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Clive Crook of the Financial Times – the absurdity of Keynesian “economics” exposed.

In some ways this is another “how can people not see….” post – accept I think I know why people can not see the absurdity of Keynesian economics, they are utterly brainwashed into it. Not just by formal education (both school and university – so the more “educated” in economics they are the worse, in some ways, they may be), but also by the media (including the entertainment media) which constantly claims such absurdities as spending is good and saving is bad (and that investment is good – without seeing any link between saving and investment), and that unemployment and rising prices are alternatives. This is not a comment on the intelligence of the elite, they may well be highly intelligent (much more intelligent, on average, than nonestablishment people), but they have been picked out when young (because of their ability to absorb what they are taught – and because of their interest in policy) and “educated” in doctrines that are not just false, but are (in various respects) the opposite of the truth.

All the absurdities of Keynesian “economics” were on display in today’s Clive Crook article in the Financial Times (even if I did links – I still would not link to this, it almost made me explode with rage and grief).

Supposedly in a “special case” (itself nothing more the consequence of Keynesian monetary expansion and wild government spending – i.e. “monetary and fiscal stimulus”) rising productivity (people working more effectively) is bad, wage flexibility (i.e. a free market in labour) leads to higher (not lower) unemployment, less regulations are bad as well (especially in the labour market) and on and on. Work and saving bad, innovation bad (shades of Barack Obama blaming higher unemployment on ATM machines and computers generally), everything that political economy said was good is bad and everything that political economy said was bad (lazyness, spendthriftness, lack of innovation, waste….) is good.

And we are supposed to applaud – as people do when a modern physicist shows how the universe does not accord with the old fuddy duddy notions of human logic. As if economics was physics and Keynes sat in the place of Einstein, producing a “new economics” to match the “new physics” (in reality the subjects are totally different).

These “paradoxies” are, of course, just absurdities (like saying that A is not A, or that I am am you), Clive Crook’s article exposes Keynesian “economics” to be either a pack of lies or the ravings of a lunatic.

Yet Mr Crook does not see this – on the contrary, he does not even use the word “Keynesian”. To him these absurdities are just what economics is – explained by wonderful “studies” by Paul Krugman (a winning of the so called “Nobel Prize” in economics – and as fitting a winner as Barack Obama was as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize) and by Mr Crook’s own fellow writer at the Financial TImes – Martin Wolfe (a man who “explained” how in this “special case” lazyness and lack of innovation are good things – because higher productivity, working more effectively, is a bad thing).

How does one reach a mind that can lay out (quite openly and directly) the most blatent absurdities – and yet not see that they are absurd? Instead seeing them as clever pieces of economics?

I do not think one can reach such a mind – it is too far gone. Too saturated in absurdites that it can only react to the failure of print-and-spend by demanding more print-and-spend and by denouncing anything that actually makes sense (like higher productivity or alllowing labour, and other, markets to clear – by allowing prices, and wages, to adjust to supply and demand).

And Mr Crook does not just speak for himself – he is typical of the academic, media, political and (yes) business establishment. The establishment (the elite) is rotten to the core – these people can not be saved (their minds are too corrupted) and their power makes them a clear and present danger to the survival of civilization.

The sakes are as high as that.

What should be done to remove the influence of these people? I do not know – I wish I did know, but I do not.


  1. RAB says:

    You’re excused the link Paul, as you have to register to read the Financial Times, but I know a way round it. You copy the headline, paste it into Google, and hey presto, up comes the article, er at least I hope it does…

  2. RAB says:

    Bugger! That link doesn’t work, but just copy and paste the Clive Crook America is flirting with… and paste it in to Google. That should work, as I’m reading it right now. Apt name Crook, don’t you think?

  3. You can’t do anything about these people. It’s a different reality, a different world, they inhabit.

  4. Lynne says:

    The Frogs introduced their other worldly elite to harsh reality the hard way. It seems the elite have forgotten their fear of what the ordinary people can do if they hit downtrodden and pissed off overload. It’s rapidly approaching the time to remind them more firmly because civilised, democratic means aren’t working.

