Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Keynes Returns

Keynes is all the rage these days. Our House of Commons and Lords — sorry, House of Representatives and Senate — are brimming with Keynesians, and more than one news commentator has boldly declared (as we’ve heard before), "We’re all Keynesians now." In light of the resurrection of the at least twice-interred Keynes , I decided to revisit some of the gentleman’s writings.

The rest of this week's TGIF, "Keynes Returns," is here.


David J said...

Sheldon, thanks for the link, man! Awesome article.

Hey, wasn't Keynes critical of Keynes? I read somewhere that he praised F.A. Hayek's work (which was contra-Keynesian). A friend of mine even said that Keynesianism was never intended to be taken seriously.

Sheldon Richman said...

Keynes wrote a later article in which he seemed to recant and praise the classical economics he derided throughout The General Theory. I never heard that he praised Hayek, so I'm doubtful about that. Hayek did say that Keynes told him that he did not approve of the inflationism favored by his disciples and that if it went to far, he'd speak up. He died shortly after that.

At the end of The Failure of the "New Economics," Henry Hazlitt speculates that Keynes might have been joking. See my post here

Lee Killough said...

A quick search yields Keynes writing this letter to Hayek in regards to The Road to Serfdom:

"In my opinion it is a grand book. We all have the greatest reason to be grateful to you for saying so well what needs so much to be said. You will not expect me to accept quite all the economic dicta in it. But morally and philosophically, I find myself in agreement with virtually the whole of it; and not only in agreement with it, but in a deeply moved agreement."

"I should say that what we want is not no planning, or even less planning, indeed I should say that what we almost certainly want is more. Moderate planning will be safe if those carrying it out are rightly oriented in their own minds and hearts to the moral issue. Dangerous acts can be done safely in a community which thinks and feels rightly, which would be the way to hell if they were executed by those who think and feel wrongly."

"What we need therefore, in my opinion, is not a change in our economic programmes, which would only lead in practice to disillusion with the results of your philosophy; but perhaps even the contrary, namely, an enlargement of them. Your greatest danger is the probable practical failure of the application of your philosophy in the United States."

Hayek told in a Reason Interview about Keynes' support:

Reason: Why would Keynes say this about a volume that was deeply critical of the Keynesian viewpoint?

Hayek: Because he believed that he was fundamentally still a classical English liberal and wasn’t quite aware of how far he had moved away from it. His basic ideas were still those of individual freedom. He did not think systematically enough to see the conflicts. He was, in a sense, corrupted by political necessity. His famous phrase about, “in the long run we’re all dead,” is a very good illustration of being constrained by what is now politically possible. He stopped thinking about what, in the long run, is desirable. For that reason, I think it will turn out that he will not be a maker of long-run opinion, and his ideas were of a fashion which, fortunately, is now passing away.

See here here here here here here

You should get Thomas Woods' book Meltdown if you haven't already. I read it in one sitting.