Valve Economist Becomes Finance Minister for Greece
Yanis Varoufakis vows to enact “genuine reforms” to repair Greece’s economic plight.
by Rob Crossley on January 27, 2015
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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