The Great Keynesian Experiment Ended in the 80s

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#1 Sat, Jun 25, 2011 - 9:19pm
Joined: Jun 14, 2011

The Great Keynesian Experiment Ended in the 80s

I'm a big fan of TF. I've been following him daily since last October. I'm also a big fan of Zerohedge, which I started following last summer. However, I'm pretty sure that neither the Turd nor Durden correctly understand Keynesianism or its history.

First, Keynes was involved in the organization of Bretton Woods I, which was based on a U.S. Dollar/Gold Standard, not fiat currency. Second, he was also influential in the development of the New Deal policies of Roosevelt following the Great Depression. These policies included strict regulation of the finance industry with separation enforced between investment and commercial banks and other businesses, as well as interest rate caps. The guns and butter program of Lyndon Johnson undermined this system by causing the Great Inflation, which was forcing money out of the commercial banks and savings and loans and into mutual funds, stocks, and commodities, just as technology was making trading more accessible to the wider public. By the early 1980s this entire system of financial regulation was deregulated by Reagan.

So, the ideas of Keynes were involved in the development of a currency system with an anchor in gold, and a financial system with strict government regulation. Both of these elements were killed early in the Reagan Administration, and progressively weakened up to the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 2000. Thus "The Great Keynesian Experiment" arguably died about 31 years ago, and at the very latest over 10 years ago. It was replaced with neo-classical and Monetarist policies that Keynes and Keynesians were very critical of. Keynesian's, like Schiller and Stiglitz, continue to be critical of these policies. The current experiment should be called "The Great Friedmanite Experiment."

The confusion at Zerohedge is particularly striking. Look at this post:

He says that Max Keiser's interview is an indictment of Keynesianism. However, the interviewee mentions the Behavioral School approvingly, as one which correctly deals with the subjectivity of market participants, unlike the neo-classical school and its rational individuals. The most prominent member of the Behavioral School is Schiller, who named his book on the subject "Animal Spirits." He took the title from a quote by Keynes, in which he rejects the neo-classical theorist's treatment of human behavior as categorically rational. In other words, the Behavioral School, the Austrian School, and Keynes are all on the same page as far as the rationality of market participants are concerned.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the interpretation of Keynes at Zerohedge, in particular, is 180˚ from the truth of the matter.

I've put this in the Preparing Accordingly section because it behooves us to correctly understand the enemy and how it came to be ensconced in power. Part of doing this is understanding the history of these ideological/philosophical debates and correctly identifying proponents of the different sides. Otherwise, we may end up facing the wrong way on the battle field.

Edited by: D_FIBRILATOR on Nov 8, 2014 - 5:06am