Good news: I have convinced Raffaele Miniaci to attend Econ-SF in Istanbul as the discussant.
Raffaele is a full professor of Economics at University of Brescia, in Italy. His research has been mostly on labor economics issues. He comes to economics from statistics, so his work has always been strongly quantitative and data-oriented. He has a unique ability to map abstract ideas and concepts (like “inequality” or “abundance”) onto the messiness of actual economies, populated by brilliant, imperfect actual humans and their creations. How do you measure things? How does choosing to measure something shift what you are trying to do? How will you know you are doing it right? As we move into blue-sky speculation, I think Econ-SF needs just that: someone with at least some idea of where to begin answering the question “how would it work in practice”?
Raffaele is also a well-loved teacher and colleague. Humble and unassuming in a world of big egos, he is nevertheless an accomplished, confident researcher. I have known him for decades, since we were both at University College London. He makes me feel very safe about the success of Econ-SF. He was a bit surprised when I approached him for this, but agreed immediately – good sign for the involvement of other academics somewhere down the line.