Monday, October 28, 2013

Why Keynes dominates Hayek

I generally find debates about schools of economic thought annoying, especially when it is all about adoration of some dead economist while ignoring all the progress we have made since his contributions. Unfortunately, these dead economists keep coming up in the public debate, I think because these are the people non-economists are familiar with, from basic economics classes and popular readings.

Kristina Spanting studies the back-and-forth in popularity between Keynes and Hayek in light of the past 80 years or so of economic history. Keynes was all about shorter term solutions to crises, while Hayek had a longer term vision of things, and would not bulge from it no matter what the circumstances. Accordingly, their popularity in policy circles has oscillated depending on the need to react to a crisis. Keynes is an easy sell to politicians in such times. The electorate is asking them to do something, and Keynes provides the justification for that. And all the work economists have done since Keynes (and Hayek) is brushed aside just when you should draw the most on it. Sad.

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