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The American government is shelling out three-quarters of a trillion dollars to try to haul the country out of trouble. Masters of Money I, BBC 2012
It all goes back to the extraordinary ideas of this man – the British economist John Maynard Keynes. Quite simply, he changed the world. ibid.
Keynes has never been more relevant or controversial than he is today. ibid.
Keynes was quite clear: there are times when we need to step in to make capitalism work for us. ibid.
There was one domain where science had barely begun – economics. ibid.
As Keynes had predicted, the price of getting economic relations wrong was calamity. ibid.
He had a special interest in probability theory. ibid.
Economies are made up of people not numbers. ibid.
Eventually the bubble will burst. ibid.
Keynes’s realisation that an economy could stay sunk indefinitely was a radical break with conventional thinking. ibid.
He didn’t just want to understand economies, he wanted to make them work better. ibid.
Governments should spend money they haven’t got. ibid.
By the 1940s Keynes was riding high. ibid.
You can’t leave economies to drive themselves. ibid.
Friedrich Hayek was a champion of the market. He inspired many of the people who built the world we live in today. For more than a generation Western leaders came to embrace one central economic idea: the free market. Masters of Money II: Hayek
Of all the big pro-market thinkers, Hayek was by far the most radical. ibid.
Hayek’s advice to governments was to step back and do nothing. ibid.
The market does most good when it’s most free. It’s our desire to control it that most often turns it against us. ibid.
Hayek had been studying the American boom. ibid.
Strong’s intervention really paved the way for the financial system we have today. Thanks to all that credit he created, the Stock Market rose higher and higher. ibid.
Hayek believed Strong’s policy was sowing the seeds of an eventual bust. ibid.
Hayek said it was all down to interest rates being too low in the free years. ibid.
The grand dispute between Keynes and Hayek in the 1930s seems so relevant to us today, it’s become an internet sensation. ibid.
It was one of the most important intellectual battles of the twentieth century. ibid.
The Road to Serfdom was published in Britain in 1944 with little fanfare. ibid.
Britain was moving Hayek’s way. ibid.
That tension between Hayek’s ideal and a controlling instinct of even free market politicians never really went away. ibid.
The financial institutions that triggered the recent crash were free to do anything it seems except fail. ibid.
Central banks are the cause of many of capitalism’s problems, not the solution. ibid.
We were never going to master the complexities of human nature. ibid.
Hayek helped change the course of world history. ibid.
Dover: the most dangerous man in Europe is about to arrive on Britain’s shores. His preachings are so incendiary he’s been forced out of his native country. Only liberal Britain will tolerate his presence on her soil. He heads to London to live in exile. The year is 1849. But today that man’s writings are still dangerous. They’re so radical, so revolutionary, they continue to divide the world. Masters of Money III: Marx
Is Karl Marx turning out to be right? ibid.
For Marx, the best argument against capitalism is that it was inherently unfair ... Karl Marx had the most radical advice of all: get rid of it. ibid.
It’s what he said about capitalism that rings so true today. ibid.
For Marx, it all begins with private property. ibid.
They always need to make more profit. But in seeking out profit, they end up eroding the basis on which it’s made. ibid.
He saw capitalism as endlessly adaptable. ibid.
Credit provided an answer to all of capitalism’s woes. But only for a while. Remember, Marx thought the system was fundamentally flawed. ibid.
Capitalism’s only ever as strong as its latest temporary fix. ibid.
But the idea that low wages may have contributed to the crisis is gaining ground. ibid.
Marx would insist the trap is inescapable. ibid.
Nobody else has been able to describe a convincing alternative to capitalism either. ibid.
Could there ever be an alternative to capitalism? ibid.
Marx died in 1883 ... Did Marx change the world? Of course he did. ibid.
I gave up a long time ago pretending that I knew stuff I didn’t know … It would be total fakery if I said I knew anything about any of those things. Steven Levitt, cited Stephen J Dubner, economist, article The New York Times magazine 3rd August 2003 ‘The Probability That a Real-Estate Agent is Cheating You’; viz Steven D Levitt & Stephen J Dubner, ‘Freakonomics’
The greatest change, however, is within the scholarly ranks. Microeconomists are gaining on the macro crowd, empiricists gaining on the theorists. Behavioral economists have called into doubt the very notion of ‘homo economicus’, the supposedly rational decision-maker in each of us. Young economists of every stripe are more inclined to work on real-world subjects and dip into bordering disciplines – psychology, criminology, sociology, even neurology – with the intent of rescuing their science from its slavish dependence upon mathematical models. ibid.
Economics tries to be a pure science in an impure world. Economists imagine men and women as rational actors in a marketplace that hides nothing from buyers and sellers. Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner, Freakonomics, Sky Atlantic, caption; viz also novel
Economics is, at root, the study of incentives: how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. Economists love incentives. Steven D Levitt & Stephen J Dubner, Freakonomics
Studies have shown virtually no link between the economy and violent crime … Unless that is, ‘the economy’ is construed in a broader sense. ibid.
It was my worst nightmare coming true. Brooksley Born, re 2008 crash
We will have continuing danger from these markets, and that we will have repeats of the financial crisis ... until we learn from experience. Brooksley Born
We’re trying to protect the money of the American people. Brooksley Born
I’m opposed to all forms of control. Ayn Rand