Showing posts with label Skidelsky. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Skidelsky. Show all posts

Monday, September 16, 2013

Robert Skidelsky on Hayek, Keynes and Common Sense

Robert Skidelsky at a Liberty Fund event, not too long ago. Note that in the opening remarks he says: "I'm going to talk about the conditions of liberty, which seems a good topic of conversation for a Liberty Fund event. Owing to the hazards of the weather, I find myself the sole representative of common sense this afternoon." Not sure what the weather conditions had to do with it, but I must agree, given the venue.

The whole thing here. My only major disagreement is that I really do not think that Hayek is the great rival of Keynes, or even one of the major economists of the 20th century, given his contributions. On the neoclassical front, Hicks, Modigliani, by bringing neoclassical results in the long run, but opening space for Keynesian policies in the short run, associated to rigidities an imperfections, and even Friedman, with the return of the concept of the natural rate, were more relevant than Hayek.

Who was Keynes great rival? While he was alive his debates were with his Cambridge peers, Pigou and Robertson, more than with Robbins, Hayek and the LSE economists. In fact, a good chunk of the younger LSE economists became, in different degrees, Keynesian (e.g. Hicks, Kaldor, Lerner, and even Shackle). But if I had to say, his great rival was himself, which would probably fit his very elevated sense of self-worth. In particular, his inability of getting rid of marginalist (neoclassical) elements of his theory is what ultimately opened the door for the Neoclassical Synthesis.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Keynes, Hobson, Marx, & Classical Political Economy

From Robert Skidelsky:
"Fundamental to Keynes are the concepts of uncertainty and under- employment equilibrium. From Hobson we get an understanding of how inequality of wealth and income makes crisis more likely and recovery more difficult. From Marx we get an explanation of why inequality of wealth and income is inherent in an unmodified capitalist system. We need to put together the three accounts in order to achieve a fuller understanding of the events through which we have recently been living." (the rest: see here).
PS: A detailed presentation of classical-Keynesian political economy, which is not Skidlesky's view of Keynes, by the way, is provided by Henrich Bortis - see here.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Heterodox (Development) Bankers


Robert Skidelsky recounts how Victor Urquidi was instrumental in changing the future World Bank from a reconstruction to a development bank. In the words of Urquidi:
"With our chief delegate’s approval, and without any consultation with US delegation… we drafted an amendment to Article III, in order to lend more emphasis to development….Because my English was better than my fellow delegate’s I was asked to read it aloud…Keynes was characteristically quick to realise the ‘political’ significance of our amendment, which was…supported only by Peru and Norway…As he pushed his spectacles to the top of his nose and shuffled the various amendments that were upon the table, he picked out and expressed agreement with ours if we would accept a drafting change. The original text merely stated that ‘The resources and facilities of the Bank shall be used for the benefit of members’. In the amendment we submitted, we wrote a second paragraph as follows: ‘The Bank shall give equal consideration to projects for development and to projects for reconstruction…’ Keynes suggested ‘The resources and facilities of the Bank shall be used exclusively for the members with equitable consideration to projects for development and projects for reconstruction alike’. We were pleased with the word ‘equitable’ and that he put ‘development’ ahead of ‘reconstruction’. I quickly nodded…and the amendment was carried by consensus."
Urquidi then worked at the then Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA, later with the addition of the Caribbean ECLAC), when Raúl Prebisch was the secretary general in the 1950s. For more on Urquidi go here.