Keynes Hayek: The Clash that Defined Modern Economics by Nicholas Wapshott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Very readable introduction to Keynes and Hayek. I think it is actually more a book of the effects of the two than even an economics 101 view on their actual thoughts. so I m sure that economic geeks bemoan the simplifications of both economist. You get enough to get a feel of the economics and I'm cool with that especially since I think I end up with more knowledge of what is involved than most people who thow their names around.
My condensation of this condensed fare is that there is more to Keynes's economics than portrayed by conservatives and while Hayeks Road to Serfdom may fit in nicely with Glenn Beck's paranoid world view, Hayek was not really at ease with what grew into the conservative movement, although he definitely wanted to privatize most every public service. Strangely the only exception was public health care which is the one area I wish the author would have explained a bit more.
The last few chapters seem a little episodic with tidbits about Kennedy acting as a supply sider and aside from his conservative talk Reagen is revealed to be quite a Keynesian when you factor in the huge unfunded defense spending spree.
All in all Keynes comes across as more complex and apparently he was often drasticly refining and redefining his ideas, while Hayek was pretty well set in his views from the start. Of course as he aged he became more intense with things like when he laments the
tyranny of the majority and states the the free market is the only true participatory democracy. Also I think the modern libertarian/conservative movement has adopted Hayeks suggestion below.
“The main lesson which the true liberal (libertarian) must learn from the success of the socialist is that it was their courage to be Utopian which gained them the support of the intellectuals and thereby an influence on public opinion” --- “...(of his views) you can say it almost a religious belief ...that the market is almost God ordained”.
This explains why it is so hard to discuss economics with some conservatives, if you ask them to question some of their premises they feel you are attacking their religion.
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