Former Valve Virtual Economist is New Syriza Finance Minister of Greece

SyrizaInternational Business Times reports that Greece’s new finance minister is Valve’s former virtual economist. Professor of Economic Theory and former Valve consultant Yanis Varoufakis was appointed Finance Minister of Greece on January 27, 2015. Previously, he was elected to the Greek Parliament, representing Syriza.

The fate of the Eurozone economy could well be in the hands of a man who once monitored the sales of virtual goods via micro-transactions in video games.

Anti-Establishment Ideology

From January 2004 to December 2006, Varoufakis served as economic adviser to George Papandreou, whose government he was to become an ardent critic of a few years later. Author of several books on game theory, Varoufakis often appears as guest analyst for news media including the BBC, CNN, Sky News, Russia Today and Bloomberg TV.

In 2012, Varoufakis became Economist-in-Residence at leading video-game developer and distributor Valve, where he researched in-game digital economies and maintained the Valve Economics blog. He wrote:

My academic curiosity blended nicely into Valve’s burning desire to serve its gaming community better, through the development of services that are in tune with the community’s needs as gamers but also as traders, developers, participants in something much bigger than just video games.”

Varoufakis says he was hired by Valve to forge narratives and empirical knowledge that (a) transcend the border separating the ‘real’ from the digital economies, and (b) bring together lessons from the political economy of our gamers’ economies and from studying Valve’s very special (and fascinating) internal management structure.

Valve’s management structure is very informal. Varoufakis’ political economy analysis of Valve’s management model is:

One in which there are no bosses, no delegation, no commands, no attempt by anyone to tell someone what to do. Can useful lessons be drawn about not only Valve’s inner workings but, importantly, regarding the future of the corporate world?

That goes hand-in-hand with the ideology of Varoufakis’ political party, Syriza. Formally known as “Coalition of the Radical Left,” Syriza has been characterized as an anti-establishment party, difficult to categorize as Left or Right. After Syriza won the January 25 elections, Syriza’s leader Alexis Tsipras and right-wing Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos formed an anti-austerity coalition.

The EU economy is so large, any changes to it will impact the global market as well, and so Varoufakis’ policies will affect the rest of the world, virtual worlds magazine New World Notes reports. Before the elections, there have been speculations that a Syriza-led government would abandon the Eurozone.

Contrary to previous anti-Euro statements, Tsipras said that his government will not abandon the Eurozone immediately. Varoufakis said they would come to Frankfurt and Berlin and Brussels with a plan to minimise the cost of that Greek debacle to the average German, and will be very careful not to toy with fast or loose talk of Grexit (Greek exit from the Eurozone).

Also read: Greece May Soon Exit The Eurozone – A Role for Bitcoin?

However, Varoufakis expertise in virtual economies indicates that he may take into consideration new trends in fintech, including crypto-currencies like Bitcoin.

Images from Wikimedia Commons and Valve.

Giulio Prisco is a freelance writer specialized in science, technology, business and future studies.