Published in World Economics, Vol. 8, No. 4, October-December 2007
I. Preliminary remarks
‘In the long run’, Keynes famously wrote, ‘we are all dead’. For the last twenty-five years it has been widely assumed that this applied to Keynes’s own theories. Markets were, or could be made efficient, removing the need for government stabilization policy. All that was needed was ‘control of the money supply’. The theory of efficient markets underpinned the so-called ‘Washington Consensus’. In the last ten years, evidence has accumulated that financial markets are subject to severe volatility which, in the absence of government intervention, can spill over into the real economy. So the question sixty-plus years after Keynes’s death is: is there life left in the old boy?
Continue reading “Keynes in the Long Run”
Published in The Cambridge Companion to Hayek, edited by Edward Feser, (Cambridge University Press, 2006)
‘[Keynes] was one of the great liberals of our time. He saw clearly that in England and the United States during the nineteen-thirties, the road to serfdom lay, not down the path of too much government control, but down the path of too little, and too late. …He tried to devise the minimum government controls that would allow free enterprise to work. The end of laissez-faire was not necessarily the beginning of communism’. (AFW Plumptre, ‘Keynes in Cambridge’, Canadian Journal of Ecoinomics, vol. 13, August 1947)
Continue reading “Hayek versus Keynes: The Road to Reconciliation”
Published in The Adventures of Peace: Dag Hammarskjold and the future of the UN, edited by Sten Ask and Anna Mark-Jungkvist (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)
The United Nations, of which Dag Hammarskjold became Secretary-General in 1953, had already had to establish itself in a world very different from the one imagined by those who drafted its Charter. It was set up to put an end to aggressive acts of war such as those unleashed by Japan, Italy, and Germany in the 1930s. It hoped to do so by getting all states to sign up to a charter renouncing the use of war as an instrument of policy. Enforcement (Chapter VII of the Charter) was the province of the Security Council, in which were seated the permanent members (Britain, China, France, the USA and the USSR), each equipped with a veto. Most of the remaining forty states, in the General Assembly, could be relied on to support anything the Security Council decided.
Continue reading “Dag Hammarskjold’s Assumptions and the Future of the UN”
Published in The Blair Effect 2001-5 edited by Anthony Seldon and Dennis Kavanagh (Cambridge University Press, 2005)
In 1992, when Tony Blair was Shadow Home Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, the actual Home Secretary, said of him ‘he’s so shadowy it’s ridiculous’, and went on to quote a jingle: ‘As I was going up a stair, I met a man who wasn’t there’. Eight years into his premiership, the question of who Blair is, what he believes in, is scarcely closer to being answered. One is tempted to write of him, as Keynes did of Lloyd George: ‘[He] is rooted in nothing; he is void and without content; he is an instrument and a player at the same time’. In fact Lloyd George is probably the prime minister Blair most resembles. Keynes praised Lloyd George’s ‘natural good instincts, his industry, his inexhaustible nervous vitality’, his ‘vast stores of spirit and of energy’. But these qualities were not grounded in ‘permanent principle, tenacity, fierce indignation, honesty, loyal leadership’.
Continue reading “The Reinvention of Blair”
Published in World Economics, Vol. 6, No. 1, November 2004
I. Markets and Institutions
Globalisation has been defined as ‘integration of economic activities, across borders, through markets’. It is both descriptive and prescriptive: a process and a project. In the latter aspect it is partly a growth project. One writer has summed: ‘By conforming to comparative advantage an economy also follows its optimal growth path’. That is, market-led development maximises welfare over time.
Continue reading “Keynes, globalisation and the Bretton Woods institutions in the light of changing ideas about the market”
The two key terms in the discussion ‘ownership’ and ‘post-collectivism’ are notoriously difficult to define. Perhaps I can give a better account of my position if I approach it from standpoint of ‘post-collectivism’.
Continue reading “Ownership in a Post-Collectivist Society”