Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hayek Versus Keynes as Presented by Murray Rothbard in a Single Paragraph

From Murray Rothbard's America's Great Depression (note 1 p. 37):
Hayek subjected J.M. Keynes’s early Treatise on Money (now relatively forgotten amid the glow of his later General Theory) to a sound and searching critique, much of which applies to the later volume. Thus, Hayek pointed out that Keynes simply assumed that zero aggregate profit was just sufficient to maintain capital, whereas profits in the lower stages combined with equal losses in the higher stages would reduce the capital structure; Keynes ignored the various stages of production; ignored changes in capital value and neglected the identity between entrepreneurs and capitalists; took replacement of the capital structure for granted; neglected price differentials in the stages of production as the source of interest; and did not realize that, ultimately, the question faced by businessmen is not whether to invest in consumer goods or capital goods, but whether to invest in capital goods that will yield consumer goods at a nearer or later date. In general, Hayek found Keynes ignorant of capital theory and real-interest theory, particularly that of Böhm-Bawerk, a criticism borne out in Keynes’s remarks on Mises’s theory of interest. See John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1936), pp. 192–93; F.A. Hayek, “Reflections on the Pure Theory of Money of Mr. J.M. Keynes,” Economica (August, 1931): 270–95; and idem, “A Rejoinder to Mr. Keynes,” Economica (November, 1931): 400–02.
The back story to the new prominence of this quote is here.

1 comment:

  1. So much refutation in so few words. If you combed this paragraph for terms, then Googled those terms, you'd come up with about 4 years of study and become a pretty darn good economist in the bargain.
    That's all conjecture on my part, as I am a definite amateur in economics.