Don't Mess With The Keynesians

Tyler Durden's picture

The compare and contrast discussions of Keynes and Hayek have wended their way over the last few years from learned academic texts to YouTube sensationalist rap videos. We have to say we have our preference among those two extremes. However, in a recent interview with Nicholas Wapshott of Reuters, INETeconomics pulls back the veil a little more of the borrow-and-spend short-termist optimism of Keynes versus the 'if it can go wrong, it will' pragmatist pessimism of Hayek. Unfortunately, it seems we are rapidly unlearning a number of the lessons of the eternal optimist - fixing the world right now in favor of solving the underlying problems and furthermore as Wapshott notes, civilization is a lot more fragile than one can imagine. Starting from the perspective that Hayek was engaged by the LSE to take on the establishment Cambridgian, their very different personal experiences of post-war, post-depression life set them looking for solutions from very different perspectives. While their public arguments were seen as ungentlemanly at the time, though published in journals, it became clear that Hayek faced an uphill battle, and perhaps only now, thanks to the collapsing capabilities (or willingness) of governments to borrow-and-spend, are we able to 'mess with the Keynesians'. While avoiding extreme politics and authoritarianism may be a common-sense raison d'etre, the ongoing devaluation wars could perhaps be as capable of pushing the world to these limits as any non-Keynesian solution ever was.


The full five-part interview can be found here.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Cursive's picture

Some people can take their medicine with one swallow (Austrians), others cry and bitch and sip on it until it is finally consummed (Keynesians).

redpill's picture

More like Austrians will suck it up and go through chemo, while the Keynesians will wait until the cancer metastasizes throughout their entire body and then ask for a dose of morphine to ease the pain.


Oh regional Indian's picture

Even more like people will use increasingly complex words to explain simpler and simpler concepts, whille Keynesians and Austrains continue to drink their respective kool-aids and grind along in an uncomfortable compromise of a life.



economics1996's picture

Keynesians are all about models and predicting future behavior.  They believe in central command economies through "fiscal" aka taxing, borrowing, printing, and central banking, printing money and reducing the money supply.

Austrians are free market, we believe in Mises and the Austrian credit theory which is 180 opposite the Keynes theory.  Proper allocation of money, time, and resources between different sectors of society are fundamental, as well as sound money.

economics1996's picture


The only trick of the Keynesians is to print, borrow, tax, and spread it around to the political elites, Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve.  Look at the monetary base in "good" times increasing 15% a year.  Pay off money that was taxed from workers through inflation.  When this shit crashes and the peasants ever find out about these crooks they will hang em high.


Ron Paul.

Surly Bear's picture


Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two

meghaljani's picture

History shows quite the opposite. Peasants never find out that they have been robbed by inflation. All they want is sometihng more from government and cry if they do not get it. Just look Europe (and America too if we are unlucky). 

ScratInTheHat's picture

I’m just wondering why this Keynes admiration piece was posted here. Hayek is dismissed at almost every turn by this fool.

Libertarian777's picture



That is the central tenant. The difference between Keynesians and Austrians.


It's not about actual monetary or fiscal policy, the underlying premise is what differs.

Keynesians believe in central economic planning, that a board of 12 (or less) can determine what spending rates 'should be', what interest rates 'should be', what you 'should eat', what you 'should buy', what you 'should pay'.


Austrians believe in individual liberty and free markets. There is no 'market' as Keynesians believe. A market is just an aggregation of billions of INDIVIDUAL choices. Not a single (central) choice forced on the aggregate. Austrians don't belive in 'should', Austrians just believe in 'IS'. Left unmolested, people will make individual choices. These choices are reflected in the aggregate prices they are willing to buy and sell things at, giving signals to other individuals what IS in demand. There is no 'demand SHOULD be X x Y qty'.

disabledvet's picture

"war" for example. As you know this is our holiday season ORI and i hope there's still some of that spirit left in you given your time and experience here. I will say this: the Civil War that has gripped this country for well over a decade now is over. I'm not sure i'm going to celebrate the victory however.

AnAnonymous's picture

whille Keynesians and Austrains continue to drink their respective kool-aids and grind along in an uncomfortable compromise of a life.

Propagandists enabling each other... One US citizenism speciality...

Freegolder's picture

Meaningless comment designed to drive traffic to your blog where you will try to sell them a DVD.

