Category Archives: Economists

Bitcoin: A Tower of Monetary Babel

Bitcoin Fiat Currency

The promoters of crypto currencies have gushingly touted them as the mechanism by which the present central banking cabal and the system of nation states which derive much of their power from will be brought down and replaced by digital money.  Despite their meteoric rise as speculative “assets,” there are fundamental economic reasons why they will never act as a general medium of exchange despite the wild enthusiasm for them by the crypto-currency cultists.

Money – a general medium of exchange – is the most marketable (exchangeable) commodity in an economy.  As a good, money is not sought after for its direct use – to satisfy individual wants – but to satisfy wants indirectly through exchange for other goods.  Over time, one good becomes money since it possesses qualities superior to all other goods as a money.  When gold became demanded not for its “use value,” but for its “exchange value,” it became a general medium of exchange – money.

As a consumer good, gold possessed a value or a “price” prior to it becoming a money, as the eminent monetary theorist Murray Rothbard explains:

. . . embedded in the demand for money is knowledge

of the money-prices of the immediate past; in contrast

to directly-used consumers’ or producers’ goods, money

must have pre-existing prices on which to ground a demand.

But the only way this can happen is by beginning with a useful

commodity under barter, and then adding demand for a

medium to the previous demand for direct use (e.g., for

ornaments in the case of gold.)*

Thus, Bitcoin’s “price” is not in terms of its original commodity price, but its price is in terms of dollars, Euros, yuan, etc.  In the dollar’s case, it was at one time linked to gold, but has since been severed from it while Bitcoin has had no such relationship.

Once money is established, then prices are expressed in terms of it and thus economic calculation can rationally take place and the division of labor and specialization can be expanded.  Rothbard continues:

       The establishment of money conveys another great

benefit.  Since all exchanges are made in money, all the

exchange-ratios are expressed in money, and so people

can now compare the market worth of each good to that

of every other good.**

Once gold became money, the price of goods became expressed in gold not in other elements – nickel, zinc, lead, etc.  With the proliferation of crypto currencies, there will be a myriad of different price ratios for each good.  There will be a Bitcoin price for a car, an Ethereum price for a car, a Dogecoin price of a car, and so on.  This is the antithesis of the purpose of money – one unit of account that reflect prices for all commodities as Rothbard shows:

 

Because gold is a general medium it is most marketable,

it can be stored to serve as a medium in the future as well

as the present, and all prices are expressed in its terms.

Because gold is a commodity medium for all exchanges,

it can serve as a unit of account for present, and expected

future, prices.  It is important to realize that money cannot

be an abstract unit of account or claim, except insofar as it

serves as a medium of exchange.***  [my emphasis]

Crypto currencies, therefore, directly violate one of the main principles of monetary theory.  The vast array of digital money, all with unique price ratios (to say the least of their volatility), would make economic calculation and rational planning next to impossible.  In this sense, the current world of fiat dollars would be preferable to a Tower of Monetary Babel that digital currencies would create.

Central banks and governments do not fear crypto currency challengers to their monetary hegemony.  They, of course, jealously monitor the crypto market worried that any gains accrued may not be subject to tax.  Central banksters do fear gold for it remains, despite being demonetized, the last check on profligate central bank monetary expansion.  And, because countries who wisely understand gold’s importance and seek to get out from under the yoke of King Dollar (most notably China and Russia), continue to voraciously accumulate the yellow metal.

The return of true prosperity will only come about when gold is once again at the center of the monetary order and fiat currencies such as the dollar, Euro, and now Bitcoin are forgettable memories of a misguided and corrupt age.

*Murray N. Rothard, What Has Government Done to Our Money?  Novato, CA.: Libertarian Publishers, 8th printing, January 1981.

**Ibid., 4-5.

***Ibid., 5.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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Donald Trump is an Economic Ignoramus!

