James Galbraith


James K. Galbraith is author of Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe. He is an elected member
of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, the Italian national academy. 

Recent Articles

The Fate of Italy and Europe

The North-South-right-left new government poses huge challenges to the continent—not least because in the short term, its economics may work.

The Italian cauldron has been brewing for years. Overall the country has
 barely climbed back to its 2008 levels of output, and while the North has 
recovered reasonably well, the South remains far behind. Unemployment is 
rife, pensions have been cut, and services that were never all that great
are in decline. Half-a-million immigrants mark Italy's position as a 
frontline state, face-to-face with the ruins of Libya and with Africa as a 
whole. The nominally center-left government that fell in the March 
elections was widely and correctly viewed as having no program to deal 
with these problems; its strategy was largely to voice complaints but act
 as the docile front for an austerity agenda set in Brussels and Berlin. Against this, on March 4, the Italian voters finally rebelled.

 Sorting through the drama unfolding since then is clearly beyond The New
 York Times , for which there are just two parties in...

The Future of the Left in Europe

Austerity is a disaster, so why is the left in disarray?

Rex Features via AP Images
In the astonishing aftermath of the Brexit vote, David Cameron, George Osborne, and Nigel Farage are gone, the apparently talented Theresa May is in, Boris Johnson kicked upstairs, austerity is on hold, interest rates have been cut, inequality is suddenly a Tory issue, and Nicola Sturgeon emerges as the stateswoman who, by a deft gentlewoman’s non-agreement, may possibly salvage both the U.K. and British membership in the European Union. It makes you wonder: Had you known, how would you have voted? Meanwhile the British Labour Party sank into a nasty leadership battle, as the mainstream and Blairite parliamentary members launched a coup against the radical-left, membership-elected leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn seems likely to survive, thanks to a forceful counterattack and the election system he inherited from Ed Miliband. But for the moment the battle itself illustrates the irrelevance of Labour—and therefore of the entire Left, outside of Scotland—to any question...

The Future of Europe

Unless it can restore the principles of growth and sovereignty on which it was founded, the Eurozone may not last. 

AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris
On June 8 th , I had the honor of accompanying then-Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, to a private meeting in Berlin with the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble. The meeting began with good-humored gesture, as Herr Schäuble presented to his colleague a handful of chocolate Euros, “for your nerves.” Yanis shared these around, and two weeks later I had a second honor, which was to give my coin to a third (ex-)finance minister, Professor Giuseppe Guarino, dean of constitutional scholars and the author of a striking small book (called The Truth about Europe and the Euro: An Essay , available here ) on the European treaties and the Euro. Professor Guarino's thesis is the following: “On 1 st January 1999 a coup d'état was carried out against the EU member states, their citizens, and the European Union itself. The 'coup' was not exercised by force but by cunning fraud... by means of Regulation 1466/97... The role assigned to the growth...

Greece: Only the 'No' Can Save the Euro

As Greece prepares for a referendum on its creditors' demands for austerity, the future of Europe hangs in the balance. 

AP Photo/Petros Karadjias
Greece is heading toward a referendum on Sunday on which the future of the country and its elected government will depend, and with the fate of the euro and the European Union also in the balance. At present writing, Greece has missed a payment to the IMF, negotiations have broken off, and the great and good are writing off the Greek government and calling for a “Yes” vote, accepting the creditors' terms for “reform,” in order to “save the euro.” In all of these judgments, they are, not for the first time, mistaken. To understand the bitter fight, it helps first to realize that the leaders of today's Europe are shallow, cloistered people, preoccupied with their local politics and unequipped, morally or intellectually, to cope with a continental problem. This is true of Angela Merkel in Germany, of François Hollande in France, and it is true also of Christine Lagarde at the IMF. In particular North Europe's leaders have not felt the crisis and...

Bad Faith

Why real debt relief is not on the table for Greece. 

Sipa via AP Images
Sipa via AP Images Angela Merkel, German chancellor, and Greece Primer Minister Alexis Tsipras give a joint press conference, after the meeting, at the German chancellery on March 23, 2015, in Berlin. Readers of the financial press may be forgiven for thinking that the negotiations between Greece and Europe have one feckless partner—the new government of Greece—and one responsible partner, a common front of major governments and creditor institutions, high-minded in their pursuit of rational policies and the common European interest. The view from Athens is different. On June 11, I attended the hearing of a Greek parliamentary commission investigating the Greek debt. Phillipe Legrain, former adviser to the then-EU President José Manuel Barroso, testified. Legrain is a technocrat, an economist, and a very reserved individual. He spoke in measured tones. The original crime in the Greek affair, Legrain said, was committed in May 2010, when it became clear that the...