Rap video on Keynes (and Hayek)

by Russ Roberts on October 14, 2009

in Stimulus, Video

News has leaked out that I’m working on a rap video on Keynes. It’s a joint project with John Papola. It will feature Keynes and Hayek. Watch this space for more info or follow me on twitter here.

If you’re new here, this is where I blog with Don Boudreaux. My weekly podcast, EconTalk is here. My novels are here. My essays are here.

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Anonymous October 14, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Here’s a good one on HealthCare.


Steve October 15, 2009 at 12:50 am

next time you fall ill go to Chile

Name October 15, 2009 at 4:11 am

Wait, people still cite that WHO study?


Anonymous October 15, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Wait… people still cite Cato?

matt October 15, 2009 at 1:49 pm

wait, you’re still learning to pee?

Steve October 15, 2009 at 9:20 pm

totally dude, totally… we are 37th! READ IT AND WEEP!

mgroves October 15, 2009 at 1:14 am


Steve October 15, 2009 at 2:16 am

sure… Chile is ranked #33…. 4 better than the U.S.

Bill Stepp October 15, 2009 at 2:25 am

I heard you were doing it with 50 cent–which is about what Keynes’ ideas are worth.

Anonymous October 15, 2009 at 2:33 am
Anonymous October 15, 2009 at 2:42 am

Speaking of healthcare videos, have you folks seen this?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT7Y0TOBuG4&feat

BoscoH October 15, 2009 at 4:32 am

You need a gangsta name, Young R-Bobbies.

Anonymous October 15, 2009 at 7:05 am

Keynizzle can shizzle my gizzle, cuz Haykizzle is my nizzle, fo shizzle.

Lizzaroni October 15, 2009 at 7:17 am

Rap? As in Eminem rap? Or is the term used differently in academia? I need clarification before I get my hopes up!

K.D. October 15, 2009 at 8:42 am

Russ, I like you. Please do not rap.

Anonymous October 15, 2009 at 12:12 pm

It is a pity that you don’t discuss Keynes and Hayek in a more serious way. An example of that would be Bruce Caldwell’s even-handed introduction to the volume, Hayek Contra Keynes and Cambridge and the essays contained there by Hayek, Keynes, and Sraffa. All of this material gives a full account of the issues involved in the abandonment of Hayekism by a large number of Hayek’s students at LSE to the Keynesian way of thinking in the late 30s and during the war years, thanks to the efforts of Joan Robinson. A notable example of these lost students would be Nicholas Kaldor, a student of Hayek at LSE and the translator of much of the work that Hayek actually did in economics before escaping to the Committee on Social Thought to spread the libertarian views that are so consistently exhibited here. A detailed rebuttal to Kaldor’s Scourge of Monetarism, for example, would be far more amusing than a rap video, which I assume will be composed to play to the prejudices of your libertarian audience. An interesting essay would be your account of why these students left the orbit of Hayek in favor of Keynes.

Respectfully submitted,

A Sceptical Reader

Anonymous October 15, 2009 at 12:52 pm

I agree Keynes is woefully caricatured on here… but come on! Are you really concerned about the prospect of Russ rapping? This is going to be great, and I’m fully willing to chalk up any misrepresentations of Keynes in the video to artistic license :)

Anonymous October 15, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Because Keynes is so easy to caricature because he was so dreadfully wrong on so many things.

Anonymous October 15, 2009 at 1:27 pm

It will be serious. It will be fair to both people. And it will have lots of educational resources to help readers who want more info.

Anonymous October 15, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Thanks so much for your reply. There are plenty of targets for lampooning in Keynes. His wit was often wicked at other people’s expense. But I still wonder about why so many of Hayek’s students left the fold after the General Theory was published. If you could point out anything on your site that answers that question, I would appreciate it.

Anonymous October 15, 2009 at 1:30 pm

BTW, Robert Skidelsky was asked if the Keynes lyrics (he has not seen the Hayek ones) gave a fair account of Keynes. His response:

“Absolutely fair and brilliantly rhymed. It’s not a complete account of Keynes but it seems to be completely right.”

Anonymous October 15, 2009 at 1:42 pm

For those who are not in the know, Skidelsky won prizes all over the map for his three volume biography of Keynes. I must admit that I have never read them myself.

Anonymous October 15, 2009 at 1:46 pm

The popularity of an idea or an intellectual movement is not in any way a sign of its verity. If it were then we’d all be Marxists.

