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Minsky: Latest News

Russell Standish has been working on Minsky thanks to the extra funds raised by the donate button below.

Keep Russell Standish on the Minsky Project

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He has produced a beta which is a substantial improvement over the release version currently on the Sourceforge home page. It adds:

  • an equation viewer--so you can design a model and instantly see the equations behind it from within Minsky (as well as export them to LaTeX);
  • A differential operator, so you can calculate rates of change (and in typical Russell style, this is no ordinary numerical approximation but a full symbolic differential system, so the approximation problems that apply with (to my knowledge) all other system dynamics program differential operators don't apply to Minsky);
  • A large num­ber of bug fixes.

With the caveat that beta ver­sions almost always have bugs, this ver­sion is very close to a new release can­di­date and I would rec­om­mend using it rather than the sta­ble release:

Min­sky Beta Page

Keep Rus­sell Stan­dish on the Min­sky Project

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Keep Rus­sell Stan­dish cod­ing Minsky

Min­sky has been devel­oped thanks to two grants: an ini­tial US$128,000 grant from INET, and crowd­fund­ing of $78,000 from Kick­starter. With other amounts from indi­vid­ual donor, that has funded about 2500 hours of pro­gram­ming by the bril­liant pro­gram­mer behind Min­sky, Pro­fes­sor Rus­sell Stan­dish. I will be apply­ing for other grants now that I am based in the UK, but in the mean­time more fund­ing is needed to keep the devel­op­ment rolling and to reserve Russell’s skills for Min­sky. So please donate via the Pay­pal link above: the funds go directly to Rus­sell, and the money raised so far–about $8,000–has helped pro­duce the lat­est beta, which

Source­Forge Project of the Month for Jan­u­ary 2014

We’re delighted that Source­Forge has seen fit to make Min­sky it’s Project of the Month. Min­sky is both a gen­eral pur­pose sys­tem dynam­ics pro­gram, and the first such pro­gram specif­i­cally designed to sup­port the build­ing of mon­e­tary mod­els of the economy.

Our design objec­tive has been to make it as intu­itive as pos­si­ble to use, while sup­port­ing var­i­ous advanced features–such as main­tain­ing con­sis­tency between mul­ti­ple mon­e­tary flow tables–in as seam­less a way as pos­si­ble. We hope that users will find it use­ful, and we would be delighted to get cod­ing assis­tance from devel­op­ers, user assis­tance in bug test­ing and build­ing the help sys­tem, etc.

Dr. Rus­sell Stan­dish and I have been work­ing on Min­sky now for almost two years now–first using a $125K from INET’s Spring 2011 grant round and then another $80K from a suc­cess­ful Kick­starter cam­paign: Rus­sell as builder (cod­ing in C++ and Tcl/Tk) and me as archi­tect (play­ing with each release, spot­ting bugs and sug­gest­ing fea­tures). It’s been a part-time endeavor: Rus­sell, as a con­tract pro­gram­mer, has to keep more than one iron in the fire, while I have a fair few balls in the air myself. Rus­sell has put in about 2000 hours of cod­ing over that time.

That amount of cod­ing is chicken feed com­pared to the mil­lions of hours that have gone into a stan­dard com­mer­cial prod­uct like Microsoft Word or Excel, so Min­sky is still rough at the edges, and lacks a num­ber of fea­tures that you would expect in a com­mer­cial pack­age. But there is enough core func­tion­al­ity and sta­bil­ity in place for a first major release–the “Mun” ver­sion which can now be down­loaded from Source­Forge (major iter­a­tions of Min­sky are named after major thinkers in economics–we started with Aristotle).

Minsky Endogenous Money Simulation

There is still only a rudi­men­tary and incom­plete Help file (did I say I had too many balls in the air?), so to make up for it I’ve recorded the fol­low­ing set of 15 videos that cover most of the fea­tures of the pro­gram. They’re all up on YouTube (where the num­ber is the series changes from 8 to 11 to 15…), but here they are for easy ref­er­ence, with some notes about what each video cov­ers. All the Min­sky (mky) files used in the pre­sen­ta­tions are in this Zip file.

