IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Finance and Stability: The Limits of Capitalism


  • Hyman P. Minsky


Once again the United States economy is facing a crisis, resolution of which first requires the realization that there are many types of capitalism: Solutions implemented in the past, therefore, may or may not be an appropriate solution today, as they could have been implemented as an answer to a problem posed within the context of a different model. Alternatively, the solution may lie in the implementation of a totally new economic regime in answer to reoccurring problems inherent in capitalism in general. The implementation of a new model is not a unique happening in United States economic history. The interventionist model-set in motion by President Roosevelt in answer to the failure of the laissez-faire model in the 1930s-dealt with the obvious flaw inherent in capitalism in general namely, its inability to maintain a level of aggregate demand consistent with full employment. Implementation of the interventionist model prevented a massive depression of the type experienced in the 1930s from being repeated due to the larger role played by the government sector in maintaining demand via active fiscal policy, while moderating inflation through the use of monetary policy. The interventionist model also recognized the less obvious, deeper flaw of capitalism-namely, the manner in which the financial system can adversely affect the price of assets relative to that of current output. Absent any interventionist policy, the resulting decline in private investment and profits leads to a downward spiral and collapse of the financial sector. The institutional roadblocks included in the interventionist model were sufficient to avert large disequilibriums in asset and output prices, thereby sustaining profits and precluding a deep recession. (Indeed, the Federal Reserve was not forced to act to avert a financial crisis until 1968, when problems arose in the commercial paper market.) The interventionist model, however, was abrogated during the 1980s with the reinstitution of a new laissez-faire model. The new model eliminated many of the restrictions imposed on financial sector, massive increases in national deficits through unproductive public sector spending (made even more inefficient by the resulting interest on the debt), and the growth of speculative financing schemes that left us with too many highly indebted firms. A large, financially induced depression was contained only through the reintroduction of massive governing monetary and fiscal intervention in the form of the S&L bailout and the maintenance of profits with massive deficits. Although the subsequent drop in interest rates has resulted in a rise in asset values and somewhat abated the turmoil in the financial markets, the economy continues to stagnate.

Suggested Citation

  • Hyman P. Minsky, 1993. "Finance and Stability: The Limits of Capitalism," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_93, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_93

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Leszek Kąsek & Marek Lubiński, 2010. "hyman," Contemporary Economics, University of Finance and Management in Warsaw, vol. 4(1), March.
    2. L. Randall Wray, 2010. "Minsky, the Global Money-Manager Crisis, and the Return of Big Government," Chapters,in: Macroeconomic Theory and its Failings, chapter 15 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Papadimitriu, Dimitri (Пападимитриу, Димитри) & Wray, Randall (Рэй, Рэндалл), 2016. "Hyman Minsky's "Stabilizing an unstable economy" - twenty years later
      [«Стабилизируя Нестабильную Экономику» Хаймана Мински — Двадцать Лет Спустя]
      ," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 2, pages 22-51, April.
    4. Steven Kates (ed.), 2010. "Macroeconomic Theory and its Failings," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13728, February.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_93. 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). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.