Trump & Trade II

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump has followed in the infamous footsteps of his presidential predecessors in the transition from candidate to chief executive.  Invariably, every candidate for the presidency makes a whole host of promises, the vast majority of which are horrible and typically only exacerbate the problems they attempt to resolve.  Among the proposals, however, there is an occasional bright spot.  Yet, once elected the stupid polices are eagerly pursued while the good ones are quickly discarded.

What was somewhat unique about Donald Trump was that he was the first candidate in a long while who had a number of refreshing and much needed proposals – border wall, “drain the swamp,” criticism of Ma Yellen and the Fed, rapprochement with Vladimir Putin and Russia, a deescalation of U.S. imperialism.  There were bad ones, too, but the good ones were enough to lead him to a smashing win over the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua.

Even before being sworn in, however, the president-elect began to downplay his most positive positions and emphasize the worst.  At the top of this list, and what Trump has been consistently wrong about since the inception of his political career, and even prior to it, has been “trade.”

Trump considers himself an “economic nationalist” in the mold of Patrick Buchanan.  Both, however, are simply wrong in this regard demonstrating that they do not have a grasp of the most basic of economic principles.

The latest Trump tirade on trade was reported during his recent trip to Europe and a meeting with high-ranking officials.  Trump is reported to have lashed out at German auto makers who the President accused of being “very bad” because of the “millions of cars that they sell in the U.S.”  The Donald bemoaned, “Terrible, we’re going to stop that” and added “I don’t have a problem [with] Germany, I have a problem with German trade.”*

Such talk makes Trump sound like a fool.  What is “bad” about providing American consumers with first-class automobiles that they apparently want in large quantities and are voluntarily willing to pay for?  And what of American workers employed with Mercedes Benz, BMW, and Volkswagen?  What is so horrible about the jobs and income that is provided by German firms to these workers?

Instead of berating German car manufactures, Trump should direct his ire at the immigration policies of psychopathic politicians like Frau Merkel.  Candidate Trump was very vocal about this and criticized European leaders for allowing their countries to be turned into multicultural cesspools.

The benefits of free trade and the baneful consequences of protectionism have long ago been elucidated by right-thinking economists, while the historical record has shown that lands which engage in “free trade” are decidedly richer than those that do not.  That Trump could spout off such nonsense about the evils of German trade shows how far the level of economic understanding has fallen.

Not only does free trade allow for the extension of the division of labor and specialization, but it has very important non-economic fruits.  When trade is unregulated, there is less of a tendency of trading partners to engage in bellicose actions toward each other.  Free trade and peaceful coexistence among nations are synonymous.  It is when trade is prohibited, skewed by governments to “protect” favored industries, which creates tensions among peoples.

Free trade does not require measures such as NAFTA or negotiated deals by politicians.  Instead, producers of one region are free to sell their goods at whatever prices or quantities to consumers of other areas that agree to buy them.  Ultimately, trade is up to individual producers and consumers in what they contractually agree to exchange, there is no need for political involvement.

Trump’s lambasting of the German auto makers, however, underscores a more fundamental problem with the U.S. economy.  America no longer produces goods that the world’s consumers desire, but instead, produces military hardware that it sells to despotic regimes which enables them to remain in power and wreck havoc on their enemies.  Predictably, this escalates tensions abroad while, domestically, the standard of living of Americans fall as scarce resources that could have been used in the production of useful consumer goods are diverted to the creation of murderous military armaments.

Trump has repeatedly boasted about his and his appointees’ abilities to negotiate great trade “deals.”  His bashing of the German auto makers right after his multi-billion dollar arms sales to the Saudis show not only that he is clueless in regard to the immense benefits of free trade, but that he is just another adherent, like his predecessors, to the ideals of crony capitalism.

