Valve Economist Becomes Finance Minister for Greece

Yanis Varoufakis vows to enact "genuine reforms" to repair Greece's economic plight.

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Gabe Newell made contact with Yanis Varoufakis after noticing that Valve's virtual economy problems were similar to Greece's relationship with Germany.
Gabe Newell made contact with Yanis Varoufakis after noticing that Valve's virtual economy problems were similar to Greece's relationship with Germany.

An esteemed economics professor who Gabe Newell personally headhunted in 2011 to join Valve has been sworn in as the finance minister for Greece.

Yanis Varoufakis joined Valve after Gabe Newell sent him an email discussing the challenges with virtual economies. Varoufakis had only read the email by accident, he later remarked, but decided against deleting it after reading Newell's issue with virtual currencies.

The email, sent amid the trauma of the Eurozone economic crisis, explained that Valve's problem was similar to that of Greece's dependence, and negative effect on, Germany's economic security.

Newell wrote in his email: "Here at my company we were discussing an issue of linking economies in two virtual environments (creating a shared currency), and wrestling with some of the thornier problems of balance of payments, when it occurred to me 'this is Germany and Greece'."

Varoufakis became a consultant for Valve in 2012 and, along with his work behind the scenes, went on to publish articles on the nature of digital economies.

Now, days after the election of Greece's new Prime minister Alexis Tsipras, Varoufakis has been named the country's finance minister--an immensely important role as the nation looks to return to economic stability.

Tsipras has vowed to end "the humiliation and pain" of the last five years, with Greece plighted by both its crippling national debt, and the painful measures it must take in order to remain in the European Union. One measure that the country needed to deliberate was a six-day working week.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4, Varoufakis outlined new measures that he hoped would to restore the country's debt and 26 percent unemployment rate.

He said: "We will take to the Eurozone a plan for minimising this Greek debacle, we are going to put three or four things on the table: genuine reforms and creating a rational plan for debt restructure, we want to bind our repayments to our growth."

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wowgrandpa

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i'm sure all Greece needs to do is adopt an electronic trading card game, or some hat simulation. And do not offer any refunds. That should get them out of debt.

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Stormrage256

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I see. So they're creating a shared currency. May I suggest including Steam Trading cards as well. :P

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hystavito

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Headline sounded like he actually worked at Valve full time and then left to become Finance Minister for Greece. That was a far more surprising story than the actual story where he merely consulted for Valve at one time :).

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SteveKaramaltid

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Man look all these racists

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Thanatos2k

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Their government will now release in Early Access

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phenomfawaz

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Lol. Is Greece that desperate?!

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naryanrobinson

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"Gabe Newell made contact with Yanis Varoufakis after noticing that Valve's virtual economy problems were similar to Greece's relationship with Germany."


In my opinion this is just the definition of funny.

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Chaz456

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A six-day work week will ABSOLUTELY NOT WORK. They've already done studies where people who only have 1 day off sees the suicide rate skyrocket by some ridiculous number like 200%. It's also a well known fact that highest rate of suicide at least in the West occurs on a Wednesday with a little more then 1/4th occurring on this day which can be attributed to being stuck in the same workplace/lifestyle.


But then again ppl are probably offing themselves from not being able to find work...yeah you def have your work cut out for you Mr. Varoufakis (Try saying that 5 times fast). Good luck to you sir you shall need it.


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JRLennis

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Agreed. A six-day workweek would only serve to further remind people of the inherent imbalances in the EU. You won't see any other EU country (yet) even consider such a condition for its people. This will create more problems than it solves. Forget suicides. The real danger is the unrest this will cause on a national scale. Angry people elect angry leaders, and angry leaders without fail lead their people and their neighbors to tragedy.

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Robotten75957

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<< LINK REMOVED >> less ceviliance due to higher series is same resource for less people -> economicly better

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elheber

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Another win for the Left.

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wilhelmalexis

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hopefully he won't turn Greece into City 17 and populate it with mutants and zombines.

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Bigyeti13

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The hats will be bail Greece out of bankruptcy. Damn what a brilliant move.

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catsimboy

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We will save our economy with LOCKED LOOT CRATES! Once Greece gets a CS:GO knife we'll be in an economic golden age!

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hastati4

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Greeks are about to become known for their wide array of fancy and ridiculous hats.

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Saidrex

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Politics on gaming website... this should be fun

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Tomahawk08

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Because everyone on here is an expert on every subject apparently.

