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Writing about money and finance from a monetary plumbing or money view perspective. I am mostly concerned with understanding current monetary and financial issues and communicating that understanding to audiences who have an interest or stake in these events, but who don't want a narrow theoretical or ideological take. (When I have one of those, I take it elsewhere.)

twitter: @dhneilson

email: my last name at S E N T . C O M


I am the author of Minsky (Polity, 2019). From the back cover:

No economist has written more incisively and provocatively on financial crisis than Hyman Minsky. Minsky is best known for his claim that "stability is destabilizing" – that the seeds of the bust are sown in the boom. This financial instability hypothesis received renewed attention – and substantial confirmation – in the global financial crisis of 2008.

Minsky's insights are not limited to moments of crisis; they grow out of a comprehensive and critical theory of financial capitalism. This book provides a systematic overview of Minsky's thought, covering his entire body of work. It shows how financial crises arise not as exceptions, but out of the normal operation of a financial capitalist system. It explains why Minsky's theories sit uncomfortably with economics and what efforts have been made to integrate them, and shows how Minsky's work can be incorporated into other fields of social thought.

This book will be of interest to students and scholars in economics, political economy, finance, politics, and social theory, as well as to anyone with an interest in the financial system and its tendency toward crisis.

T accounts

I use T accounts to describe financial relationships. For example, money creation through lending:

Bank                    Customer
Assets      Liabilities Assets      Liabilities
───────────┬─────────── ───────────┬─────────── 
+Loan      │                       │+Loan
           │+Deposit    +Deposit   │
           │                       │
           │                       │

There is often not a unique way to express such relationships. I choose the representation that captures the aspect of the situation at hand. It may or may not correspond to the way an accountant would record the transactions. Two possible interpretations:

  1. There is an economic substance that is different from the way the transactions are recorded. This might be the case with a derivative product like an interest-rate forward, for example, where the effect is two offsetting loans but they are joined together in single contract.

  2. I may have made a mistake by attempting a simplification or representation that ignores an important aspect of the situation, or wrongly introduces an extraneous detail.

The benefits frequently conferred by the former outweigh the danger of sometimes falling into the latter. I will endeavor to acknowledge and correct errors.

[To make the T-accounts, I use ANSI line drawing characters ─ │ and ┬ and set them in a fixed-width font with single line spacing. They should copy and paste easily enough, but they will collapse to the left in a variable-width font.]