Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics Paperback – 24 Aug 2012
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"In Keynes Hayek Nicholas Wapshott sets himself the formidable task of explaining important and abstruse ideas clearly, reliably and entertainingly. He succeeds well." The Times "It [Keynes Hayek] harnesses the author's skills as a journalist in a lucid and accessible introduction to Hayek's work...Again, the author has done his homework in getting on top of the vast literature about Keynes..." The Guardian "...path-breaking account of the long intellectual duel between Friedrich Hayek and Keynes..." New Statesman "Nicholas Wapshott's Keynes Hayek is an ambitious, well-written and enjoyable attempt to grapple with fundamental debates about economic and social organization. It is an entertaining account of the work of two powerful thinkers who made lasting contributions to those debates." Tim Congdon, Times Literary Supplement "He [Wapshott] is an acomplished writer who drives his narrative at a pace and draws judiciously on a crowded shelf of studies of his protagonists and their work...fascinating reading..." The Literary Review "His [Nicholas Wapshott's] account of the origins and early application of the competing theories is readable, intelligent, and even-handed." Reuters "I heartily recommend Nicholas Wapshott's new book, Keynes Hayek: The Clash that Defined Modern Economics... Many books have been written about Keynes, but nobody else has told the story properly of his relationship with Hayek. Nick has filled the gap in splendid fashion, and I defy anybody - Keynesian, Hayekian, or uncommitted - to read his work and not learn something new." John Cassidy, The New Yorker "Wapshott does a good job of explaining the duo's sometimes complex theories...Overall, it's well worth a read." Money Week "...an enjoyable and clear read..." --The Business Economist
About the Author
A former senior editor at The Times and The New York Sun, Nicholas Wapshott is a journalist and the author of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage.
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Top Customer Reviews
There's also a lovely treatment of their clashes in economic and academic publications - it's really well written so that you get a sense of the passion and emotion behind their letters and publications even though they're couched in very academic and measured terms. Can't recommend this book highly enough.
The book lacks depth of explanation of either Keynes or Austrian theory. This means that anyone who does not already know them (and by this I mean what Keynes wrote, not what Keynesians wrote after his death) will find the significance of many of the comments reported from the debate difficult to understand properly.
The author also fails to consider the complexity of the various schools of economics. While he explains that Keynes successfully introduced the idea of looking at the economy from 'the top down' - macroeconomics - he does not clearly explain the reliance of Keynes on the demand side alone. Consequently he misses an important aspect of the criticism of Keynes in terms of markets and understates the important move to reconsider the supply side as a policy issue. Instead the author seems to think it is part of the monetarist counter-revolution, which it is not.
But perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the book is the sloppy mistakes. The author attributes views to people they never had in broad generalizations and makes mistakes on dates and people. For example, getting the date of Margaret Thatcher becoming Prime Minister wrong, which was not the same day as Hayek's birthday as he claims (a month and four days out respectively), and making Ben Bernanke Chairman of the Fed on Friedman's 90th birthday, over three years before he actually got the job! Such mistakes makes one wonder how many other inaccuracies got past the proof readers and has devalued the entire work.
basic ideas about economics in common. How they argued and failed to
resolve their differences is a tale well told by this skilled storyteller.
I couldn't put it down, not many books about economics have that effect, except perhaps on economists! The book also bridges the gap between academic economic thought, and it's application by politicians in desperate times.
There is a vast cast of characters involved in both men's lives, most
especially in Keynes, who was part of fashionable literary and artistic cliques, whose investments he looked after, which allowed them to be free from the constraints of earning a living.
I felt in the end enormous respect for both Keynes and Hayek as men, and for their professional commitment and courage, both in their working and in their personal lives.
Don't look at the ending, it will have much more punch if you wait till you get there.
Is the conclusion justified? Well, that's your call.
Having now read it, I have to say that, although I will not claim total familiarity with the theories, those I did have knowledge of seemed well presented, and much of the rest is given as direct quotations.
Which isn't to say that the original review was wrong, just that possibly any errors that may be in the text do not detract from the overall story.
And it is quite a story, of a battle of minds, and ideologies, that is still raging many years after the protagonists' death.
Both men are presented by Wapshott as extraordinary thinkers. But Keynes, in life and in death, is seen as overall the more influential, his ideas adopted by governments both obvious and surprising. It's no secret that successive Labour and Democratic governments have followed the Keynesian path. But that more-or-less Keynesian policies were adopted by Eisenhower, Reagan and Bush Junior carries a little more irony. Even one of the supposed cornerstones of conservative Reaganomics, the Laffer curve, transpires to be lifted from Keynes.
However, Reagan also professed a Hayekian belief in small government, and Thatcher was supposedly a true disciple, although both leaders' policies were effectively characterised by the man himself as "Hayek Lite". The only other regimes Wapshott associates with Hayekian principles are Pinochet's in Chile and the Conservative part of the current UK coalition government, shortly, it appears, to lead us into a triple-dip recession.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's interesting that Wapshott fails to mention any of the things the Chicago Boys got up to in South America. I wonder why?Published on 23 Sept. 2013 by Dirtbike Kid
This is a very readable narrative which compensates for minor error in detail. It's a good primer for those not familiar with the story, and a refresher for those who are. Read morePublished on 2 Oct. 2012 by Geoff Crocker