Eighty years go, on February 4, 1936, one of the most influential books of the last one hundred years was published, British economist, John Maynard Keynes’s The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. With it was born what has become known as Keynesian Economics.
Keynesians never seem to learn. Every time an economy slows down or reverses gears and “goes negative,” in terms of growth and employment, their only answer is a call for “aggregate demand” stimulus and more government spending manipulation.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported in early May that for the month of April 2015 the Federal government ran a budget surplus, taking in more in taxes than it laid out in expenditures. Don’t be fooled by one month, especially when it was a month when people filed and pay their taxes. Government deficits and growing debt are on the horizon for as far as the human eye can predict.
Old fallacies never seem to die, they just fad away to reemerge once again later on. One such fallacy is that if there is significant unemployment and slow economic growth it must be due to not enough consumers’ spending in the economy, what Keynesian economists call a “failure of aggregate demand.”
You may not have noticed it when out buying things in the marketplace in the context of your personal budget, but according to the Wall Street Journal (April 24, 2015) the world is awash with too much stuff. We seemingly have too much of, well, almost everything: too many raw material commodities, too much capital, and too much labor. The world, claims the Journal, is suffering from global gluts.
Forty years ago, on December 11, 1974, Austrian economist, Friedrich A. Hayek, formally received that year’s Nobel Prize in Economics at the official ceremonies in Stockholm, Sweden. He delivered a lecture called, “The Pretense of Knowledge,” which forcefully challenged all those who believe that government has the wisdom or ability to successfully plan the economic affairs of society.