Read this now: a trenchant oped by Greek finance minister Varoufakis

February 16th, 2015 at 4:54 pm

To me it reads like the correct dosage of mind and heart and as such comes across as both a rational and heartfelt approach to the least harmful/most potentially helpful way forward in resolving the debt/fiscal crisis.

I guess some clever austerian could argue that the claim “I’m not using game theory” would fit quite neatly into game theory. Which would be both deeply unfortunate and par for the course.

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5 comments in reply to "Read this now: a trenchant oped by Greek finance minister Varoufakis"

  1. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    I guess some clever austerian could argue that the claim “I’m not using game theory” would fit quite neatly into game theory. Which would be both deeply unfortunate and par for the course.

    Which is why, given the gravity of the problems, those who simply want to dismiss this as ‘game theory’ have condemned themselves to a Doom Loop of inane futility.

    As a distant onlooker, I certainly have the sense that the Greek FinMin is dealing with people so accustomed and imbued with a certain view of (neoliberal) economics, that they literally can’t come up with creative solutions to the problems of Greece; they know how to do what they’ve been doing, but they can’t figure out how to create new solutions. They know how to perpetuate an elaborate charade, but not how to go to the root of the problems and start solving them.

    I admire the frankness and clarity of what I’ve seen of the Syriza approach: courageous, gutsy, and focused on solving practical problems in people’s lives.


    • Richard Solomon says:

      Yesterday’s events in Brussels leaves me with the feeling that the austerians are determined to maintain their perspective on the situation. ‘MORE pain and suffering for the Greeks is what is needed. It serves them right for having gotten into this mess in the first place.’ Easy for them to say because they are the creditors who believe they hold the cards, so to speak. Perhaps Greece will walk away from the EU and refuse/be unable to pay Germany, the Netherlands, et al back…..we’ll see who holds the cards then. I would not like to see this happen but desperate people will do desperate, and sometimes self destructive, things because they feel they have nothing more to lose. For Greece it has become ‘heads they win and tails you lose.’


  2. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Very thoughtful piece now up at the Guardian by Varoufakis, from a 2013 lecture. It dovetails his NYT article; you can see why he came to the view that using ‘game theory’ in current negotiations would trivialize them, thereby leaving entire populations vulnerable to the predations of right-wing authoritarians.

    He makes some very interesting observations about the implications of Marx’s analysis of the commodification of labor: as labor becomes commodified, it also becomes less productive. IOW, the human desire for ‘freedom’ is inherent in economic activity; as it becomes diminished, economies languish. And as economies languish, human lives are damaged: yet another set of negative feedback Doom Loops.

    Long form, but well worth the time IMVHO.

    http://www.theguardian.com/news/2015/feb/18/yanis-varoufakis-how-i-became-an-erratic-marxist


  3. urban legend says:

    I’m thinking it’s time to retire the word, “austerity.” It’s a nine-letter, four-syllable euphemism not all that dissimilar from “collateral damage,” “downsizing” or “outsourcing.” Always, they are Latin-derived, rather than owing their origins to blunt, simple, honest Anglo-Saxon words.

    How about from now on, we call it “terrible and permanent damage forced by the wealthy on the rest of the population or another country, especially those with the least ability to take care of themselves”? In the case of Germany and the ECB and Greece, how is this so-called “austerity” not the case of the German government and the ECB doing the bidding of German banks and forcing hardship on the majority of Greek citizens who had nothing whatsoever to do with those banks with full knowledge making risky loans to their government?


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