Kyriakos Varvaressos: Biography as economic history


Title: ΚΥRIÀKOS VARVARÈSSOS: I viografìa os economikì historìa

[KYRIAKOS VARVARESSOS: Biography as economic history]
in Greek

Author: Andreas Kakridis

Publisher: Bank of Greece (Centre for Culture, Research and Documentation)

Year of publication: 2017

Number of pages: 622

Dimensions: 24 x 17 cm

Book type: Economic History

ISBN: 978-960-7032-77-5

Central distribution:

a. National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation (ΜΙΕΤ) in Athens (13 Amerikis Str., tel.: +30 210 3614143) and Thessaloniki (11 Tsimiski Str., tel.: +30 2310 288036)

b. Ι. Nikolòpoulos & Co. SA – Ekdòseis tou Eikostoù Pròtou (9 Ζaloggou Str., Athens, tel.: +30 210 3800520).

Τhis book was shortlisted for the National Literary Prizes 2018 in the category “Testimony– Biography–Chronicle–Travel literature”.

Kyriakos Varvaressos was one of the most interesting personalities in 20th-century Greece’s economic thought and policy. A senior civil servant and university professor, Minister of Finance during Greece’s 1932 default, Deputy Governor and subsequently Governor of the Bank of Greece up until 1946, Minister of the government-in-exile during World War II and Deputy Prime Minister in 1945 – responsible for the most ambitious post-war economic stabilisation program – Varvaressos was involved in every crucial economic milestone of an entire generation.

Less well-known, but just as interesting, are his activities on the international front. From postWorld War I Peace Conference in Paris, which he attended as an advisor, to the Bretton Woods Conference, where he headed the Greek delegation, Varvaressos was present in every key international meeting of his time. He negotiated the country’s debt settlement, its inter-war clearing agreements and its post-war assistance. He gained a reputation as a sharp-witted expert and skillful negotiator. In 1946, he relied on this reputation to become one of the first directors of the newly established World Bank (IBRD), in Washington, where he remained until his death, in 1957.

Nowadays, he is mostly remembered for his “Report on the Greek Economic Problem”, a lengthy report he submitted in his capacity as economic advisor to the Plastiras government, in 1952, wherein he laid out his proposals for Greece’s financial stabilisation and economic development. Despite its significance, the “Report” is still one of his last works – a fleeting snapshot of a much richer picture of the man and his era. This is the picture that this biography attempts to paint, thus opening a window to the anxieties, successes and disappointments of four decades of Greek economic history.

Biographical Note

Andreas Kakridis is an assistant professor of economic history at the Ionian University on Corfu; as of 2017 he is also serving as the Scientific Advisor to the Historical Archive of the Bank of Greece. He studied economics at Balliol College, Oxford and at the Athens University for Economics and Business before his academic interests drove him towards the history of economic thought and economic history. In 2009 he completed his doctoral thesis at Panteion University on economic theorising in post-war Greece, particularly the discourse on economic development. He has taught at the Department of Economics of the University of Athens (2009-2016) and the Department of Political Science and History of Panteion University (2016-2019), and has also been a visiting fellow at the University of Columbia in the city of New York (2014-15). He specialises in Greek economic history and the history of economic thought, particularly monetary and development economics

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