Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on November 24, 2013

in Politics, Reality Is Not Optional, State of Macro

… is from page 272 of the 1976 Liberty Fund edition of John Chamberlain’s useful 1959 book, The Roots of Capitalism (original emphasis):

But even though Keynes’ analyses of the failure of demand are highly suggestive, the “politics” of Keynesianism must be set down as incredibly naive.  Keynes himself tended to think of the “government” as a band of dedicated high priests of the interest rate.  The “government,” so he thought, could be counted on to turn the stream of spending on and off at will in conformance with a totally disinterested philosophy of the “common good.”  Though he wrote in a period of deflation, drawing his illustrative examples from a society in the doldrums, his political economy provided for a reversible system of countercyclical measures to be initiated with clam and magisterial disdain of pressure groups.

A theory of market-improving government intervention that relies, as Keynes’s theory does, upon the assumption that government acts apolitically is as scientifically legitimate and useful as would be a theory of flight that relies upon the assumption that the law of gravity can be suspended at will.

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