Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"History is bunk"
It was during a year in residency at Tokyo’s Hitotsuabashi University in 1995 that Jim Crotty first “met” John Maynard Keynes. 

His teaching duties were minimal, so he spent much of his time in the school’s excellent English-language library, where he read British political and economic history, and studied the collected works of Keynes. Crotty had been teaching macroeconomics, by then, for 25 years, but the Keynes he discovered in at Hitotsubashi was nothing like the Keynes he thought he knew.

For the economics profession, Keynes was the original technocrat. He was the theorist who had shown that the one problem with a free-market economy was that it lacked — in the words of Paul Samuelson, whose textbooks introduced Keynes to generations of American students — a thermostat for aggregate demand. Set that one dial correctly, and the only substantive criticism of capitalism was resolved. But as Crotty read Keynes’ voluminous output from the 1920s, 30s and 40s he found something very different — a radical who saw the pursuit of profit as both inimical to a decent civilization and unsustainable on its own terms. When Keynes ended the General Theory with a call for “a more or less comprehensive socialization of investment” and the “euthanasia of the rentier,” it wasn’t a tossed-off provocation, but a summary of a serious political program developed over decades.
I discovered that the Keynes that I had been taught was not the right Keynes historically. This is one of the two or three most famous economists in history. So how could we have gotten him so wrong?
"History of Philosophy: Just Say No!"  etc....

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