The Interrobang: A Festival of Questions

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at Athenaeum Theatre

Why marry capitalism with democracy? Mary Kostakidis and Yanis Varoufakis

When first world governments talk about ‘spreading democracy’ to developing nations, we might assume a barely-veiled synonym for delivering capitalism. Of course, that’s no surprise; capitalism and democracy have been entangled for hundreds of years, formally and otherwise. Free markets and free speech masquerade as the best of friends. Are they?

Yanis Varoufakis has a unique view: as Greece’s minister of finance through this year’s Eurozone debt meltdown, he was charged with the unenviable task of steering democracy’s birthplace through a deep crisis of capital. (His staunch view? ‘Austerity sucks.’) The rockstar economist and self-described ‘libertarian Marxist’ is also a recognised expert on game theory, the author of several books on political economy, and an experienced academic and teacher.

Journalist and social justice advocate Mary Kostakidis joins Yanis Varoufakis for a conversation about Europe’s future, Australia’s prospects and ideas of fairness and equity – as well as contemporary democracy and the health of our political system.

Note to early bookers: if you booked tickets to this event prior to Thursday 19 November, some details may have changed. Please check for details.



Portrait of Yanis Varoufakis

Yanis Varoufakis

Yanis Varoufakis is an economist and co-founder of the DiEM25 movement for democracy, which he was re-elected to the Greek parliament to represent in 2019. A former Finance Minister of Greece, he is the author of a memoir, Adults in the Room, and a history, And the Weak Suffer What They Must?, which reveal and explain the catastrophic mishandling of Europe since the financial crisis. Both were number one bestsellers. His latest bestseller is Talking To My Daughter About the Economy: A Brief History of Capitalism.

Portrait of Mary Kostakidis

Mary Kostakidis

Mary Kostakidis is a journalist and for 20 years presented SBS World News. In 1980 she was a member of the management team that developed SBS television. Mary was a member of the National Human Rights Consultation Committee that recommended a Human Rights Act for Australia. A former Chair of USYD’s Sydney Peace Foundation, she has also served on the Advertising Standards Board, the Fred Hollows Board, the National Library Council and Sydney Theatre Board, and is a member of the Privacy Foundation Advisory Panel.

The Interrobang: A Festival of Questions

The Interrobang – a new festival from the Wheeler Centre – is looking for the best questions in the world.

Ask your questions and vote on others, then join us on 27–28 November for a feast of frequently unanswered questions – as we present your most controversial, revealing, funny and insightful ideas to a 28-strong Brains Trust of the world’s most inquisitive thinkers.

Pose your question at The Interrobang festival website. We’re building this festival on your curiosity, so brace yourself – and wonder hard.

Presenting partners

• City of Melbourne
• The University of Melbourne


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