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!

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About Steve Keen

I am Professor of Economics and Head of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University London, 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 private debts accumulated globally, and our very low rate of inflation.