fwd: Re: Henwood on Keynes

Rosser Jr, John Barkley rosserjb at jmu.edu
Thu Oct 8 15:40:40 PDT 1998

--- Begin Forwarded Message --- Date: Wed, 07 Oct 1998 14:57:43 -0700 From: tim canova <canova at libra.unm.edu> Subject: Re: Henwood on Keynes Sender: owner-pkt at csf.colorado.edu To: POST-KEYNESIAN THOUGHT <pkt at csf.colorado.edu>

Reply-To: pkt at csf.colorado.edu Message-ID: < at law.unm.edu>

At 05:02 PM 10/7/98 -0400, you wrote:
>Greg Nowell wrote:
>>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.
>I've read him closely & extensively because as I've also said, probably too
>many times, he should be read as Marx read Ricardo - as a highly
>illuminating bourgeois. And I agree that bits of the GT can be appropriated
>by Marxists and other radicals. But I'd say that Keynes himself was, and
>most Keynesians are fundamentally procapitalist and fundamentally elitist
>(a sin Brad De Long confesses to). I think bringing these points out in
>Keynes "the man" helps bring them out in Keynes "the texts."

Doug's last comments probably get to the reasons why i found his original posting on this a bit obnoxious: not so much for what he has to offer about Keynes's personal views on class, but on the way that he impugns other Keynesians, as well as "Keynesian theory and practice". for Doug to characterize "most" Keynesians as fundamentally elitist puts the burden on self-proclaimed Keynesians to prove that they are not. apparently anyone who has anything positive to say about German economic policy in the early years of the Depression is also advised to "differentiate what you're praising from the rest of the package." (maybe any favorable reference to Marx's analysis should also include disclaimers of Soviet purges and gulags).

i find it utterly ridiculous that favorable mention of German economic policy during the early Depression years should require someone to disclaim any personal xenophobia or antisemitism as if opposition to "the internationalizing aspects of finance" must necessarily be linked to hostility to Jews. this conversation all started when Lynn Turgeon made favorable reference to the RESULTS of German policy (a Keynesian type stimulus), not to the MOTIVATION of the policy. can't we assume that Lynn's motivation was not elitist (or worse), but was (to use Doug's phrase) a "concern about income distribution"?

when someone makes the point that a Keynesian policy in Germany lifted that country out of the Depression (in comparison to most of the rest of the world at that time or in contrast to Russia today), must that person really begin offering his or her anti-facist credentials? all because Keynes himself might have been a snobbish elitist? what's next: an argument relating Keynes's elitism (as well as Keynesian theory and practice and most Keynesians) to Hitler's death camps, all because we recognize that a Keynesian stimulus put Germans back to work?

Timothy A. Canova Assistant Professor of Law University of New Mexico School of Law 1117 Stanford NE Albuquerque, NM 87131-1431

Tel: (505) 277-5654 Fax: (505) 277-0068 e-mail: canova at libra.unm.edu

--- End Forwarded Message ---

-- Rosser Jr, John Barkley rosserjb at jmu.edu

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