Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Britain's Varoufakis

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Britain's Varoufakis

Article excerpt

Which economist made his name blogging about the global financial crisis and got sucked into politics in 2015? Yanis Varoufakis is one correct answer. Richard Murphy may be another. The "man behind Corbynomics", as the 57-year-old accountant from Norfolk has been dubbed, chuckles at the comparison with Greece's former finance minister. "No one has suggested I'm the UK's Varoufakis," he says, "but the thought has occurred to me."

Murphy's sudden rise to prominence occurred early in August after it was reported that Jeremy Corbyn's economic plan relied heavily on his writings. The two men have known each other for about ten years after meeting through the Left Economics Advisory Panel. "If you drew a Venn diagram of my economic ideas and those of Jeremy Corbyn you'd get a large overlap," Murphy says.

His world-view was shaped by a career in finance. He trained as an accountant with KPMG and established his own practice in his mid-twenties. Murphy says his work there and in business--among other things, he helped manufacture the Trivial Pursuit board in Europe--gave him an insight into the inequities of the global tax system, which favours large corporations and the rich.

After selling his firm in 2000, he considered becoming an academic, and then focused on new economic ideas. He starting blogging nearly a decade ago and has written roughly 12,000 posts, mostly about tax and monetary policy. (His forthcoming book is called The Joy of Tax, which, though unlikely to repeat the success of Alex Comfort's 1972 illustrated sex manual, nevertheless shows a sense of humour. …

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