Oh regional Indian's picture


Merry Christmas to YOU Freegolder.

May you be freed of your gold!


Vic Vinegar's picture

Take a look at this plan ORI.  LOL:

Kudos to Sunny Leone!  Not sure if she reads your blog or not.

Do me a solid and upload episodes of Big Boss to your site.  It's sure to generate the traffic you so desire.

Long-John-Silver's picture
Mr. Ponzi approved of Keynesian economics.
centerline's picture

Right on.  Because the key principle is spreading malivestment out over all the people instead of concentrating it on a few.  The concept is sound in it's intent.  In fact, it is very noble. But, so easily corrupted.  


Zero Govt's picture

Keynes is a rice paper thin sugar venere that allows Govt scum to continue their spending orgy (indeed a sick excuse to stupendously increase it) into recession, rather than cut their cloth to the economy like everyone else

like all political policies it is wrapped up with the promise it'll do us some good when in fact it's the worst possible policy (digs the hole deeper). It covers also for the fact politicians are spineless pompous Empire builders who have no stomach and no discipline to make cuts to their beloved throne room and see themselves above societies grotty suffering

(see Washington 4 long years into recession and not a budget cut in sight with DC property values still living it up in LaLa Land)

Keynes is an academic (hired Govt crone) sugar coating the steaming turd that is Govt

JPM Hater001's picture

He absolutely nails it when he points out that Keynes said borrow to boost aggregate demand and pay it back later.

Hayek of course understood (as far as you can) the unpredictable nature of man.  And that is that man would never pay it off.  And as all good Keynsians will tell you, When your in a slump just break something.

Our economy is officially broke.  Call the plumber.

AldousHuxley's picture

Instead of a plumber we have domino builders racing against time as dominos fall...

Zero Govt's picture

even the dominos are made of debt

let them fall where they will ..because i ain't paying the bill

Burnbright's picture

Stupidest fucking idiot.

Replacing government spending with private sector aggregate demand only ensures increased need for government spending to prop up the artificial demand created by the government, more government spending to encourage growth, and higher taxes and inflation to pay for it all. It ensures that the country will never escape the need for continued borrowing until it blows up its own currency.

How does this dumb mother fucker have a job? Oh wait, government spending ...

disabledvet's picture

It is how the USA got out of the Great Depression. We called it..."World War II." Don't think that because Governments must spend they have no clue about "it's the economy, stupid." That is by far the largest misconception of Conservative economists in the USA. They call government spending "wasteful." Is it? Or is the problem..."not enough bang for the buck"? Cuz if it's the latter...there's a LOT more government coming our way.

economics1996's picture

37% of the GDP went towards war, millions killed, billions of property destroyed, rationing, shortages, dictatorship, sorry I will pass on that economic plan.

Oppressed In California's picture

Once again the simplistic canard about WWII ending the Great Depression.  First, go read what Bob Higgs has to say about this.  Then consider that all the big time Keynesians (Samuelson, et al) expected a frightful recession at the end of WWII with the drastic fall in government spending.  After all, a lot less G means a lot less AD.  Then consider that much of the world's industires were bombed flat (excepting the US) and you won't have to resort to kneejerk liberal fantasies about government spending.  Finally, doesn't Krugman want an invasion from outer space to solve our current economic woes? Some solution.

GiantVampireSquid vs OWS UFC 2012's picture

Except the US kept the war machine going, while other countries de-militarised, the US did not.  The US has been on a permanent war footing since WWII.  48% of golbal military spending is US spending.

economics1996's picture

Yep, it’s all bull shit.  Government creates nothing; they take from productive members of society.  When people realize the only trick in the Keynesian bag is to move money around, printing, borrowing, taxing, the gig is up for them.  The real propose of Keynesian economics is to baffle the public with bull shit so the elites in Washington, Wall Street and the Federal Reserve can rip them off though their favorite transmission mechanism, inflation.

If the public ever really understood economics they would hang these mother fuckers from the nearest tree.

LeBalance's picture

classic flimflam, so that Bobby doesn't have to work and gets to tell you how to.

centralists versus decentralists.

commies versus libertarians.

"it's really for the greater good."

"i am from the government and i am here to help."

