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216 × 138 mm
224 pages
13 Aug 2018
Field Notes

A Happy Future is a Thing of the Past The Greek Crisis and Other Disasters Pavlos Roufos

Since 2010 Greece’s social and economic conditions have been irreversibly transformed, a result of austerity measures imposed by the European troika and successive Greek governments. These stringent restructuring programmes were intended to make it possible for Greece to avoid default and improve its debt position, and to reconfigure its economy to escape forever the burden of past structural deficiencies. Eight years later, none of these targets have been met. If the programmes were doomed to fail from the start, as many claim, what were the real objectives of such devastating austerity?

Pavlos Roufos answers this key question by setting the story in its historical context. Analysing the creation of the Eurozone, its ‘glorious’ years, and today’s threat to its existence, he locates the development and management of the Greek crisis in terms of both the particularities of Greek society and economy and the overall architecture of the monetary union. He also illuminates the social movements that emerged in Greece in response to the crisis, focusing on what both the crisis managers and many of their critics presented as a given: that a happy future is a thing of the past.

'Greece’s future? Roufos makes a very astute observation. Germany’s goal is not to integrate Greece in the Eurozone economy, but to relegate it to a competitor with the less developed Balkan states – and the Third World for that matter. What is of value in Greece is being privatised, sold to international corporations, many of them German. Greece will never recover from austerity because that was never the goal.’ – Brave New Europe

'A careful and penetrating analysis of the cruel torment of Greece, and its background in the emerging global political economy, as the regimented capitalism of the early postwar period, with gains for much of the population, has been subjected to the assault of neoliberal globalization, with grim effects and threatening consequences.’ – Noam Chomsky

‘This is an ambitious book, setting the scene for the calamity in Greece in the development of the European Union and the evolution of the broader crisis in the world economy. Its analysis of Syriza's response to the Greek crisis illustrates a key lesson: those who want to fight against austerity policies cannot rely upon a political party that wants to rescue capitalism.’ – Tony Norfield, author of The City: London and the Global Power of Finance

‘Like no other book, A Happy Future is a Thing of the Past narrates the crisis from the heights of yield curves and debtloads to the street level of tear gas and self-help. Roufos’s story is enlightening, harrowing and, unfortunately, essential.’ – Quinn Slobodian, author of Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism

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Pavlos Roufos has been active in Greece’s social movements since the 1990s and has written on Greece and the economic crisis for the Brooklyn Rail (New York) and Jungle World (Berlin). He has worked as a film editor and is currently a researcher on German economic policy at the University of Kassel.