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Minsky Crisis

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  • L. Randall Wray

Abstract

Stability is destabilizing. These three words concisely capture the insight that underlies Hyman Minsky's analysis of the economy's transformation over the entire postwar period. The basic thesis is that the dynamic forces of a capitalist economy are explosive and must be contained by institutional ceilings and floors. However, to the extent that these constraints achieve some semblance of stability, they will change behavior in such a way that the ceiling will be breached in an unsustainable speculative boom. If the inevitable crash is "cushioned" by the institutional floors, the risky behavior that caused the boom will be rewarded. Another boom will build, and the crash that follows will again test the safety net. Over time, the crises become increasingly frequent and severe, until finally "it" (a great depression with a debt deflation) becomes possible. Policy must adapt as the economy is transformed. The problem with the stabilizing institutions that were put in place in the early postwar period is that they no longer served the economy well by the 1980s. Further, they had been purposely degraded and even in some cases dismantled, often in the erroneous belief that "free" markets are self-regulating. Hence, the economy evolved over the postwar period in a manner that made it much more fragile. Minsky continually formulated and advocated policy to deal with these new developments. Unfortunately, his warnings were largely ignored by the profession and by policymakers—until it was too late.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_659.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_659

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Web page: http://www.levyinstitute.org

Related research

Keywords: Stability Is Destabilizing; Hyman Minsky; Money Manager Capitalism; Financial Instability Hypothesis; Global Financial Crisis; Self-Regulating Markets;

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References

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  1. Dimitri B. Papadimitriou & L. Randall Wray, 1998. "The Economic Contributions of Hyman Minsky: Varieties of Capitalism and Institutional Reform," Macroeconomics 9802018, EconWPA.
  2. Pavlina R. Tcherneva & L. Randall Wray, 2007. "Public Employment and Women: The Impact of Argentina’s Jefes Program on Female Heads of Poor Households," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_519, Levy Economics Institute.
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Cited by:
  1. Sergio Cesaratto, 2012. "Neo-Kaleckian and Sraffian controversies on accumulation theory," Department of Economics University of Siena 650, Department of Economics, University of Siena.

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