Keynes on the long run in economics

John Maynard Keynes, possibly the most influential economist of the 20th Century, and his view on the long run in economics, which makes the case for intelligent state intervention to improve economic and social outcomes.

“But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again.”

The actions of today’s policy-makers show that they have taken heed, though not always successfully or consistently. In particular, Keynes’ and his followers’ legacy of ideas have in many ways become marginalised in the work of heterodox economists. We are a long way from the post-war international order that Keynes helped to construct at Bretton Woods, which underpinned 25 years of unprecedented prosperity under capitalism.

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