Anonymous October 15, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Libertarian economists making fun of Keynes is not novel. It is an obsession. What would be novel would be to see a libertarian step outside his bubble of ideology to address the actual views and arguments of those who they mock. If you could point out to me a serious critique of Kaldor’s book on this site or elsewhere, for example, now that would be interesting!

Anonymous October 15, 2009 at 1:33 pm

People such as yourself claiming that libertarians live inside a bubble is not novel, it is an obsession. So much so that libertarians have made a drinking game around such things because such commentary is both entirely predictable and incredibly dull. The liquor helps us get past the second part the best.

Anonymous October 17, 2009 at 10:14 pm

I would say that Keynes is a far piece less dull than Hayek. You should try reading both and report back to us.

Anonymous October 17, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Yes, some do prefer fiction to nonfiction.

Anonymous October 17, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Having read both I would say that the thing about Keynes is that he is a bit like Marx or Hegel; nearly impossible to read. Hayek’s prose – as well as Schumpeter’s – has the beauty one tends to find in non-native speakers of English. You see the same thing with the writing of Conrad (for your edification he wrote – amongst other things – “The Heart of Darkness”).Of course Keynes comes off as the insulated, snotty Brit that he was; as a personality he reminds one of the elitist, Boston Brahmins of the antebellum period who tought that their particular patch of dirt was all that one needed to consider in the world.Earlier your were making great hay about how some of Hayek’s students had abandoned him; well, as a counter to this, please explain the dramatic resurgence of Austrian economics since the 1970s.

Anonymous October 17, 2009 at 11:50 pm

“nearly impossible to read”

It is common among elites to mistake incoherence for brilliance. Invested in their own intellectual superiority, few are willing to admit when an argument doesn’t make sense to them, for fear that it is because of their own deficiencies rather than the deficiencies of the arguer.

Anonymous October 18, 2009 at 2:21 am

Keynes was anything but insulated. I will admit that he never really tried to understand the Austrian school. He thought Marshall was enough. You really should try reading Skkidelsky’s biography, which you were honest enough to admit that you hadn’t read. As for the resurgence of Austrian economics, do you mean in the United States? I assume you are talking about the rise of admiration for Friedman’s monetarism. After the events of the last two years, I would say that any such resurgence is in a shambles, but that is exactly the target of Kaldor’s book The Scourge of Monetarism, another book that I would recommend to you.

Best regards.

Santtu October 15, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Best way to fight evil is to ridicule it.

Anonymous October 17, 2009 at 10:12 pm

You may think Keynes evil, but Hayek certainly didn’t. Hayek, like many other intelligent Austrians, greatly admired Keynes’ courage and far-sightedness for walking away from the treaty negotiations at Versailles after WWI over the issue of reparations. Keynes rightly saw that reparations were unfair and would advance the cause of the worst elements in the Germany political scene. Those elements triuumphed in 1933. Even after a rather bruising exchange in the journal Economica, which Keynes edited, over Hayek’s review of Keynes’ Theory of Money, Keynes arranged for rooms for Hayek at Cambridge when Hayek needed to leave London during the blitz. They corresponded until Keynes death and while Hayek thought that Keynes didn’t fully appreciate the Austrian Theory of Capital, which was no doubt true, he recognized his genius. He certainly didn’t think him evil.

Anonymous October 18, 2009 at 2:31 am

Actually, Hayek is famous for saying that Keynes was far more brilliant and intelligent than Hayek was; which is part of Keynes’ problem and is the problem with all the “men of system.”

Anonymous October 18, 2009 at 4:09 am

And I thought Hayek was famous for winning the Nobel Prize! And the fact that he thought Keynes was far more intelligent than him proves exactly which part of your thesis that he was “nearly impossible to read?” I presume that statement refers to your experience with trying to read exactly which books? Your argument that intelligence was part of Keynes’ problem is really astonishing. Is your argument that one must be stupid to understand economics?

Anonymous October 16, 2009 at 5:54 am

If you’re looking for a serious critique, you should try an academic journal rather than a blog.

Anonymous October 18, 2009 at 2:30 am

No, I am referring to the resurgence of Austrian economics. A well known resurgence.

Keynes was anything but insulated.

He was extremely isolated in exactly the way that I described. Compare his life to that of the far more cosmopolitan and to the far more broadly read Schumpeter. Keynes remained essentially English and of a particular type of English personality throughout his entire life.

Anonymous October 18, 2009 at 3:57 am

If not monetarism, what would you say are the triumphant ideas of this resurgence?

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