So if you’re into eco­nomic mod­el­ing and you’d like to develop dynamic mon­e­tary mod­els, Min­sky now has enough fea­tures to be worth using–and it won’t face the lim­i­ta­tions that apply to more con­ven­tional sys­tem dynam­ics pro­grams, like Stella, Ven­sim, Vis­sim, etc., that make it inher­ently chal­leng­ing to model the finan­cial sys­tem. With Min­sky and its God­ley Tables, mon­e­tary mod­el­ing is a cinch (and it will get eas­ier as we add more capa­bil­i­ties to the pro­gram). So please, down­load the pro­gram, join our beta-testing group, and start build­ing mon­e­tary macroeconomics.

If you’re a devel­oper with time to devote to this project, imme­di­ate needs include:

  • Spruc­ing up plots;
  • Copy and paste sup­port files;
  • Mul­ti­ple files open at once;
  • Build­ing a LaTeX viewer into Minsky;

Medium term needs include:

  • A direct LaTeX edi­tor with seam­less trans­fer between the equa­tion pane and the can­vas pane;
  • Adding Social Account­ing Matrix sup­port for equa­tion con­sis­tency checking;

The long term objec­tives include:

  • Trans­form a “scalar” eco­nomic model into a “vec­tor” with mon­e­tary and phys­i­cal input-output dynam­ics with one click;
  • Mul­ti­ple econ­omy sup­port with finan­cial and phys­i­cal flows between economies, cur­rency con­ver­sion, etc.;
  • Data import­ing, manip­u­la­tion and non­lin­ear para­me­ter fitting

Min­sky 1.0 Demo #1 Basics And God­ley Table

Installing Min­sky from a ZIP file, the can­vas, wiring to build equa­tions, installing a graph, graph­ing a basic func­tion like sin(t), out­putting the equa­tions to LaTeX (which you can import into MathType in Word), and a basic “endoge­nous money” God­ley Table.

Min­sky Files: sine.mky (using Min­sky to plot a sine wave); Godley.mky (a basic purely mon­e­tary model, with no simulation–just the double-entry book­keep­ing table).

Min­sky 1.0 Demo #2 God­ley Simulation

Using a God­ley Table to define a numer­i­cal sim­u­la­tion: right-click to copy flows and vari­ables (“stocks”), defin­ing mon­e­tary equa­tions, and run­ning a simulation.

Min­sky file: GodleySim01.mky (the same model as in the pre­vi­ous video with def­i­n­i­tions of flows added so that it can be numer­i­cally simulated).

Min­sky 1.0 Demo #3 Godley-Goodwin Integration

Using time lags, enter­ing Greek char­ac­ters and sub­scripts, build­ing a dynamic model using the flow­chart part of the pro­gram, using inte­gra­tion blocks in dynamic mod­els, mak­ing x-y graphs as well as graphs of vari­ables against time.

Min­sky file: GodleySim02.mky (the same model as in the pre­vi­ous video, but using time con­stants rather than arbi­trary num­bers for sys­tem para­me­ters); GodleyGoodwin01 and GodleyGoodwinSim01 (adding a Good­win model of pro­duc­tion using the flow­chart aspects of the pro­gram, and adding XY charts, slow­ing down the sim­u­la­tion speed)

Min­sky 1.0 Demo #4 Godley-Goodwin Integration

Start­ing to inte­grate a mon­e­tary and a phys­i­cal model, using slid­ers to vary para­me­ters dur­ing a sim­u­la­tion.

Min­sky files: GodleyGoodwinSimInt01 (begin­ning to inte­grate the two mod­els: mak­ing the wage a mon­e­tary phenomenon)

Min­sky 1.0 Demo #5 God­ley Good­win Inte­gra­tion #2

Doing it right: start­ing by mod­i­fy­ing the real cycli­cal model to include mon­e­tary variables.

Min­sky files: GodleyGoodwinSimInt01C (adding Price to the Good­win model before attempt­ing the integration).

Min­sky 1.0 Demo #6 Godley-Goodwin Integration

Con­tin­u­ing the process.

