I Am Not an Economist

24 Jan 2014

Yanis Varoufakis for Valve:

Throughout history, whenever the number of transactions (and ‘assets’) grew in number, one of those assets soon emerged as a numéraire – a basic form of money that is. Once the numéraire acquired currency, suddenly the prerequisite of some double coincidence of wants vanished and people could trade anything for the numéraire–asset which they could then use in order to buy whatever else tickled their fancy. In short, as economies grew in sophistication, they ‘monetised’ and ceased functioning on the basis of barter. This is why never in history have we witnessed truly sophisticated barter economies (for reasons similar to why we have not developed hugely sophisticated training wheels for professional cyclists).

I study political theory through the works of Friedrich Nietzsche and Hannah Arendt; I study Canadian politics through Alan Cairns and C.B. MacPherson; and, for a while, I happened to study economics through a Professor of Economic Theory that writes for Valve – a company that develops and distributes video games.