Sunday, August 28, 2011

LSE Keynes-Hayek Debate on BBC


Friedrich Hayek
John Maynard Keynes
Efforts to deal with economic troubles around the world have brought renewed attention to two prominent economic thinkers of the twentieth century—John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek. As described in a nutshell by the London School of Economics, they "had sharply contrasting views: John Maynard Keynes believed that governments could create sustainable employment and growth. His contemporary and rival Friedrich Hayek believed that investments have to be based on real savings rather than fiscal stimulus or artificially low interest rates." In July, the LSE staged a debate between proponents of the two thinkers, George Selgin and Jamie Whyte representing Hayek and Robert Skidelsky and Duncan Weldon speaking for Keynes. Audio and video of the debate, broadcast originally by BBC Radio 4, can be accessed at the LSE site; a synopsis of comments can be found on the BBC site.
   The Keynes-Hayek dichotomy has spawned a good deal of web discussion during the past several years, including two rap videos purporting to showcase the competing views (though produced by the pro-Hayek side): "Fear the Boom and Bust" and "Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Round 2," offered by John Papola and Russ Roberts of EconStories.tv. The video itself has been discussed by Jonathan Chait at The New Republic, The debate is amplified on the PBS Newshour, with Roberts speaking for Hayek and Adam Tooze supporting the Keynesian viewpoint.
  For those who want to go right to the source, many of Keynes's and Hayek's writings, including the General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936) and Road to Serfdom (1944), are available on the New School's excellent History of Economic Thought website; scroll down beond the biographies to find links to writing by and about each economist.

Tip of the hat to Jonathan Bean.