We Need to Kill John Maynard Keynes

Not the man. He is already dead.

We need to kill his big idea before it ruins not only the United States economy but the entire world economy. What is that big idea? That governments should spend money they don’t have in order to help their own people. Even Time magazine acknowledged this in naming Keynes one of the century’s most influential people:

“His radical idea that governments should spend money they don’t have may have saved capitalism”.

I mean, I never went to Harvard or anything, but that idea sounds kind of silly on it’s face, don’t you think? Unfortunately, it has become the prevailing economic philosophy in the world and is blindly accepted as truth in all the institutions of higher learning that pollute the minds of our would be congress critters. This, despite the fact that from Japan to Western Europe to California, the implementation of Keynes’ big idea has been an abject failure. Governments continue to spend more and more, going deeper into debt, and sooner or later, something has got to give. Wake up, America.

Make no mistake about it. Keynes was a liberal. While at Cambridge he was president of the Cambridge University Liberal Club(no, I’m not making that up) which later merged with Cambridge University Social Democrats. The group has a long history of “radical” politics dating back to the 1800s. He first gained prominence after WWI by arguing debt forgiveness for Germany:

Keynes’s analyses on the predicted damaging effects of the treaty appeared in the highly influential The Economic Consequences of the Peace, published in 1919. This work has been described as Keynes’s best book, where he was able to bring all his gifts to bear – his passion as well as his skill as an economist. In addition to economic analyses, the book contained pleas to the readers sense of compassion:

I cannot leave this subject as though its just treatment wholly depended either on our own pledges or on economic facts. The policy of reducing Germany to servitude for a generation, of degrading the lives of millions of human beings, and of depriving a whole nation of happiness should be abhorrent and detestable,–abhorrent and detestable, even if it were possible, even if it enriched ourselves, even if it did not sow the decay of the whole civilized life of Europe.

Also present was striking imagery such as “…that year by year Germany must be kept impoverished and her children starved and crippled…” 

Sounds like he might be running for Congress in Massachusetts, no? “It’s for the children….”.

Oh, and he was gay, not that there is anything wrong with that. He became an agnostic. He was part of the intellectual liberal elite of his day, palling around with Virginia Woolf and TS Eliot. While he rejected Marxist doctrine, not sure it was for the right reasons. In 1931 he wrote:

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values.

So, it wasn’t the idea of a state run economy that bothered him, it was ceding power to the boorish proletariat. Only the “intelligentsia” had the “seeds of all human achievement”. Obama would have loved this guy. Can you say elitist? Finally, even Keynes acknowledged that his own ideas were just that, ideas. He foretellingly wrote:

The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back… soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.

So true, John boy. We are now the slaves of a defunct economist.

Now, I may have only attended a meager state school, but even I know you shouldn’t spend money you don’t have. When will people realize that governments DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY. They do not produce a product or provide a service that anyone would buy unless they are forced to at the point of a gun or a threat of jail time. There are only three ways that governments get money. They either Tax, Borrow, or Print and all of them are bad.

So, instead of arguing about who will do a better job of running government, wouldn’t we be better off arguing against government in the first place? Discrediting Keynes would be a great first step.