Existem algumas grandes teorias que se mantêm durante certo tempo, para depois soçobrar no avanço de teorias mais sofisticadas, ao sabor de novas pesquisas, novas experiências, novas descobertas. A teoria da "terra é redonda", por exemplo, estava explícita desde a mais remota antiguidade, pela simples observação dos astros, o que não impediu idiotas de proclamar a "teoria" da "terra plana". A física newtoniana se manteve durante séculos, até ser corrigida pela relatividade de Einstein. O marxismo soçobrou no grande desastre comunista do século XX, mas já tinha sido desmentido por bons economistas desde o século XIX, que no entanto não conseguiram desmantelar a poderosa força da filosofia social de Marx. O keynesianismo tinha muitas inconsistências, teóricas e práticas, mas ainda assim se mantém como a grande "teoria macroeconômica". O freudismo ainda se mantém, mas sempre teve derivações mais sérias (junguianas, por exemplo) e outras francamente ridículas (como o "lacanismo"). Finalmente, a teoria da seleção natural se mantém, a despeito dos idiotas do criacionismo e do desenho inteligente. Assim vamos...
The Book Almost Nobody Has Read
In any case, it bears repeating that the General Theory is an obscure book, so that would be anti-Keynesians must assume their position largely on credit unless they are willing to put in a great deal of work and run the risk of seduction in the process. The General Theory seems the random notes over a period of years of a gifted man who in his youth gained the whip hand over his publishers by virtue of the acclaim and fortune resulting from the success of his Economic Consequences of the Peace.
Except for some of Keynes’s young protégés at Cambridge University, most of the reviewers of the book were highly critical of many of its theoretical “innovations,” as well as its inflationary prescriptions for unemployment. Even some economists who later became proponents of Keynes’s “new economics” were initially highly critical of his work. For example, Alvin Hansen, who was one of the leading advocates of Keynesian economics in the United States in the 1950's and 1960's, wrote in late 1936 that The General Theory “is not a landmark in the sense that it lays the foundation for a ‘new economics.’ … The book is more a symptom of economic trends than a foundation stone upon which a science can be built.”Yet within a few years, and most certainly by the end of World War II, Keynes’s ideas had virtually pushed aside every other explanation of the causes and cures of economic depressions. Keynes’s book became the foundation stone for the new “macroeconomics.”
The Memory Hole
I had expected reasoned objections to my rigorously-stated argument following the publication of my book. None has been forthcoming. Nor has a subsequent article of mine (entitled Keynesian Revisions) which submitted further evidence of a retreat by major exponents of the Keynesian gospel, called forth any reply. In the meantime the retreat has continued although, apart from Leijonhufvud's impressive and scholarly critique, I am aware of no further direct attack on the Keynesian system.
John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money signaled a revolution in economic theory and the beginning of “modem” macro theory. No other economic work in this century has been the subject of anything even approaching the vast outpouring of commentary and criticism that the General Theory has received. But in the last five or ten years, theoretical and exegetical interest in the General Theory has declined markedly. The long “Keynes and the Classics” debate, devoted to the appraisal of the precise nature and significance of Keynes’ innovations, has at last almost petered out. The label “post-Keynesian” attached to much recent theoretical research is symptomatic of the widespread view that the book on the General Theory is closed, that the “Keynesian Revolution” is over, and that what was worthwhile in it has been digested and the rest discarded. The General Theory has itself become a classic — a work which the active theorist need not consult but in which historians of economic doctrines will have a continuing interest.
The Two Core Errors
The heart of John Maynard Keynes’ analysis in 1936 was the idea of a permanent free market equilibrium with high unemployment. For some reason, which he never explained coherently, sellers refuse to lower their prices when faced with buyers who refuse to buy at yesterday’s pre-Depression prices. This is especially true of workers who refuse to cut their wage demands.Keynesianism is based on two fundamental ideas: (1) sellers do not learn that something is better than nothing, and therefore will not lower their selling prices; (2) economists do not learn that government spending that is financed by debt is accomplished in one of only two ways: (a) money lent by savers, which could have been lent to businesses or consumers; (b) money lent by a central bank, which lowers the purchasing power of the currency unit. This is a philosophy of something for nothing.