The long run fallacy5 May, 2016 at 10:06 | Posted in Economics | 5 Comments
It appears to me that one great cause of our difference in opinion, on the subjects which we have so often discussed, is that you have always in your mind the immediate and temporary effects of particular changes—whereas I put these immediate and temporary effects quite aside, and fix my whole attention on the permanent state of things which will result from them.
On this issue Keynes agreed with Malthus, and it was probably the debate between Ricardo and Malthus that Keynes was thinking about when he formulated his most well-known aphorism, in A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923):
But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task, if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us, that when the storm is long past, the ocean is flat again.