On spontaneous order, Valve, the future of corporations, Hume, Smith, Marx and Hayek: A one hour chat with Russ Roberts on ECONTALK

There is nothing more heartwarming than mutually beneficial exchanges with intellectually curious people with whom one disagrees strongly on some matters while sharing strong views and common concerns on others. Russell Roberts is Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and a Chicago PhD holder. Besides his academic credentials, he is the host of ECONTALK, a scintillating weekly podcast on matters political-economic, and an associate editor of the libertarian Library of Economics and Liberty (http://www.econlib.org/). The other day he interviewed me on the internal organisation of Valve Corporation, on whether the ‘spontaneous order’ within Valve could be thought of as a Hayekian arrangement, on the future of corporations, on Adam Smith, David Hume, Friedrich Hayek and the problematic labour contract and, lastly, on the European and Greek debacles.

The interview lasts an hour and can be heard either here  or by visiting ECONTALK’s own website here..

12 thoughts on “On spontaneous order, Valve, the future of corporations, Hume, Smith, Marx and Hayek: A one hour chat with Russ Roberts on ECONTALK

  1. Yanis, if nothing else you are consistent except for the fact that you work for an anarcho-capitalist business! Seriously though Yanis, do you realise your “solutions” to the “Euro crisis” can only work when you point a gun at the European people?

    Specifically Europeans being put on the hook (against their will and through the use of physical force implied or otherwise) for yet more debt through your Eurobonds and EIB bonds. I mean can you honestly say that if you said to a Greek “are you happy to back stop bonds issued by the ECB” you would get a positive answer?

  2. This needs more comment on second listening. To be poetic just as the awakened butterfly recognizes the totality of the chrysalis so the awakened social anthropologist sees anew that the Internet ITSELF is a multiplayer experience (read) social environment where the creators could not begin to fathom the resulting possibilities of increased information flow and the resulting effects of that would change the way most people see and even experience the world. Is this understanding itself ultimately Self Realizatioin… yes it is!


    PS Maybe I’ll find even more to say later.

  3. If Valve would now start to change certain rules… For instance to allow the customers to sell used games which are activated via steam…

  4. Mr Varoufakis, I asked you this question in a different comment thread on this website. You have not yet responded. I will repeat it here and will provide some resources for you and your interested readers to review, if they/you so wish.

    So, here is the question:

    –What are the similarities and differences between the various “bailout” agreements signed with the EUCommission/ECB by Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc. since the beginning of the crisis.

    The following is a useful resource for you and your readers to consider. The statistics and calculations cited by Andreadis need analysis in today’s terms (something which I am not equipped to do). Such analysis would be extremely helpful to citizens and scholars alike, so any initiative in that direction is welcome.

    Andreas M. Andreadis (spelled also Andreades) was an internationally respected Greek jurist and economist of the early 20th century. He was familiar with the first debt-repayment enforcement commissions imposed on entire countries (then known as Contrôles financiers internationaux), that is, in the predecessors of today’s Troika-type regimes. Greece was one of the first countries to have been subjected to an CFI along with Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and the then rump Ottoman Empire. He produced comparative analyses of the CFIs in Greek and French. (There might be differences between the two versions–I have not yet examined them both.) Some historical/archaeological (in the Foucauldian sense) perspective of the current situation would be very enlightening.

    Ανδρέας Μ. Ανδρεάδης, Έργα. Εκδιδόμενα υπό της Νομικής Σχολής του Πανεπιστημίου Αθηνών. Επιμέλεια: Κ.Χ. Βαρβαρέσος, Γ.Α. Πετρόπουλος, Ι.Δ. Πίντος
    Τόμος Β΄(Μελέται επί της Συγχρόνου Ελληνικής Δημόσιας Οικονομίας (Αθήνα, 1939)
    Εθνικά Δάνεια και Ελληνική Δημόσια Οικονομία σελ. 299-573 εικότερα σελ. 563-573 «Τα εκ της επισκοπήσεως των Διεθνών Ελέγχων κυριώτερα πορίσματα» και «Παραβολή των Διεθνών Ελέγχων προς παραπλησίους θεσμούς και ιδία την οικονομικήν επέμβασιν της Κοινωνίας των Εθνών»

    Included in Andreadis’ complete Works published in 1939 by the Law School of the University of Athens (cited above) there is a number of his writings in French.

    For those not reading Greek there is a version of the paper “Les contrôles financiers internationaux” (pp. 63-160 in vol II of the Works) available online (to those with access):

    “Les contrôles financiers internationaux” published in the Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law/Recueil des Cours—Académie du Droit International vol. 5, 1924 (HeinOline—originally Hachette, 1925)

    Happy travels and lectures and I await your response at your earliest convenience.

    Vassiliki Tsitsopoulou

    P.S. I will ask you this question again in person at the upcoming Modern Greek Studies Association Symposium in Bloomington IN.

    • Dear Vassiliki,

      Undoubtedly, the case of the early 20th Century Greek bankruptcies is certainly of interest and full of insights. But I do not see how Andreadis would be relevant to your question about the similarities and differences between the Greek and Irish bailouts. More broadly, the main difference between the insolvencies studied by Andreades and our current predicament have to do with the fact that the Eurozone economies are so heavily inter-dependent – and how their states are intertwined with their banking sectors while, all along, neither the states nor the banks have a genuine Central Bank backing them up.

  5. Pingback: On spontaneous order, Valve, the future of corporations, Hume, Smith, Marx and Hayek: A one hour chat with Russ Roberts on ECONTALK | Fifth Estate

  6. Enjoyed the interview even though I’m generally more inclined toward Russ’ point of view but you made many fantastic points. I was sure you were Dutch when I was listening to you from your accent, but your background has no hint of the Netherlands, Strange….

  7. Wow, what a great, great interview. So much to say about … one thing is the very fact that your views may have clashed made it possible for a much more in depth discussion without an “Agenda” shaping the conversation. Your point about innovative thinkers being shunned from their own future schools was so right on. And your example was spot on(just look at the Scorcese film LTOC when paul meets you know who he dismiss him completely in favor of his frozen image for his new “school” if you will). Your point about corporations behavior regarding adaptive strategies brings evolutionary fitness into the fray which in itself is a MAJOR issue in bringing about change since the excepted behaviors represent unconscious attitudes. There is a big difference between this unconscious evolution and truly Conscious evolution(at least hinted at at VAlVE). We are truly privileged to take part if only as listeners in such discussion usually reserved for the private salons and universities lunches and mentioned in passing in some books years later. More if you will much more


    P.S. Regarding the merging of creators and players seen through the VALVE lens let’s not forget that Joyce said a long time ago “my consumers are they not my producers” Finnegans Wake – Courtesy of who else M Mcluhan

  8. Excellent interview, Yanis. As someone who works in game development in Austin, TX, it was nice to hear your thoughts on the corporate structure at Valve. I also had no clue you worked at the University of Texas. I was extremely fascinated by your thoughts on Steam’s community, and their ability to produce content at a much higher rate than Valve’s internal employees. Great podcast. Thanks again!

  9. Dear Yanis, I really enjoyed your conversation with Russ Roberts. Sounds like Valve is a very interesting place to be. It would be good if you could go back and discuss the Greek financial crisis with him. I heard you talking to Doug Henwood about the crisis, which was a good discussion but I think yourself and Russ Roberts, since you have, I assume, vastly differing viewpoints, would provide a much more lively and maybe more filled out discussion. Thanks for your work, keep it up, I will certainly be listening.

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