JM Keynes


A key point emerging from the COVID-19 crisis is that we’ve seen that governments may spend money in support of people and businesses without the world coming to an end.

This comes as bad news for those who have long lambasted John Maynard Keynes for suggesting governments may flow into the socio-economic void during economic downturns.

Shorn of its hokum, the neoliberalist case for balanced or surplus budgets–put by the Reagan, Thatcher, Hawke/Keating, Howard and Blair governments–were arguments in favour of greed, private rent-seeking and the selling off of public assets for which our forebears had worked very hard.

The long and short of it is that people do matter, and that there is such a thing as ‘society’.

We need to build upon that understanding and espy that the taxing of labour and capital are literally counterproductive, and that society’s best interests lie in the public capture of publicly-generated ground rent. This was well understood by classical economists, before speculation and greed became the name of the game and was blessed by the advent of neoclassical economics.