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colog's avatar

Book recommendation on Keynesian economic theory?

Asked by colog (73points) January 6th, 2008

A close friend of mine is enamored with Ron Paul and his libertarian message. In particular, he is enthusiastic about his call for a return to a commodity-backed currency and eliminating the Federal Reserve and IRS.

I’m looking for a book to give him that makes sound, economic counterpoints in favor of the Keynesian economic system. The book should be written in plain English, accessible to someone without a strong background in economics, and contain lots of concrete historical examples.

WARNING: Any off-topic, pro-Ron Paul comments will be flagged immediately.

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6 Answers

robhaya's avatar

If you want a book that gives you a clear explanation of Keynes and other great economic thinkers of our times, checkout the book The Wordly Philosophers

I’ve read this book and I think it might be what your looking for without having to have to have PHD in economics to understand.

Good Luck!

paulc's avatar

First of all let me commend you on having a sound understanding of what works and what doesn’t. Its all too evident that unbridled global capitalism is a failure, the mixed system is (so far) the most effective system used to date. It is a dangerous path that some world leaders have and still are leading us down. I am wearing my flame suit, by the way.

I have never found a strong book on Keynesian economics – many I’ve come across are text-book style and very difficult to parse if you’re not an economist. If you do find any please reply here with their titles as I’d be interested in reading them myself.

You could also refer him to the extremely successful societies and economies of the Scandinavian countries (most notably Norway and Sweden). I’d say look to Canada as well but, sadly, we’re slowly losing our way.

hossman's avatar

As a Friedman fan, I can’t in good faith send someone to Keynes. Stick with Uncle Miltie.

RIGGORYU's avatar

all these answers are brilliant. good luck to you.

weaselope's avatar

The most common thing said about keynes is that he favored increased govt. spending during a recession or downturn, to stimulate the economy. The TVA and other depression era projects were the result of this kind of thinking. Many think also that Reagan, while professing to be a supply sider, really was a demand sider because he also engaged in deficit spending (on defense) during a downturn, even if he didn’t plan it that way or acknowledge it verbally.

I don’t recall Paul criticizing Keynesian economics explicitly in any of his positions, though it seems he would be critical of it. He does criticize deficit spending in general, but Keynesian economics doesn’t propose that deficit spending should get out of hand or go on forever – in economic growth periods for example – and would therefore coinicide with Ron Paul.

Say what you will about him, he at least wants to tackle this issue, and none of the other candidates does. And, it is a very serious issue for the future of this country, with the social security/medicare bombs coming, the agin gof the baby boomers, and the enormous growth in the deficit esp under George w. Halliburton.

rosedog's avatar

@ Hossman – your comment is kind of funny. If you read Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz’s Monetary History of the United States, you’ll find a rich history of unfortunate monetary events under the gold standard, mostly in the form of banking panics and seasonal credit crunches. The book certainly does not call for the abolition of the Fed. Friedman, in fact, was an advocate of flexible exchange rates, which is in direct conflict with the classical gold standard, since exchange rates would be fixed by the conversion of a currency into gold.

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