Monday, June 14, 2010

Contra who and where?

Is it just me or do a substantial number of non-Keynesians think that Keynesianism amounts to "cutting government budgets is bad".

This is really, really sad (HT Cafe Hayek). I think Wayne William Anderson just has me worked up. I suppose this is what Krugman called the "dark age of macroeconomics".

It's bad enough that people who say they are opposed to Keynesianism in many cases have no idea what Keynesianism is. I'm also concerned, though, that people who say they support Keynesianism have no idea what it is. Keynesianism is a theory of effective demand. If you think it's a theory of government spending and inflation you really need to hit the books. Ask yourself "is demand deficient right now or not?", "if it is, why is it deficient right now?", and "would fiscal or monetary policy help?" before you conclude the Keynesianism calls for big government spending.


  1. I'd proffer that the perception of Keynesians by non-Keynesians is as warped and fallacious as the perception of libertarians by non-libertarians. Sweeping generalizations noted :)

  2. I don't mean for this to be a pissing contest at all, but what do you think is unclear about libertarianism? It seems to me that one of the features of libertarianism is its clarity - that's the only reason why I ask.

    People sometimes make assumptions about the charity or generosity or empathy of individuals who are libertarians, but is there ever really any question about what a libertarian thinks?

  3. " there ever really any question about what a libertarian thinks?"

    In a word, yes.

  4. Which doesn't even get into the variation which exists amongst libertarians ... propertarians, left-libertarian (of at least two different varieties), Georgists, mutualism, etc. So people do more than make assumptions; they throw on the old reductionist lenses and go from there.

  5. :)

    I suppose that is true - there are divisions among libertarians. But what belief system isn't that true of?

    Put it this way - if you asked the average person on the street I would guess they would know the terms "libertarian" and "Keynesian" about as often.

    They would probably define Keynesianism as "inflation and government spending to help the economy" and libertarianism as "less government is better".

    Again - REALLY didn't want to make this a pissing contest (hence my never even mentioning libertarianism until you guys brought it up), but which of those two is more accurate? One is inaccurate and one is perhaps just lacking in detail.

  6. Well, since some libertarians argue that no government is better than less government ... well, it is a fairly different opinion on the subject.

    Whatever the case, to me what unites libertarians is that they are peaceful radicals. Or to quote Leonard Read, "Anything That's Peaceful." Which means that libertarians oppose corporate bodies, government or not.


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