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Lydia Lopokova, wife of the economist John Maynard Keynes, was a famous ballerina. She was also a Russian émigré. Thus Keynes knew from the experience of his in-laws the horrors of living in the worst of socialist economies. But he also knew first-hand the great difficulties that come from unregulated, unfettered capitalism. He lived through the British depression of the 1920s and 1930s. Thus Keynes was inspired to find a middle way for modern economies.
We are seeing, in this financial crisis, a rebirth of Keynesian economics. We are talking again of his 1936 book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, which was written during the Great Depression. This era, like the present, saw many calls to end capitalism as we know it. The 1930s have been called the heyday of communism in western countries. Keynes’s middle way would avoid the unemployment and the panics and manias of capitalism. But it would also avoid the economic and political controls of communism. The General Theory became the most important economics book of the 20th century because of its sensible balanced message.
In times of high unemployment, creditworthy governments should expand demand by deficit spending. Then, in times of low unemployment, governments should pay down the resultant debt. With that seemingly minor change in procedures, a capitalist system can be stable. There is no need for radical surgery on capitalism. - Robert Shiller in Financial Times on 09-Mar-2009;
Review: The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and MoneyUser Review - Goodreads
Fantastic book and superb theory… it is no wonder the governments of the west used this theory. Read full review