Yanis Varoufakis: Rise of the Econocomedian

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 4/28/2015 01:30:00 AM
The real Varoufakis needs to work on the pectoral definition, though.
I have previously commented on the sartorial bankruptcy of Greece's leaders to complement their financial bankruptcy. Apparently, though, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis sets new standards in these respects. At the end of last week, the funkily-attired and attitudinally-challenged civil servant got a severe dressing down from his EU peers over his seemingly autistic approach to negotiations. As a "game theorist," he should have recognized the game the EU is playing since it holds all the cards: It's called Now I've Got You, You SOB -
When Yanis Varoufakis warned his fellow euro-area finance chiefs of the dangers of pushing his government in Athens too far, Peter Kazimir snapped. Kazimir, Slovakia’s finance minister, launched a volley of criticism at his Greek counterpart, releasing months of pent-up frustrations among the group at the political novice. They’d had enough of what they called the economics professor’s lecturing style and his failure to make good on his pledges.

The others at the April 24 gathering in Riga, Latvia, took their cue from Kazimir -- they called Varoufakis a time waster and said he would never get a deal if he persisted with such tactics. The criticism continued after the meeting: eight participants broke decorum to describe what happened behind closed doors. A spokesman for Varoufakis declined to respond to their descriptions.
“All the ministers told him: this can’t go on,” Spain’s Luis de Guindos said the following day. “The feeling among the 18 was exactly the same. There was no kind of divergence.” The others who provided an account of the meeting in interviews asked not to be named, citing the privacy of the talks.
What irks admittedly rather faceless and colorless EU finance ministers is the same as what irks me: Varoufakis appears profoundly uninterested in interacting with his peers and addressing their concerns in a meaningful way instead of making endless Communist Manifesto-inspired tweets. He seems absorbed by his emergent cult of personality and stroking his ego at the expense of the plight of ordinary Greeks.

As a result, even the leader of the tie-forsaking neo-Marxist contingent, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, has sidelined the bald-headed Narcissist-Leninist who probably fantasizes that he's The Rock, or at least Vin Diesel:
Greece’s outspoken finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has been sidelined after three months of fruitless talks with international creditors to unlock €7.2bn in bailout funds, heartening investors and sparking a rally on the Athens stock market. Eurozone officials said they were encouraged by the move by Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s prime minister, to overhaul his bailout negotiating team in the wake of an acrimonious meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Riga last week.

The shake-up comes as Athens faces questions over whether it can meet this month’s wage and pension bill of nearly €2bn as well as a €750m loan repayment due to the International Monetary Fund on May 12. The Athens stock market rose nearly 4.4 per cent on the news and borrowing costs on Greece’s July 2017 bonds were down almost 4 percentage points from Friday’s close to 21 per cent. Yields on Greece’s benchmark 10-year bonds were down a full percentage point at 11.4 per cent.
His comic antics wouldn't be so intolerable if it weren't for what's at stake for Greece, the Eurozone, and the world economy. Ah, well, I guess Varoufakis' fifteen minutes of fame have run out. Perhaps unwilling to return to the boring old life of a college teacher, there are other career paths beckoning as suggested by this self-styled "socialist" who wears Burberry scarves. Stand-up comedy seems to be a natural thing for him since he's certainly not cut out to be a Eurocrat of any sort. What a joke.

How many eurozone finance ministers does it take to make Varoufakis wear a tie? 

5/4 UPDATE: No less than Mohamed El-Erian begs to differ:
Varoufakis was a breath of fresh air in this protracted and exhausting Greek economic drama, which involves alarming human costs in terms of unemployment, poverty and lost opportunities. Backed by considerable economic logic and a desire to do better, he pressed for more realism in the policy conditions demanded by Greece’s creditors. And he never tired of reminding people that Greece's recovery wasn't that country's responsibility alone.