  5. It is necessary to make people believe that overspending, inflation and borrowing are good because otherwise you could not bribe them with their own money. I honestly think that most of ‘em know the reality but their basic philosophy would never say “Look, no matter how much I take, I can hardly give you more back so stand on your own two feet and make me irrelevant”

  6. DavidNcl says:

    Here’s one for ya:

    Keynes, the man. Rothbard (pdf)

  7. cuffleyburgers says:

    What Lynne said.

    Off with the culottes lads and get your knitting needles out!

    Oops that doesn’t sound quite decent, sorry.

  8. Paul Marks says:


    Interesting that Keynes (and company) took the weird stuff from Moore – but carefully rejected the stuff that actually makes some sense. So the fault was more in them than in Moore.

    At Oxford (rather than Cambridge) at the sme time they would have had a harder job – as Cook Wilson (and his students Prichard and Ross) did not have weird stuff for people to take. At that time (not after World War II – when the Logical Positivists smashed everyone, bar a few hold out Aristotelians) Oxford was rather good in terms of the teaching of philosophy.

    It was rather good at the history of political thought – for example Gough (Oriel College – one of the smaller, but perhaps the best college from the point of view of the subjects here) on Locke is a classic, and written in the staight forward language that Oxford men tended to use. Plain talking men like Tolkien and C.S. Lewis – although (again) after WWII things fell apart (Lewis went to Cambridge – on the grounds that it was now less bad than Oxford had become).

    On Edmund Burke – how long have you got?

    Anyway Keynes (and, by implication, Rothbard) gets Edmund Burke wrong – wildly wrong (so wrong that it is a “where would I start” moment for me. I would refer people to such writings as Burke on India (in opposition to Warren Hastings) – Edmund Burke against PRINCIPLES my …..

    However, as with Moore, the intesting thing is that Keynes takes (or creates) only bad stuff from Burke.

    Keynes in economics – well Hayek pointed out that whilst Alfred Marshall is far from perfect he actually knows more than Keynes. In short the “greatest economist of the 20th century” (as the establishment trash present Keynes) did not study Marshall that well.

    At Oxford I think the main economist of the period was Edwin Cannan, but I doubt that Keynes (had he gone to Oxford rather than to Cambridge) would have paid much attention to him either.

    These days?

    I would not advise the study of economics in any British university (with the possible exception of Buckingham). However, there are still good philosphers and historians of thought about – including at Oxford and Cambridge.

    I think Cambidge has the edge these days – especially Peterhouse (the oldest and, for these subjects, best college).

  9. Paul Marks says:

    Silly me – Edwin Cannan was London School of Economics.

    I wonder who were the major economists at Oxford during the period. Certainly the teaching of PPE was not good (in the “E” bit) if we are to judge by most of the students educated in the period.

  10. Paul Marks says:

    Well Francis Edgeworth appears to have been a big influence at Oxford in the period (the period when Keynes was an undergraduate at Cambridge) – but his role is taken by David Hutchison Macgregor – who, like Layton at Cambridge, was a Marshall man.

    Both Macgregor and Layton seem to have assumed that “strong unions” (i.e. artificially favoured unions – favoured by the Acts of 1875 and 1906) were a good thing. This, if true, would have made them useless “economists” in the interwar period when the rigid nature of real wages (due to union power) created mass unemployment.

    The main professor of economics at Oxford (Macgregor) and at Cambridge (Layton) would not have gone about explaining why the Acts of 1875 and 1906 should be repealed.

    This would leave the door open to other solutions to unemployement – such as the monetary nonsense of Keynes.

  11. Paul Marks says:

    Just how bad economics teaching was (in most nations) should not be forgotten.

    Edgeworth is attacked for being near impossible to read and being servile towards Marshall (and Marshall misunderstood XYZ) – but most of the critics of Edgeworth and Marshall in Britain at the time were even more interventionist.