Waiting on kane and hum to come in here and say how xbox has something to do with this and how its better.

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phbz

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To those concerned that Greece might collapse under this new left-wing government worry not, because technically Greece already collapsed a few year back, when those same parties were not even politicly relevant.

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johnd13

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<< LINK REMOVED >> And that's the reason why this left-wing party has replaced the previous right-wing government as the dominant political party in Greece. People needed a change seeing as things only got worse over the years, they hope for a brighter day. Whether the new government is going to succeed where the previous one failed remains to be seen.

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Deivis_Sc

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I love those guys. They almost bankrupt, then asked for money to survive and now they refuse to start saving money or stuff and don't want to pay up their debts. Well maybe I don't know something. I just overheard something like that on the news, didn't payed too much attention so I might understand things wrong but sounds kinda fishy anyways.

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blee575

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<< LINK REMOVED >> As a Greek, I can tell you that things aren't nearly as simple as that. Todays 20-30 year old Greeks refuse to become the poorest people in Europe for the rest of their lives (that's right, the rest of the only life they'll ever get to live) to save and give away money that the vast majority of them never got their hands on or benefitted from it in any way. Of course there is guilt inside the country and there is justice to be served, but everyone seems to ignore that without the ones who demand payment now nothing would have happened. It's easy to support the corrupt governments of Greece for decades, having them serve your needs, and then pretend they were alone all the way, like Germany (a country involved in billion of euros scandals in Greece like the Siemens and submarine scandals) but that doesn't make it true.

Also, when Germany was crushed by debt after WW2, Europeans erased half their debt in the treaty of London, helping them become what they are today. Half the debt of a country that started the most terrible and devastating war in modern history, resulting in the deaths of millions. The same country that now "refuses to even talk" about Greece's debt relief. Maybe you want to love those guys too.

P.S. I have a bunch of friends from Germany and they are wonderful people. Don't mistake accusations against the political elite of a country and it's strategy with flaming against it's citizens. At the end of the day we are all people who want to live our lives (and play games).

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Deivis_Sc

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Alright. Thanks for your explanation, I really appreciate that. As I say I don't really have knowledge about that. I just overheard on the news with one ear, didn't gone into detail. And by saying "I love those gays" I didn't wanted to insult or anything, so sorry if that looked like I'm insulting or looking down on Greek people.

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blee575

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> No offence taken. It's just that in times like these, it's easy to hate on people influenced by the media (mainstream media here also make Germans - or leftists - look like evil nazis, depending on their alignment, while of course things aren't that simple). Which is funny, because blind hate is the last thing that is needed in times like this. It's very sad to see Europe divided all over again, especially for us who grew up with the after-WW2 hopes for peace, solidarity and prosperity.

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phbz

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>"I love those gays" LMAO

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blee575

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<< LINK REMOVED >> It's the London Agreement on German External Debts, not the treaty of London. My mistake.

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phbz

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Ons simple example why things are not that simple.


<< LINK REMOVED >>

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yankblan

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> They don't owe only to Germany/or Germany owes them (whatev, call it even). If they default payments to too many important economic partners, it will get worse. Better have a yearly $5G deficit than $10G, no? (those are just example figures of course).

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phbz

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> The debt payment parameters were not the best ones. Even the FMI agrees that huge mistakes were made on their part and the UE, regarding the debt it self and how countries should structure to pay up. Although it's normal for the FMI to pull stunts like this, first fvcking a country and after saying that they didn't do things the best way.


Germany has been one of the most prominent voices against changes within the UE in order to make it easier for small/poor countries to pay their debt, that's why it's relevant to mention WWII German debts, since its value is so high that alone could "save" Greece.


The size of the debt it's not the most relevant thing to look at. I would rather have a 10g deficit, and pay decent interest rates, than a 5g deficit that would force me to pay way more in the long term.


I find interesting that people are so quick to point the finger at Greece but completely ignore all the rest. The free market fairytale was first destroyed from within the markets and the richest nations have far more guilt in this than poor nations like Greece. This is a way more complex situation. More so for the UE, that at the first serious crisis is so quick to turn their back at its poorer countries.



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yankblan

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> That is all good, and I like the way you put it.

But, personally and globally, I've always been a "what could I/should I've done better" type of guy. I think you can still work from within to try and clean up the mess as best you can to show your good will, that in turn will gain you favors from foreign country while you lobby for less draconian measures.

