Keynesianism

By Paul Kennedy

Ingram Pinn illustration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

US presidents, in confronting crises, have often let it be known that they are serious students of history and biography. George W. Bush, an unusually voracious late-night reader, devours books on the lives of Great Men, including his hero Winston Churchill, (who in turn liked to read about his illustrious ancestor, Marlborough). Barack Obama looks to biographies of Abraham Lincoln for inspiration.

Given the enormity of the banking, credit and trade crisis, might it be worth suggesting to Mr Obama and his fellow leaders that they study the writings of the greatest of the world’s political economists, instead? After all, we may be in such a grim economic condition that the clever direction of budgets is a greater attribute of leadership than the stout direction of battleships.

By Robert Shiller

Lydia Lopokova, wife of the economist John Maynard Keynes, was a famous ballerina. She was also a Russian émigré. Thus Keynes knew from the experience of his in-laws the horrors of living in the worst of socialist economies. But he also knew first-hand the great difficulties that come from unregulated, unfettered capitalism. He lived through the British depression of the 1920s and 1930s. Thus Keynes was inspired to find a middle way for modern economies.

The Future of Capitalism

The free-market model that dominated thinking for 30 years has been discredited. Where to now? Join the debate here and follow the series in full at www.ft.com/capitalism

This blog is no longer updated but this site remains open as an archive.

FT Blogs