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The rise and fall of money manager capitalism: a Minskian approach

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  • L. Randall Wray

Abstract

We are in the midst of a global financial crisis accompanied by a deep and probably long-lasting economic downturn; indeed, some analysts are already calling this the first depression of the post-World War II era. In this article, I argue that this is a systemic crisis--a crisis of what Hyman Minsky called money manager capitalism. I link this to the analyses of Hilferding and Veblen of an earlier period, finance capitalism, and argue that this is, in effect, the second failure of this type of capitalism. The essential characteristics of early finance capitalism are: relatively small government, use of external finance for investment, and growing concentration of economic power in the hands of 'trusts'--or what we might today call megacorporations with varied interests and diverse affiliations across 'industry', 'finance' and 'insurance'. Unlike the first phase, the second phase of finance capitalism took place in the context of a big government, neoconservative model. Minsky's analysis helps us to understand how the New Deal and big government created a paternalistic capitalism after World War II, which favoured high consumption, high employment, greater equality and financial stability; however, that stability was destabilising because it permitted the rise of managed money. Over time, innovation and deregulation increased fragility, which generated increasingly frequent and severe financial crises. While previous crises were resolved quickly enough to prevent 'it' (another debt deflation) from happening again, this crisis appears to be sufficiently severe that the very survival of money manager capitalism is thrown into question. The article examines the contributing factors to the current crisis, including the real estate boom and bust, the rise of risky financial instruments such as securitised debts and credit default swaps, the commodities market bubble and the fiscal squeeze. The article concludes with some suggestions concerning the possible outcome of the failure of this form of finance capitalism. Copyright The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Cambridge Political Economy Society. All rights reserved., Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Cambridge Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 33 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 807-828

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Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:33:y:2009:i:4:p:807-828

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Cited by:
  1. Jo, Tae-Hee, 2011. "Heterodox Critiques of Corporate Social Responsibility," MPRA Paper 35367, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Thomas Goda, 2013. "The role of income inequality in crisis theories and in the subprime crisis," Working Papers PKWP1305, Post Keynesian Economics Study Group (PKSG).
  3. Eduardo Strachman & José Ricardo Fucidji, 2012. "The Current Financial And Economic Crisis: Empirical And Methodological Issues," Journal of Advanced Studies in Finance, ASERS Publishing, vol. 0(1), pages 95-123, June.
  4. Eric Tymoigne, 2012. "Measuring Macroprudential Risk through Financial Fragility: A Minskyan Approach," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_716, Levy Economics Institute.
  5. Sau Lino, 2010. "Instability and crisis in financial complex systems," CESMEP Working Papers 201001, University of Turin.
  6. Konstantinos I. Loizos, 2014. "How Financial Innovation Might Cancel Out Bank Regulation Along Financial Cycles. A Keynes’s State of Confidence Interpretation," Working Papers PKWP1403, Post Keynesian Economics Study Group (PKSG).
  7. Cordelius Ilgmann & Ulrich van Suntum, . "Bad Banks: The Case of Germany," Working Papers 200110, Institute of Spatial and Housing Economics, Munster Universitary.
  8. Matthieu Charpe & Peter Flaschel, 2011. "Worker debt, default ans diversity of financial fragility," IMK Working Paper 5-2011, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  9. Yeva S. Nersisyan & L. Randall Wray, 2011. "Un excès de dette publique handicape-t-il réellement la croissance ?," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(1), pages 173-190.
  10. Iancu, Aurel, 2011. "Models of Financial System Fragility," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(1), pages 230-256, March.
  11. Carlo Zappia, 2012. "Re-reading Keynes after the crisis: probability and decision," Department of Economics University of Siena 646, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  12. Frank W. Geels, 2013. "The impact of the financial-economic crisis on sustainability transitions: Financial investment, governance and public discourse," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 39, WWWforEurope.
  13. Charles J. Whalen, 2012. "Post-Keynesian Institutionalism after the Great Recession," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_724, Levy Economics Institute.
  14. Suleymanov, Elchin & Alirzayev, Elvin, 2013. "Government Role During The Global Financial Crisis," MPRA Paper 51592, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 18 Nov 2013.
  15. David Prychitko, 2010. "Competing explanations of the Minsky moment: The financial instability hypothesis in light of Austrian theory," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 199-221, September.
  16. Jo, Tae-Hee & Henry, John F., 2013. "Take the Money and Run: The Business Enterprise in the Age of Money Manager Capitalism," MPRA Paper 48782, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. Giancarlo Bertocco, 2011. "Housing bubble and economic theory: is mainstream theory able to explain the crisis?," Economics and Quantitative Methods qf1116, Department of Economics, University of Insubria.
  18. Charpe, Matthieu & Flaschel, Peter, 2013. "Workers’ debt, default and the diversity of financial fragilities," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 48-65.
  19. Mornati, Fiorenzo & Becchio, Giandomenica & Marchionatti, Roberto & Cassata, Francesco, 2009. ""Quando l'economica italiana non era seconda a nessuno" Luigi Einaudi e la Scuola di Economia a Torino," CESMEP Working Papers 200910, University of Turin.
  20. Yeva Nersisyan & L. Randall Wray, 2010. "Does Excessive Sovereign Debt Really Hurt Growth? A Critique of This Time Is Different, by Reinhart and Rogoff," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_603, Levy Economics Institute.
  21. Giancarlo Bertocco, 2011. "Finance and risk: does finance create risk?," Economics and Quantitative Methods qf1115, Department of Economics, University of Insubria.
  22. Signorino, Rodolfo, 2010. "Economics in the mirror of the financial crisis," MPRA Paper 39470, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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