Can It Happen Again? : Essays on Instability and Finance book cover
1st Edition

Can It Happen Again?
Essays on Instability and Finance

ISBN 9781138641952
Published April 7, 2016 by Routledge
344 Pages

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Book Description

In the winter of 1933, the American financial and economic system collapsed. Since then economists, policy makers and financial analysts throughout the world have been haunted by the question of whether "It" can happen again. In 2008 "It" very nearly happened again as banks and mortgage lenders in the USA and beyond collapsed. The disaster sent economists, bankers and policy makers back to the ideas of Hyman Minsky – whose celebrated 'Financial Instability Hypothesis' is widely regarded as predicting the crash of 2008 – and led Wall Street and beyond as to dub it as the 'Minsky Moment'.

In this book Minsky presents some of his most important economic theories. He defines "It", determines whether or not "It" can happen again, and attempts to understand why, at the time of writing in the early 1980s, "It" had not happened again. He deals with microeconomic theory, the evolution of monetary institutions, and Federal Reserve policy. Minsky argues that any economic theory which separates what economists call the 'real' economy from the financial system is bound to fail. Whilst the processes that cause financial instability are an inescapable part of the capitalist economy, Minsky also argues that financial instability need not lead to a great depression.

This Routledge Classics edition includes a new foreword by Jan Toporowski.

Table of Contents

Preface Introduction Can "It" Happen Again?: A Reprise 1. Can "It" Happen Again? 2. Finance and Profits: The Changing Nature of American Business Cycles 3.The Financial Instability Hypothesis: An interpretation of Keynes and an Alernative to "Standard" Theory 4. Capitalist Financial Processes and the Instability of Capitalism 5. The Financial Instability Hypothesis: A Restatement 6. Financial Instability Revisited: The Economics of Disaster 7. Central Banking and Money Market Changes 8. The New Uses of Monetary Power 9. The Federal Reserve: Between a Rock and a Hard Place 10. An Exposition of a Keynesian Theory of Investment 11. Monetary Systems and Accelerator Models 12. The Integration of Simple Growth and Cycle Models 13. Private Sector Assets Management Policy: Theory and Practice Index

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Hyman Minsky (1919-1996) was Professor of Economics at Washington University St Louis and a distinguished scholar at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, USA.


"It is time to revive an old issue: Just how inherently unstable are economies? But instead of getting much guidance these days from contemporary economists, we need to turn to some of the giants from the past. The work of Hyman especially on the mark."
The New York Times

"Today, his views are reverberating from New York to Hong Kong as economists and traders try to understand what's happening in the markets... Indeed, the Minsky moment has become a fashionable catch phrase on Wall Street."
The Wall Street Journal

"There are few better places to begin the serious study of financial questions than with Can "It" Happen Again? – the work of the most insightful observer of finance in the economics profession today."
Robert Pollin, Monthly Review

"Minsky's essays are creative, sophisticated and wise. He has an important message for economists and a wider public."
Journal of Economic Issues

"The most significant economic event of the era since World War II is something that has not happened: there has not been a deep and long-lasting depression."
From the Introduction.