Henwood on Keynes

Greg Nowell GN842 at CNSVAX.Albany.Edu
Wed Oct 7 12:06:33 PDT 1998

Henwood has made often, and in many avenues, his view that Keynes was an aristocratic snot. I think that this view has some substantive basis and that it is appropriate for a Marxist to point out that Keynes was not always on the side of "the little man." Maybe even not ever. And I think part of Henwood's critique is that he (Henwood) is allergic to the cynicism in "Citizen Kane"--Kane, played by Wells--says that it is better for the rich to defend the poor than that the poor should defend themselves (with, for example, good Marxist analysis). I think this goes to the nub of what Henwood dislikes in Keynes.

However, I think that Doug misses out on one point. It is not just "the man" or even "the man and *all* of his work" that is at issue. The fact of the matter is that the GT can be used (regardless of Mr Keyenes' dispositions) as a strong platform for a radical critique of redistributive inequities, on grounds that are unlike anything to be found in Marx. So in that sense it is new and useful. The GT opens a wide avenue for such an approach. It may not have been fully exploited by Keynes, and the fact that Keynes opened the wide avenue does not make him a social radical. But nonetheless it is a remarkable achievement, and one not typically to be found among members of an elite aristocracy. Keynes did not fully exploit the radical implications of his work; but others did. Marx respected Smith; Lenin begrudged Hobson respect for his book on Imperialism, even though Hobson was a liberal reformer. But Doug is much harder on poor Mr Keynes, though he has paid Mr Keynes the respect of reading him closely & extensively.

And perhaps that's enough.

-- Gregory P. Nowell Associate Professor Department of Political Science, Milne 100 State University of New York 135 Western Ave. Albany, New York 12222

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