Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Recent Posts On John Maynard Keynes

Some prominent economist bloggers have recently commented on Keynes. Brad DeLong excoriates John Gray for asserting Keynes' view contrasts with the idea that markets are swayed by emotion, contagion, and speculation. Brad DeLong and Paul Krugman criticize Steven Landsburg for arguing as if Keynes had never overthrown Says's law.

Alex Tabarrok points out that the young Keynes kept diaries about his early (probably homo-) sexual encounters.

Some of the commentators on some of these posts are interesting. Kevin Quinn suggests that Gray's ignorance might be explained by the distorted view put forth by mainstream Keynesian teaching. Many students are not told about the ideas in Chapter 12 and their central nature to Keynes' General Theory. One commentator wonders why Krugman concentrates on the Washington Post for publishing Landsburg, but not the economic profession for producing somebody like Landsburg at a "top 20" university for economics. (That would be the University of Rochester.) That criticism could equally be directed at DeLong. Another commentator on Krugman knows the mainstream view that Keynesian theory applies in the short run, when wages and prices are supposedly sticky or slow to adjust, and classical (Say's law) theory applies in the long run. He thinks that Landsburg merely expects the short run to be much shorter than Krugman does.

It is a Post Keynesian view that mainstream (bastard) Keynesianism misses essential points in Keynes' theory, including the setting in historical time. Keynes' theory applies in all runs. (By the way, I wrote the original Wikipedia entry on Post Keynesian economics, if I recall correctly.)

I was under the impression that Maynard's bisexuality was well-known. I cannot keep straight the relations inside the Bloomsbury group. It seems they had an instance of every geometrical figure you can name.

It seems Keynes' sometime lover Lytton was called up by the draft board during World War I. Lytton claimed conscientious objector status, at least for that war. One of the members of the tribunal asked Lytton what he would do if a german were trying rape Lytton's sister. Lytton said, "Sir, I would try and interpose my own body."

Lytton's most famous work is probably Eminent Victorians. In honor of George MacDonald Fraser, I am currently reading Thomas Hughes' Tom Brown's School Days. Hughes continual lectures to the reader drive me into Lytton's camp of reacting against the Victorians.

No comments: