The Intentions of Keynes and Cowen

Sunday, April 4, 2010
Posted in category Economics

Here’s a snippet from a compelling post by Butler Shaffer on the blog (regarding a reading of Keynes’ foreword to the 1936 German edition of his General Theory):

Keynes acknowledged that his theory might “expect to meet with less resistance on the part of German readers than from English.”  He added that “The theory of aggregate production, which is the point of the following book, nevertheless can be much easier adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state than the theory of production and distribution of a given production put forth under conditions of free competition and a large degree of laissez-faire.  . . Although I have. . . worked it out with a view to the conditions prevailing in the Anglo-Saxon countries where a large degree of laissez-faire still prevails, nevertheless it remains applicable to situations in which state management is more pronounced.”

No mistaking that meaning. Shaffer mentions this as a follow-up to Lew Rockwell’s post calling Tyler Cowen a Keynesian. I argue that Cowen is a purposeful Keynesian, and an enthusiastic tool of the state.

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2 Responses to The Intentions of Keynes and Cowen

  1. Bob Roddis says:

    April 4th, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Cowen exists so that Little Matty Yglesias can cite him as an example of “reasonable mainstream libertarianism“: “Now, however, Woods is pushing a fringe economic doctrine that tells the right what it wants to hear so he’s gaining popularity. The doctrine in question is so-called “Austrian” business cycle theory, memorably lampooned by Tyler Cowen. You can see other brief criticism from a libertarian point of view from Bryan Caplan or read Paul Krugman’s 1998 takedown.”

    Robert Wenzel tried to interview Cowen who insisted that one could google “Austrian theory and financial crisis” and half the results would be “religious Austrians.”

    I submit that Cowen is not that bright and not particularly honest (in addition to being a Keynesian and a statist whore).

  2. Bob Roddis says:

    April 4th, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I would like to add that in the 37 years since I first discovered the ABCT, I have NEVER yet read a critique that bothered to make an attempt at a fair criticism of the ABCT (to differentiate an attempt from a completed fair criticism). There’s always the name calling and superficial sniping about, for example a priori arguments or that ABCT is allegedly a religion. If the Austrian School is so mistaken, why don’t the critics like Cowen, Palmer, Yglesias, Krugman and DeLong write a thorough and devastating critique and be done with it? Based upon their usual level of venom, that shouldn’t be so hard.
    They don’t write such a critique because they can’t.

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