*Tyler Durden, “Trump Slams ‘Very Bad’ Germans for Selling Millions of Cars in US: ‘We Will Stop This.'”  Zero Hedge 26 May 2017. http://www.zerohedge.com/print/596683

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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Donald & the Dollar

donald-dollar

John Connally, President Nixon’s Secretary of the Treasury, once remarked to the consternation of Europe’s financial elites over America’s inflationary monetary policy, that the dollar “is our currency, but your problem.”  Times have certainly changed and it now appears that the dollar has become an American problem.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, the soon to be 45th President of the United States believes that the greenback’s strength – up some 25% against a broad basket of currencies since 2014 – is now “too strong,” “killing us,” and has hurt companies trying to compete overseas.* A top Trump economics advisor, Anthony Scaramucci, reinforced his boss’ sentiment adding that “we must be careful of a rising dollar.”

Apparently, making America great again does not include the nation’s monetary standard.  Trump’s belief that the dollar is too strong also shows a distinct lack of historical understanding.  Every great nation and empire (which Trump promises to restore America to) had a sound monetary system.  It is no coincidence that the pound sterling was the world’s “reserve currency” at the time when the British Empire was at its height.  Debasement of it to finance Britain’s insane decision to enter World War I led, in large part, to the eventual loss of its empire.  If Trump truly seeks to restore American greatness at home and its prestige throughout the world, devaluating the currency is not the way to go.

Nor does a weakened dollar benefit the middle class whom the president elect throughout the campaign has pledged to help.  In fact, it has been the fall in the purchasing power of the dollar due to the inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve which have decimated the living standard of the middle class.  And, while the proposed Trumpian middle class tax cuts will help, just as important is a sound monetary system if Middle America is to become a creditor class once again.

Pensioners and retirees, another group that Trump has promised to help, would continue to see their financial condition decline under a policy to weaken the dollar. A fall in the purchasing power of money would devastate the income stream of pensions and social security payments.

While a weaker dollar policy would hurt the middle class, retirees, and savers, it would benefit the most responsible for the continued economic doldrums of America – banksters and the government.  A weaker dollar would allow the government to continue to borrow and maintain its profligate spending.  Financial houses and the banksters would receive credit at nearly zero cost which would allow them to continue to blow bubbles in the asset markets.  Export firms, too, would benefit at least for a while, but would more than likely face retribution from foreign governments and central banks which would retaliate with their own devaluations sparking potential currency wars.

Talk of “currency manipulation,” “weakening the dollar,” “trade deals,” and the like do not address what lies at the heart of not only America, but the Western world’s economic problem – too much debt.  The reason why the West has been able to incur its current gargantuan level of debt is not because of a “weak” or a “strong” dollar, but because the dollar is a fiat currency not backed by any commodity.  A true gold standard, where each currency unit represents either gold or silver, provides monetary discipline which prevents politicians and banksters from incurring ruinous levels of debt.

Since money is the lifeblood of an economy, any hope that one can be turned around without a stable monetary order is, to say the least, delusional.  If president-elect Trump and his policy makers do not realize this, they will be severely disappointed in the years to come.  Sound money allows for the accumulation of savings and capital formation, the essential elements of the market economy and the only basis upon which real economic growth can occur.  More savings and capital are needed to boost production and create employment, not supposedly wiser and more competent international trade negotiators.

Talk of currency devaluation is what is typically heard from banana republics, it should not be advocated by those who have aspirations of making their country great again.

*Tyler Durden, “Dollar Tumbles After Trump Calls Currency ‘Too Strong,’ Slams Border-Adjustment Tax.”  Zero Hedge.  17 January 2017.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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Pope Francis Now International Monetary Guru

pope-francis-marx

Neo-Marxist Pope Francis

As the new year dawns, it seems the current occupant of St. Peter’s Chair will take on a new function which is outside the purview of the office that the Divine Founder of his institution had clearly mandated.  Besides being a self proclaimed expert on global warming and a vociferous advocate of societal-wrecking mass immigration, it looks as if “Pope” Francis has entered the realm of global economics specifically, international monetary policy.

