Please Keep Kickstarting Minsky
The Kickstarter campaign to fund further development of Minsky has hit its minimum target of $50,000, which is great.
Visitors from Debtwatch have been the most prolific pledgers as well–though direct donors and “Twitterers” have been the most generous in the aggregate, and Open Source fans from within the Kickstarter community have been the most generous on a per capita basis:
This much finance will let us complete the “Petty” release of Minsky (we’re naming each release after a prominent historical economist, starting way back with Aristotle–the current release is named after St Thomas Aquinas), which will basically finesse the current Aquinas release: substantial improvements to the appearance of Plots; adding numerical displays to the canvas; coordinating multiple Godley tables so that what is an Asset in one must be shown as a Liability in any other; exporting results (both numerical and symbolic), and so on. We’ll also be able to finish the Web-browser version (which Nathan and Kevin helped code a foundation for as a final year project at UWS).
But there’s much more to be done. The next transformational release is the Quesnay version, which will transform the program from a “scalar” system–in which entities like GDP, Labor and so on are single numbers–to a “vector” system in which GDP can be broken down into any desired level of detail (from a simple classification like “Consumer Goods”, “Capital Goods”, “Agriculture”, “Energy” to a full input-output model with numerous sectors, like the 67-sector table published by the BEA for the US economy).
We know it can be done because I’ve already done it in Mathcad and (with the programming assistance of Dr Mike Honeychurch) Mathematica. Doing it in Minsky will be a major step in taking the program from a very useful conceptual tool towards a system that I hope can one day do for economics what Lorenz’s work did for meteorology.
Russell and I estimate that it will take of the order of 2,500 more hours of programming time to do that–for a cost of roughly $250,000. So every extra pledge from now on till March 18, when the campaign ends, will help us get closer to that goal.
Please make a pledge if you haven’t already done so; consider increasing your pledge if you have already backed us; and let your network know of the campaign and encourage them to help out and also spread the word.
It is amazing what can be achieved by this method. I had personally backed one project–LiveCode, an English language approach to programming that evolved from the brilliant but no longer active Apple Hypercard program. LiveCode already exists as a commercial program, produced by RunRev in Edinburgh; its Kickstarter campaign was attempting to raise $500,000 to produce an Open Source version.
With less than week to go, they only had about 75% of the funding they needed–and in Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing funding model, they looked like they were going to get nothing. So I upped my pledge from $35 to $500–hoping to help push them over the edge, though I doubted they’d make it.
Then, in the next six days, they raised another $400,000. Not only did they reach their target, they blasted through it.
I hope that something like that is possible with Minsky. We know we’re going to get funded; now please help make that funding sufficient to let us produce a program that can transform economics. Kickstart Minsky today!