Assistance for Minsky required

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To any­one out there with deep pockets–or to lots of peo­ple with shal­low­er ones–I need finan­cial assis­tance for the Min­sky pro­gram. I have been wait­ing for fund­ing from a source that I’ll reveal once it final­ly comes through, but it has now been delayed for over six months from when it was first moot­ed to arrive. If I am lucky, it will come through in January–another 4 months away.

The prob­lem is that I may lose my pro­gram­mer by then to the vicis­si­tudes of hav­ing to earn a liv­ing. I have been the archi­tect of Min­sky, but Rus­sell Stan­dish has been the builder, and I was incred­i­bly lucky to secure his ser­vices when the project began 3 years ago.

Now he has gone over 6 months with­out an income, part­ly because he has not mar­ket­ed his skills to oth­er poten­tial employ­ers because of his ded­i­ca­tion to this project.

With­out Rus­sel­l’s skills, Min­sky would nev­er have reached the lev­el of capa­bil­i­ty it has in the same triv­ial amount of time (in pro­gram­mer terms). Min­sky as it stands today has been built with in about 2300 hours of pro­gram­ming time–with each hour cost­ing A$100 at Rus­sel­l’s con­trac­tor rate.

That a pro­gram with so few devel­op­ment hours in it could be cho­sen as Project of the Month by Source­Forge, which hosts of the order of 100,000 projects, is a tes­ta­ment to just how skil­ful a pro­gram­mer Rus­sell is. He’s also a very unas­sum­ing guy–a lot more mod­est than yours truly–but he was dri­ven to “beat his own drum” in explain­ing his sit­u­a­tion to our erst­while fun­ders. I can do no bet­ter than to quote his state­ment to them to explain why I want sup­port from the pub­lic to hang on to him:

I bring to the par­ty a mix of valu­able skills, rang­ing from deep math­e­mat­i­cal mod­el­ling and research, high per­for­mance com­put­ing opti­mi­sa­tion, soft­ware engi­neer­ing with a track record of deliv­ery and also team man­age­ment. Find­ing these skills in the employ­ment mar­ket­place is chal­leng­ing enough, but get­ting them in one per­son is quite rare.

For exam­ple, you often find peo­ple who are bril­liant tech­ni­cal­ly, and cre­ate orig­i­nal solu­tions, but who nev­er deliv­er any­thing func­tion­al unless almost micro-man­aged. And you often find capa­ble line man­age­ment who lack the tech­ni­cal vision to inspire the team of researchers.

You can put togeth­er a team com­bin­ing these dif­fer­ent types of peo­ple, but that gets to be a rather more expen­sive propo­si­tion.

Amen to that. Rus­sell is a unique­ly gift­ed per­son, and I’m dou­bly lucky that he is a close friend as well as the best pro­gram­mer I could have found for the Min­sky project.

So if you want to sup­port not mere­ly the work I have been doing, but the over­all objec­tive of build­ing a tool that will enable eco­nom­ics to escape from its foun­da­tion myths of equi­lib­ri­um and barter, please lend a hand now.


I’m writ­ing this on the spur of the moment; I don’t have any fund­ing mech­a­nism set up, and with my new job at Kingston Uni­ver­si­ty I don’t know that I’ll have the time to estab­lish one. I might just have to go with a donate but­ton here. Or let me know by email to if we’re talk­ing a real­ly sub­stan­tial sum.

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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.