Keynesian Spirits



Intellectual Persecution

While reading John Cassidy‘s brilliant history of economic ideas, How Markets Fail, I begin thinking of the widespread ‘persecution’ of intellectuals of the left, particularly economists, that started in the 1970s when the Keynesian models broke down in the face of both increasing unemployment and inflation.

Naturally, the process accelerated once Thatcher and Reagan won office and began implementing their then radical agendas. Many brilliant economists who warned of the dangers of unbridled finance, de-regulation, manic privatisation and zero capital-flow controls were shunted aside, ridiculed and rarely got top academic or political posts.

So, I take my hat off to geniuses on the right (!) and left, who stuck to their principles and ideas in spite of regular criticism and intellectual isolation. Thanks to Von Hayek, Pigou, Minsky, Baker, Stiglitz, Galbraith Jnr. and many others, we understand better how our economies and societies function. It’s something even beyond being right or wrong (I may not agree with the policy proposals of  Von Hayek and Friedman) but more about fighting for what one believes to be the truth.

Links

A very good read on Friedman

Notes on Minsky 1 and 2

Galbraith on economists’ mistakes

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