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11/15/2012 8:17 AM
Posted by just4me on 11/15/2012 1:09:00 AM (view original):
Posted by contrarian23 on 11/15/2012 12:12:00 AM (view original):
"Opinion"?  I suppose.  In the same way that saying "Einstein was right about physics", would also be an opinion.
"Totally subjective"?  No.  In fact the whole point of the book is that there is an overwhelming amount of objective evidence for the thesis.
"A significant majority of the economists you know would disagree with"?  Exactly why Skidelsky should be mandatory reading for all Americans, so they don't get misled by what passes for contemporary economic thought.
I'll buy it on your recommendation, but as an economics major, I'd argue that the objective evidence overwhelmingly would suggest Keynes was wrong about most things. I'll wait to pass judgment though until I read the book.
What's that evidence B?  Inflation in the 70's?

Aren't Keynes main points:

1. The Market (and the law of supply and demand) ain't perfect
2. The government needs to do something (spend money, manipulate currency, lower interest rates) during significant economic recessions
3. The government should over spend during recessions and pay down the debt when the economy is working fine on it's own


11/15/2012 11:56 AM
I don't have much time (I should already be on my way to work, but I have yet to start getting ready!), so I'll just gloss over quickly....

I would say most of the 1930s, 1940, '70s, 80s, 90s, recessions and crisis, as we as our current recession all provide ample evidence contrary to Keynes claims. Though I would argue that much of the differentiation is on differing definitions of terms such as "recovery" "growth" etc... and a reliance on specific metrics which fail to tell the whole story.

I would say you have Keynes' main points laid out fairly well, but as I'm short on time I'll leave just this one quote (from Mises) as a rebuff to them:


However conditions may be, it is certain that no manipulations of the banks can provide the economic system with capital goods. What is needed for a sound expansion of production is additional capital goods, not money or fiduciary media. The boom is built on the sands of banknotes and deposits. It must collapse. (Human Action, Scholar's Edition. p. 559)

11/16/2012 3:34 PM
I just finished a book called "The Sorrows of Empire - Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic" by Chalmers Johnson. Sure makes you think.
12/2/2012 7:41 PM
"Sorrows of Empire" is great. Somewhere on YouTube there should be video of Chalmers Johnson discussing it. He is gone now, but was a consultant to the CIA and a cold warrior, later convinced that our foreign policy was disastrous. Definitely worth reading. 
12/2/2012 7:51 PM
Also, I agree with contrarian23 on Keynes - if you live in Europe you see that austerity doesn't cut it - when Obama got elected, unemployment in the US was 12% and it was around 8% in the Euro zone. Now it is under 8% in the US and over 12% in the Eurozone. 

Keynes tells you why. 

But there is more: today the real problem is that governments can't really govern - that "electronic herd" of Thomas Friedman, the "markets" (also known as speculators or finance capital for all you sophisticated folks) punish any government that goes outside a very strict and counter-productive (except for bond holders and other financial sector interests) policies range. 

Keynes, at Bretton Woods, understood that the old gold standard had strangled economies (since production went up with modern technology, but the amount of money was fixed at the quantity of gold) and implicitly that a system like today's with freely floating currencies, despite paradoxically being the opposite extreme of the gold standard, would have a similar effect of allowing unproductive parts of the economy to determine what happened to the real economy and what governments could or could not do. 

So the system of semi-fixed exchange rates, with changes to be determined politically through diplomacy and negotiation by elected officials and their appointees, would give maximum freedom to democratic governments to explore alternatives based on the input from their citizens, the needs, national interests and other criteria more appropriate to free republics. 

Which by the way Italy and Greece are not anymore, since we now have an unelected government in Italy run by a banker (which has just announced that we can't afford a public health care system that is 2nd or 3rd best in the world) and a Greece has total chaos since when Papandreou called allowing the Greek people to vote on the austerity policies and whether their national destiny was best served by staying in the Euro he was openly overthrown by the EU commission and IMF, and replaced with an ex-World Bank director. Greece by the way now has the pre-Obama health care system the US had - if you lose your job, which is very likely now, you lose your health insurance and some people have already died as a result, shocking the country. 

I will take Keynes any day. 
12/2/2012 7:53 PM
Away from the economists for a minute....

Just read Run Less, Run Faster as I get ready for my second marathon this spring.

And reading the second Lemony Snicket book, The Reptile Room, to my kids these days.

Just ordered Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline and the accompanying workbook for schools as I think about how to be a principal that helps my school community keep learning about doing school better.....

12/3/2012 4:48 PM
AUGUST 1914- ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN
12/3/2012 10:20 PM
Posted by contrarian23 on 11/15/2012 12:12:00 AM (view original):
"Opinion"?  I suppose.  In the same way that saying "Einstein was right about physics", would also be an opinion.
"Totally subjective"?  No.  In fact the whole point of the book is that there is an overwhelming amount of objective evidence for the thesis.
"A significant majority of the economists you know would disagree with"?  Exactly why Skidelsky should be mandatory reading for all Americans, so they don't get misled by what passes for contemporary economic thought.
I can find a book for you that will have the "whole point" that there is an overwhelming amount of objective evidence that says the opposite.  There is enough room for interpretation in economics to argue most things in opposite directions if you're smart enough and spend enough time on your research.  And for you to say anyone who disagrees with you must be "misled" is incredibly narrow-minded, I think.

And FWIW, Einstein was wrong on quite a few things.  Being right on a lot of things is great, but it certainly doesn't qualify you to say that someone is right about "pretty much everything."  I certainly wouldn't apply that statement to Einstein.

12/4/2012 6:22 AM
Recent reading includes William McNeill's great "The Pursuit of Power" and re-reading of the massive but worthwhile Michael Mann, The Sources of Social Power (two volumes) - both works stress that the rise of markets, economic development ancient, medieval and modern, technological development and the rise of capitalism itself all dependent to a degree that ideologically pure market-oriented thinkers don't want to admit, on massive state-government activity, especially, but not exclusively, military and infrastructural. 
12/4/2012 6:24 AM
By the way, again thanks to whomever it was - mensu1954, or Grizzly, or someone, wish I could find the post, who turned me on to the series of alternative historical novels of Harry Turtledove - read the whole thing (like 14 books or something) from the Civil War to the end of World War II and it was worth every page. 
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12/5/2012 1:29 AM
12/5/2012 2:54 PM
Thomas Sowell = Coolest black dood evah!
12/5/2012 6:12 PM
ASSMUNCH
12/6/2012 5:26 AM
Boogerlips, I will see your Thomas Sowell and raise you ... A Giovanni Arrighi:


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