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Archive for December 17th, 2009

Newshour (ht: jw) had a segment that featured a debate between Robert Skidlesky (Keynes’ biographer and most recently author of Keynes: Return of the Master) and Russell Roberts, who is a professor of economics at George Mason and blogs at Cafe Hayek. The debate was pretty much what you’d expect, given the intellectual influence of both, but it had an entertaining twist. Roberts is producing a hip-hop video about this very topic. Here’s the video (and here’s a link to the interview transcript). I’ve also put just the excerpted rap lyrics below the video for your enjoyment.

John Maynard Keynes wrote the book on modern macro, the man you need when the economy’s off track. Whoa. Depression, recession, now your question’s in session. Have a seat, and I will school you in one simple lesson…

We have been going back and forth for a century. I want to steer markets. I want them set free. There’s a boom-and-bust cycle, and good reason to fear it. Blame low interest rates. No, it’s the animal spirits…

I had a real plan any fool can understand, the advice, real simple. Boost aggregate demand…

Boom, 1929, the big crash. We didn’t bounce back. Economy’s in the trash, persistent unemployment, the result of sticky wages. Waiting for recovery? That’s outrageous…

There’s a boom and bust cycle and good reason to fear it. Blame low interest rates. No, it’s the animal spirits…

Your so-called stimulus will make things even worse. Just more of the same, more incentives perversed. And that credit crunch ain’t a liquidity trap. It’s just a broke banking system. I’m done. That’s a wrap…

My general theories made quite an impression. I transformed the econ profession. You know me, modesty. Still, I’m taking a bow. So, say it loud and say it proud. We’re all Keynesians now.

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Rick Wolff says that mainstream economics is ignoring one of the biggest casualties of the recession:

Capitalist crises, especially severe ones, are case studies in that system’s social costs.  Because the dutifully conservative economics profession rarely studies such cases, let’s do just that here by focusing on how the current capitalist crisis is damaging public education.  Deteriorating schools leave scars lasting for many years.  They undercut the quality of the skills and knowledge of the next generation in their individual capacities as workers, citizens, friends, parents, and so on…

Politicians concerned about their careers dare not seek extra state revenues from the corporations and the rich.  Instead they cut state services not favored by their patrons.  Since children of the rich increasingly attend private schools or certain elite public schools, politicians end up cutting chiefly the public education that serves everyone else.  As US corporations shift ever more skilled jobs overseas, they need fewer educated US workers…

Reacting to the economic crisis, both Bush’s and Obama’s administrations have allowed the state and local funding supports for public education to decline nationwide.  Educational opportunities shrink as educational inequality rises.  From coast to coast, most students’ job, income, and life prospects fall ever further behind those of children of the rich.  The US government’s response to economic crisis might well be ironically renamed as “leave no banker behind.”  Yet a collapsing public education system threatens society’s future no less than a collapsing credit market.  A president who campaigned on a program of hope presides over its evaporation for most children.

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