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Former Valve Virtual Economist is New Syriza Finance Minister of Greece

Former Valve Virtual Economist is New Syriza Finance Minister of Greece

by Giulio PriscoJanuary 28, 2015

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.

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  • andrea

    we , that like and support BTC,and any subcategories in “coinage” out there, must watch this development closely. This may indeed be a major turn around in Virtual “coinage” , where ALL Greeks are counted as true citizen voting with their business and online private yet virtually open “coinage”. this could be a true de-regulated economy in the making, EXCITING! , exciting indeed.

  • Asher Sutton

    I would say this is good news and an interesting one. However I’m not sure everyone would share this opinion. The beginning of your article is not entirely reassuring. I prefer to interpret Mr. Varofakis’ interest in the Valve video game as the sign of an open mind with an eye on economic democracy.

  • Infinite Wealth

    Well I hope that the “Virtual” economist acnowledges there is a way in which to conduit brand new wealth and create a completely digital monetary economy parallel to our own completely open and on the blockchain. Although, it’s great news for the digital currency industry, looking on with great anticipation. Very exciting.

  • RJF

    Finally, someone who can transition from real to virtual and understands the coming sea change in economics. This is an experiment to watch closely. If he is successful, it could change the way governments think (react?) but, if he fails, I don’t even want to think about it right now…

  • sjs

    2500 years ago Greece became the cradle of western civilisation, could history be repeating itself where Greece becomes the cradle of financial and structural reform and metamorphosys built on blockchain technology? It is the home of Pythagoras, Archimedes, King Leonidis, the Oracle of Delphi
    and Apollo. The list is long, the Greeks have been down for 6 years, their time has come. Exciting indeed.

  • All he needs now is some Bitcoin afficionados like Andreas Antonopolous and boom the secret is out 🙂