View Poll Results: Do you support Keynesian economics?

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Thread: Do you support Keynesian economics?

  1. #11
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    Re: Do you support Keynesian economics?

    Somewhat, except that I disagree with the government spending part (yet in extreme circumstances such as requiring bailouts, then yes)
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    Re: Do you support Keynesian economics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mayor Snorkum View Post
    Yes. It works for Kenya. It should stay in Kenya.

    America is capitalist, and Kenyan economics isn't really allowed here.
    Oh goodie, a troll NOT to feed
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    Re: Do you support Keynesian economics?

    In theory, it sounds nice.
    In practice, not so much.
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    Re: Do you support Keynesian economics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chappy View Post
    Do you support Keynesian economics?
    Generally speaking, yes, if by Keynesian economics you mean a money supply that ebbs and flows based on economic conditions. Generally speaking, when the economy is bad we should have low interest rates and large deficits. When the economy is good we should have high interest rates and a balanced budget.

    There are a couple exceptions to this...during periods of stagflation (high unemployment and high inflation), it's better to have a tight money supply even though it will make the economy worse. This is because high inflation is worse in the long term than high unemployment is. Similarly, if your economy is undergoing deflation, you want a loose monetary/fiscal policy no matter what. If a nation faces an imminent debt crisis (a REAL one like Greece, not an engineered one like our infantile debt ceiling debate), they're better off with a tight money supply unless they choose to default.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 06-04-11 at 07:11 AM.
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    Re: Do you support Keynesian economics?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Goodness Gracious no. The History of that theory is atrocious.
    Allow me to present a counternarrative.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    1920: Stock Market Collapse, Unemployment Spikes. Government Response: Cut Spending Reduce Taxes. Effect: Rapid Economic Growth, Unemployment drops to historically low levels.
    If you're referring to Hoover's response, this just isn't the case. The stock market crashed in 1929, and Hoover was president until 1933. Over that time period, the United States' GNP (I guess they didn't measure GDP back then) declined by -9.4% in 1930, -8.5% in 1931, -13.4% in 1932, and -2.1% in 1933. Unemployment rose from 3.2% in 1929, to 8.7% in 1930, to 15.9% in 1931, to 23.6% in 1932, to 24.9% in 1933.

    FDR became president and began the New Deal in March 1933. The economy bottomed out in June 1933, and then started growing.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    1930: Stock Market Collapse, Unemployment Spikes. Government Response: Raise Spending Raise Taxes. Effect: Unemployment spikes higher, the economy shrinks for four straight years, a decade of double-digit unemployment. Market does not recover until 1953.
    The economy began growing almost immediately after the New Deal began. In FDR's first term, the economy shrank by -2.1% in 1933, then grew by 7.7% in 1934, 8.1% in 1935, and 14.1% in 1936. Over the same time frame, unemployment fell from 24.9% to 16.9%.

    In his second term, the economy didn't do as well. But does this show the failings of Keynesian economics? Hardly. In fact, it's because FDR briefly turned conservative in 1936-1937 and pursued contractive fiscal and monetary policies! The economy grew by only 5.0% in 1937, shrank by -4.5% in 1938, before resuming growth of 7.9% in 1939.

    I don't see how anyone could conclude from the events of the Great Depression that Keynesian economics was a failure. The economy grew every single year that FDR was president except two: 1933 (which we can give him a pass on since it was his first year in office), and 1938 (which was during a brief recession following a brief return to contracting the money supply). And most of the years that the economy grew, it did so by huge margins that would thrill any economist if they were to be replicated today.

    Timeline of the Great Depression

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    Late 1940's: Extremely High Inflation threatens, as does the loss from the necessary massive restructuring from a war to a peace economy. Government Response: Drastically Slash Government Spending. Effect: Unemployment stays at historically low levels, economic growth accelerates.

