LUMPENPROLETARIAT Every once in a while, our comrade Mitch Jeserich  at KPFA/Pacifica Radio’s Letters and Politics will discuss political economy and various economic topics. A notable broadcast recently (from home due to an injury) finds KPFA’s Mitch Jeserich speaking with Nicholas Wapshott, author of Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics and Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage.
During this broadcast, Jeserich refers to Keynes and Hayek as the two most important economists to understand, in terms of understanding contemporary economics. So, it’s notable how quickly Jeserich forgets Marx. Or, perhaps, Jeserich ideologically opposes Marx’s work, and, so, self-censors (however unconsciously). So, in certain regards, Jeserich’s exposure to the work he presents on free speech radio isn’t as cumulative as we might like. For example, Mitch Jeserich has frequently broadcast Dr. Richard D. Wolff on Letters and Politics, and often discussed (and agreed with on air) Wolff’s analysis of Contending Theories, and the bifurcation and trifurcation of economic theory in the academy, namely how Marxian analysis is kept out of the academy and profession. So, Jeserich forgets about Marx, or he chooses to overlook Marx; the effect is the same.
Jeserich asked Wappshot whether Keynes, like Hayek, took on the issue of state tyranny (c. 50:55):
“Yes, because, um, Hayek sent him a copy of The Road to Serfdom, which he read very excitedly and wrote him a very generous letter. And he said: Thank you for this very important book. And I’m glad that you’ve written it. And there are a lot of lessons in it, and it’s very well-timed. And I take your message entirely.” But, then, he went on to say in very typical Keynesian way, having flattered, he said: Now, I notice that you say in Road to Serfdom, even in your ideal state, where the government is as small as it might be, that includes of course defense and policing and things like that, that every state must have, but you also mention that in order for the market to work properly you should at least guarantee that people are housed, have food, and have proper social security, which isn’t that exactly what I’m saying? All we’re saying is a matter of degree, of where to draw the line. I just think that it ought to be drawn further over here. And you think that it ought to be drawn further over there. But the principle objection that you have to state existing, to the government existing at all, doesn’t seem to apply. And, so, that was Keynes’ response to Hayek on that issue.”
[This article is a rough draft under construction. Check back to read/experience the final draft.]
LETTERS AND POLITICS—With Nicholas Wapshott, author of Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics and Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage. A former senior editor at the LondonTimes and the New York Sun, he is now international editor at Newsweek.
As the stock market crash of 1929 plunged the world into turmoil, two men emerged with competing claims on how to restore balance to economies gone awry. John Maynard Keynes, the mercurial Cambridge economist, believed that government had a duty to spend when others would not. He met his opposite in a little-known Austrian economics professor, Freidrich Hayek, who considered attempts to intervene both pointless and potentially dangerous. The battle lines thus drawn, Keynesian economics would dominate for decades and coincide with an era of unprecedented prosperity, but conservative economists and political leaders would eventually embrace and execute Hayek’s contrary vision.
From their first face-to-face encounter to the heated arguments between their ardent disciples, Nicholas Wapshott here unearths the contemporary relevance of Keynes and Hayek, as present-day arguments over the virtues of the free market and government intervention rage with the same ferocity as they did in the 1930s.
Learn more at LETTERS AND POLITICS.
 Mitch Jeserich is the host of Letters and Politics, KPFA radio (Berkeley, CA) and the Pacifica radio network throughout the nation.
[Images are used for educational purposes under creative commons licence, CC BY-SA 3.0.]
[10:08 PST 8 OCT 2015]
[Last modified 14:35 PST 8 OCT 2015]