James Galbraith

James K. Galbraith is the Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in government-business relations at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, a senior scholar of the Levy Economics Institute, and chair of the Board of Economists for Peace and Security. His most recent book is Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe.

Recent Articles

The Future of the Left in Europe

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

Rex Features via AP Images
Rex Features via AP Images Yanis Varoufakis, former finance minister of Greece and founder of the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025, speaks at a "Vote In to Change Europe" event in London, on May 28, 2016. I n 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...

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
AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris A Greek flag waves as the sun's rays shine through clouds at the ancient Acropolis hill, in Athens, Monday June 22, 2015. O n 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...

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
AP Photo/Petros Karadjias Pedestrians walk by posters for the NO vote in the upcoming referendum, in central Athens, on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. G reece 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...

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. R eaders 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 country was insolvent...

What is Reform? The Strange Case of Greece and Europe

Why creditors' demands would only prolong Greece's crisis. 

AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis
AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis Ruined EU and Greek flags fly in tatters from a flag pole at a beach at Anavissos village, southwest of Athens, on Monday, March 16, 2015. O n our way back from Berlin on Tuesday, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis remarked to me that current usage of the word “reform” has its origins in the middle period of the Soviet Union, notably under Khrushchev, when modernizing academics sought to introduce elements of decentralization and market process into a sclerotic planning system. In those years when the American struggle was for rights and some young Europeans still dreamed of revolution, “reform” was not much used in the West. Today, in an odd twist of convergence, it has become the watchword of the ruling class. The word, reform, has now become central to the tug of war between Greece and its creditors. New debt relief might be possible—but only if the Greeks agree to “reforms.” But what reforms and to what end? The press has generally tossed around the...