So, President Trump is headed to Asia, and he’s going to visit a number of countries. He’s going to start off by playing golf—
It’s very frightening, isn’t it? Yes.
—with Shinzo Abe in Japan, and he’s going to China, the country you were just talking about right now. The significance of all of this? And, of course, in the midst of this, you have the escalation of the crisis with North Korea. You have the pope just giving a speech saying we’re heading toward war.
Well, it’s a very dangerous game that the United States administrations of the last 10, 15 years have been playing, by antagonizing China through an alliance with Mr. Abe in Japan and his predecessors. It’s a very dangerous game, because—and, actually, very irrational game, because the United States completely and utterly depends on China. Let’s face it. The only reason why the 2008 collapse of the financial sector did not lead to a Great Depression in this country is twofold. One is the Fed, that kept printing money, and they’re floating the banking sector, Wall Street, down the road from here. And the other is China. The Chinese boosted their own credit production, their own bubble, credit bubble, in China, intentionally, from something like 140 percent of their total income, GDP, to 280 percent. They did this on purpose, because they were facing the prospect of an additional 40 million unemployed people. And by doing this, they stabilized American capitalism, to a very large extent. Now, we have an administration in Washington, D.C., which simultaneously is ganging up with Prime Minister Abe in Japan against China while increasingly needing China to keep rebalancing the global and the American economy. This is precisely what the global economy and the American economy do not need.
I want to ask you something about language. I mean, you’re here in New York, not far from Zuccotti Park, where, what, six years ago was the massive protests, Occupy Wall Street. They changed the language. You say the word “1 percent,” you say “99 percent,” everyone knows what you’re talking about. So I want to talk about the language used now around the tax bill. We use language like “tax cuts,” “tax relief.” But is there another way to describe, to refer to the one-and-a-half trillion dollars in austerity?
We’re going to break and come back to this discussion. Our guest is Yanis Varoufakis, economist, author of the new book, Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment. And that’s where we’re going to start after break: What is the European and American deep establishment? Yanis Varoufakis served as finance minister of Greece in 2015, the chief negotiator of Greece’s debt and bailout with the European Union. This is Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute.
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