    WORTH NOTING: this is the single best example of the utter failure of keynesian economics. Keynesians were UNANIMOUS that the reduction in government spending combined with the demobilization of the military would result in mass unemployment. The Government reduced spending by 40%. Millions of men left government service.

    and yet 1946 was the single best year for the private economy in United States History. Production shot up a mind-boggling 30%. AG Hines was predicting we would collapse back into the Great Depression - Unemployment predictions from Keynesians across the country ranged between 6 and 10 million men out of work by winter of 1946.... yet unemployment stayed below 4%.
    Unfortunately I don't have any statistics on 1946 that I can find (my Depression statistics end in 1945, and my modern statistics start in 1947). But it DOES look like the economy was in recession in 1947, albeit a mild one. Real GDP shrank by -1.4% in 1947 Q2, -1.5% in Q3, and 0.0% in Q4. Those are the earliest statistics I have, so I'm not sure what the economy was doing prior to that. But it's not unreasonable that a massive decline in government spending would take a year or so to show up in the economic statistics. Unemployment is usually a lagging indicator.
    GDP Growth Rate (Recent History)

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    After the repeated failures of the 1930's (which they blamed on 'greed'), the Keynesians put themselves out into a major falsifiable position on a prediction that - if their assumptions were correct - could not possibly fail..... and were 100% completely utterly humiliatingly hilariously wrong.
    There are always other factors in determining economic growth besides monetary/fiscal policy. People who claimed otherwise were guilty of oversimplifying it. But that doesn't change the fact that the economy will respond to fiscal and monetary stimuli in roughly predictable ways. That doesn't always mean that a loose monetary policy is going to grow the economy, but it does mean that a loose monetary policy will usually result in quicker growth than a tight monetary policy would have.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    Late 1960's: Undaunted by their failure, Keynesians claim that the growth of the 50's and early 60's prove that they have now mastered the business cycle - there will never again need be a recession in the United States of America because they have the power to fine-tune them out via the power of Government expenditures. Arthur Okun (Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President) wrote an entire book about how recessions were no longer "necessary" and that booms could now be perpetual thanks to the magic of Keynesianism. Result: one month after the book is published, the US goes into recession. Keynesians attempt to bring their brilliance to bear - Result: the 1970s and stagflation. CPI rose about 160% from 1965 to 1980. Unemployment rose and remained high. Inflation-adjusted, the DOW fell fully 80% from it's peak (put that in perspective - the giant market crash that we just went through was smaller).
    I'm not sure what year you're referring to; the US economy was never in recession in the late 1960s. It looks like it may have undergone a brief contraction (although not a recession) in Q4 of 1970, when the real GDP shrank by -0.2%.

    As for the stagflation of the late 1970s, this is probably the example of where Keynesian economics worked the least well...although even here, a lot of the problems were DESPITE Keynesian economics rather than BECAUSE of it. Monetary policy in the 1970s was actually much tighter than it had been in the 1960s (i.e. the federal funds interest rate was higher). Not as tight as it probably should have been, but nevertheless not profligate. Similarly, fiscal policy in the 1970s - although not great - was not particularly profligate. Our debt-to-GDP ratio actually declined slightly during the 1970s.
    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/...ebt_chart.html

    The biggest causes of stagflation were policy-related. Excessive regulations and price controls laid by Nixon, Ford, and Carter pushed unemployment up. Severe oil shocks pushed inflation up. Economists, faced with both high unemployment and high inflation for the first time in history, were divided over which was worse. Unfortunately, they picked wrong and tried to get unemployment under control. This led to a wage-price spiral.

