Kickstart Keen and Minsky

In case you missed it. Over the weekend Professor Steve Keen launched a kickstarter campaign to raise $50,000 ( with the ultimate aim of $1 million) for a computer program for building & visually simulating dynamic, monetary economic models named Minsky.

Pledging to the campaign has a sliding rewards scale with the main reward being the project itself. Minsky will help the world by allowing economists to build models take debt, banks, and money seriously.

The other rewards include:

There is heaps more information on the kickstarter site and from the man himself in the video below:

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Comments

    • I have personally donated. As someone who expects to be involved in economic policy discussions for many decades, I figure it is a type of modelling I should be proficient with. While there are other tools out there, from what I have seen MINSKY is designed to make the use of accounting entries in dynamic systems much simpler.

  1. reusachtigeMEMBER

    “Minsky will help the world by allowing economists to build models take debt, banks, and money seriously.
    “.
    Huh, what?
    Debt plays no fuction at all in economics, it’s a zero-sum game. And money is serious already, you buy stuff with it and it’s fun to collect.
    Who’s this guy and what’s he on?

    • “Debt plays no function at all in economics”
      I guess that explains why economics is so awful at forecasting the economy.
      Debt is not a zero sum game. It can destroy businesses, people and countries (greece).

      I borrow $1 million dollars from the bank to buy a house. But the house is only worth $10000. I default on the debt. The bank loses $990,000. How is that a zero sum game? Enough people do that and banks go bust.

    • My non-expert understanding is if it was a zero sum game than in 2007 all of the properties in the US should have been sold and debts paid off and no sub-prime crisis. But ‘somehow’ there was more leverage then properties were worth.

    • “Debt plays no function at all in economics”

      This is actually true statement, debt plays no role in economics although it plays one of the most important roles in real world.

      • “debt plays no role in neoclassical economics”

        Which explains why nC economic models are so terrible.

  2. No disrespect to Keen but the best comment I’ve ever heard about Economists is …

    “Why aren’t all Economists Billionaires?”

    • Same conundrum with financial planners too I guess…

      I’ve put it to Steve before that he should work at a hedge fund instead of teaching others. But hes not in it for the money.

      However there are quite a few economist (i.e qualified by degree/PhD) billionaires: Ray Dalio, George Soros, Steve Cohen – all who have made their fortunes by going against the orthodoxy

      The academic orthodox EMH/CAPM economists who have tried their hand at the market have mostly failed. LTCM comes to mind…brilliantly.

      Those without the guts/capital/wherewithall to take on the market (and prove/disprove their theories) OR have an ego too big to get in the way of being wrong and learning from their mistakes usually end up becoming journalists.

    • It’s a silly take imo. You don’t need to understand money to make alot of it. Take sports stars for example. Mike Tyson generated $300 million over the course of his career. I’m pretty sure he didn’t understand the concept of investing any of it for a safe return.

      Take a stockbroker as THE perfect example. They don’t actually need to be very proficient in picking stocks that outperform to make alot of money or even provide sound advice.

      Making money is more about understanding and taming your own psychology and less about the knowledge you possess. It’s a tool. Guys who are rich treat it as such. They generally go broke a few times before they make their dough, or have a few failed businesses.

    • Another good example is an accountant. When they invariably want to operate their own business many go broke, because of that inherent tight wad accountant nature. They can’t make themselves part with large initial outlays for new capital equipment or systems that in the long term would generatate more wealth for the business. Instead they pinch pennies and think they are saving money.

  3. I took a look at the ‘Minsky’ program, and I believe it’s on the wrong track. The program behaves too much like a electronic simulation program., and is not very ‘usable’ for developing economic theories.

    To make the program ‘usable’, it needs to have a set of established ‘datasource’ : Inflation data, unemployment, interest rate, tax rates, exchange rate, GDP, etc. When you’re dealing with a dynamic system, you need to make the data very easy due to a much larger number of data points. The system clock should be discrete (makes programming faster with feedback calculation), and you need the concept of ‘actors’ and ‘conditional paths’, and sub modules.

    Suppose I want to test something really simple like ‘increasing minimum wages leads to higher unemployment’, the current Minsky program is too complicated and bulky to build such a model. You want something simple where anyone can :

    1) Select, then drag and drop the data for minimum wages and unemployment.

    2) Run the simulation

    3) See the difference between expected data and real data.

    Finally, as a computer programmer myself, the price being quoted is way out of whack. A web-based version merely adds a web-based user interface to the backend, and a couple of computer post-grad students can write it as their thesis. It is not hard.