‘Capitalism is dead. Now we have something much worse’: Yanis Varoufakis on extremism, Starmer, and the tyranny of big tech

  • September 24, 2023
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In his new book, Technofeudalism, the maverick Greek economist says we are witnessing an epochal shift. At his island home of Aegina, he argues it’s no longer the global finance system that shapes us, but the ‘fiefdoms’ of tech firms

What could be more delightful than a trip to Greece to meet Yanis Varoufakis, the charismatic leftwing firebrand who tried to stick it to the man, AKA the IMF, EU and entire global financial order? The mental imagery I have before the visit is roughly two parts Zorba the Greek to one part an episode of BBC series Holiday from the Jill Dando era: blue skies, blue sea, maybe some plate breaking in a jolly taverna. What I’m not expecting is a wall of flames rippling across a hillside next to the highway from the airport and a plume of black smoke billowing across the carriageway.

Because even a modernist villa on a hillside on the island of Aegina – a fast ferry ride from the port of Piraeus and the summer bolthole of chic Athenians – is not the sanctuary from the modern world that it might once have been. The house is where Varoufakis and his wife, landscape artist Danae Stratou, live, year round since the pandemic, but in August 2023 at the end of a summer of heatwaves and extreme weather conditions across the world, it feels more than a little apocalyptic. The sun is a dim orange orb struggling to shine through a haze of smoke while a shower of fine ash falls invisibly from the sky. A month later, two years’ worth of rain will fall in a single day in northern Greece, causing a biblical deluge and never-before-seen levels of flooding.

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