Saturday, 30 April 2011

Rosser on Keynes

Barkley Rosser asks did Keynes really favour central planning? He claims that the accusation that he did doesn't holds up.
However, I do find it disturbing that increasingly Austrians and some others have taken to charging Keynes with having supported "central planning," as indeed done in this video[for the video see here]. Is this correct? I think that the answer is largely "no," with it certainly being that answer if one means by that command central planning of the Soviet type that Hayek criticized in his Road to Serfdom (which Keynes praised, btw, when it first came out).
And Rosser's position is not a case of defending the indefensible. But Arnold Kling makes a good point when he says,
Still, Keynes was clearly less obsessed with the knowledge problem than was Hayek. And among the followers of Keynes and Hayek, the polarization seems to have increased. Contemporary Keynesians are committed to treating government as if it were a knight in shining armor prepared to slay the many dragons of market failure. Contemporary Hayekians are probably even more convinced than Hayek that localized knowledge, imperfect science, and public choice considerations argue in favor of markets.

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