Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Murray "Mad Dog" Rothbard VS Maynard "The Man" Keynes

Mr. Rothbard, thank you for clearly airing your bias in the introductory paragraph. I think we both delight in opening any academic discussion with a concise and audacious personal attack on our opponent’s character and values, as it most certainly lays the foundation for a meaningful and productive dialogue.

Admittedly I glossed over most of the asinine commentary, as I don’t doubt that like most economists, Keynes was a petty, insecure misanthrope, (along with Mr. Rothbard), and focused more on parts about monetary policy, the crux at which I see the two ideologies fracturing. Keynsiens wants to control money. An absolute monopoly over money is essential, as it is their most powerful tool for controlling the economy. Contrarily, Keynes believed that inflation was in effect the government stealing money from the people, yet was absolutely against any form of “maketization” of money, i.e. the gold standard. Does any of this add up, or am I missing the point? He was biased towards maximizing the benefit for the general population and believed that was best achieved through central government planning, yet completely acknowledged Soviet poverty and failings. He was not a communist, but loved their rebelliousness. From what I gather, he advocated and lobbied for the IMF and the World Bank, but wanted countries to be able to exert total influence over their own money and finances. Are these contradictions and inconstancies, or are they an attempt to create institutions that check and balance one another? I struggle with this guy’s theories and ideas, and therefore don’t feel l can really criticize any of them. He wanted to smooth out the business cycle, tame the animal instincts and the over investment, but thought that government spending should always fill in any corrective market movements?

What is the appeal of Keynesian economics? I would guess that it gives politicians a perfect platform to show their worth. To show how well the economy did while they were in office ten years borrowing vast sums of money. To show the general public how they prevented the next Great Depression, or how they reigned in a malignant Wall Street financial anomaly through regulation. Really, we pay them to actually do things, and to most Americans, the economy is always in amongst the three most important issues. A politician can’t go on television and say “relax, it will solve itself”, they’d be shot.

Anyway, sadly, this article was far to caustic to be taken seriously, it came across as all piss and battery acid. Anytime someone attacks another on this level, a red light should go off. Much of the hatred Rothbard directs towards Keynes probably stems less from ideological fission and more from a social-economic discrepancy. Keynes was a mildly anti-Semitic, upper class, over-privileged, English twit. Rothbard was from a Jewish family living in the Bronx, an ardent Libertarian, a disciple of Luwig von Mises, and an academic pariah. The two men were practically engineered to hate one another. Keynesian economics is the dominant economic system of our time, and there must be some value it. Perhaps it offers guidance on what to do, though more than likely, it offers guidance on what not to do.

p.s. I am going to find something that is absolutely glowing with Keynsian splendor and read it before Thursday

p.p.s. something that just gushes about this man, like something written by a secret admirer.

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