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article imageReview: 'Masters of Money - Keynes' Special

By Alexander Baron     Sep 18, 2012 in Politics
London - The BBC has produced a short TV series about the men it says are the masters of money: Karl Marx, Friedrich Hayek and John Maynard Keynes. Such folly.
The first in this series is John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), who like our current and many former Prime Ministers was an alumnus of Eton. Keynes also went to Cambridge.
This documentary traces his progress from there through the Bloomsbury Set to the birth of so-called Keynsianism. After the First World War, Keynes was part of the British delegation to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, and, out of step with the austerity measures imposed on Germany, resigned his post at the Treasury. He got that much right. The Versailles Conference led him to write The Economic Consequences Of The Peace, which is now in the public domain.
After returning to Cambridge, Keynes is said to have spent a lot of time playing the stock market. Narrator Stephanie Flanders refers to this as investing, but of course it is not, it is gambling. Come 1929, and like the vast majority of so-called professional investors, Keynes bet on red, and the ball landed on black. Wallop, Great Depression, everybody loses. From this Keynes learned an important lesson: playing the stock market is luck, anyone who plays this game and wins probably does so more by luck than skill. Here is a recent article on this subject; and here is a recent article about how the so-called experts still get it wrong today, including the story of the parrot that beat most of them picking out shares with its beak.
Economist John Maynard Keynes
Economist John Maynard Keynes
Keynes is said - half-jokingly - to have suggested the government tear down South London and rebuild it in order to generate employment. The American Government had less drastic ideas, and set some of its unemployed to work building the great Hoover Dam.
The conventional wisdom is that the Second World War cured the economic ills of the Great Depression; the reality is that during the War, governments, especially those of Britain and America, operated a cheap money policy; the British Government had done this during the First World War too, issuing Bradbury notes.
Flanders and everyone else connected with this programme don't understand real economics; exporting goods is said to be a sign of strength. No, the more we export, the harder we have to work, dummy!
Playing the stock market is not investing, rather it is gambling, and creating employment for the sake of it is ludicrous. There are two programmes to come in this series, the third is Karl Marx - be serious! His disciples are as active as ever today, but the next episode features Friederick Hayek, whose greatest work is The Road To Serfdom.
Whether or not Hayek was a great economist, Keynes wasn't, and Karl Marx is funnier than Groucho Marx in a sad kind of way. One thing is for sure, in this series we will see no mention of those truly great economists who have been written out of history such as Gottfried Feder, Silvio Gesell, and the greatest of them all, Major Douglas.
Masters of Money is currently on iplayer for those who can receive it; otherwise watch out for it on YouTube.
More about John maynard keynes, Capitalism, Economics, masters of money
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