Hayek on Keynes’s ignorance of economics

I’d never seen this before and was apparently first published on 29 September 2012. The notes on the Youtube clip read:

Friedrich Hayek explains to Leo Rosten that while brilliant Keynes had a parochial understanding of economics.

“Parochial” is quite a word when the clip actually speaks of Keynes’s ignorance. It is well known that Keynes had a third rate understanding of economics but was a genius at polemical writing. After Marx, Keynes is the most destructive economist who has ever lived.

It is also interesting that Hayek sees understanding the history of economics as an important part in the education of an economist. Keynes’s ignorance of the economics of the past was seen as a great failing, a failing which now besets the whole of the profession. I wonder how much any modern economist would know about the monetary economists Hayek lists assuming they even know their names.

[My thanks to Harry for sending this on.]

This entry was posted in Classical Economics, Economics and economy. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Hayek on Keynes’s ignorance of economics

  1. Rabz

    After Marx, Keynes is the most destructive economist who has ever lived.

    Marx was by no stretch of the imagination an economist and the jury’s still out on Keynes.

  2. Rafe

    So what did Keynes have to offer that was both new and true?

  3. HK_Brother

    After Marx, Keynes is the most destructive economist who has ever lived.


    Undo the mess by demonstrating the failure of their theories in the real world. Show the public why they are suffering. (Suffering is what the public understands. Suffering from stupid ideas gets them fired up and hungry.)

  4. Hayek acing it in the spotty bow-tie stakes.

  5. Mark

    If you google…hayek rap…and sit back and enjoy two excellent YouTube videos.

  6. Percy

    +1 For Mark’s recommendations

  7. Papachango

    …so we have Hayek, Friedman and say Ayn Rand as our heroes.

    … the other mob have Che, Fidel, Hugo and Warhol’s Mao.

    … and we wonder why the hip youth are all mainly leftists!

  8. Louis Hissink

    Youth is always leftist – until reality hits after university.

    The older lefties are the really sad ones, for their minds are truly fossilised and incapable of adapting to changed circumstances, or, as Winston Churchill pointed out, have no brains but plenty of heart.

    Mind you the real obscenity is having to up with multi-millionaire +++ socialists proselytising the leftist faith.

  9. Petros

    I’m sick of hearing this crap about lefties having heart. It’s BS. They are control freak totalitarian pricks who feel free to waste other people’s money and never their own.

  10. papachango

    I’m sick of hearing this crap about lefties having heart. It’s BS. They are control freak totalitarian pricks who feel free to waste other people’s money and never their own.

    Actually I think there’s a mix. Most of the younger lefties probably do mean well, they just go along with the Che-inspired fashions and superficial slogans about changing the world for the better. Then, as Louis says, when they grow up they realise it’s all a crock and become capitalists.

    Then there’s the older lefties and hardcore chardonnay socialists, and yes they are the real control freak totalitarian pricks. They must get an extra dose of revolutionary zel at uni or something then get addicted to the power and potential to control others.

    Case in point – I listened to the ‘comedian’ Russell Brand’s little rant about how he’s never voted in his life because all the major parties are ‘controlled by big corporations’, and how we need a revolution to bring about real change. He spoke eloquently and well, and I had no doubt that if he got his way, we would have another Kim Jong Il or Pol Pot on our hands. He could even pass for Che in a beret.

    The trouble is that the young, naive lefties who actually do have some heart go along with him and can’t see this until it’s too late.

  11. .

    Keynes wasn’t even an economist. He did less economics than an MBA grad, his economics writing is like reading Ross Gittens and his policy is akin to Major Douglass.

    A crackpot through and through.

  12. papachango

    Still, my core point was – nobody in the real world gives a fuck about Hayek, Friedman, Keynes or whoever. Outside of economics faculties no-one has ever even heard of these old farts.

    If you want to convice people of the value of individual liberty and smaller government, critiquing Keynes simply won’t cut it.

  13. Jeffrey Neal

    Rafe – you have internet access, yes? Do your own research? Or just a snarky comment meant to reveal your superiority.

  14. Empire Strikes Back

    his economics writing is like reading Ross Gittens

    In fairness to Keynes…

  15. @Jeffrey Neal

    You may not know this but Rafe is one of the more knowledgable guys out there. And on the matter of whether or not a theory is scientific or not, I am not sure he has many equals. You have Internet, right? So maybe you could do some research? ;)

    Keynes simply restated marx and others, and what he didn’t restate of marx and others was false. He deleted the references to marx before publication so that he wouldn’t be discredited. Unfortunately.

    Hayek was correct. And we have destroyed the intertemporal system of cooperation between the generations, and handed over the civic society to the state, because of Keynes.

    -Curt

  16. @Daniel

    Do you have a criticism of Hayek’s position, other than ‘shaming’ and ‘rallying’? No? Didn’t think so.

    (Just had to throw that out there.)

  17. .

    Well said Curt.

    I didn’t know that and that must be brought up all of the time, as are my snarky and salient points.

Comments are closed.