Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: A Brief History of Capitalism

by Yanis Varoufakis

Paperback, 2017


In Talking to My Daughter About the Economy, activist Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's former finance minister and the author of the international bestseller Adults in the Room, pens a series of letters to his young daughter, educating her about the business, politics, and corruption of world economics. Yanis Varoufakis has appeared before heads of nations, assemblies of experts, and countless students around the world. Now, he faces his most important and difficult audience yet. Using clear language and vivid examples, Varoufakis offers a series of letters to his young daughter about the economy: how it operates, where it came from, how it benefits some while impoverishing others. Taking bankers and politicians to task, he explains the historical origins of inequality among and within nations, questions the pervasive notion that everything has its price, and shows why economic instability is a chronic risk. Finally, he discusses the inability of market-driven policies to address the rapidly declining health of the planet his daughters generation stands to inherit. Throughout, Varoufakis wears his expertise lightly. He writes as a parent whose aim is to instruct his daughter on the fundamental questions of our age and through that knowledge, to equip her against the failures and obfuscations of our current system and point the way toward a more democratic alternative.… (more)



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Bodley Head (2017), 224 pages

User reviews

LibraryThing member LynnB
This book presents a non-technical overview of capitalism, markets and money -- including a chapter on bit coins, which I now finally understand! It is an excellent introduction to economic principles, drawing analogies from literature and popular culture to explain how markets work.
LibraryThing member starbox
Having a very limited understanding of economics, I gave this a go; written by Greek economist Varoufakis and addressed to his teenage daughter in everyday language, this is probably as customer friendly as economics can be made. A lot is very interesting, even though I'd be hard put to repeat it
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all back to you. Some bits - especially on banking and 'the dangerous fantasy of apolitical money' remain over my head.
But the fundamentals on economics, from why it was the whites who took over Australia and not the Aborigines colonizing us Brits; how a society with markets developed into a Market Society; how value can't be all exchange based, but is experiental too...all made me stop and think.
Varoufakis concludes that economics is NOT a science - there are too many outside influences for it ever to be that - concluding "We are, at best, worldly philosophers." We see the complexity of the whole thing: the fact that 'independent' central banks are no such thing; that such apparently sensible economics as lowering wages to increase jobs may actually work against itself, as companies foresee a corresponding fall-off in orders from a poorer population, they may cut back operations still further rather than hiring more workers!
Illustrated with examples from literature (debt explained by Dr Faust; the dangers of technology by Frankenstein; the importance of 'real life' over a sensory illusion from 'The Matrix') and from real life (a market economy pictured by a POW camp, where the various constituents of Red Cross parcels to the prisoners create a whole micro-market with all the fluctuations, price equilibriums etc seen in the outside world.
I can't say economics would ever be interesting (and it took a determined decision to plough on with it) but this is a very well crafted work that almost achieves that!
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LibraryThing member fulner
This audio book has a good premise. Professional economist takes a break from trying to convince the Eurobank to bail out Greece because reasons, and tries to teach his young daughter what the economy actually is.

Later editions give it the subitle "How Capitalism Works and how it doesn't"

This was
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originally written in Greek, so maybe something is lost in translation, however basd on the forward written in English by the author I don't think so. He usually writes in English and specifically worked with the translator of his original work. Some of the lessons on Greek roots of economic words may have made more sense but that's it. I suspect I have read and studied as much economies as anyone without an Ecnomics degree and this seems really really too deep and technical for a child.

He goes on basically to say that capitalism is working just fine, and the problem with it is when people don't want to give the banks all the control. And everyone should forgive Greece because Greece is special. He REALLY hates Bitcoin for some reason.
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LibraryThing member ironjaw
My niece, Isabella recommended me to read this book. If you're not familiar with the subject of economics, or capitalism, for that matter, it can be a hard start but I recommend reading it slowly, and sticking with it, as there are concepts, examples, and ideas thrown about in the start to help you
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better understand. It's much more enjoyable the farther chapters you reach. The author takes the premise of writing to his daughter that gives the work an energetic flow whereas contemporary books might seem dry. There are matters and workings of the banking system that leave you at moments flabbergasted and you don't believe it could be so. In all, I learned a lot, and found Yanis Varoufakis's book an excellent read worth revisiting in the future as an introduction to capitalism and the world around us.
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LibraryThing member markm2315
A clever non-technical left-wing survey of all of economics that is written as if addressed to the author's daughter.


Waterstones Book of the Year (Shortlist — 2017)


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