I first read Joseph Stiglitz, a man who also has some comments about how the Eurozone was created to protect the interests of financial elites, but also stresses that throwing out the project would be a disaster. If you, like most people, don't know much about the Nixon Shock, or like most Americans, hear phrases like " ...more
May 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
The 2 biggest flaws to this book are it's time jumping, and it's lack of responsibility. It made it hard to follow at times since not being a European I didn't recognize all the names. Also, with the whining and the time jumping, I never managed to figure out the point to the book. It wasn't a true history, it got on a tangent about Nazi growth but just touched on it as a warning but didn't expand so the reader understood the issues fully. Again, not a European and NA's like to claim anyone who' ...more
Notes of a Curious Mind
They say that men with huge egos need constant praise. It is not going to happen with Yanis Varoufakis and his book ‘And the Weak Suffer What They Must?’, I am afraid.

Sadly, there are no revelations about his disastrous five months as Greece’s finance minister, just a few anecdotes here and there. It is rather a history of the international monetary system that starts with the Nixon Shock of 1971 and the end of the gold standard system of monetary policy for international exchange of gold deposi
Armineh Nouri
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The first draft of the book was penned before Varoufakis began his short-lived career as the Finance Minister of Greece. Therefore he has chosen to keep his experiences in 2015 out of this account of the Eurozone crisis, which helps provide a bigger picture within the historical context of post-WWII global politics. As a bonus, he has included excerpts from his "Modest Proposal" as an Appendix, which outline his proposed solution to the seemingly irreconcilable guidelines of the ECB as dictated ...more
Jul 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly critical of current (2011-2015) eurozone status quo, haphazard in narrative (i.e. couldn't all these notes got incorporated into main text and footnotes? couldn't repetitions be avoided?) and rather anecdotal vs. factual (except for the historical background), but still an enjoyable, worthwhile and interesting read.

Although the Yanis Varoufakis’ book helped me to fill in gaps in my comprehension of Eurozone monetary system developments and provided an alternative view on how German surplu
Mark Hebden
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, history
Although written before Brexit it is impossible to read this book without adding the post-Brexit filter to the text. Colours have been firmly tied to one of two masts, they being leave or remain - leavers will find much in this book they agree with and remainers will suffer inconvenient reminders of the flaws in the EU monetary system. However, this is more than throwing darts randomly at the EU board, these barbs are delivered with Phil Taylor like accuracy at the ludicrous fundamentals built i ...more
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"When people begin anticipating inflation, it doesn't do you any good anymore, because any benefit of inflation comes from the fact that you do better than you thought you were going to do." ~ Paul Volcker

How was it that while the United States went from 12% to 5% unemployment whilst Europe stayed steady at 12% unemployment? Yanis tries to answer that in this book. For a marxist he uses all tools at his disposal and doesn't allow his ideology to get in the way of a rigorous yet exciting assessme
Tariq Mahmood
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: europe, history, economy
The book has been a revelation for me. I was a staunch supporter for Remain campaign but Yanis has explained EU in a manner which has blown quite a few holes in my delusional scented 'Remain' garden. The main reason is the juxtaposition of EU with US, and the fact that there is no political control of Euro with the politicians, rather all the control lies with technocrats, effectively making Europe run like a huge corporation. Which makes sense explaining the treatment meted out to the PIGS (Por ...more
Philip Girvan
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it
A compelling account of the global financial system.

Varoufakis details the emergence of the Bretton Woods system, its shortcomings, and the Nixon administration's fateful decision to end it. He also details the growth of the industrial cartel that becomes the European Union, and makes explicit how differently the EU functions from a federal union like the USA.

Varoufakis is a solid historian and a enjoyable storyteller. I certainly came away from the book with a better understanding of the EU's s
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
A look at the implications of good intentions, bad intentions and totally misguided intentions, for post World War II Europe -  and a particularly salient read in this current climate. This is a well researched book, lots of information mostly clearly written. It did get particular wordy in places, and not completely linear in history... so didn't really work as pre bedtime reading for me, worthy of more concentration! But it is an eye opening book as to just how messy the politics of politics a ...more
Coral Davies
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Europe's celebrated banking union lives in name only, while in reality and in practice its banking disunion is as toxic as ever. Ultimate proof of this came in my last weeks in office as Greece's finance minister, when the ECB closed down the Greek banks even though, in its capacity as the banking union's sole supervisor, it considered them to be solvent. What sort of banking union allows the closure of banks it considers solvent in order to pressurise a member state government to accept more f ...more
Vikas Erraballi
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Likeable. Don't get why he has so many haters. Must sound different in person. ...more
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this reminded me quite a bit of my experience of reading A Brief History of Time.

The first bit is mostly about history, and that I really enjoyed. Varoufakis' command of European history is impressive, and the way he weaves events together to present his economic argument is done with great skill. Throughout this he never hides his immediate left-wing bias with phrases like "Brussels based technocrats", and so reminds the reader that his history may need some fact-checking.

Varoufakis the
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended for anyone wishing to understand global developments since the 2008 market crash. I read this book after a prolonged, targeted binge of reading to help me better what had understand what had happened in the 2016 US Presidential Election. I thought this book was "after" that project, but after reading it, I discovered it was the culmination. Varoufakis outlines the depths of the crisis and the generally inadequate tools brought to bear, which needlessly prolonged the crisis and ...more
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was definitely alot more dense than Global Minotaur. I read entire pages I could not for the life of me understand because I did terrible in my economics required 101 classes. But what I could understand was mind blowing. The EU monetary system pretty much owned by Germany refused to bail out countries Greece and Ireland because they have a no bailout clause in the Euro standard, but because the people who were owed money were hedge fund German banks and other lifeless bloodsucking money ma ...more
Pedro L. Fragoso
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My take is that it is an extraordinary book (“extraordinary”, as in: extraordinarily good). It is a serious, profound, solidly based, well-articulated reflection on one of the most fundamental issues, probably the most fundamental issue, of an increasingly messed-up European Union and what avenues can be still explored to salvage the “monetary union” project.

That of all the people that throughout the years have served on the Central Bank and as Finance Ministers of all the governments of all the
After Greece, Ireland is probably the country that got next most chewed up and spat out by the austerity imposed upon it after the 2008 crash. At the time, I remember hearing endless amounts about 'bond-holders', the people we needed to pay back with all these extra taxes (it came to something like a 50% tax increase on my paycheck). I had no idea who these bond-holders were, but I hated them EXTREMELY much.

This book goes some way to explaining the situation for me. In fact, it explains the who
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A curious history of the EU and Eurozone culminating in the ongoing (10 years!) global banking crisis. Told almost exclusively through the lens of international finance and central banks, repeatedly emphasizing the structural imbalances always destined to make the Euro fail as long as there is a technocratic cartel lacking democratic political control over the value of money between surplus and deficit states. Plenty of digs at particular individuals and institutions from the 70s through those V ...more
George Eraclides
A very fine account of the financial crisis in 2008, the history of financial structures in the USA, Europe and beyond which led to difficulties and financial collapse, with an emphasis on its impact on Greece. The author, by no means a friend of unfettered capitalism, points out the hypocrisy of free-market wheeler-dealers who, when their decisions go bad, result in these paragons for free enterprise demanding their financial mistakes be compensated by governments by basically screwing their ow ...more
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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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