Home > The Economics Profession > Keynes on people who have their heads fuddled with nonsense

Keynes on people who have their heads fuddled with nonsense

from Lars Syll

The Conservative belief that there is some law of nature which prevents men from being employed, that it is “rash” to employ men, and that it is financially ‘sound’ to maintain a tenth of the population in idleness for an indefinite period, is crazily improbable – the sort of thing which no man could believe who had not had his head fuddled with nonsense for years and years … 0616_ig-john-maynard-keynes_1024x576Our main task, therefore, will be to confirm the reader’s instinct that what seems sensible is sensible, and what seems nonsense is nonsense. We shall try to show him that the conclusion, that if new forms of employment are offered more men will be employed, is as obvious as it sounds and contains no hidden snags; that to set unemployed men to work on useful tasks does what it appears to do, namely, increases the national wealth; and that the notion, that we shall, for intricate reasons, ruin ourselves financially if we use this means to increase our well-being, is what it looks like – a bogy.

John Maynard Keynes (1929

  1. Tom Welsh
    March 29, 2015 at 11:22 am

    I wonder if any man has been as much maligned and belittled within a century of his birth as Keynes. When I see the dreadful, stupid, narrow-minded individuals who call themselves “Keynesians” and “neo-Keynesians”, I have to remind myself that this is the man of whom Bertrand Russell wrote, “Keynes’s intellect was the sharpest and clearest that I have ever known. When I argued with him, I felt that I took my life in my hands, and I seldom emerged without feeling something of a fool. I was sometimes inclined to feel that so much cleverness must be incompatible with depth, but I do not think that this feeling was justified”.

  2. Victoria Chick
    March 30, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Where did you find that great drawing of Keynes? and while I’m about it, could you (and everyone who posts here) please give full citations to quotations.

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