Min­sky files: GodleyGoodwinSimInt01D (com­plet­ing the integration)

Min­sky 1.0 Demo #7 Godley-Goodwin Inte­gra­tion #4

Con­tin­u­ing the process.

Min­sky files include GodleyGoodwinSimInt03, where I add a lin­ear invest­ment func­tion to the lin­ear wage change func­tion that is the core of the Good­win model.

Min­sky 1.0 Demo #8 Godley-Goodwin Inte­gra­tion #5

Get­ting cycles in the mon­e­tary econ­omy as well as the phys­i­cal. Intro­duc­ing an invest­ment func­tion as well as a wage change func­tion. Show­ing the debt-deflation model.

Min­sky files include DebtDeflation02, which is the mon­e­tary ver­sion of my 1995 debt-crisis model in “Finance and Eco­nomic Break­down

Min­sky 1.0 Demo #09 Mul­ti­ple God­ley Tables

Com­bin­ing MMT and MCT with two God­ley Tables, one for the Cen­tral Bank, the other for Pri­vate Banks. Minsky’s built-in logic to main­tain con­sis­tency between assets and lia­bil­i­ties across mul­ti­ple God­ley Tables. A poten­tially sur­pris­ing result about the rela­tion­ship between the change in pri­vate debt and the change in pub­lic debt.

Min­sky files: MinskyOnePointZeroDemo09MultipleGodleyTables (com­bines MMT and MCT and shows that the change in pri­vate debt and the change in pub­lic debt are not of equal and oppo­site mag­ni­tudes in a closed economy).

Min­sky 1.0 Demo #10 Zooming

Group­ing enti­ties, zoom­ing in to see a group, edit­ing a group, using the Lorenz Strange Attrac­tor as first exam­ple, and my model of debt-deflation as the second.

Min­sky 1.0 Demo #11 Bugs

Bugs and how to cope with them.

Min­sky 1.0 Demo #12 Lorenz model

Using the flow­chart side of the pro­gram to build the famous Lorenz model. Chang­ing the Runge-Kutta para­me­ters to get a smoother sim­u­la­tion. Set­ting ranges on a graph.

Min­sky 1.0 Demo13 # Lorenz model with Sliders

Using slid­ers to vary para­me­ters in a model while it runs.

Min­sky files: Vari­a­tions on Lorenz, espe­cially LorenzWithSliders02.

Min­sky 1.0 Demo #14 Competitors

How does Min­sky stack up as a sys­tem dynam­ics pro­gram com­pared to the estab­lished play­ers Simulink, Ven­sim, and Vis­sim? It doesn’t have the power of these estab­lished pro­grams of course–matching the fea­ture set of even Ven­sim would require tens thou­sands more hours of pro­gram­ming time, let alone that of Vis­sim or the mar­ket leader Simulink. But on a user-friendliness scale, I think it’s easy to see that Min­sky is much eas­ier to use than Ven­sim, sig­nif­i­cantly eas­ier than Simulink, and within reach of Vissim–though it lacks some basic edit­ing features.

Min­sky 1.0 Demo #15 Why God­ley Tables?

This is the clincher. If you want to model mon­e­tary dynam­ics, there is no other pro­gram that offers any­thing like the God­ley Table for mod­el­ing the double-entry flows that char­ac­ter­ize the finan­cial sys­tem. A flow­chart is an inher­ently weak tool for build­ing a mon­e­tary model..

21 Responses to Minsky

  1. Laszlo Orosz says:

    Hello guys, kind of new here. Can any­body help me, how to down­load Min­sky?
    I’ve played around with QED and the first Min­sky ver­sion from source­forge, but I’m unable to get the recent ver­sion.

  2. Charlotte van Dixhoorn says:

    Hello all,

    Very inter­est­ing mod­els. How­ever, does any­one also get the “Error: No input for port 147″ when run­ning the exam­ple model:



  3. Steve Keen says:

    There’s a new ver­sion Charlotte:


    I’m also about to post a set of videos on how to use it, and a call for beta testers. Lovely to have your help on that already!