Zero Govt's picture

Yep... politicians like bwankers are the biggest pack of slackers in human history. Imagine your only job is to promise great things spending other peoples money?

despite politicos and bankers destroying country after country throughout history (omitted from all State school history, political and economic text books for some reason?) we still allow this deadly dumb scum duo to 'lead' us

we're precisely where we deserve to be allowing worthless unproductive parasites like Bush, Bumma, Barny Frank, Blankfein, Dimon and Paulson the reigns to power ...we're all out of wealth creators, ruled by lying suckers, the economy rammed with bloated uncompetitive suffocating monopolists and deep in the shit (debt)

meghaljani's picture

How many years do you want me to wait for before they start understanding? May be government will offer some more "free stuff" to forget what they understood? 

GeneMarchbanks's picture

Austerity is for Greeks. Anglos can spend their way to solvency...

Thuggery. Looting. Thievery. Sounds like London to me.

Meanwhile Moynihan thinks that 2012 is going to be a good year for BAC...

Zero Govt's picture

"Thuggery. Looting. Thievery. Sounds like London to me."

That'll be the few hundred London financial gangsters, not the few dozen street teenage rioters... how has the FSC dealt with debt, auditors cooking bankrupt bankers books while accepting more depositors money, over-leverage, incompetent risk and compliance officers and hyperfraudification since 2008?

Prime Minister 'Call Me Twat' Camerons socially dysfunctional society is about to blow up in his own elite social circle ..let's hope the village idiot doesn't get indigestion swallowing his own foot stuck in his mouth

tony bonn's picture

the problem austrians have faced in fighting keyensians is that keynesian principles were applied to an economy which was capable of resisting its toxins because it had so much underlying strength...

finally 80 years of a high carb/high fat diet have taken its toll and it is now evident that the crap the voodoo economists were shoving down our throats was complete crap...

more importantly, keynesianism was never an economic theory in the first was intellectuoidal clap trap to fool the fucktards that the toxins it was shoveling down our throats was good for us...

yes, smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day, eat a box of twinkies daily, and drink 1 gallon of coffee a day and you too can feel like the 6 million dollar man with all of his electronics short circuited....


Sean Fernyhough's picture

Yes.  Hyman Minsky was an optimist....

AnAnonymous's picture

Civilization is fragile or something...

First,one has to tell where civilization is and what the expectations of are.

This reminded, look out. Contrary to what US citizens claim, US citizenism is extremelly resilient. Much more than any dictatorship or the rest.

US citizenism allow some people (US citizens) in an eternal nature of behaviour.

Eternal might be fragile but it lasts long.

Reese Bobby's picture

You should write a whole book of gibberish.  Working title: "Eternal Lasts Long-ism"

Stoploss's picture

Time and human nature. Keynes two worst enemies.

knowless's picture

The only way they could expand the public sector any further would be to create manufacturing jobs.. what could they manufacture? guessing weapons, it seems like this guys opinion is that hayek didn't "get" what keynes was saying, because keynes was saying that the elite have the right to start wars to thin the herd, him being a lord and all.


o ho ho, chortle chortle, those fools! we'll just print money and pay them to make weapons to kill each other with! brilliant plan! cheers!


I love it, arrogant fucks.


ebworthen's picture



The addiction model is the best parallel.

You don't give an addict their drug of choice to cure the addiction; you allow consequences to occur.

Keynesians are dysfunctional enablers; Hayek and Austrians are tough love pragmatists.

hadriansnightmare's picture

What a loon- he fails to mention the riots are a direct result of Keynesian policies- but now we need big govt to save us-

Quinvarius's picture

He discounts Hayek by saying he just didn't understand Keynes.  LOL.

no life's picture

If you disagree with Keynes, you must be a racist...

juujuuuujj's picture

Most Keynesians don't understand Keynes, most Marxians don't understand Marx and most free-marketeers don't really understand what Adam Smith described as a free market. Most Austrians haven't read much of Menger and Mises, and instead go with bigots like Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman. 

People just like to be in a team, without really understanding the theory or having read the books carefully. 

Reese Bobby's picture

Most people know "Economics" is a scam science of bullshit.  Make a difference: get a real job.

economics1996's picture

Not if you understand it, Austrian.  It makes millionaires out of those that understand it.

Reese Bobby's picture

That's a crock in my experience.  I was an Economics major before I knew better and it had nothing to do with making millions, a topic I am familiar with.