2016 Was Rough, But We Look Back With Gratitude

For many, 2016 is a year they would rather forget.
But we’re proud it was the year this blog was born!  

As graduate students of a program that breaks away from rigid models and finds alternative approaches to analyze the economy, we wanted to share the knowledge we acquired with the world. So, on May 26th 2016, The Minskys saw the light. Now, even after some of us have graduated, we continue our mission to make out-of-the-box economics approachable to everyone.

Since we created The Minskys,  we’ve seen that many of you share our perspective. We quickly gained a following on Facebook and Twitter, and noticed our articles were being read (and sometimes translated) around the world. Several pieces were even featured on some of the pages that inspired us to start a blog in the first place! It has been a year of change and growth, and we have to thank you, our readers. Thank you for believing in our efforts and sharing our work, for your feedback and criticism. You guys are awesome!

With over 30 articles, we can look back on a productive year. Here’s a little overview of the topics we addressed:

  • In our very first post, we addressed the common misconception that a government should not have a deficit and the flawed logic behind widespread austerity policies. Despite this, across the globe, the mainstream’s favorite response to economic hardship is still the self-defeating prescription of austerity. We’ve argued that a Budget Deficit Helps the Economy and showed the damage austerity has caused to Greece and Italy.
  • For the Brazilian economy and democracy, 2016 was a rough year. The Brazilian Burden provides a detailed overview on these issues. By Giving up Financial Sovereignty, Brazil has locked itself into decades of more austerity.
  • We present an alternative to cost-cutting policies through the idea of direct job creation through a program such as the Job Guarantee, We examine Bernie Sander’s bill Employ Young Americans Now as a possible starting point for such a program and also look into modeling it in a sustainable manner, by creating Green Jobs. We also argue that Basic Income and Job Guarantee could also be complementary, rather than opposing policies.
  • Labor Unions are at their weakest membership rate, which surely plays a role in stagnating wages and widening income inequality. This process is also exacerbated by the current structure of Trade Deals.  If we Remove the Blinders, we see things are even worse for most minorities. Women are also facing more challenges due the persistent Pay Gap and difficulties having access to Paid Leave and Childcare especially for lower income women. While education is promoted as an equalizer, we look at whether Everyone Should Go to College, and find that especially debt financed college does not make society more equal.
  • Of course, as “The Minskys” we also cover some of Hyman Minsky’s theories. The Financial Instability Hypothesis is presented in Stability is Destabilizing. Can We Learn from Minsky Before the Next Crisis explores the concept of Money Manager Capitalism, as the current system we are in. We also talk about Financial Fragility in the context of Carbon Trading.
  • We also use Minsky’s work to look for alternatives to neoliberal development policies in this piece, Part 1 and Part 2. In a Sinking Ship we discuss how neoliberal policies tanked the global economy.
  • We have also covered some current events. We talked about the interest rate policy of the Federal Reserve and predicted some rate hikes. In the aftermath of Brexit, we wrote about the parallels between Trump and Brexit. Before a Trump presidency seemed plausible, Carlos tried to lighten up the mood with some less obvious Consequences of a Trump Presidency. The First Debate is also illustrated on our blog.
  • The Minskys also explore the work of other economists whose work we admire. We put a spotlight on the great work of Pavlina Tcherneva, Stephanie Kelton, and Sandy DarityWe also wrote a review of Dean Baker’s latest book, “Rigged.”

The only way we can truly thank you for your support is by working hard to continue producing quality content and to keep distributing it for free. And that’s exactly what we have planned for 2017. We are working on some exciting things; besides weekly articles, you may see a sculpture that demonstrates money circulation and a book for our youngest readers.

If you’d like to offer a helping hand along the way, we welcome your ideas, suggestions, contributions, and donations. No gift is too small, and it only takes the click of a button.  Please share, comment, subscribe, and, above all, destabilize!

 

Illustration: Heske van Doornen