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Yanis Varoufakis: Germany’s nemesis

A game theorist leads Greece's challenge to the austerity doctrine imposed by Berlin. But do his theories make sense?

By James Bone   March 2015

Beware Greeks bearing PhDs; finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, a game theorist, leading the demand for "a menu of debt swaps." © Arne Dedert/DPA/Press Association Images

When Yanis Varoufakis presented his latest book at Columbia University in 2011, sitting in a prime position in the front row was the Talking Heads frontman, David Byrne. The presence of a real-life rock star at a technical discussion of the postwar international system confirmed the Greek economist’s burgeoning celebrity status—and he himself seemed duly impressed. “In my book launch at Columbia tonight David Byrne was in the audience. And asked me to sign a copy,” Varoufakis tweeted. “Now I can die a happy person!”

We now know, of course, that his encounter with Byrne would not be…

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