Economist 5 Aug 2011 by The Economist Group

By The Economist Group

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In his opinion, Das Kapital contained nothing but ‘dreary out of date academic controversialising’ which added up to nothing more than complicated hocus pocus. At one of Keynes’s Political Economy Club meetings he admitted to having read Marx in the same spirit as reading a detective story. He had hoped to find some clue to an idea but had never succeeded in doing so (see Skidelsky, 1992, pp. 514–23). But Keynes’s contempt for Marxist analysis did not stop those on the right of the political spectrum from regarding his message as dangerously radical.

In the period 1983–93, inflation came down but unemployment remained stubbornly high in many countries, especially in Western Europe where high unemployment has been attributed by some economists to hysteresis effects and/or various labour market rigidities (see Chapter 7). In the most recent period, 1994–2002, inflation was low but unemployment remained high in Western Europe while it declined in the USA. e. stagflation. To the critics of Keynesianism stagflation was an inevitable legacy of the ‘Golden Age’ of demand management (Friedman, 1975; Bruno and Sachs, 1985; DeLong, 1997; see also Cairncross and Cairncross, 1992, for a discussion of the legacy of the 1960s).

What is not in doubt is that from the end of the Second World War until 1973 the industrial market economies enjoyed a ‘Golden Age’ of unparalleled prosperity. Maddison (1979, 1980) has identified several special characteristics which contributed to this period of exceptional economic performance: 1. 2. 3. 4. increased liberalization of international trade and transactions; favourable circumstances and policies which contributed to producing low inflation in conditions of very buoyant aggregate demand; active government promotion of buoyant domestic demand; a backlog of growth possibilities following the end of the Second World War.

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