Review: Minsky Matters and the Next Minsky Moment

Michael Stephens | December 2, 2015

From Edward Chancellor’s review in Reuters Breakingviews of L. Randall Wray’s Why Minsky Matters:

Minsky, who taught economics at the University of Washington in St Louis before ending up at the Levy Institute at Bard College, had little time for conventional economics with its emphasis on equilibrium, rational expectations and the view that money and finance were largely irrelevant: “Nobody ‘up there’ understands American capitalism,” he once contemptuously wrote. […]

When the credit crunch arrived, it provided posthumous support for Minsky’s economic vision. Subprime mortgages were revealed as a classic form of Ponzi finance. Losses of securitized debt cascaded through the financial system, prompting a liquidity crisis, exactly as described in Minsky’s work. The Great Moderation gave way to the Great Recession, and the Lehman bust became known as the ultimate example of a “Minsky moment.”

As a result, the crisis made Minsky something of a household name beyond strictly economic circles. Unfortunately, Minsky in the original isn’t an easy read. “He needs to be translated,” writes Wray, in the preface to “Why Minsky Matters.” As a former teaching assistant of Minsky’s and colleague at the Levy Institute, Wray is perfectly positioned to perform that task. Few people understand Minsky as well as Wray. Written in clear prose, with Minsky’s idiosyncratic ideas and language patiently explained, Wray provides the best general introduction to Minsky’s economics.

Read the whole thing here.

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