IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Yes, 'It' Did Happen Again: A Minsky Crisis Happened in Asia

Listed author(s):
  • Jan A. Kregel

The Asian financial crisis is doubly unfortunate, first of all because it has set income and wealth levels in these countries back some ten years. But, it is also unfortunate because Hy Minsky been alive to point out to policy makers that they were dealing with a debt deflation the worst excesses might have been prevented. Hy spent a good deal of time explaining why "It", that is, the Great Depression, Can't Happen Again. But, in this case of Asia it did. And this is also a lesson for why it might happen again, outside the Far East. First, Hy insisted on the beneficial impact of Big Government in providing a floor under aggregate demand. Free falls in asset prices could not happen if there was a guaranteed floor under incomes. The Bigger the Government, the firmer foundation and the stable the economy. Not that this didn't cause other problems, but it meant that you could only go down so far. If we take a look at the vital statistics of the Asian economies, we see in general that they have small governments. And those governments tend to run persistent surpluses. There are no firm foundations here. This is not to say that government played no role. We have heard a lot about ‘crony capitalism' in Asia. But, this sort of income support does not provide the kind of aggregate demand support that Hy thought was beneficial to avoiding instability. Hy also thought that a Big Bank, an active central bank willing to intervene actively by lending at the discount window in support of asset prices, and thus of bank solvency, was of crucial importance. Hy did not believe in tying one's hands or currency boards or other forms of shooting financial markets in the foot. It is true that central banks are common in Asia, and in some countries they are active on the policy front. But, in the current crisis a major portion of the lending to firms and financial institutions was in foreign currency, Yen and US dollars, which meant that the local central bank was constrained in
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_234.

in new window

Date of creation: Apr 1998
Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_234
Contact details of provider: Web page:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_234. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Elizabeth Dunn)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.