Monday, September 28, 2009

It's On!

by the Sandwichman

David Blanchflower's keynote address to the OECD Policy Forum: "How can Labour Market and Social Policies best help workers weather the storm of the crisis?." Page 19 (the punchline):

Keynes’ Biographer Lord Robert Skidelsky


"Keynes’s big idea was to use macroeconomic policy to maintain full employment. His specific suggestion was to use monetary policy to secure a permanently low interest rate and fiscal policy to achieve a continuously high level of public or semi-public investment.

"Over time, as the returns on further additions to capital fell, the high-investment policy should yield to the encouragement of consumption through redistributing income from the higher to the lower-saving section of the population. This should be coupled with a reduction in the hours of work. In short, the object of macro-policy should be to keep the economy in 'quasi-boom' till the economic problem was solved and people could live 'wisely, and agreeably, and well.'"

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is very gratifying to hear... absolutely wonderful to see high level support for this idea.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, as of yet the emphasis -even here- is on work, not free time - but will this change over time?

Anonymous said...

I feel that Keynes may have been quite naive about the type of uses that public money would be put to.

There needs to be clear, formally-defined restraints on the type of 'employment' public funds can generate.

Brenda Rosser said...

"....till the economic problem was solved and people could live 'wisely, and agreeably, and well.'"

Is it fair to say that only someone who has a rather extraordinarily happy life with lots of agreeable and respectful people around him could write a sentence like that.

I read Skidelsky's 3 volume biography of Keynes. It gives a confirmative answer to the above question. Born rich with agreeable parents. Weight lifted off shoulders of the family by numerous servants and by good health. Keynes simply had to desire some material 'want' and it was supplied. Sex on demand as well.

All the time in the world to dig ones head in books and become good at writing and observing. Huh!

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