In an 18-page document issued through the Vatican’s Office of Justice and Peace, Bergoglio has called for, among other repressive and wealth-destructive measures, the establishment of a “supranational [monetary] authority” to oversee international monetary affairs:

In fact, one can see an emerging requirement for

a body that will carry out the functions of a kind of

‘central world bank’ that regulates the flow and system of

monetary exchanges similar to the national central

banks.*

The paper, “Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of a Global Public Authority,” contends that a world central bank is needed because institutions such as the IMF have failed to “stabilize world finance” and have not effectively regulated “the amount of credit risk taken on by the system.”

Naturally, as one of the planet’s preeminent social justice warriors, Bergoglio claims that if a world central bank is not commissioned, than the gap between rich and poor will be exacerbated even further:

 

If no solutions are found to the various forms of injustice,

the negative effects that will follow on the social,

political and economic level will be destined to create a

climate of growing hostility and even violence, and

ultimately undermine the very foundations of democratic

institutions, even the ones considered most solid.

 

Bergoglio acknowledges that if a central monetary authority is established it will mean a loss of sovereignty and independence among nations, but such “costs” are well worth the overall societal and economic gains:

  Of course, this transformation will be made at the

cost of a gradual, balanced transfer of a part of each

nation’s powers to a world authority and to

regional authorities, but this is necessary at a time

when the dynamism of human society and the

economy and the progress of technology are transcending

borders, which are in fact already very eroded in a

globalized world.

While the document demonstrates that Bergoglio has not a clue of basic monetary theory, it shows again that the “pope” is a radical socialist who has more in common with the loony ideas of Karl Marx than he does with Roman Catholicism.

The ongoing and deepening financial crisis that Bergoglio seeks to address is not because there has been no global central bank to regulate more effectively the money and credit flow of the various nation states, but the crisis is because of the machinations of central banking.  Central banking, through the fraudulent practice of fractional-reserve banking, has been the culprit in almost every financial calamity that has beset the Western world since the institution was first created.

If “Pope” Francis was truly interested in solving the financial crisis and alleviating the income gap between rich and poor, he would call for the abolition of this evil institution and advocate the re-establishment of an honest international monetary order based on gold and silver as money.  But, as a good neo-Marxist, Francis is more concerned with the redistribution of wealth from rich to poor.

Yet, as sound economic theory has shown, this Leftist ideal is a scam.  Redistribution of income never enhances the conditions of the poor but instead enriches the politically-connected elites and impoverishes the middle class.

Unlike what Bergoglio believes and what is taught in nearly all college and university economics classes, wealth can only be created by real savings (the abstention from consumption) and the investment of those savings into the production of capital goods which, in time, creates consumer goods.  To foster such an environment, however, there must be a sound monetary order not open to manipulation via inflation and credit expansion by central banks.

As he has been accused by several of his cardinals for espousing heretical views on re-marriage and the reception of the Sacraments, “Pope” Francis’ position on international money and banking matters is equally erroneous.  Jorge Bergoglio’s “pontificate” has been an unmitigated disaster plagued by constant scandal so it would be wise of him before it is too late to remember the ominous words of the Founder of the institution he now heads about the grizzly consequences that are in store for those who bring about scandal.

*Baxter Dmitry, “Vatican Calls for ‘Central World Bank’ and ‘Global Authority.'”  Your News Wire.com  2 January 2017.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/

 

Donald’s Electoral Struggle

trump-map

After touting her pro-labor union record, the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua rhetorically asked, “why am I not 50 points ahead?”  Her chief rival bluntly responded: “because you’re terrible.”* No truer words have been uttered by any of the candidates about one of their opponents since the start of this extraordinary presidential campaign!

That Hillary Clinton is even remotely competitive in the race despite her flagrant and undeniable corruption, numerous breaches of national security, a long incompetent and bungling political career, and the utter lack of any personal charm or charisma, points to ominous trends within the American electorate that if not checked will mean political futility for future challengers of the status quo and continued economic deterioration.

