An open letter to President Roosevelt

John Maynard Keynes  John Maynard Keynes is the the father of modern macroeconomics and Roosevelt’s New Deal.  His suggestions to President Roosevelt during the depression are still regarded as the map that led us our country out of The Great Depression.  The UK Guardian just did a reprint of parts of it and it made me think.  So, on celebrating our thanksgiving, I thought I’d reprint this letter he wrote to President Roosevelt that first appeared in the NY Times on New Year’s eve in 1933.  I know I’m a wonk, and this is a weird thing to be thankful for, but just think of all the bad things that would be happening right now if Keyne’s hadn’t continued to bug President Roosevelt to try some new and radical things.

Even Milton Friedman, whose later reformulation of the Quantity Theory of Money led to his Nobel Prize said that “We are all Keynesians now.” in recognition of this man.  I’m closing out on yet another semester of teaching undergraduates the lessons of Keynes.  My father who majored in economics used Keyne’s book as his textbook.  This was after his return from the European theatre in a tour of duty on a US bomber as the bombardier.  I remind my students that had I taught them Keyne’s in the 1920s, I most likely would’ve wound up on a ship to Russia and branded a Leninist.  He was THAT radical.  Today, he’s at the root of everything.

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