The Greek finance minister on IR game theory

Yanis Varoufakis, the new finance minister of Greece, on international relations game theory in today’s NY Times:

“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.”


The Greek finance minister on IR game theory — 2 Comments

  1. Yeah, that’s what Yanis said… what do you Canadians (dwellers of such a place that comes out as a haven of potential rationality) think of the Varoufakis/Holland/Galbraith “Modest Proposal”? ( Any hope of an agreement on that basis, or should we consider Jonathan Swift’s one? At the moment, this is our only hope (Varoufakis and the rest of the completely Cretan economics cabinet are the best and the brightest of what I would call the Adult Left if not for the pornographic connotations; Tsipras is deadly serious about this, while giving some other cabinet seats to ANEL–the small right-wing party in the governmental coalition–and to the ageing lads of the “Aristeri Platforma”–the far-left wing of SYRIZA, which is about 25% strong within the party). There is a feeling that Varoufakis knows very well what he’s doing, and that if someone can get us results, it is he (and this feeling is widespread, this is not just the leftie ex-teenager in me whose heart is warmed by Tsipras’ and V’s dressing habits–even the Church and, most comically, the ex-King are backing the government), and that rationality is on our side against a core of petty politics covered in a sea of ideolepsy. Anyways, is it easy to migrate to Canada nowdays? The weather must be depressing, but I recently found out that a night in the very center of Athens can be really difficult with no heat whatsoever (right now I long for the homeless guy heavily snoring outside my summer window more than for the whole week I worked in 2014).

  2. In the last paragraph quoted, the first two sentences make good sense. The second two sentences seem so howlingly disingenuous. Maybe the problem lies in my heart.