EconoMonitor

Great Leap Forward

BOOM BUST BOOM: MINSKY AT THE MOVIES

I highly recommend a movie to be released next year (that is, the year that begins next week). Terry Jones, of Monty Python fame, is one of the key developers of the film. It is on the Global Financial Crisis, but also provides a quick history of bubbles and crashes. It is highly entertaining and as good as any that I’ve seen on the crisis.

The movie features Hyman P. Minsky as well as J.K. Galbraith, who appear as life-sized puppets. One of Terry’s crew told me they brought Minsky over from England on a plane as a fare-paying customer. I would have loved to have seen the look on the faces of the flight attendants. I hope they bought him a beer.

Originally they were to film Minsky in his office at the Levy Institute, but when they saw pictures of it they said that there’s no way such a big and important economist could have had such an inauspicious office (albeit in beautiful Blithewood overlooking the Hudson). So they used a nice library down in Manhattan.

As Terry puts it, “I wanted to be part of this project as soon as I discovered economics students are taught crashes just don’t happen.”

Here’s the blurb on the purpose of the project: In revealing the truth about our unstable economic system, the film acts as the starting point for global project BoomBustClick.com – to get the world talking about change through education. A central hub for information, news and ideas, BoomBustClick is an online resource for everyone – can we change an unstable economic system? Can we adapt economics to human nature?

Terry interviewed me for the film. He’s as funny as you’d expect, but also deeply engaged and knowledgeable. Most of my interview ended up on the cutting room floor, but some bits survived.

You’ll also enjoy interviews with Steve Keen and Jamie Galbraith. Minsky’s son, Alan, is a natural before the camera. The actor John Cusack makes some memorable comments. Steve Kinsella and John Cassidy are good. My friend Zvi Bodie (best name in economics) is featured, as is Paul Krugman. The UK’s Andy Haldane–one of the regulators–does a bit of mea culpa for the profession’s failure to “see it coming”.

As an added bonus, the film has some catchy tunes that you won’t be able to get out of your head

Go to the project’s website for more info; I presume they’ll be posting up the film’s release date soon: http://boombustclick.com/thebigidea.php. There are some clips on the making of the film that you can enjoy now.

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