Please Keep Kickstarting Minsky

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The Kick­starter cam­paign to fund fur­ther devel­op­ment of Min­sky has hit its min­i­mum tar­get of $50,000, which is great.

Kickstarter Funding Profile as at March 1st

Kick­starter Fund­ing Pro­file as at March 1st

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:

Kickstarter Pledgers Profile March 1st--the top 5

Kick­starter Pledgers Pro­file March 1st–the top 5

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.

Multisectoral limit cycle from 4 sector model developed in Mathcad

Mul­ti­sec­toral limit cycle from 4 sec­tor model devel­oped in Mathcad

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!

About Steve Keen

I am a professional economist and a long time critic of conventional economic thought. As well as attacking mainstream thought in Debunking Economics, I am also developing an alternative dynamic approach to economic modelling. The key issue I am tackling here is the prospect for a debt-deflation on the back of the enormous debts accumulated in Australia, and our very low rate of inflation.
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10 Responses to Please Keep Kickstarting Minsky

  1. Pingback: Please Keep Kickstarting Minsky | Fifth Estate

  2. tcgibian says:

    My son has con­tributed to sev­eral Kick­starter projects, and from his obser­va­tions the pace of con­tri­bu­tions starts out brisk, lev­els off in the mid­dle of the pledge period, and then jumps up toward the end. Let us hope for the same for Minsky.

  3. Steve Keen says:

    Let’s hope so! I’ll try some other avenues to pro­mote it to in the last two weeks.

  4. TruthIsThereIsNoTruth says:

    Can Min­sky model the fund­ing dynamic for itself?

  5. Endless says:

    Nice one TITINT,

    A com­plete absence of debt…

  6. TruthIsThereIsNoTruth says:

    Sure sta­bil­ity is desta­bil­is­ing, it’s a good propo­si­tion with a good under­ly­ing model. What’s inter­est­ing is that we implictly and with­out really think­ing assume that insta­blity is a bad thing. What I am say­ing is not meant to take away from the propo­si­tion or model, which can well be true. There is a ques­tion though why we con­sider insta­bil­ity to be bad, what exactly is the propo­si­tion, how doe we mea­sure bad from good, this ques­tion should inspire some deeper thinking.

    On my part, with­out know­ing the answer, I can say that cer­tain bio­log­i­cal sys­tems need insta­bil­ity to evolve. We could say that with­out insta­bil­ity we would not exist.

    How do you define sta­bil­ity? Is it mea­sured by a sta­ble GDP? What’s GDP? One could argue is that it is a num­ber rep­re­sent­ing the pace of plan­e­tary exploita­tion, at least in our cur­rent mode of pro­duc­tion, which is over­whelmed by unsus­tain­abil­ity. Maybe we need insta­bil­ity to shake the sys­tem up a bit?

  7. Steve Keen says:

    I have never argued that insta­bil­ity is a bad thing TININT: insta­bil­ity lead­ing to break­down is, but not insta­bil­ity itself. That’s one rea­son I love the out­come of my Min­sky with Gov­ern­ment model which gen­er­ates never-ending cycles, but not breakdown.

  8. Lyonwiss says:

    @ TruthIs­ThereIs­NoTruth March 4, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Econ­o­mists talk non­sense, in the sense of abuse lan­guage, includ­ing Min­sky. The phrase “sta­bil­ity is desta­bil­is­ing” is an oxy­moron for dra­matic effect only. Sta­bil­ity is sta­ble, period.

    Min­sky was not talk­ing about the sta­bil­ity con­cept gen­er­ally. He was talk­ing specif­i­cally about the credit mar­ket. After a pro­long period of high inter­est rates, only credit-worthy bor­row­ers remain and credit default rates drop to near zero, the credit mar­ket is calm and sta­ble. Of course, this pro­vides the sig­nal for mar­ket to lower risk pre­mium lead­ing to low inter­est rates. Low rates lead to exces­sive debt and then ris­ing credit default rates desta­bi­liz­ing the market.

    Inci­den­tally, this the­ory of credit dri­ven booms and busts by Min­sky is not fun­da­men­tally dif­fer­ent from the Aus­trian busi­ness cycle the­ory of von Mises. Insta­bil­ity in the sense of an eco­nomic bust is obvi­ously a bad thing, because of the loss of pro­duc­tion and human suf­fer­ing, even if it may be nec­es­sary for cre­ative destruction.

  9. TruthIsThereIsNoTruth says:

    Where do you draw the line between insta­bil­ity and break­down? I sup­pose with a model that’s easy to define. A break­down ends the cycle, the sys­tem implodes. But this is a the­o­ret­i­cal ref­er­ence point based on a par­tic­u­lar model. My prefence is to allow free­dom of thought from the­o­ret­i­cal ref­er­ence points.

    Then you can ask the harder ques­tions, where do you draw the line between insta­bil­ity and break­down in real­ity? Human soci­ety con­tin­ues to expand and evolve, have we ever really had a break­down, as defined by a model, or are we just expieri­enc­ing insta­bil­ity? It becomes pure sub­jec­tive judge­ment and then you might con­clude that it is arbir­tary and irrelevant.

    Another ques­tion is, what are you mea­sur­ing to be sta­ble in your model? What is GDP? At what point does the com­fort of the indi­vid­ual out­weigh the sus­tain­abil­ity of achiev­ing this com­fort, from a social good per­spec­tive? So really what are we try­ing to achieve by mak­ing eco­nomic vari­ables more sta­ble? Are we try­ing to pre­vent break­down, as you sug­gest? Then define break­down, not in the model, in real­ity. For every known assump­tion made to bridge the gap between model and real­ity how many unknown assump­tions are there?

  10. TruthIsThereIsNoTruth says:

    LW — I think it’s a good slo­gan, it cap­tures what the model is about and makes you curi­ous about it. I think the dra­matic effect is the 19th cen­tury banker with the bag of money. That’s a play on the antibank sen­ti­ment, whose teat parts of the media are also attached to. It’s all mar­ket­ing and why not. I think it’s beau­ti­ful, global soci­ety allo­cated 50k+ and hope­fully more to a project that has good ambitions.

    If a mol­e­c­u­lar frac­tion of the money spent try­ing to exploit the sys­tem was spent on try­ing to under­stand it, Steve would have his full blown ver­sion of Min­sky. I for one would have loved a class where I get to build a dynamic model of the econ­omy. I think from the edu­ca­tional point of view it has huge poten­tial. Not a big fan of extrap­o­la­tory con­clu­sions from the model, but that’s just me.

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