    And it's also worth noting that stagflation ended by an extremely massive influx of Keynesian monetary policy. The Fed chairman, Paul Volcker, pushed interest rates sky-high to get inflation under control, deliberately creating the recession of 1981-1982. He recognized that the economy could never be healthy as long as high inflation remained a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    STAGFLATION: under Keynesianism, of course, is impossible. They had never considered the possibility that it could happen - because their assumptions mean that it can't. Inflation is supposed to improve employment by reducing real wages which remain sticky in inflated dollars, and more money means more growth.... so stagflation can't happen.... and the fact that it does.... well, just ignore the fact that it does, because otherwise the model doesn't work.
    Again, there are always other economic variables in play. At any given level of inflation and any given level of fiscal/monetary profligacy, you can have high or low unemployment depending on other economic factors. It's true that unemployment is USUALLY negatively correlated with inflation, but this isn't always true.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill
    2001 - Paul Krugman writes about the need to lower interest rates in order to stimulate housing. Bush tells us how we can avoid a recession by jump-starting the economy in 2008. Obama tells us we can keep unemployment below 8% in 2009. Obama tells us that unemployment will peak at around 9% if we don't pas the stimulus.
    But low interest rates during the 2000s was not a Keynesian approach (except during the 2001-02 recession). Alan Greenspan is hardly a Keynesian; he's a monetarist and his biggest influences include Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand. A Keynesian approach would have been to RAISE interest rates significantly in 2003-04, and keep them high until the economy slowed down again.

    As for how Keynesianism will play out in the current economic climate, it's hard to say for now. It'll be easier to tell in ten years. But the history of Keynesianism has been one of success.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 06-04-11 at 08:09 AM.
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    Re: Do you support Keynesian economics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Allow me to present a counternarrative.
    let's dance

    If you're referring to Hoover's response, this just isn't the case. The stock market crashed in 1929, and Hoover was president until 1933. Over that time period, the United States' GNP (I guess they didn't measure GDP back then) declined by -9.4% in 1930, -8.5% in 1931, -13.4% in 1932, and -2.1% in 1933. Unemployment rose from 3.2% in 1929, to 8.7% in 1930, to 15.9% in 1931, to 23.6% in 1932, to 24.9% in 1933.
    no, look at the date. I said 1920. Hoovers' response was actually very interventionist, and Roosevelt economic advisers such as Rex Tugwell later admitted that “We didn’t admit it at the time, but practically the whole New Deal was extrapolated from programs that Hoover started.”

    But I wasn't talking about Hoover (though he makes a good example as well - usually it's not the market crash that causes depression, it's the governmentresponse to the market crash that causes depression). I was talking about Harding. Who, in response to a market crash and depression, instead cut taxes and spending.

    ...America’s greatest depression fighter was Warren Gamaliel Harding. An Ohio senator when he was elected president in 1920, he followed the much praised Woodrow Wilson — who had brought America into World War I, built up huge federal bureaucracies, imprisoned dissenters, and incurred $25 billion of debt.

    Harding inherited Wilson’s mess — in particular, a post–World War I depression that was almost as severe, from peak to trough, as the Great Contraction from 1929 to 1933 that FDR would later inherit. The estimated gross national product plunged 24 percent from $91.5 billion in 1920 to $69.6 billion in 1921. The number of unemployed people jumped from 2.1 million to 4.9 million...

    One of Harding’s campaign slogans was “less government in business,” and it served him well. Harding embraced the advice of Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon and called for tax cuts in his first message to Congress on April 12, 1921. The highest taxes, on corporate revenues and “excess” profits, were to be cut. Personal income taxes were to be left as is, with a top rate of 8 percent of incomes above $4,000...

    Federal spending was cut from $6.3 billion in 1920 to $5 billion in 1921 and $3.2 billion in 1922. Federal taxes fell from $6.6 billion in 1920 to $5.5 billion in 1921 and $4 billion in 1922. Harding’s policies started a trend. The low point for federal taxes was reached in 1924; for federal spending, in1925. The federal government paid off debt, which had been $24.2 billion in 1920, and it continued to decline until 1930....

    With Harding’s tax and spending cuts and relatively non-interventionist economic policy, GNP rebounded to $74.1 billion in 1922. The number of unemployed fell to 2.8 million — a reported 6.7 percent of the labor force — in 1922. So, just a year and a half after Harding became president, the Roaring 20s were underway. The unemployment rate continued to decline, reaching an extraordinary low of 1.8 percent in 1926. Since then, the unemployment rate has been lower only once in wartime (1944), and never in peacetime....

