Friday, June 10, 2011

Galbraith Attacks Pseudo-Keynesianism

Economist James Galbraith attacks false Keynesianism in an article for The American Conservative (interesting venue for Dr. Galbraith).

an excerpt:"And Thorstein Veblen, in The Theory of Business Enterprise, in 1904, explained what the sound principle underlying it all was. The bottom of the matter was emotional: “Depression is primarily a malady of the affections of the business men. … Any proposed remedy, therefore, must be of such a nature as to reach this emotional seat of the trouble. … What is required is a business coalition … loosely called a ‘trust’.

There you have it: business people need to be in charge. And more than that: they need to feel in charge. Anything else is fundamentally unsound.

That is what made Keynes insufferable. It wasn’t that as a young man he liked boys. It wasn’t that he taught that that thrift is a vice, or that savings are pathological, that deficits are helpful, that debt is necessary, that interest rates should be kept low, that the economy should be run at full employment for the good of all. It wasn’t even his reference at the end of The General Theory to the “euthanasia of the rentier.”

No, it was the fact that Keynesian policy required Keynes. And if Keynes were in charge, then the captains of industry could not be. Larry Summers is not Keynes. But he did give the impression, for a while, of running the show. This was a fatal error. It was the impression of making policy that business and the Tea Party could not stand. A better policy would not have been better liked".

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