Paul Marks holds the line in his worthy ongoing mission to rubbish Keynesianism
Some time ago I sent in a blog claiming two things – first that many of the doctrines of Keynesianism were nonsense, and secondly that one did not need to be an Austrian economics person to see this.
I have had some replies to what I wrote. No one has claimed that one needs to be an Austrian school person to see there is something very wrong with Keynesianism (that no one claimed this surprised me – but then I am an Austrian school person myself).
Some people opposed my opinion that Keynesianism is nonsense (and opposed my strong language with strong language of their own). However, no one has produced any evidence in favour of Keynesianism – either directly or via the books they have suggested I read.
Such concepts as the ‘multiplier’ (presented in almost all basic economics text books) remain without argument in their defence. The idea that government can help the economy by (for example) issuing money and using this money to buy sand and hire people to shovel this sand into the sea, is absurd. To teach such doctrines someone must either be a knave (someone who teaches something he does not believe), or a fool (someone who believes nonsense).
Of course even if one insisted that government ‘investment’ actually be about buying capital goods (rather than ‘investment’ simply being another word for government spending) the idea would still make no sense – investment must be based on real saving (not credit money games).
It is tragic that fallacies refuted by such men as Bastiat almost two centuries ago (such as the fallacy of the broken window) are treated as ‘scientific’ by the vast majority of basic economics text books (often with lots of formulas and pseudo scientific language shoved in to try and hide the basic absurdities).
Even as I type this many nations in the world are undergoing rapidly rising prices (and prices rising at an increasing rate) whilst at the same time these nations have falling output and rising unemployment. If Keynesianism means anything the above should not be possible.
An Austrian economics person does not rely on empirical examples, but such examples are noteworthy. When one sees the rising inflation, falling output and rising unemployment of such nations as Venezuela and Argentina the concepts of Keynesianism fall apart. As some of these nations export oil and some import oil the idea that ‘oil shocks’ are a magic way out for the Keynesianism falls apart also.
When I see that most undergraduate textbooks that do not have concepts such as the various ‘multiplier’ in them (or treat such concepts with the contempt they deserve) then I will apologise for being too hard on the economics profession. I would apologise if even ONE textbook recommended at a British state university exposed such concepts as nonsense.
As far as I am aware no apology is in order at this time.