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posted on 11 March 2016

Minsky In New York

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Econintersect: Hyman Minsky (1919-1996) is a long overlooked economist who was posthumously thrust into the spotlight when The Great Financial Crisis (GFC) took most of the economics world by complete surprise. Minsky had developed theories of economics centered on the concept that economic equilibrium, the cornerstone of mainstream economic thinking since at least the late 19th century, was a delusion which ended in a fragile condition and then a dramatic collapse. Minsky called this the Financial Instability Hypothesis.



Minsky earned a bachelors degree in mathematics from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in mathematics and a Ph.D in economics from Harvard, advised by two of the icons of the field in the first half of the 20th century, Joseph Schumpeter and Wassily Leontief. He taught at Brown University and the University of California, Berkeley before spending most of his career (1965-1990) at Washington University St. Louis. He was a Distinguished Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College from its founding in 1985 until his death in 1996.

Wikipedia lists the economists who most influenced Minsky: Henry Simons, Joseph Schumpeter, Wassily Leontief, Michał Kalecki, John Maynard Keynes, Irving Fisher and Abba Lerner.

Among Minsky's students are L. Randall Wray (Ph.D. thesis advisee) and Lars Pålsson Syll (Ph.D. postdoctoral research). Others he has influenced (listed by Wikipedia): Laurence Meyer, Paul McCulley, Steve Keen, Stephany Griffith-Jones, Paul Krugman and Daniele Archibugi.

Why Minsky Matters Program in New York

This weekend: 11 - 13 March 2016, there are screenings of the movie "Boom Bust Boom" at the Village East Cinemas in New York. Another screening on Tuesday 15 March will include a book signing by Randy Wray.

Village East Cinema: Q&As opening week:

Friday 3/11 @ 7:40PM - filmmakers Ben Timlett, Bill Jones, & Theo Knocken; Rob Johnson, President of INET; and Perry Mehrling, Professor of Economics in attendance

Saturday 3/12 @ 7:40PM - Ben Timlett, Bill Jones, and Alan Minsky in attendance

Sunday 3/13 @ 3:20PM - Richard Wolff and Alan Minsky in attendance

Sunday 3/13 @ 5:40PM - Gabriel Sub, Rethinking Economics; and Thomas Vass, INET in attendance

Tuesday 3/15 @ 7:40PM - Q&A and book signing with author Randall Wray

From the review of the movie in The New York Times by Ken Jaworowski:

"This film is about the Achilles' heel of capitalism," Terry Jones says at the opening of "Boom Bust Boom." "How human nature drives the economy to crisis after crisis, time and time again."

It's an ominous statement, and one that belies what follows: a remarkably enjoyable, and sometimes very funny, documentary about a frightening topic.

"Boom Bust Boom" explores the economic collapse of 2008 and uses it to investigate past financial panics and depressions. Nobel Prize winners, academics and economists are interviewed, and while they mention numerous reasons for these meltdowns, hubris is often cited as the chief culprit.


"Boom Bust Boom" is pithy and clever, and an excellent companion to the film "The Big Short" and the book "Freakonomics." It's also an upbeat tale, though we're given plenty of warnings. "Every generation thinks it's smarter than its parents and its grandparents," one economist says. "And it never appears to be the case." Or, in the words of another, "Nothing is ever learned for long."

This author would suggest one minor change in what Ken Jaworowski has written: Replace "hubris" with "ignorant hubris".

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