    And in Germay the “historical school” (not really economists at all) had swept all before them – confining economics in the German speaking world to a few universities under the protection of the Hapsburgs.

    Carl Menger’s attacks on the Historical School seem (to me at least) to utterly destroy it – but that is not how people at the time thought of the matter.

    And in the United States?

    Richard Ely (founder of the American Economics Association – and mentor of both “Teddy” Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson) was busy undermining economics with his fellow German trained scumbags. There were good economists in America – but the tide of interventionism (and the idea that it was “unscientfic” to suggest that state interventions be repealed) kept gaining ground.

    Outside the Austrian School (and a few people here and there – such as in Italy) only in France does there seem to have been real large scale resistance to the decline of economics – hence the need to create a new subject “Public Administration” because the economists (in the main) refused to play ball in saying that crack brained interventions were good ideas.

    Bottom line?

    Keynes did not destroy a healthy subject, it was a subject that was already rotten.

    For example (at his own university) we have Layton (useless – see above) and Pigou – a weirdo, who (for example) suggested that people who wanted less than the “scientifically correct” level of taxation and govrnment spending should be sent to prison.

    In thinking about the above the fact that Keynes was only really resisted by a minority of economists is not astonishing – the subject was already in deep, deep, trouble.

    Although, as W.H. Hutt was fond of pointing out, the Keynesians were utterly ruthless in the way they dealt with resistance.

    “How did the Keynesians win the debate?” Hutt would (rhetorically) ask “There was no debate, the Keynesians did not allow debate – they just took over the appointment of lecturers and the setting and marking of examinations and that was that”.

  12. DavidNcl says:

    The link wasn’t aimed at you Paul – I’d assumed you read it. I nearly posted a link to “Sugar Keynes” but chose not to in the end. It’s a nice soft entry point into the madness.

    The point I was making – very indirectly – is that Keynes and the Keynesian were considered, deliberate actors – although actors without moral scruple, prepared to tell any lie, twist any truth- engaged in a cultural war the gravity of which cannot be exaggerated.

  13. Paul Marks says:

    Many thanks David – and, of course, you are correct.

    Keynes (as many works, most recently Hunter Lewis “Where Keynes Went Wrong”, considered himself at war with conventional morality – including the idea that it was wrong to lie).

    However, they were attacking an open goal – as the state of the teaching of economics (and so much else in society) was already so corrupted.

    I used to know this stuff – but I found I had to look it up again.

    Anyway in both Oxford and Cambridge the teaching of economics (as the specific example) had just got worse and worse.

    Even in the 19th century Edgeworth is almost unreadable – and was already worshipping mathematics (not as a subject in its own right – but as a way to mystify economics).

    And we get a bunch of economists who thought that what the country really needed was…. (I am not going go on – it is too depressing).

    So when Keynes and his degenerate band of “imoralists” came on the scene – they did not find much to stand in their way.

    “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” (to cite that poem by Kipling that Glenn Beck has such a high regard for) were already without strong support.

    Sanity (the sort of statements that were used by children as writing practice – the “copybook headings”) was already seen as something “primitive” or “crude” that an intellectual elite should “get beyond” (not build upon) in one way or another.

    Common sense was like the “common herd” in the minds of the elite – they rejected both, not understanding that when they rejected common sense they were rejecting reason. That their supposedly superior ways were, in fact, the doorway to insanity.

    Clever they were (very clever), but not wise.

  14. Ornithorhynchus says:

    I think the main reason so many people, particularly people in Government (and those who worship Government power, such as so much of the press), continue to swallow all this Keynesian baloney is just plain old-fashioned wishfull thinking. They want Government to have the magic formulae to control all sorts of aspects of society, particularly the economy. They want a Government that can create prosperity.
    And right now, Keynesianism is the most popular mythology that grants Government such ability.
    It could be worse. It wasn’t so long ago that straight-up Marxism was the magical formula of choice.

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