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Global Financial Crisis: A Minskyan Interpretation of the Causes, the Fed's Bailout, and the Future


  • L. Randall Wray


This paper provides a quick review of the causes of the Global Financial Crisis that began in 2007. There were many contributing factors, but among the most important were rising inequality and stagnant incomes for most American workers, growing private sector debt in the United States and many other countries, financialization of the global economy (itself a very complex process), deregulation and desupervision of financial institutions, and overly tight fiscal policy in many nations. The analysis adopts the "stages" approach developed by Hyman P. Minsky, according to which a gradual transformation of the economy over the postwar period has in many ways reproduced the conditions that led to the Great Depression. The paper then moves on to an examination of the US government's bailout of the global financial system. While other governments played a role, the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve assumed much of the responsibility for the bailout. A detailed examination of the Fed's response shows how unprecedented—and possibly illegal-was its extension of the government's "safety net" to the biggest financial institutions. The paper closes with an assessment of the problems the bailout itself poses for the future.

Suggested Citation

  • L. Randall Wray, 2012. "Global Financial Crisis: A Minskyan Interpretation of the Causes, the Fed's Bailout, and the Future," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_711, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_711

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dimitri Papadimitriou & L. Randall Wray, 1998. "The Economic Contributions of Hyman Minsky: varieties of capitalism and institutional reform," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 199-225.
    2. Wynne Godley & L. Randall Wray, "undated". "Can Goldilocks Survive?," Economics Policy Note Archive 99-4, Levy Economics Institute.
    3. Jan Kregel, 2008. "Minsky’s Cushions of Safety: Systemic Risk and the Crisis in the U.S. Subprime Mortgage Market," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive ppb_93, Levy Economics Institute.
    4. Hyman P. Minsky & Charles J. Whalen, 1996. "Economic Insecurity and the Institutional Prerequisites for Successful Capitalism," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_165, Levy Economics Institute.
    5. L. Randall Wray, "undated". "Surplus Mania: A Reality Check," Economics Policy Note Archive 99-3, Levy Economics Institute.
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    Cited by:

    1. Phillip Anthony O’Hara, 2013. "Policies and Institutions for Moderating Deep Recessions, Debt Crises and Financial Instabilities," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 60(1), pages 19-49, March.

    More about this item


    Hyman Minsky; Global Financial Crisis; Financialization; Money Manager Capitalism; Bank Bailout; Quantitative Easing; Financial Crisis Inquiry Report; Fraud; Minsky Moment; Real Estate Bubble; MERS; Federal Reserve;

    JEL classification:

    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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