6

Nowadays in politics, critics of Keynesian economics say it is unsustainable spending. However, I know that John Maynard Keynes actually said budgets should be balanced in the medium term, just not the short term. Did his theory face this same criticism/misconception during his own time, and how did Keynes respond to them?

  • 2
    Again, we need an economics stack exchange. But it keeps dying in Area 51. – LateralFractal Oct 13 '14 at 8:08
  • I think I could craft an answer about the economic criticism. However, by "political", you seem to be asking about criticism of Keynesian Economics from those who are relatively unlettered in economics. That could basically be any old schmoe on the street. – T.E.D. Oct 13 '14 at 16:05
  • IIRC "politics" se covers macro – Samuel Russell Oct 13 '14 at 21:21
  • @T.E.D, I think you do a disservice. I agree that the question would be better if it didn't reference politics. But there is a significant wing of the Republican party who may accept Keynes for economic analysis, but oppose Keynesian policy. While we could (in some non-SE forum) discuss the intellectual grounds for the disagreement, these are not merely "any old schmoe", they're a group that can cause one of the world's largest economies to halt, or even to default. – Mark C. Wallace Oct 14 '14 at 12:52
  • Could someone answer the last sentence in a bit more depth? Keynes invented macroecon; any discussion of contemporary reception would have to address the notion that Keynes was bringing something new to the table. What were the opponents advocating? I know that Keynes managed other's money for much of his life, and lost a great deal of it twice; what effect did this have on his credibility? There's a fascinating story here. – Mark C. Wallace Oct 14 '14 at 12:57
3

Keynes' views were widely mis-represented by his disciples, notably Joan Robinson, who was well to the left of him.

Keynes was actually "orthodox" in many ways. With his emphasis on "money," he was actually closer to Milton Friedman than to the "Keynesian" doctrine he is associated with.

Where he differed from "orthodoxy" was in promoting deficit-financed pump-priming policies "this one time," (the Great Depression). His more liberal disciples, like Robinson, preached that such policies should be followed "all the time" because they believed in government spending. Some of them were actually "Fabian" Socialists.

  • Here is the germ of an excellent, insightful answer. This answer is good; it brings me information I didn't have. But it makes me hungry to better understand Keynes. Alas, the only reference is to Robinson. I'd love to see paragraph 2 & 3 expanded. – Mark C. Wallace Oct 14 '14 at 12:54
  • @MarkC.Wallace: I recommend the following book (which I read over thirty years ago). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Worldly_Philosophers The link also refers to problems sourcing the data, but this book is still somewhat "authoritative" in the field. – Tom Au Oct 14 '14 at 19:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.