“No de-politicised currency is capable of powering an advanced, industrial society.”
–Yanis Varoufakis (2014)
Born in Athens in 1961, Yanis Varoufakis earned his PhD in Economics from the University of Essex and has held academic appointments at the Universities of Essex, East Anglia, Cambridge, Glasgow, Sydney, and Athens. He served as an economic advisor to Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, before resigning in 2006, and is currently a Visiting Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. (A brief professional biography is available here. For a more nuanced autobiography, see here.)
A Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) fellow-traveler and a self-described “erratic Marxist,” Varoufakis has made a career out of exposing the limits of neoclassical economics and its ideologically bankrupt mathematical models. Since 2008, he has emerged as a major critical voice in debates surrounding the global financial crisis and the ongoing devastation of the Eurozone. A noted contributor to the BBC, Die Zeit, and The New York Times, Varoufakis is perhaps best known for his texts The Global Minotaur: The True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy (2011) and A Modest Proposal for Resolving the Eurozone Crisis (2010 – 2013), the latter of which he co-authored with economists Stuart Holland and James Kenneth Galbraith. While the former book wholly rethinks the post – Bretton Woods global economy and the structural circumstances that led to its collapse, the latter text proffers decisive steps for overcoming Europe’s economic crisis in order to address immediate social emergencies.
In the meantime, Varoufakis has made crucial interventions into the spheres of digital culture and art. Under the auspices of the video game firm Valve, for example, he has generated a series of important essays on the political limits and promises of digital economies and so-called “crypto-currencies.” Of perhaps greater interest, however, are Varoufakis’s aesthetic collaborations with installation artist, Danae Stratou. Significant multi-media collaborations include Cut – 7 Dividing Lines (2007), The Globalizing Wall (2010 – 2012), and Of Public Phones and Besieged Humans (2014). Such works can be found at Stratou and Varoufakis’s website, Vital Space, which formally collaborates with the Rotterdam-based Witte de With Contemporary Art Centre.
Keep up with Yanis Varoufakis at his blog thoughts for the post-2008 world.