People who have their heads fuddled with nonsense

28 Jun, 2016 at 09:33 | Posted in Economics | 3 Comments

The Conservative belief that there is some law of nature which prevents men from being employed, that it is “rash” to employ men, and that it is financially ‘sound’ to maintain a tenth of the population in idleness for an indefinite period, is crazily improbable – the sort of thing which no man could believe who had not had his head fuddled with nonsense for years and years … 0616_ig-john-maynard-keynes_1024x576Our main task, therefore, will be to confirm the reader’s instinct that what seems sensible is sensible, and what seems nonsense is nonsense. We shall try to show him that the conclusion, that if new forms of employment are offered more men will be employed, is as obvious as it sounds and contains no hidden snags; that to set unemployed men to work on useful tasks does what it appears to do, namely, increases the national wealth; and that the notion, that we shall, for intricate reasons, ruin ourselves financially if we use this means to increase our well-being, is what it looks like – a bogy.

John Maynard Keynes (1929)


  1. “and that it is financially ‘sound’ to maintain a tenth of the population in idleness for an indefinite period,”

    Quite, and with the removal of such nonsense and the reassertion of common-sense in economics should go things like “natural rates of unemployment”.

    Now the UK is extricated, what you have to do in Europe is throw Anglo-Saxon economics in the rubbish bin. On the continent you have strong traditions in philosophy and political economy which have built socially and economically strong societies which do not see the two things as a trade-off – and have proved it in implementation.

    Tell MIT and Chicago – and their philosophically vacuous and unpleasant gadgets where to go.

    • One problem is that German economic orthodoxy is, if anything, even worse. Indeed, in the Cambridge controversy, it was Cambridge England on the side of science and Cambridge, Mass on the side of faith in the fantasy of the aggregate production function..

      • MIT/Chicago economists are Philistinic geeks. They have successfully gutted economics of any substantial intellectual content.

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