Varoufakis in Berlin, February 2015
|Minister of Finance|
27 January 2015 â€“ 6 July 2015
|Prime Minister||Alexis Tsipras|
|Preceded by||Gikas Hardouvelis|
|Succeeded by||Euclid Tsakalotos|
|Member of the Hellenic Parliament|
25 January 2015 â€“ 20 September 2015
24 March 1961 |
|Alma mater||University of Essex
University of Birmingham
|Influences||Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, Joan Robinson, MichaÅ‚ Kalecki, John Kenneth Galbraith, Philip Mirowski, Paul Sweezy, Axel Leijonhufvud, Richard D. Wolff|
|Influenced||James Galbraith, Stuart Holland, Steve Keen|
Because I spent many years during my previous life as an academic researching game theory, some commentators rushed to presume that as Greece's new finance minister, I was busily devising bluffs, stratagems and outside options, struggling to improve upon a weak hand. Nothing could be further from the truth.
If the 'Athens Spring' – when the Greek people courageously rejected the catastrophic austerity conditions of the previous bailouts – has one lesson to teach, it is that Greece will recover only when the European Union makes the transition from 'We the states' to 'We the European people.'
Bankruptocracy is as much a European predicament as it is an American 'invention.' The difference between the experience of the two continents is that at least Americans did not have to labour under the enormous design faults of the eurozone.
The social inefficiency of capitalism is going to clash at some point with the technological innovations capitalism engenders, and it is out of that contradiction that a more efficient way of organising production and distribution and culture will emerge.
My hope that Thatcher would inadvertently bring about a new political revolution was well and truly bogus. All that sprang out of Thatcherism were extreme financialisation, the triumph of the shopping mall over the corner store, the fetishisation of housing and Tony Blair.
For some reason, lots of terrible things start here and then spread. The Cold War was one. It didn't start in Berlin – it started in Athens in December 1944; the contagion in the eurozone started here in 2010. We are perfectly capable as Europeans of messing things up unnecessarily.
Berlin has traditionally backed a rules-based eurozone in which every member state is responsible for its own finances, including bank bailouts, with political union limited to a fiscal overlord's possessing veto power over national budgets that violate the rules.
In occupied Iraq, the introduction of new paper money took almost a year, 20 or so Boeing 747s, the mobilisation of the U.S. military's might, three printing firms, and hundreds of trucks.
I plan to concentrate on helping set up a Pan-European political movement, inspired by the Athens Spring, that will work toward Europe's democratization.
Every non-Marxist economic theory that treats human and non-human productive inputs as interchangeable assumes that the dehumanisation of human labour is complete. But if it could ever be completed, the result would be the end of capitalism as a system capable of creating and distributing value.
The euro is a hybrid of a fixed exchange-rate regime, like the 1980s ERM or the 1930s gold standard, and a state currency.
Simple logic dictates that if you cannot even conceive the possibility of leaving a negotiation, then it is preferable never to enter one.
I was told once by a leftwing scholar that as a Marxist, you have to do two things: always be optimistic and always have a view about everything. That advice still sounds good to me.
I will not contest my parliamentary seat in a sad election that will not produce a Parliament capable of endorsing a realistic reform agenda for Greece.
My first encounter with Marx's writings came very early in life, as a result of the strange times I grew up in, with Greece exiting the nightmare of the neofascist dictatorship of 1967-74.
Even though I resigned as Papandreou's adviser early in 2006 and turned into his government's staunchest critic during his mishandling of the post-2009 Greek implosion, my public interventions in the debate on Greece and Europe have carried no whiff of Marxism.
Game theorists analyze negotiations as if they were split-a-pie games involving selfish players.