Keynes in the Spotlight

17 May 2013 at 2:07 pm 2 comments

| Peter Klein |

NPG P363(14); John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes by Ramsey & MusprattAs the Niall Ferguson kerfuffle begins fading from memory it’s worth revisiting the underlying issue: What kind of person was John Maynard Keynes, and (how) did his social, cultural, moral, and aesthetic views affect his scientific work?

Here are a few recommended readings:

These works are not kind to ole’ John Maynard (I’m posting them, what did you expect?). Rothbard, for example, emphasizes Keynes’s “overweening egotism, which assured him that he could handle all intellectual problems quickly and accurately and led him to scorn any general principles that might curb his unbridled ego,” also referring to Keynes’s “deep hatred and contempt for the values and virtues of the bourgeoisie,” including savings and thrift. It’s hard to imagine that Keynes’s personal views on thrift could be unrelated to the now-ubiquitous, über-Keynesian idea that spending, not savings and capital accumulation, is the driver of economic growth.

On time preference, and its social and cultural causes and consequences, I recommend Time and Public Policy by T. Alexander Smith (University of Tennessee Press, 1988), which unfortunately appears to be out of print. Here is a brief review by Israel Kirzner.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Business/Economic History, Classical Liberalism, History of Economic and Management Thought, Myths and Realities, People. Tags: .

Jackson Nickerson at SMG More Bad News for Microfinance

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. David Hoopes  |  17 May 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Wow. I had no idea.

  • 2. Niclas Berggren  |  18 May 2013 at 1:45 am

    Here is a more positive analysis of Keynes and his “immoralism”, finding him not to be too distant from Hayek’s views.

    Berggren, Niclas (2009). “Choosing One’s Own Informal Institutions: On Hayek’s Critique of Keynes’s Immoralism.” Constitutional Political Economy, 20(2): 139-159. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10602-008-9055-3

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