US economist's Grexit plan attacked by academics

Greek researchers from US institutions hit out at controversial plan drawn up by University of Texas economist

August 1, 2016
greece, greek flag, european union

More than 20 Greek academics have written to a US university to complain about a faculty member’s “secretive” involvement with Greece’s former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.

Some 23 university professors and researchers put their names to a letter concerning James K. Galbraith, an economics professor at University of Texas at Austin, following revelations about a secret "Plan X" contingency plan he helped to draw up in case of Greece’s exit from the eurozone in 2015, according to the Greek Reporter.

Professor Galbraith – son of the influential left-wing economist John Kenneth Galbraith, who died in 2006 – acted as a senior adviser to Mr Varoufakis last year when Greece came close to leaving the euro

Disclosures in Professor Galbraith’s new book, Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice, about plans to establish a parallel banking system in case Greece’s bailout negotiations with lenders failed have provoked anger.

According to the letter from faculty members from several US universities, including Stanford, Harvard, Tufts and Boston University, which was sent to Texas president Gregory L. Fenves, Professor Galbraith’s plan amounted to a “monetary and military coup” that would involve “undermining democracy” via the declaration of a state of emergency rule.

“His plan to use the armed forces is especially shocking, because the Greek Constitution, drawn up after seven years of military dictatorship, only defines the police as responsible for maintaining public order,” says the letter.

“By law, the exclusive task of the armed forces is to protect the country against external enemies,” it adds.

It also criticised Professor Galbraith’s alleged regret that Plan X did not take place, even though this would have included “financial measures [such as] nationalization of the central bank (by law independent of the government)...[the] closure of banks and a system of promissory notes (IOU’s) for public expenditure payments until a new currency was printed”.

“We believe that participation in the design of undermining democracy and social class in any country is contrary to the ethical standards expected of the faculty of a prestigious university,” the letter adds, claiming that Professor Galbraith “tarnished the reputation of the University of Texas at Austin and the L.B. School Johnson School of Public Affairs, and the decision to publicly rant about it creates further doubts about his ethics and judgment”.

“The academic freedom of expression must be in accordance with appropriate ethical conduct and fundamental democratic rules,” the letter concludes.

jack.grove@tesglobal.com

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