John Maynard Keynes

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A Nobel laureate in economics who is one of the great enemies of libertarians

Links

Keynesian and Post-Keynesian Economics (13 links)
Most libertarians oppose Keynesian arguments (such as insufficient demand causing recessions) because they conflict with their ideology (see Austerity.)
Fiscal Stimulus (2 links)
A Keynesian policy libertarians hate because it is government spending that is both an effective government policy and because it requires taxes eventually. They have invented many wild arguments against it (which have proven wrong) such as "crowding out".
Conservatives Can’t Decide If Nordic Socialism Is a Totalitarian Nightmare or Actually What Is Living and What Is Dead in Social Democracy? [More...]
"The common theme and universal accomplishment of the neo-Keynesian governments of the postwar era was their remarkable success in curbing inequality... It was social democracy that bound the middle classes to liberal institutions in the wake of World War II..."
Fascism and Keynesianism? [More...]
"There is a tired and ignorant rhetorical trick of libertarians: to conflate Keynesianism with fascism, or the economics of fascism." Also points out Ludwig von Mises early work for a fascist and praise for Mussolini.
Keynes on Laissez-Faire [More...]
Gavin Kennedy writes: "‘Laissez-nous faire’ is not advocated as a universal principle for merchants and their customers; it was a very partial principle for merchants only... [Mill and mine owners] wrapped themselves in laissez-faire flags to wipe up the blood of their employees when they demanded their own freedoms and not those of their labourers or their customers."
Keynes versus Hayek (11 links)
There has been a continuous drumbeat of promotion for Hayek from conservatives and libertarians since the 1940's. Recently, there has been extensive propaganda use of Hayek's ideas to oppose Keynesian ideas. The propaganda often attempts to show two theories as equal in standing. But Keynes resoundingly defeated Hayek, despite recent libertarian historical revisionism.
Murray Rothbards many errors about Keynes and probability [More...]
An examination of Murray Rothbard's comments on Keynes's logical approach to probability reveals that Rothbard was either a master of deceit and deception or an ignorant fool.Either case is good grounds for eliminating M Rothbard from serious consideration as an economist or philospher.
The end of laissez-faire [More...]
John Maynard Keynes points out that laissez faire is based on false assumptions, and that there are many necessary social undertakings.
What if Rothbard had been against Newton's politics? [More...]
Gene Callahan explains one of Murray Rothbard's sillier anti-Keynsian arguments.

Quotations

The book, as it stands, seems to me to be one of the most frightful muddles I have ever read, with scarcely a sound proposition in it beginning with page 45 [Hayek provided historical background up to page 45; after that came his theoretical model]... It is an extraordinary example of how, starting with a mistake, a remorseless logician can end up in bedlam...
John Maynard Keynes, criticizing Hayek's "Prices and Production" in "The Pure Theory of Money: A Reply to Dr. Hayek".
It is a great fault of symbolic pseudo-mathematical methods of formalizing a system of economic analysis... that they expressly assume strict independence between the factors involved and lose all their cogency and authority if this hypothesis is disallowed; ... Too large a proportion of recent mathematical economics are mere concoctions, as imprecise as the initial assumptions they rest upon, which allow the author to lose sight of the complexities and interdependencies of the real world in a maze of pretentious and unhelpful symbols.
John Maynard Keynes, "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money", 1936. Pg. 297.
To suggest social action for the public good to the City of London is like discussing the Origin of Species with a bishop sixty years ago. The first reaction is not intellectual, but moral. An orthodoxy is in question, and the more persuasive the arguments the graver the offence.
John Maynard Keynes, "The end of laissez-faire"
I believe that in many cases the ideal size for the unit of control and organisation lies somewhere between the individual and the modern State. I suggest, therefore, that progress lies in the growth and the recognition of semi-autonomous bodies within the State - bodies whose criterion of action within their own field is solely the public good as they understand it, and from whose deliberations motives of private advantage are excluded, though some place it may still be necessary to leave, until the ambit of men's altruism grows wider, to the separate advantage of particular groups, classes, or faculties - bodies which in the ordinary course of affairs are mainly autonomous within their prescribed limitations, but are subject in the last resort to the sovereignty of the democracy expressed through Parliament.
John Maynard Keynes, "The end of laissez-faire"
For my part I think that capitalism, wisely managed, can probably be made more efficient for attaining economic ends than any alternative system yet in sight, but that in itself it is in many ways extremely objectionable. Our problem is to work out a social organisation which shall be as efficient as possible without offending our notions of a satisfactory way of life.
John Maynard Keynes, "The end of laissez-faire"
Let us clear from the ground the metaphysical or general principles upon which, from time to time, laissez-faire has been founded. It is not true that individuals possess a prescriptive 'natural liberty' in their economic activities. There is no 'compact' conferring perpetual rights on those who Have or on those who Acquire. The world is not so governed from above that private and social interest always coincide. It is not so managed here below that in practice they coincide. It is not a correct deduction from the principles of economics that enlightened self-interest always operates in the public interest. Nor is it true that self-interest generally is enlightened; more often individuals acting separately to promote their own ends are too ignorant or too weak to attain even these. Experience does not show that individuals, when they make up a social unit, are always less clear-sighted than when they act separately.
John Maynard Keynes, "The end of laissez-faire"
I criticise doctrinaire State Socialism, not because it seeks to engage men's altruistic impulses in the service of society, or because it departs from laissez-faire, or because it takes away from man's natural liberty to make a million, or because it has courage for bold experiments. All these things I applaude. I criticise it because it misses the significance of what is actually happening; because it is, in fact, little better than a dusty survival of a plan to meet the problems of fifty years ago, based on a misunderstanding of what someone said a hundred years ago. Nineteenth-century State Socialism sprang from Bentham, free competition, etc., and is in some respects a clearer, in some respects a more muddled version of just the same philosophy as underlies nineteenth-century individualism. Both equally laid all their stress on freedom, the one negatively to avoid limitations on existing freedom, the other positively to destroy natural or acquired monopolies. They are different reactions to the same intellectual atmosphere.
John Maynard Keynes, "The end of laissez-faire"