Complexity and Crisis: A lecture in Greek

Based on my series entitled Complexity Fetishism (click here for Part A and Part B), on Tuesday 14/2/  I gave a talk (in Greek)  on the more general topic of Complexity and Crisis, in Greek, at the Hub (downtown Athens). The video is now available here. Click here for more.


  • A question that has nothing to do with this post. Is it true, what is going around by e-mail, that you publicly accused Papademos of holding on to his position at the University for 13 years until he was eligible for a pension which he got a short while back?

  • Do you plan on doing any lectures of this sort in English? It’s really difficult in this country(America) to get anything close to what you talk about, or least what I have found so far, the kind of stupidity I find here is really just the same cheer leading that was happening 4 years ago, or 10!

    Anyway, thanks for the blog, and your work. It is much appreciated.

    • Why don’t you check the site of Richard Wolff:
      Especially his monthly updates on global capitalism are great lectures and he often does a similar critic on the modern economics. Also check the podcasts of his weekly radio show Economic Update

    • I know you DO Yanis, I’ve seen that lecture :).
      My question was to Luke commenting here and asking why there are no lectures of this sort in US.

  • Although I devoured every word I would love to watch it all again.. Do you know if its going to be uploaded? I am eagerly awaiting for the next one and be aware that the “fans” that want you joining a political party will increase exponentially, haha

  • I just watched the lecture and I have to say it was quite interesting. Being a physicist (and having worked, on a very basic level though, on modeling) I found fascinating the fact that as you said economic models don’t allow for evolution over time or even factor time as a variable (if I understood correctly) since time among other things can affect decisions. For example Anna in your example could factor it in the way she wants to play the game i.e.”I want to get five pounds in t time” which I believe is something very common in the way states, businesses and people think. I also think that this game would make a very interesting experiment, get a number of student pairs and see what the outcome will be. I can’t even begin to count the number of variables that can affect this game and how people will want to play it. Somehow thermodynamics seems really easy.
    Also isn’t this time issue important in the whole construct of CDO’s as you explained them? The way I see it is that CDO’s were promises of future earnings from loans. How can you not factor time in your model if you make a prediction for the future? Do I miss something in the way I understand things here?
    Finally, have those ideas been discussed in a scientific environment? What kind of answers (apart from the simplistic dismissive ones) do you get from your colleagues?
    Thank you for this talk, I found it very informative, though I’d like to hear the other side to your arguments as well.

  • Καλημέρα, είμαι σεισμολόγος ή μάλλον θα έπρεπε να πω μη-οικονομολόγος. Έχω μια ερώτηση για τη διάλεξη στο HUB, που τη βρήκα πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα!!! Αν ενδιαφέρεται να αγοράσει κάποιος CDO από κάποια τράπεζα, ας υποθέσουμε ελληνική τράπεζα, βλέποντας ποιο είναι το pool της τράπεζας και που κινείται, δεν μπορεί να οδηγηθεί σε ποιο ρεαλιστική αξιολόγηση του ρίσκου?? Αυτό δεν γινόταν? δεν ήξεραν από που αγόραζαν ή σε τι ήταν εκτεθειμένοι?? Και δεύτερον, είναι δυνατό να πουλήσεις CDO που να έχει αποτελείται από κομμάτια άλλων CDO?? Όταν αγόραζε κάποιος CDO δεν μπορούσε να ζητήσει να ελέγξει τους τίτλους των επιμέρους κομματιών? Αυτή είναι η δική μου αναλυτική σκέψη-ερώτηση, σαν φυσικός πιο πολύ!

    • Να το πω απλά: Ούτε εκείνοι που κατασκεύασαν τα CDO δεν ήξεραν τι περιείχαν. Χρησιμοποιούσαν αλγοριθμους τόσο περίπλοκους που ούτε οι ίδιοι δεν μπορούσαν να ξεμπλεξουν το κουβάρι που κατασκεύασαν. Οσο για CDO βασισμένα σε αλλα CDO
      και βέβαια υπήρχαν.
      Τα έλεγαν CDO Square!

  • At the end of your lecture, you criticized traditional right wing (free markets) and left wing (state intervention dominance) ideologies. Then you said those ideologies are connected to complexity fetishism and complexity denial. And it seemed you urged to giving space to collective action and democratic procedures.
    Can you briefly clarify what did you mean? Any connection with ideas about economic democracy and more specifically democratically owned and run businesses?
    Thank you

    • The answer to your last question is: Absolutely! In the final analysis, the oligopoly of property rights over real and financial capital is the spanner in the works that prevents us from effecting a rational redesign of the world economy.