Simply put: Killary is in contention despite a mountain of negatives because the “dependency class” of the electorate has mushroomed to such an extent that anyone who seeks its reform is automatically at a disadvantage, while candidates, no matter how vile, who promise to keep the gravy train rolling or expand it, will remain viable.  This is the dilemma that Donald Trump faces.

Most of the data in this regard is quite telling.  To show how far the US has fallen as an economic power, government workers outnumber manufacturing workers by 9,932,000!  The three levels of government – federal, state, local – employ some 22,213,000 people while the manufacturing sector employs 12,281,000.**   Parasitical bureaucrats outnumber those who actually create wealth by almost double.  Not only is this a recipe for economic stagnation and decline, but it creates an entrenched voting bloc and contingency for government-friendly office seeking politicians.  There have been few if any more government-friendly figures over the past century than Hillary Rotten Clinton!

Those who are dependent on the State goes far beyond mere government employees: 46 million receive food assistance, 66 million people are “Social Security” recipients, 8 million people receive “unemployment insurance.”  Federal government spending on for-profit firms comes to some $500 billion, which Charles Murray has estimated is about 22% of the workforce or about 36 million people.  Non-profit organizations and NGOs with income of $2 trillion and 12 million employees receive about one third of their funding from the government which accounts for another 3 million dependents.  This brings the total American State-dependency class to a staggering 181 million members!***

Summing up this disturbing data, the eminent economist and philosopher, Hans-Hermann Hoppe wrote:

                   . . . only 79 million people or about one third

of the adult (above 18) US population of 260 million

(or about 25 percent of the total population of 320

million) can be said to be financially wholly or largely

independent of the State, whereas close to 70 percent of

the US adult population and 57% of the total population

are to be counted as State-dependents.****

These trends will be accentuated, to say the least, if Donald Trump is defeated, which will give Hillary and the Republican-amnesty crowd free reign.  After grants of amnesty for the millions of illegals already in the country are given and opening of the nation’s borders to even more, any hope of true reform of the welfare state will be extinguished.  Moreover, it will further burden those of the productive, non-dependency sectors of society who will have to support even larger groups of parasites and free loaders.

The Left clearly understands what is at stake, which is why they see Trump’s anti-immigration stance, his talk of closing agencies (Department of Education), and grappling with federal spending as a direct threat to their power base.  This is why they are apoplectic in their opposition to the billionaire businessman turned presidential contender.  He and his constituency are, for the most part, outside of the dependency class.

A population that is increasingly tied to government largesse is obviously not conducive for economic growth.  For Donald Trump to make America great again, the nation’s burgeoning dependency class must be halted.  Not only will this mean that the “Trump Movement” will not be a passing political fad, but will have a necessary and lasting impact.

That Hillary Clinton is not significantly ahead despite her enormous advantages must be cause for a lot of sleepless nights among the power elite.  A Clinton Presidency would secure the Left’s electoral dominance for years to come.

One man stands in their way.

* Guy Benson, “Question From Hilary Clinton” ‘Why Aren’t I 50 Points Ahead?'”  Townhall.  22 September 2016.  http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2016/09/22/question-from-hillary-clinton-why-arent-i-ahead-by-50-points-n2222202

**Terence P. Jeffrey.  “Government Workers Now Outnumber Manufacturing Workers by 9,932,000.  CNS News.  2 September 2016.  http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/government-workers-now-outnumber-manufacturing-workers-9932000#disqus_thread

***Hans-Hermann Hoppe.  “Democracy, De-Civilization , and Counterculture.”  HansHoppe.com.  26 September 2015.  http://www.hanshoppe.com/2015/09/democracy-de-civilization-and-counterculture-pfs-2015/

****Ibid.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donald and the “Maestro”

trump-ii            greenspan-ii

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who was once laudably referred to as “Maestro” for his supposed astute stewardship of U.S. monetary policy, commented last week on the nation’s current political and economic climate:

We’re not in a stable equilibrium.  I hope

we can all find a way out because this too

great a country to be undermined, by how should

I say it, crazies.*

Well, if there is anyone who knows how to “undermine” an economy, it is the Maestro, since it was his “crazed” policies that brought about the 2008 financial crisis which ushered in the Great Recession that continues to this very day.

