Friday, February 27, 2009

Keynes Likes Totalitarians

Keynes Politely Explains How to Destroy Civilization
02/27/09 - by Jeffrey Tucker

The late economist Lord John Maynard Keynes regarded his own theories as a best fit for totalitarian societies. It is so much easier to achieve full employment when you can tell everyone what to do and decide what they will be paid. Every member of an ant colony is employed, and seemingly happy.

Keynes impresses me with the long, jumpy, tedious construction of his sentences, to express the simplest and fuzziest thoughts. I find that saying something directly is easy. Saying nothing, or everything, with detailed qualifications and exceptions, in one sentence, is quite difficult. Why bother with paragraphs when long sentences are so much more impressive?

[edited] I'm sorry, but reading Keynes gives me the chills. I can easily imagine his dispassionate narrative about events in a Gulag, justifying every horror with a pseudo-scientific rationale made up on the spot.

Oh wait: he did do that. From the 1936 foreword to the German edition of The General Theory:

Nevertheless the theory of output as a whole, which is what the following book purports to provide, is much more easily adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state, than is the theory of production and distribution of a given output produced under conditions of free competition and a lance measure of laissez-faire.

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Chap. 24
Dig into the thought of Lord Keynes at

The Political Dictionary: "Keynesian Economics"
A satirical definition, unfortunately true.

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