Essays In Persuasion By John Maynard Keynes

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“I’m thoroughly sick of this place and would like to resign.

Now the novelty has worn off I’m bored nine-tenths of the time and rather unreasonably irritated the other tenth whenever I can’t have my own way” “Well the only course open to me is to be buoyantly bolshevik; and as I lie in bed this morning I reflect with a good deal of satisfaction that, because our rulers are as incompetent as they are mad and wicked, one particular era of a particular kind of civilization is very nearly over.” “Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency.

John Maynard Keynes, (1883-1946) is one of the most renowned names in 20th century economics.

Here are collected the croakings of twelve years --the croakings of a Cassandra who could never influence the course of events in time.

Indeed, though a brilliant mathematician himself and the author of a great mathematical work, '' Treatise on Probability,'' Keynes tried to warn his fellow economists against undue reliance on mathematics in economics.

He wrote the following in an essay on his own great teacher, Alfred Marshall:'' Unlike physics, for example, such parts of the bare bones of economic theory as are expressible in mathematical form are extremely easy compared with the economic interpretation of the complex and incompletely known facts of experience, and lead one but a very little way toward establishing useful results.'' Marshall felt all this with a vehemence which not all his pupils have shared.Of the two perhaps deflation is, if we rule out exaggerated inflations such as that of Germany, the worse; because it is worse, in an impoverished world, to provoke unemployment than to disappoint the rentier.But it is necessary that we should weigh one evil against the other.The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security, but at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth.” This progressive deterioration in the value of money through history is not an accident, and has had behind it two great driving forces – the impecuniosity of Governments and the superior political influence of the debtor class.“Thus inflation is unjust and deflation is inexpedient.It is easier to agree that both are evils to be shunned.” “The important thing for Government is not to do things which individuals are doing already, and to do them a little better or a little worse; but to do those things which at present are not done at all.” “I believe myself to be writing a book on economic theory which will largely revolutionize – not, I suppose, at once but in the course of the next ten years – the way the world thinks about economic problems.” “As time goes on, I get more and more convinced that the right method in investment is to put fairly large sums into enterprises which one thinks one knows something about and in the management of which one thoroughly believes.” “Speculators may do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise.But the position is serious when enterprise becomes the bubble on a whirlpool of speculation.By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some.Was the outbreak of this economic disease the result of Keynesian economics itself or of the politicians who disregarded the symmetrical Keynesian formula for promoting economic stability?Keynesian champions blame the politicians, but economics does not live in a vacuum, and one must offer doctrines that work in the real political world. Kalecki wrote in '' Political Aspects of Full Employment'' in 1943, '' The regime of the 'political business cycle' would be an artificial restoration of the position as it existed in 19th century capitalism.


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