In a demonstration of how truly clueless Greenspan is about economic conditions, he cautioned that the U.S. is “headed toward stagflation – a combination of weak demand and elevated inflation.” Memo to the Maestro: stagflation is already here and has been for quite a while, especially when real economic gauges are used instead of the phony baloney numbers routinely lied about by the BLS and other corrupt state agencies.

The “crazies” that Greenspan refers to are, of course, the “deplorable” Trump supporters and The Donald himself, who the Maestro contends is responsible for “the worst economic and political environment that I’ve ever been remotely related to.” Oh, poor Alan has to suffer through an election where one of the candidates has not been approved by the ruling class.  Too bad.

Instead of carping about the current state of political affairs which, at least financially, he and his successor, Helicopter Ben Bernanke, largely contributed to, Greenspan should be grateful that he has had no reprisals for the financial crimes, chaos, and misery that he has afflicted upon the world.  Instead of significant jail time or worse, Greenspan is free to pontificate on current events, receiving hefty financial remuneration, and just as important for top members of the governing elite, ego-enhancing hosannas!

While Ben Bernanke has been a lifelong committed Keynesian and inflationist, Alan Greenspan, at least in his younger days as a member of Ayn Rand’s circle, was a free marketer who spoke positively about the efficacy and moral soundness of a gold standard.  That he abandoned these beliefs to go over to the Dark Side is further cause for retributive justice.

Greenspan’s betrayal was similar to those economists of the 1930s (Lionel Robbins most notable) who were followers of the teachings of Mises and Hayek, yet were swept away by the fanciful Keynesian deluge of the day and abandoned their economic senses and conscious for similar allurements which seduced the Maestro.  Had these economists as well as Greenspan stuck to their original principles, the world may not be in its current financial mess.

While Greenspan was lamenting the state of political affairs, the head “crazy,” Donald Trump, commented on the Maestro’s former place of employment.  Unlike the Maestro, the financial media, and just about every other politician, Trump had some perceptive things to say about the nation’s central bank, showing again that the billionaire businessman’s political acumen is quite good:

The Fed is being totally controlled politically because

Obama wants to go out with no stock market disruptions.**

The Republican Presidential hopeful could have easily added that the Fed’s policy is being deliberately carried out to ensure his Democratic opponent’s victory this fall.  A booming stock market is perceived by most as an indication of a vibrant economy.

Trump does not buy the supposed “independence” of the Fed from political influence and the conduct of monetary policy solely for the well being of the economy:

If it was a choice between the right decision and a political

decision… The Fed would choose the political decision.

Throughout the campaign, Trump’s instincts on political and economic matters have been quite good and hopefully if he does become chief executive those instincts will translate into positive change.

A Clinton Presidency would assuredly mean a continuation of the ruinous policies of Greenspan and his successors.  The election of Donald Trump could not only mean a new direction in monetary policy, but the public demotion of the likes of Alan Greenspan who will hopefully fade into the sunset never to be heard or seen from again.