Not talking about Greece specifically here, but some countries are more "what about us?" than others. On the other hand, I think some richer countries should have thought things through better before agreeing with the whole EU thing. All is good when global economy is strong, but when the poop hits the fan, you have to roll with it. It was kind of predictable, but few wanted to heed the voices of resistance.

You have to know who you're dealing with; and it's not strange that the ones on the top of the pole are tired of dragging those at the bottom. Now, who has been the most reasonable, responsible? That could be debated to no end :)

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JRLennis

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> The EU was created mainly as a result of the terrible destruction caused by both world wars. Nobody wanted a return to the intense nationalism that caused those conflicts. The problem is that the nationalism inherent in Europe never truly went away. French still think of themselves as French. British as British. Germans as Germans, etc. You'll be hard-pressed to find anyone in Europe who defines themselves primarily as European. Europe does not share a common culture. They are a hodgepodge of many different cultures that are basically in a state of permanent truce. Nobody in Europe wants another war, but nobody wants Europe to be a single country either. This state of affairs cannot endure, and the current instability demonstrates why. The United States weathered multiple crises in its history (including a full-blown civil war) because it was essentially one culture where people that disagreed could at least speak the same language and understand their shared interests enough to solve national problems. What Europe needs to do is unite on a cultural level as well as an economic one if it hopes to achieve lasting success. Europeans must be Europeans first, and French, British, German, etc. second. Sadly, I do not see this happening. For one thing, who would decide what a common language should be? And which lucky nation would have the honor of not having to teach their schoolchildren a second language to be European? It would be politically messy to say the least, and that would only be the beginning.

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phbz

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> The thing is that, speaking strictly of Germany, they haven't been dragging, they have been profiting.

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yankblan

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Basically their plan is to not raise the taxes and invest massive public money to create jobs and give free benefits. Yeah, that will clean the deficit...

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Lawnwake

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Can't understand if you're serious and just touting bs from another continent or if you're really that blind to how the opposite didn't really do anything to help the greek.

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yankblan

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Oh, I'm serious. I'm not suggesting they borrow more, of course. The power in place have to clean up their act. Now is not the time to create new social progams if you can't finance those already in place.

I live in a systeme that depends way too much on the government, and there is no escaping it. Any kind of reform for the state employees is met with massive resistance by unions, and they dictate elections by "guiding" their members on how to vote. They lead them blind, and are not allowed to think for themselves. Really sad.

We have a cleavage between state employees and private sector employees. Even the frickin cops desecrate their uniforms in a form of protest. Long term, it will not end well.

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yankblan

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> You do realize that if the government gives 100 millions to build roads to their work force, and that work force pays taxes on the money the GVT gives them, it doesn't create new money? You keep stirring the pot again and again, and you have less and less.

You do know that it wasn't Obama/Bush' stimulus package that brought the economy back? Governments in free markets do not dictate the way the economy goes, it's a pendulum. Fast and strong growth will inevitably lead to a recession.

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yankblan

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I know what it means, and I respect your views. But where you are wrong, is in "the only correct answer". That is an opinion, not a fact; every left and right economist is gonna throw you names of their favorite economy theorists. And then reply with a rebutal on the rebutal.

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blee575

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> And Jimmy, don't forget that some debts are just too big to be repaid on conventional terms (as I said in a previous comment, remember the London Agreement that cut post WW2 German external debt in half to help Germany back on their feet and on the course to become what they are today). Yes, there need to be changes in Greece and most Greeks (like myself) will agree with that. Sadly, with a debt that huge, if it was to be repaid on conventional terms it would mean that a whole generation - or more - would have to accept that they will live and die in a modern jungle of anxiety, poverty and depression. Economists of Europe need to realise that reforms and cuts must be acompanied with unconventional debt relief in order for the whole thing to work, and that "punishing" Greece has reached it's limits.

We have suffered enormous cuts of 25-45% in salaries over 3 years and a huge rise in taxes, and as a citizen I can confirm it's really bad for many - a lot of people are living with their parents' 600 or 700 euro pensions because the 400-500 euro (30% of the total workforce are paid under 500 euros, 45-50% under 700 euros) salary is just not enough, and from the looks of it that is going to be the setting for the rest of our lives (parent's wont live forever, though). There's just no light to be seen in the end of the tunnel under the current arrangments.

In the last 5 years, both Greece and Europe have done a lot of mistakes. Both sides, and not only Greece, must work to fix the situation.

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