    FDR became president and began the New Deal in March 1933. The economy bottomed out in June 1933, and then started growing.
    yet unemployment remained high, and the market didn't fully recover for two decades. as stated earlier, FDR's policies were generally the same as Hoovers before them, so what you are seeing is merely a lower bottom reached and a slower recovery as a result of the same keynesian set of economic assumptions.

    I don't see how anyone could conclude from the events of the Great Depression that Keynesian economics was a failure.]
    well then you would have to take that up with FDR's own Secretary of the Treasury:

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Morgenthau
    "We are spending more money than we have ever spent before and it does not work. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started, and an enormous debt to boot!"
    New Deal policies served to create a series of cartels, which deliberately kept prices higher - including the price of labor. The National Industrial Recovery Act and the Wagner Acts were particularly egregious examples of this abuse. It has been estimated that the deliberate propping up of wages alone extended the Depression by years:

    Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.

    "Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump," said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA's Department of Economics. "We found that a relapse isn't likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies."...

    "President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services," said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. "So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies..."

    Meanwhile, prices across 19 industries averaged 23 percent above where they should have been, given the state of the economy. With goods and services that much harder for consumers to afford, demand stalled and the gross national product floundered at 27 percent below where it otherwise might have been.

    "High wages and high prices in an economic slump run contrary to everything we know about market forces in economic downturns," Ohanian said. "As we've seen in the past several years, salaries and prices fall when unemployment is high. By artificially inflating both, the New Deal policies short-circuited the market's self-correcting forces."

    The policies were contained in the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which exempted industries from antitrust prosecution if they agreed to enter into collective bargaining agreements that significantly raised wages. Because protection from antitrust prosecution all but ensured higher prices for goods and services, a wide range of industries took the bait, Cole and Ohanian found. By 1934 more than 500 industries, which accounted for nearly 80 percent of private, non-agricultural employment, had entered into the collective bargaining agreements called for under NIRA.

    Cole and Ohanian calculate that NIRA and its aftermath account for 60 percent of the weak recovery. Without the policies, they contend that the Depression would have ended in 1936...


    as a general hint: when your argument is dependent upon making the 1930's look like an economic boom period, you may want to ask yourself if you are trying to force your evidence to fit your thesis, instead of the other way around.

    it's not unreasonable that a massive decline in government spending would take a year or so to show up in the economic statistics
    except of course, not. Because much of the cuts in spending were the release of millions of men back into the private economy.

    AGAIN: Keynesian economists were UNANIMOUS in their claims that the release of the military population plus the dramatic slashes in government spending would create MASS unemployment. yet 1946 saw an unemployment rate of 3.9%. [i]Because the reduction in government spending created a booming private economy.

    Just like with the Obama Administrations Stimulus: Keynesian economics all pointed in the same direction - and made a huge, big, fat, falsifiable prediction. Were Keynesian Economics built upon accurate assumptions, then they would have been right - unemployment would have shot up in 1946 and we would have spiraled back into the Great Depression. Unemployment would have peaked at 8% in the summer of 2009 and started to drop rapidly after that. But EVERY time predictions and policies are made from a Keynesian standpoint, the results are antithetical to their claims. Every Major Attempt To Stimulate The Economy In Every One Of The 30 OECD Nations Since 1970 Tells The Exact Same Story: those that are built upon dramatically increasing government expenditures in line with Keynesian theory fail.

    Every Time. remember. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over... and expecting different results.

    Unemployment is usually a lagging indicator.
    in 1946 these men were already unemployed, as they were being released from the military. the prediction was that there would be no ability for them to integrate into the workforce, given the dramatic decreases in government spending and the resultant "loss of demand"

    There are always other factors in determining economic growth besides monetary/fiscal policy. People who claimed otherwise were guilty of oversimplifying it.
    that is true. for example, Roosevelt's ending of the Smoot Hawley tariff did much to mitigate the effects of his disastrous domestic policies. which is a good point to consider in the light of your claims of awesome growth - our export/import losses were a disproportionately large portion of our loss of GDP in the years up to 1933 and a disproportionately large portion of our "growth" following its repeal.