*Rich Miller, “Greenspan Worries That ‘Crazies’ Will Undermine the U.S. System.”  Bloomberg.  14 September 2016.  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-14/greenspan-worries-that-crazies-will-undermine-the-u-s-system

**Tyler Durden, “Trump Slams ‘Totally Politically Controlled’ Fed, Sees No Rate Hike Until Obama Has Left.”  Zero Hedge. 15 September 2016.  http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-09-15/trumps-slams-totally-politically-controlled-fed-sees-no-rate-hike-until-obama-has-le

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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John Maynard Keynes’ “General Theory” Eighty Years Later

Keynes Gen Theory

To the economic and political detriment of the Western world and those economies beyond which have adopted its precepts, 2016 marks the eightieth anniversary of the publication of one of, if not, the most influential economics books ever penned, John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.  Sadly, even to this day, despite its thorough refutation by lights such as Henry Hazlitt and other eminent scholars, The General Theory, which spawned “Keynesianism” and its later variants, remains supreme in academics, financial markets, and public policy.

Despite its outlandish theoretical flaws and nonsensical economic jargon and the catastrophic empirical evidence of its failure to prevent financial downturns or “stimulate” sustainable growth, Keynesianism remains the ruling paradigm of economic thought.

Why?

A number of trenchant reasons have been given for the General Theory’s continued dominance, however, one stands above all else: Keynesian economics provides the intellectual justification for economists, statisticians, technocrats, bureaucrats, and policy wonks in their exalted positions as “fine tuners” of economies the world over.  Since markets are to Keynes and his disciples inherently unstable from erratic investment spending and aggregate demand, it is up to these theoreticians steeped in the knowledge of their master’s teachings to ameliorate any economic fluctuations.

The General Theory came on the scene at a propitious time during the height (or more accurately the depth) of  the Great Depression, which in 1936, despite Roosevelt’s New Deal and other Western nation states’ initiatives, had not improved conditions.  Keynesianism was actually a “middle way” between all out Soviet-style central planning and that of laissez-faire capitalism.  Primarily through fiscal policy, the economy would be kept on an even keel under the astute management of Keynesian-trained economists.  Naturally, this appealed to academics and intellectuals the world over who correctly envisioned positions of power and influence in expanded state apparatuses.

As history has shown, Keynesianism was to become more than a remedy for the Depression, but would be applicable after the crisis dissipated.  The General Theory was based, in part, on the (false) notion that the capitalist system is inherently unstable and is, therefore, in need of state intervention.  Keynes  deliberately ignored the scholarship at the time, which demonstrated that the instability was not a “market failure,” but a monetary disorder caused by artificial credit expansion generated by the central banks, especially the Federal Reserve.

The enthusiasm for The General Theory came at first from younger economists while it was (rightly) dismissed by many of their elders as incomprehensible.  Yet, its lack of clarity was appealing to the novices, since they would become the Creed’s interpreters.

Not all, however, were entirely overwhelmed by their mentor’s magnum opus as Paul Samuelson candidly admitted:

[The General Theory] is a badly written book:

poorly organized. . . . It abounds in mares’ nests

of confusions. . . .  I think I am giving away no

secrets when I solemnly aver – upon the basis of

vivid personal recollection – that no one else in

Cambridge, Massachusetts, really knew what it

was all about for some twelve to eighteen months

after publication.*

Despite such an assessment, Keynesianism was never seriously challenged by its adherents, it opened too many lucrative policy making doors to be refuted.

That Keynesianism continues to reign supreme, despite its theoretical and empirical bankruptcy, speaks volumes of the state of Western intellectual and academic life.  Instead of the pursuit of truth and the refutation of error, Western intelligentsia is primarily concerned with securing privilege and power for itself.  At one time such status was gained by honest inquiry into social questions and issues, now it is obtained in the justification of the expansion of state power.  Very few turn down such enticements!

Societies are the product of ideas.  Since the release of The General Theory, the Western world has been under the destructive sway of Keynesianism, which has resulted in stagnation, financial turmoil, and eventual collapse.  Until Keynes and his nutty theories have been refuted, the economic malaise will continue.

Quoted in Murray N. Rothbard, “Keynes, the Man.” In Mark Skousen, ed., Dissent on Keynes: A Critical Appraisal of Keynesian Economics.  New York: Praeger Publishers, 1992, p.184

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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