I didn’t believe in the liquidity trap and was pretty down on old-fashioned Keynesianism until 1998, when a hard look at Japan and an attempt to understand what was happening there led me to change my mind.
Krugman on Japan and Keynes.
a study from Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier finds that defense spending does indeed create jobs under recession conditions but that “$1 billion spent on each of the domestic spending priorities will create substantially more jobs within the U.S. economy than would the same $1 billion spent on the military” with “investments in clean energy, health care and education.”
the way the dialogue works is that first a Keynesian observes that fiscal stimulus can increase growth in a depressed economy. Second, as an attempted reductio, a conservative says “if that was true, then you could increase growth by breaking a bunch of windows.” Third, the Keynesian accurately points out that you could, in fact, increase growth by breaking windows. Fourth, the conservative accuses Keynesians of wanting to break windows or believing that window-breaking increases wealth. But nobody ever said that! The point is that we have very good reasons to think smashing windows would be a bad idea—there’s more to life than full employment—and that’s why Keynesians generally want to boost employment by having people do something useful like renovate schools or repair bridges.
Nice summary of the argument.
Whenever you read conservatives trying to critique what they think the other side believes, you find them assuming that their opponents must be mirror images of themselves. The right believes that less government spending is always good, regardless of circumstances, so it assumes that the other side must always favor more government spending. The right says that deficits are always evil (unless they’re caused by tax cuts), so they assume that the center-left must favor deficits in all conditions.
GOP strategy is to find a policy that failed, declare it Keynesian and therefore proof that Keynes was wrong.
If we decided to build a couple of new carriers, thousands of workers would be hired for the shipyards. Thousands of employees would be hired for the steel mills that would provide the steel for the hull and various sub contractors would hire thousands. Do you know what that means?
It means they would receive paychecks and go out and spend that money. That would help a recovery. That is a shovel ready project!
Increasing spending for the military does a couple of things. It not only not only stimulates the economy, it protects our nation. That is a better investment than say spending money on teaching Chinese prostitutes how to drink responsibly.
From The Economist
Tea party party discovers Keynes, remains clueless.
Keynes — and others who later elaborated on his work, like Hyman Minsky — taught us that although markets are usually self-correcting, they occasionally enter destructive feedback loops in which a shock to, say, the financial system scares business and consumers so badly that they hoard money, which worsens the damage to the system, which further persuades other economic players to hoard, and so on and so forth.
In that situation, the role of the government is to break the cycle. Because businesses and consumers have stopped spending, the government breaks the cycle by spending.
Keynes in a nutshell.