Thursday, June 5, 2008

Happy Birthday...

This is an auspicious date in economic history, for it is the birthdate of both Adam Smith (in 1723) and John Maynard Keynes (in 1883).

What makes this coincidence twice as interesting is that these two economists, probably more than any others, helped to shape our current perceptions about economic policy. Please notice I said "perceptions." For in current debates, the various proponents will alternately invoke one and berate the other to support ideas. Yet, those who propose to follow one or the other, frequently expose their lack of knowledge of either or both.

I believe Keynes may have stated it best when he wrote "Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist."

And their slavery frequently arises out of misunderstanding.

Happy Birthday Adam and John.

1 comment:

Mike Fladlien said...

do you think Adam Smith has the "absolute advantage" compared to Keynes because he's older? Do you still teach Keynesian economics?