Monday, February 16, 2015

V for Varoufakis!

It's hard not to love Yanis Varoufakis these days.  Or at least to admire him very much.
The man is a powerhouse of ideas, creative vision, and courage for Greece.
See this OP Ed in the NY Times he took out today below.
And an enormous congratulations to Alexis Tsipras and the new Greek Government!

No Times for Games in Europe

"ATHENS — I am writing this piece on the margins of a crucial negotiation with my country’s creditors — a negotiation the result of which may mark a generation, and even prove a turning point for Europe’s unfolding experiment with monetary union."
"Game theorists analyze negotiations as if they were split-a-pie games involving selfish players. 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 anything, my game-theory background convinced me that it would be pure folly to think of the current deliberations between Greece and our partners as a bargaining game to be won or lost via bluffs and tactical subterfuge."
"The trouble with game theory, as I used to tell my students, is that it takes for granted the players’ motives. In poker or blackjack this assumption is unproblematic. But in the current deliberations between our European partners and Greece’s new government, the whole point is to forge new motives. To fashion a fresh mind-set that transcends national divides, dissolves the creditor-debtor distinction in favor of a pan-European perspective, and places the common European good above petty politics, dogma that proves toxic if universalized, and an us-versus-them mind-set."
"As finance minister of a small, fiscally stressed nation lacking its own central bank and seen by many of our partners as a problem debtor, I am convinced that we have one option only: to shun any temptation to treat this pivotal moment as an experiment in strategizing and, instead, to present honestly the facts concerning Greece’s social economy, table our proposals for regrowing Greece, explain why these are in Europe’s interest, and reveal the red lines beyond which logic and duty prevent us from going."
"The great difference between this government and previous Greek governments is twofold: We are determined to clash with mighty vested interests in order to reboot Greece and gain our partners’ trust. We are also determined not to be treated as a debt colony that should suffer what it must. The principle of the greatest austerity for the most depressed economy would be quaint if it did not cause so much unnecessary suffering..... (edit see link for the rest of this piece)