Sunday, October 11, 2009

Skidelsky at LSE

I highly recommend this brilliant LSE lecture by Robert Skidelsky. Among the topics covered: risk versus uncertainty; Chicago school as the academic scribblers responsible for recent disastrous ideological capture; rational expectations, efficient markets and all that nonsense; economics as a science (not) and the role of mathematics; fiscal versus monetary stimulus; Glass-Steagall; Capital ascendant over Labor and Government: the renewed relevance of Marx; the role of globalization and the neoliberal agenda.

Before attacking me as a socialist pinko (I am not), listen to the talk or at least read the earlier post linked to below.

Keynes and the Crisis of Capitalism
(podcast and video available)

Date: Wednesday 7 October 2009
Speaker: Professor Lord Skidelsky

Robert Skidelsky is Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick. His three-volume biography of the economist John Maynard Keynes (1983, 1992, 2000) received numerous prizes, including the Lionel Gelber Prize for International Relations and the Council on Foreign Relations Prize for International Relations. He is the author of The World After Communism (1995) (American edition called The Road from Serfdom). He was made a life peer in 1991, and was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 1994.

This event celebrates his latest book, Keynes: The Return of the Master.

For more from Skidelsky on Keynes and the current crisis, see this earlier post.

Keynes: ... the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.


Luke Lea said...

Thanks, Steve, for the link. It was an interesting discussion.

Don't you think -- and Keynes illustates the point -- that economics is more like checkers than chess; more like logic than analysis, or even statistics; and more of an art than a science?

In other words it is a relatively simple game that is nevertheless extraordinarily difficult to master. (The number of world masters of checkers, or so I am told, is far fewer than the number of chess grandmasters.)

Another thing. Having spent five decades observing the scene, it is pretty obvious to me that human beings have absolutely no evolved ability to think about economics intuitively the way we can intuitively calculate the trajectory of a thrown object in the earth's gravitational field for instance.

Ian Smith said...

"The Crisis in Capitalism" is a bad title.

Bear, Lehman, WaMu, Wachovia, AIG, Fannie and Freddie etc. would be in fine shape today had they been run by one or a few owners (capitalists). Today ownership of large public companies is too dilute for management and owners' interests to be algined.

Skidelsky's "risk vs uncertainty" is stolen from Taleb. His received pronunciation shouldn't be intimidating.

Unknown said...

Steve -

What do you think of Steve Sailer's new article here:

Ian Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ian Smith said...

Steve will continue to use "Asian" to mean Mongoloid and form the possessive of singular nouns ending in "-s" with only an apostrophe. Why? Because Steve's IQ isn't that high.

9:16 AM

Unknown said...

There are no reason why high-IQ groups such as East Asians should get affirmative action. Same goes for Indians in the USA.

HBD is the best case for AA, ironically--not the liberal argument.

Unknown said...

When I say affirmative action and Asians, what I am referring to is small business loans and the like, not college admissions where Asians are discriminated against.

LondonYoung said...

Interesting talk Steve. I think the insights about globalization and trade unionism and Marx were most interesting. People don't pay enough attention to these issues and they are growing, and starting to tear the fabric of our societies.

However, I kinda thought he didn't understand the mechanics of the market very well, and the snyde political comments weren't helpful. Were I in the audience I would have asked what parts of Glass Steagall were repealed that he thinks had any bearing on this recession?

I also think he has conservative preference for monetary as opposed to fiscal combat of recessions wrong. I think conservatives would be very happy with Keynesian stimulus if we had a quasi-independent body with sole authority to set the government deficit/surplus (ideally by setting tax policy). Many of us trust monetary policy because we have such a body in the Fed.

I also can't say I noticed as much influence of the Chicago school in neoliberalism as he seems to have seen. Maybe its a college campus thing.

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