Friday, June 18, 2010

Blown away by Hayek & Keynes

Watched a cool documentary today called ‘Commanding Heights: Ideas’. Totally blown away by it.
It was about how economic systems failed and succeeded in the past century. John Maynard Keynes’ ideas were revered and followed during the first half of the century when Socialism and Communism were the new hopes that would ‘lift the world out of its flaws and faults’. However, the ideas were replaced by ideas of free market towards the last part of the 20th century when Reagan and Thatcher pulled their respective nation’s economies out of doldrums by borrowing ideas from Hayek’s ‘The Road to Serfdom’.
I believe that Hayek’s ideas were never recognized when they were 1st propounded because there was little for the governments to do. Keynes was of the view that the govt. had an appreciable role to play in the smooth running of a market. Increase expenditure in troubled times and decrease during good times. Hayak, on the other hand, believed in a system with minimal or nil governmental interference. Politicians are better off explaining that they did something (Keynes way) rather than leave things to themselves.
The one question they did leave unanswered was: Why did Keynes’ ideas help U.S.A get out of a bad state after WW1 but not give results when Jimmy Carter tried similar things(like increasing expenditure)? Food for thought.
Also watched ‘Date Night’ before it. Enjoyed it.

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