John Maynard Keynes

Hyman P. Minsky

Book cover

Despite the title, this book is fairly similar to Minsky’s “Stabilizing an Unstable Economy.” It examines Keynes’s thought, as interpreted and expanded upon by Minsky. I was aware of this going in, so it’s not a knock on the book. Here, Minsky is contesting the “consensus” interpretation of Keynes that became dominant in the mid-20th century. His argument is that the innovative elements of Keynes’s thought are the ones that were ignored, while the things that attracted the label of “Keynesian” were not really new. The main ideas that were dropped were the focus on disequilibrium (“in the long run we’re all dead”) and on the significance of financing conditions. One interesting comment that Minsky makes offhandedly here is that, with the professionalization of academic economics in the 20th century, it became less and less common for writers on economics to have personal experience with industry or finance (as Keynes himself did). Although actually, the main exception I can think of to this in the late 20th century was Alan Greenspan, who spent years as a business economist–so it’s not necessarily a good thing!

My Goodreads rating: 3 stars