That’s why they call me Mr. Farenheit: On the accelerations of Yanis Varoufakis, from the journal of a colleague (for a day)

Yanis-Luigi
Glowing like neon, with Yanis Varoufakis at the Officine Corsare on March 17, 2016.

Officine Corsare, Turin, 11pm. I am sitting next to Yanis Varoufakis, whispering in his ear as I translate the speeches being made in a debate on democracy in Europe. He listens intently, and occasionally leans against the chair to reveal, from the leg of his trousers, a dark leather boot. Shortly before, as we were walking to the debate, it was the length – down to the calves – of his elegant coat that caught my eye. That too, black. ‘He’s like Neo’ – I think to myself, as I conjure in my mind that famous scene from The Matrix. Where the protagonist intuits the malleable matrix of reality, after he surprises himself dodging the bullets fired at him by agent Smith – the trajectory of which he is unexpectedly capable of following in slow motion.

But Varoufakis has more in common with Neo than his punk-themed elegance. The Greek economist – who was in Turin on March 17, 2016 to receive a honorary professorial appointment at the International University College of Turin [where I was lecturing at the time] – has a certain promethean aura about himself, not unlike the hero of The Matrix. It’s a boldness that comes with facing an obscure and oppressing computational order, and coming out at the other end with a burning truth to share with humanity:  that of mankind’s enduring collective power to bring into being alternative visions of the possible. Read more

The World Economics Association: what it is, how to join.

I’m just providing a brief update to “publicise” the newborn World Economics Association. I have been following the movement of heterodox economics for a few years now, and – before I continue – I had better provide a short explanation of what I mean by heterodox economics. In a very general sense, heterodox economics is the stream where a particular group of economists and other social scientists like to swim, and which is characterised by engagement in a wide ranging critique of economics, as typically understood to be a science, revealing natural rules of human behaviour (to the point of branding them theorems or laws) through the use of mathematical formalisation, for the purpose of social engineering. Read more