Saturday, January 31, 2009

In the Long Run, We're All Dead

I was just over at the Huffington Post, reading something Arianna wrote about the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The WEF is an annual gathering of CEOs, world leaders, entrepreneurs, activists (they're usually roped off), journalists, and, finally, economists dedicated to finding ways of making our planet a more prosperous place for all. If at first you don't succeed...

Anyway, Arianna interviewed one of the attendees, Niall Ferguson, a history and business professor at Harvard University. Ferguson feels our leaders (he didn't specify, but I'm guessing he means President Obama and the Democratic Congress) are making a big mistake by looking to the theories of John Maynard Keynes as a way of solving our current economic crises. In case you've never heard of Keynes, he believed a recession or depression could last indefinitely unless the government provided a stimulus, or, if you will, primed the pump, by either direct relief, public works, or tax cuts (for everybody, not just the rich).

Why doesn't Ferguson believe priming the pump will work? Because Keynes book, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money was written in 1936.

Hmm. Well, 1936 was a long time ago. Keynes himself would have to admit nothing lasts forever (see post title.)

Yeah, when I think about it, anything invented or devised or discovered that long ago probably just won't work.

Incidentally, the atom was first split in the same decade that Keynes wrote his book.

Say, I guess we don't have to worry anymore about Iran acquiring nukes!

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