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  • how do you think he will rank in the history of economic theory or thought

  • as a man with a great many ideas who knew very little economics

  • meant literally too

  • see he knew nothing but Marshallian economics

  • he was completely unaware of what was going on elseware

  • he even knew very little about nineteenth century economic history his

  • interests were very largely guided by aesthetic appeal

  • and he hated the nineteenth century

  • and therefore knew very little about it

  • even about its scientific literature he was a really great expert on the

  • Elizabethan age

  • I'm absolutely astounded

  • that you say that John Maynard Keynes really did not know the economic literature

  • very little very little

  • even within the English tradition he did know very little of the

  • great monetary writers of the nineteenth century

  • he would know nothing about Henry Thornton

  • he knew a little about Ricardo of course the famous things but

  • he could have found any number of antecedents of his

  • inflationary ideas in the 1820's and 1830's

  • and when I told him about it it was all new to him

  • how did he react

  • was he sheepish? oh no not in the least

  • he was much too self assured and amused?

  • convinced that

  • what other people could have said about the subject was not frightfully important

  • ....

  • at the end well not in the end there was a period just after he had written the General Theory where

  • he was so convinced he had re-done the whole science

  • that he was rather contemptuous of anything which had been done before

  • and did he maintain that confidence to the end

  • I can't say because I said before we'd almost stopped talking economics

  • great many other subjects

  • his general history of ideas and so on we were

  • interested

  • and you know I

  • I don't want you to get the impression that I underestimated him

  • as a brain he was one of the most intelligent and most original

  • thinkers I have known

  • but economics was just a sideline for him

  • and he had an amazing memory

  • he was extraordinarily widely read

  • but economics was not really his main interest- well his own economics

  • was he was convinced he could recreate the subject

  • and he rather had a contempt for

  • most of the other economists

  • does this tie in with your

  • Two Kinds of Minds you wrote in Encounter some years ago

  • well curiously enough I would say Keynes was rather my type of mind

  • and not the other

  • he is certainly could not have been described as a master of his subject

  • which describes the other type he was an

  • intuitive thinker with a

  • very wide knowledge in many fields

  • who'd never felt

  • that economics was weighty enough to

  • he just took it for granted that

  • Marshall's textbook

  • contained everything one needs to know about the subject

  • there was a certain

  • arrogance of Cambridge economics about and they thought they were the centre of

  • the world and if you have learned Cambridge economics there is nothing else worth learning

  • I'm interested in your earlier comment about the fact

  • that here is a man of immense intelligence

  • great imagination

  • wide learning and so on

  • and yet was not an economist and i'm not clear whether you mean

  • he didn't have the kind of mind that excels in economics just as

  • mathematics say you can find people who are brilliant but who given mathematics

  • are just hopeless

  • but do you mean he didn't have the kind of mind that makes for first rate

  • economists

  • oh he had I mean if he had given his whole mind

  • to economics he could have become

  • a master of economics

  • of the

  • existing body

  • but there were certain

  • parts of economic theory which he

  • had never been interested in

  • he had never thought about the theory of capital

  • he was very shaky even on the theory of of international trade

  • he was well informed on contemporary monetary theory but even there

  • he did not know such things as Henry Thornton or Wicksell

  • and of course his great effect was he did not read any foreign language except french

  • the whole german literature was inaccessible to him

  • he did curiously enough review Mises book on money but

  • later admitting that in german he could only understand what he knew already

  • what he had known before he read the book

how do you think he will rank in the history of economic theory or thought

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A2 economics theory nineteenth knew economic subject

Hayek on Keynes's Ignorance of Economics

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    姚姚 posted on 2013/07/04
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