Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NYT's Bill Keller Quotes a Super-Racist to Support His View

The former executive editor of NYT, and now Op-Ed columnist at the paper, Bill Keller tells us he has been reading up on economics while on planes and at his bedside, and so now I think he believes he is an expert.

At one point in his column, he writes of  this Keynesian solution:
There really is a textbook way to fix our current mess. Short-term stimulus works to help an economy recover from a recession. Some kinds of stimulus pay off more quickly than others. Once the economic heart is pumping again, we need to get our deficits under control. The way to do that is a balance of spending cuts, increased tax revenues and entitlement reforms. There is room to argue about the proportions and the timing, and small differences can produce large consequences, but the basic formula is not only common sense, it is mainstream economic science, tested many times in the real world.
Yup, he thinks he is an expert. Yet, he is so clueless that at another point he quotes a racist, making a racist remark, and thinks he is being profound:
I’ve come to think something is rotten in the state of economics. The dismal science, as Thomas Carlyle called it, has been ravaged by the same virus that has corrupted the rest of our national discourse.
Do my eyes deceive me? Has the former executive editor of NYT just quoted one of the most racist comments ever to be uttered in economics debate.

Carlyle called economics the dismal science in a pamphlet he wrote titled, "An Occasional discourse on the Nigger Question". He considered it a dismal science because he saw economics as being anti-slavery. Gavin Kennedy, Professor Emeritus, Heriot-Watt University, explains:
Carlyle called 'economics the dismal science' not because of its pessimism but because he objected to its humanitarian optimism Carlyle did not in fact direct his remarks at Ricardo or Malthus, or even at Adam Smith. He was writing a rebuttal of ideas expressed by John Stewart Mill, whose Principles of Political Economy was published in 1848. Mill had advanced the notion that all peoples on Earth, from all races and colours, were basically the same. Black men and women were not born to slavery; they were forced into it. Carlyle absolutely disagreed with Mill's humanistic notion. He expresses in his pamphlet the most offensive justification of slavery, denied explicitly that Africans were of the same species at Europeans (the very idea incensed Carlyle — as it did his friends and colleagues, among whom we find John Ruskin and Charles Dickens), and he lambasted J. S. Mill, an economist and former close friend for claiming the contrary view.
Keller is as clueless as they get. Not only is he waving around quotes from a super-racist. He is waving around Keynesian economic theory as though no other economics existed, despite the fact that Keynesian economists failed in detecting the recent Great Recession. Look no further than a recent comment by Federal Reserve economist Simon Potter for the failure of the Federal Reserve in detecting the crisis. And, don't think for a minute that Fed economists were using non-Keynesian theory, that's all they know. (For those who did forecast the Great Recession see here)

So next time you want to write about economics, Bill, try and take a broader view before declaring Keynes King and waving Carlyle quotes around. Read up on, Mises, Hayek and Murray Rothbard. And if you really want to understand the problems with Keynesian economics you might try reading The Failure of the New Economics.

It is a page-by-page takedown of Keynes' General Theory. The takedown was written by Henry Hazlitt, not only was he a great economist, but he was a greater writer, Bill. In fact, he sat in your seat at NYT as a columnist,  but he was not fooled for a minute by Keynesian economics. Hazlitt would never have written the confused column you just did.


  1. Great post! ... I'm not sure why more people don't bring up "Failure of the new economics" After reading it, the general theory is a joke.

  2. "The dismal science, as Thomas Carlyle called it (because it didn't offer his rant anything), has been ravaged by the same virus(ie people talking about things my overlords don't want them talking about) that has corrupted the rest of our national discourse." (ie propaganda)

  3. Damn Wenzel, you just owned his shit.

  4. No need to go to Amazon. Read the entire brilliant work here:


  5. John Stuart Mill.