  4. Graham Wideman says:

    @Steve and Char­lotte: I just down­loaded both the ver­sion in the “Min­sky for Win­dows link, and the one linked to in your Aug 9 post. They are both named Min­sky 1.0 D099, and both pro­duce the error men­tioned by Char­lotte.
    Look­ing for­ward to user doc­u­men­ta­tion, and also docs for the mky xml file for­mat. I will be happy to be involved in beta testing.

  5. Russell Standish says:

    @Graham & Char­lotte: Its vital that these bug reports are entered inot Min­sky tick­ets so that they get a chance to be looked at:

    I did a quick search, but can’t see whether your par­tic­u­lar issue has been reported or fixed, though.

    As for beta test­ing, I should have a new build for beta test­ing next week, but you need to sub­scribe to the beta testers mail­ing list to get noti­fi­ca­tion of new builds for testing.

    Start­ing next month, I will be work­ing on for­mal­is­ing the mky for­mat as an XML DTD. This is impor­tant, as the exist­ing for­mat is imped­ing the program’s evo­lu­tion. The descrip­tions will be checked into the source code repos­i­tory, and posted to the Min­sky wiki.

    As for user doc­u­men­ta­tion, the idea is for the soft­ware to be quite intu­itive. Feed­back on fail­ings in this regard will be appre­ci­ated! More impor­tant doc­u­men­ta­tion is more a ped­a­gog­i­cal one, show­ing how to cre­ate eco­nomic and other mod­els in Min­sky. Steve’s videos are a good start.

  6. Graham Hodgson says:

    I’m puz­zled by the spec­i­fi­ca­tion of stock vari­ables, which are gen­er­ated when col­umn head­ings of the God­ley Table are named. Stock vari­ables don’t have input ports. How are stock lev­els replenished?

  7. Steve Keen says:

    By mak­ing row entries Gra­ham. Add an entry for loans from the bank to a bor­rower for exam­ple, or check some of the sam­ple files.

  8. Russell Standish says:

    A more recent ver­sion of Min­sky is avail­able from Source­Forge. Cur­rently, the released ver­sion is 1.D9, also known as “Aristotle”.

  9. Kai Wakerman Powell says:

    Dear Steve,

    Any word on what’s hap­pened to this? I mean… take my money already.

  10. Kai Wakerman Powell says:

    Addi­tion­ally, will you put out an email when the cam­paign opens?

  11. Steve Keen says:

    Thanks Kai,

    At the moment I intend launch­ing the cam­paign on Mon­day next week–January 28. I had planned to start ear­lier but–to put it mildly–I have had some dis­trac­tions recently. I have some work to do on the cam­paign, which I hope to do in the morn­ings next week before attend­ing the Aus­tralian Open dur­ing the after­noons and evenings this week. I should get them done in time for a Mon­day launch.

    And I will def­i­nitely email, blog and twit­ter about it when it goes live!

  12. Steve Roth says:

    Hey Steve you might want to update this post.

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  14. Bill Walters says:

    Hello, unfor­tu­nately I missed the Kick­starter cam­paign. Please advise how to con­tribute after the fact if possible.

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  19. Steve, this is a minor spur pro­posal and/or an invi­ta­tion toward a col­lab­o­ra­tion. I believe that it would a valu­able edu­ca­tional tool to have a “com­mu­nity cur­rency” pro­gram based upon the MMT/Endogenuous Econ model woulld be a wor­thy project. In essence it would take the UMKC Bucka­roos model and then con­vert it into a mod­el­ing by which peo­ple can expe­ri­ence first have the effects and dynam­ics of a eco­nom­i­cally lit­er­ate and func­tional eco­nomic model. An alter­na­tive is to involve the back­ers in the crowd source financ­ing of Min­sky to this much smaller scale bit of mod­el­ing. My email is: ideasinc@ee.net thanks, Tadit

  20. RecallCarlLevin says:

    Since when did you start using Veloc­ity of Money? I thought that was anath­ema to a Keynesian.

  21. RecallCarlLevin says:

    a sim­ple function

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