Help make Minsky easier to use

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I’ve just put A$10,000 of my own money towards improv­ing Min­sky, the Open Source pro­gram I have designed to enable econ­o­mists to cre­ate dynamic and mon­e­tary mod­els of the econ­omy. If you sup­port the work I’m doing to help eco­nom­ics escape its 19th cen­tury equi­lib­rium fetish, please con­sider also mak­ing a dona­tion to Minsky’s devel­op­ment via Dr Rus­sell Standish’s Pay­Pal account (or via direct debit, using the account details you’ll find below):

Keep Rus­sell Stan­dish on the Min­sky Project



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Death of a Great Australian: Hugh Stretton 1924–2015

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The great poly­math and human­i­tar­ian Hugh Stret­ton died this week­end. I can do no bet­ter than to repro­duce another great Australian’s trib­ute to him.

The fol­low­ing is from Geoff Har­court.

Hugh died last Sat­ur­day at the age of 91 after a long ill­ness. I had known him since 1958 when I first came to Ade­laide where he was the much-admired Pro­fes­sor of His­tory. In later years we became firm friends, though I con­tin­ued to regard him with awe and admi­ra­tion. He was a giant intel­lect, eas­ily Australia’s most deep and pro­gres­sive thinker, and a remark­ably kind and humane man who lived up to his ideals in many prac­ti­cal ways.

Help Renegade Inc. get over the line in the next 70 hours

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Rene­gade Inc., the media group that pro­duced the Four Horse­men doc­u­men­tary about the finan­cial cri­sis, is run­ning a Kick­starter Cam­paign to raise US$45,000 to under­write its next documentary.

Click here to go to Kick­starter and donate.

The Four Horse­men doc­u­men­tary has been an inde­pen­dent media suc­cess, with over three mil­lion views on YouTube. It has also shown at more than three hun­dred Q and A ses­sions in sev­en­teen coun­tries. Ross and Megan Ashcroft, the prin­ci­pals of Rene­gade Inc., want to pro­duce a doc­u­men­tary for the post-crisis–or rather per­ma­nent crisis–world in which we now live. They also plan to fol­low this up with an inde­pen­dent media plat­form, to give the pub­lic some­thing other than the super­fi­cial pap that dom­i­nates the media cov­er­age of eco­nom­ics, pol­i­tics and cul­ture today.

Will We Crash Again? (FT/Alphaville Presentation)

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This is the talk I gave at the FT/Alphaville con­fer­ence in Lon­don last week. A num­ber of peo­ple asked me to send the PPT to them, and I got buried in other work and the emails are long lost in my Gmail queue. So if you’d like to down­load the pre­sen­ta­tion file, please click here. My apolo­gies to those cor­re­spon­dents to whom I haven’t replied directly.

To run the Min­sky model, down­load Min­sky from here and install it.

Time To Play Hardball Yanis

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The Greek ref­er­en­dum has deliv­ered a stun­ning vic­tory for Syriza and its anti-austerity mes­sage. Despite the banks being closed as a result of the ECB lim­it­ing its pro­vi­sion of ban­knotes, and despite a united cho­rus of Euro­pean lead­ers warn­ing of dire con­se­quences if the No vote suc­ceeded, the Greeks have voted No in over­whelm­ing num­bers. The final result looks likely to be a 62% No to 38% Yes rejec­tion of the Troika’s terms. Syriza now has over­whelm­ing sup­port from the Greek peo­ple to oppose the Troika (a result that opin­ion polls got com­pletely wrong).

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The Greek Vote

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There is an adage in pol­i­tics that you should never put any­thing to the vote unless you are sure of the out­come before­hand. On that front, the ref­er­en­dum Greeks will vote in this Sun­day is a mis­take, because the vote could go either way. If the major­ity votes No, as Syriza hopes, then it—hopefully—will strengthen its hand in future nego­ti­a­tions with the Troika. But if the major­ity votes Yes, then Syriza will have to capit­u­late to the Troika and accept its unbend­ing pol­icy of austerity.

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Bureaucrazies Versus Democracy

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The most recent of the almost daily “Greek Crises” has made one thing clear: the Troika of the IMF, the EU and the ECB is out to break the gov­ern­ment of Greece. There is no other way to inter­pret their refusal to accept the Greek’s lat­est pro­posal, which accepted huge gov­ern­ment sur­pluses of 1% of GDP in 2015 and 2% in 2016, imposed VAT increases, and fur­ther cut pen­sions which are already below the poverty line for almost half of Greece’s pen­sion­ers. Instead, though the Greeks offered cuts effec­tively worth €8 bil­lion, they wanted dif­fer­ent cuts worth €11 billion.

Are Surpluses Normal?

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England’s Chan­cel­lor George Osborne took the Con­ser­v­a­tive Party’s claim to fis­cal respon­si­bil­ity one step higher last week when he announced that they will enact a law which will require British gov­ern­ments to run sur­pluses “in nor­mal times”:

in nor­mal times, gov­ern­ments of the left as well as the right should run a bud­get sur­plus to bear down on debt and pre­pare for an uncer­tain future.” (“Man­sion House 2015: Speech by the Chan­cel­lor of the Exche­quer”)

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