Dr. Yanis Varoufakis, a visiting professor at UT Austin’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, has been named finance minister of Greece as part of the cabinet of newly-elected Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and was sworn in on Jan. 27. Varoufakis was elected to the Greek Parliament on Sunday, Jan. 25 as the leading vote-getter in Athens’ 2d constituency, which is one of the largest in Greece.
A distinguished economist, game theorist and analytic philosopher, Varoufakis has been a leading voice of opposition to the policies conducted since the start of the financial crisis in Greece and throughout Europe by the European Union and its allied institutions, including the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.
The program of SYRIZA, the party of Prime Minister Tsipras and now the governing party in Greece, calls for a write-down of the Greek debt and an end to the policies of cuts, privatizations and tax increases that have been imposed on Greece as conditions for extending and easing the terms of the debt. But Varoufakis also sees a broader mission:
“As the next finance minister, I can assure you that I shall not go into the eurogroup seeking a solution that is good for the Greek taxpayer and bad for the Irish, Slovak, German, French and Italian taxpayer,” said Varoufakis.
In November 2011, Varoufakis first came to Austin to keynote a conference on the Crisis in the Eurozone, presented by the LBJ School, UT’s Center for European Studies and EU Center for Excellence. (Tsipras was a featured speaker at the follow-up conference in November 2013, Can The Eurozone be Saved?) Since joining the LBJ School in January 2013, Varoufakis has taught courses in microeconomics and economic policy.
Varoufakis is the co-author, with Stuart Holland of the University of Coimbra and James Galbraith of the LBJ School, of the Modest Proposal to Resolve the Crisis of the Eurozone, a four-part proposal to address debt, banking, investment and human needs in the crisis countries of Europe, all within the current framework of European treaties and charters.
Previously, Varoufakis was a professor of economics at the University of Essex, the University of Sydney and the University of Athens where he continues to hold the oldest chair in political economy in the world. He is the co-author of Modern Political Economics: Making sense of the post-2008 world, and in 2014 the author of Economic Indeterminacy, A personal encounter with the economists’ peculiar nemesis. He is an expert on electronic currencies and the monetary instability of artificial worlds.