[lbo-talk] Mike Beggs on The Keynesian Counterrevolution

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at juno.com
Fri Jun 28 08:34:38 PDT 2019

What is it about capitalism that makes Keynesianism a horizon even would-be revolutionaries have trouble seeing past?

Marx lived long enough to declare himself “not a Marxist.” Keynes was not so lucky. Followers would make the distinction between “Keynesian economics” and “the economics of Keynes.” But by then the word had well and truly transcended the man. A name does not become an “ism” by genius alone. The work has to catch and ride a historical wave, and much of it never gets picked up, while what does get picked up starts growing new associations. “Keynesianism” has come to stand in for deficit spending, regulation, and the welfare state — three things the General Theory barely mentions, if at all.

Geoff Mann is well aware of the distinctions between Keynes the man, his work, and “Keynesianism.” But his book on Keynesianism, In the Long Run We Are All Dead, is quite deliberately more about the “ism” than the man. For Mann, Keynes is not even the originator of Keynesianism: that would be Hegel — “if not the first Keynesian, then his closest previous incarnation” — and we get several chapters on Hegel before the focus shifts to Keynes himself. Mann’s Keynesianism is a perennial of modernity; Keynes was simply one of its most able articulators, which is why we came to know it by his name. Keynes himself appears in the book as a political philosopher who happened to be an economist, though it is no accident that the great political philosophies of capitalist society would be full of economics.

(More at:) https://www.academia.edu/36158423/The_Keynesian_Counterrevolution?email_work_card=thumbnail-desktop

Jim Farmelant http://independent.academia.edu/JimFarmelant http://www.foxymath.com Learn or Review Basic Math

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