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Extending Minsky's Classifications of Fragility to Government and the Open Economy

Listed author(s):
  • L. Randall Wray

Minsky's classification of fragility according to hedge, speculative, and Ponzi positions is well-known. He wrote about fragile positions of individual firms and of the economy as a whole, with the economy transitioning naturally from a robust financial structure (dominated by hedge units) to a fragile structure (dominated by speculative units). In most of Minsky's writing, he introduced government through its impact on the private sector with its spending and balance sheet operations as stabilizing forces (although he insisted that stability is ultimately destabilizing). On a few occasions he also analyzed the government's own balance sheet position. More rarely, Minsky extended his analysis to the open economy, examining the fragility of external debt positions. In these works, he analyzed the United States as the "world's bank" and discussed the impact of various U.S. balance sheet positions on the rest of the world. This paper will carefully examine Minsky's position on these topics, and will offer an extension of Minsky's work. It will also examine the "sustainability" of the current "twin U.S. deficits."

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File URL: http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_450.pdf
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Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_450.

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Date of creation: May 2006
Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_450
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.levyinstitute.org

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  1. Wynne Godley, 2005. "Some Unpleasant American Arithmetic," Economics Policy Note Archive 05-5, Levy Economics Institute.
  2. Wynne Godley & Dimitri B. Papadimitriou & Claudio H. Dos Santos & Gennaro Zezza, 2005. "The United States and Her Creditors: Can the Symbiosis Last?," Economics Strategic Analysis Archive sa_sep_05, Levy Economics Institute.
  3. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2007. "From World Banker to World Venture Capitalist: U.S. External Adjustment and the Exorbitant Privilege," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 11-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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