    But that doesn't change the fact that the economy will respond to fiscal and monetary stimuli in roughly predictable ways
    yes. for example, we have discovered over the past half century and more that reducing effective tax rates and government spending boosts the economy, while increasing tax rates and government spending drags the economy.

    That doesn't always mean that a loose monetary policy is going to grow the economy, but it does mean that a loose monetary policy will usually result in quicker growth than a tight monetary policy would have.
    not in terms of real growth; any significant inflation (like deflation) distorts market signals away from peak effectiveness and encourages misallocation of resources.

    I'm not sure what year you're referring to; the US economy was never in recession in the late 1960s.
    The NBER disagrees, and says that we went into one in 1969. However, the point was simply this - that the steady growth of the 50's and 60's led to the assumption among Keynesians that because of their abilities, recessions were a thing of the past. The Truth of Keynesian Economics meant that they could get us through any "dip" without any losses - it would be all growth from here on out. They then pitted their predictions and put their policies against the 1970's, and were found severely wanting.

    As for the stagflation of the late 1970s, this is probably the example of where Keynesian economics worked the least well...although even here, a lot of the problems were DESPITE Keynesian economics rather than BECAUSE of it.
    dude. Under Keynesian theory, Stagflation is impossible. It can't happen. It's one more prediction that Keynesian Economic Theory makes that has been proven to be wildly incorrect.

    now: if you're predictions are consistently wrong, and some of your results are mutually contradictory with your hypothesis....

    then your theory is wrong.

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    Re: Do you support Keynesian economics?

    Monetary policy in the 1970s was actually much tighter than it had been in the 1960s (i.e. the federal funds interest rate was higher). Not as tight as it probably should have been, but nevertheless not profligate. Similarly, fiscal policy in the 1970s - although not great - was not particularly profligate. Our debt-to-GDP ratio actually declined slightly during the 1970s.
    US Federal Debt as percent of GDP - Charts Tables History

    The biggest causes of stagflation were policy-related. Excessive regulations and price controls laid by Nixon, Ford, and Carter pushed unemployment up. Severe oil shocks pushed inflation up. Economists, faced with both high unemployment and high inflation for the first time in history, were divided over which was worse. Unfortunately, they picked wrong and tried to get unemployment under control. This led to a wage-price spiral.

    ...But low interest rates during the 2000s was not a Keynesian approach (except during the 2001-02 recession). Alan Greenspan is hardly a Keynesian; he's a monetarist and his biggest influences include Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand. A Keynesian approach would have been to RAISE interest rates significantly in 2003-04, and keep them high until the economy slowed down again.

    As for how Keynesianism will play out in the current economic climate, it's hard to say for now. It'll be easier to tell in ten years. But the history of Keynesianism has been one of success.
    dangit. the computer is dying and I don't have the time. - i'll have to return.

    so I'll leave you with the above, and a simple question: WHERE?

    WHERE has Keyensianism proven to be an unvarnished success? Where can we look at an economy that went into recession, chose to engage in large Stimulus Spending packages, and seen a rapid recovery. again the combined experience of the 30 OECD countries is that it doesnt' happen

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    Re: Do you support Keynesian economics?

    The specific part of Keynsian economics that deal with smoothing the economic cycle yes

    Having the government limit spending during good years, building a surplus, and during bad years increasing spending and drawing down the surplus is a good policy. It would limit the booms, and the busts, making each smaller in scope, limiting the potential for bubbles and busts

    However most politicians due to pandering dont tend to build the surplus that should be part of any Keynsian economic policy
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    Re: Do you support Keynesian economics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Proud South Korean View Post
    Oh goodie, a troll NOT to feed
    So why did you feed him?

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    Re: Do you support Keynesian economics?

    Haven't really examined the alternatives (i.e. Austrian theory) to make a firm judgment, but generally Keynesianism makes a bit more sense than, say, supply-side/trickle-down.
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