What is Minsky?

Minsky is a software program for designing monetary macroeconomic models that has been named in honor of Hyman Minsky–the non-orthodox American economist whose once neglected “Financial Instability Hypothesis” is now almost universally regarded as the explanation of the economic crisis of the past half-decade. One of Minsky’s wisest observations was that, in order to be […]

Australian House Prices down 10% from Peak

There are several providers of statistics on Australian house prices, but only one that doesn’t have a vested interest in the direction house prices actually move in: the Australian Bureau of Statistics. So despite the criticisms of this series—that it’s based on detached dwellings only, based on median sales data, too infrequent, not adjusted for […]

Krugman on (or Maybe off) Keen

Paul Krugman has just commented (twice) on my most recent blog about my paper for INET. In one sense, I’m delighted. The Neoclassical Establishment (yes Paul, you’re part of the Establishment) has ignored non-Neoclassical researchers like me for decades, so it’s good to see engagement rather than wilful (or more probably blind) ignorance of alternative […]

A Primer on Minsky

My paper “Instability in Financial Markets: Sources and Remedies” for the INET conference “Paradigm Lost: Rethinking Economics and Politics“, to be held in Berlin on April 12-14, is now available via the INET website. If you’d like to download it, you can get it either from my INET page, or from a link on the […]

Harvard Starts Its Own PAECON Against Mankiw

Several correspondents have just told me that some of Greg Mankiw’s students at Harvard are staging a walkout from his first year class. They’ve written an open letter to Mankiw to explain why: An Open Letter to Greg Mankiw I applaud them for this move. Mankiw’s various economics texts are among the most simplistic of […]

Economics Students: Join “Toxic Textbooks”

A new Facebook group dedicated to reforming economics tuition has just been established by Edward Fullbrook, the coordinator of PAECON–the “Post-Autistic ECOnomics Network”.Called “Toxic Textbooks“, its aim is to support and coordinate student protest against neoclassical economics at universities and schools around the world. Its manifesto is: “Toxic textbooks helped cause the economic meltdown The […]

Budget 2009: Let’s Assume We Have a Can Opener

I first heard the best joke about economics in 1975. The teller was the nuclear physicist (and nuclear power advocate) Sir Phillip Baxter, and he told it in answer to a question I had asked at a public forum.The joke is: A physicist, a chemist and an economist are shipwrecked on a desert isle, along […]

Debtwatch No 34: The Confidence Trick

“And, at this point, confidence is what it is all about… The first thing is to maintain some confidence in ourselves and the prospects for our country over time… Unfortunately, there is no lever marked ‘confidence’  that policy-makers can take hold of. Our task is very much one of seeking to behave, across the board, […]

Launch of “Political Economy Now!”

In May 1973, dissatisfaction over the teaching of economics at the University of Sydney went from a festering sore amongst the staff only to an outright revolt by a minority of the staff, and a majority of the students.  In 1975, a new Department of Political Economy had its first intake into Economics I(P). Thirty four years later, it is still going. Professor Frank Stilwell, who has lived this dispute since 1970, is launching Political Economy Now!, a history of the dispute, next Tuesday at Sydney University’s Fisher Library (May 5th, 5.30pm, Level 5).

I was one of those “revolting” students in 1973, having become disenchanted with neoclassical economics–before I even knew to call it that–in the middle of my first undergraduate year in 1971.

A major impetus here, as I note in Debunking Economics, was a lecture by the then newly appointed Dr Frank Stilwell which explained a concept known as the “theory of the second best“. Developed in the 1950s by Canadian economist Richard Lipsey and Australian-American economist Kelvin Lancaster, this theory argued that a single movement closer to what economic theory described as a better world could in fact reduce welfare rather than increasing it (Lipsey, R. G. and K. Lancaster (1956). “The General Theory of Second Best.” The Review of Economic Studies 24(1): 11-32).

Talk to the Fabian Forum: The Global Financial Crisis: How bad will it get?

A blog member has kindly produced a transcript of the off-the-cuff talk I gave at this forum. I’ve made minor corrections to the punctuation below, but the text is otherwise as delivered on the night without speaking notes–so there are some grammatical slips. For those who want to listen to this alone–without also listening to Bernie Fraser beforehand–here is a link to the MP3 of my talk.
I might start with when I started issuing the warnings. That was in December of 2005. I’d started researching what I’d call the debt deflation theory of great depressions in my PhD, working on the advances done by a guy called Hyman Minsky, who’s somebody who the economic students in the back row should definitely start looking up as soon as they get back to the library. Because answering one of the questions Bernie posed, “Who saw this coming?”, the only answer is Hyman Minsky in the most recent history, and before him, Irving Fischer during the Great Depression.Those two men, and the theoretical history they are part of, really gives us a far better explanation of what we’ve got ourselves into. Indeed if they’d been heeded, we wouldn’t be having this meeting.

1 2 3 4