The Great Debate 58


It is fantastic to hear austerity economics being challenged before a huge audience, who don’t normally get to hear it. Miliband, Cameron and Clegg arguing like they have never heard of Keynes – rather wish Nicola would mention him which might help frame the debate for some viewers. Farage one trick pony blaming foreigners for everything, very nasty and sinister.

When did anybody last see nuclear weapons directly challenged on mainstream TV?


58 thoughts on “The Great Debate

1 2
  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    Just wanted to say thank you for this new thread which – I hope – will get some discussion going on internal UK matters of direct interest to everyone, as opposed to sterile and self-referring “discussions” on matters such as Palestine, Ukraine and so on.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    I wonder if anyone who comments on this blog – and I include Craig in my question – has ever read Keynes first hand from cover to cover (or perhaps I should say from covers to covers) as opposed to relying on digests, summaries and commentaries……

  • John Goss

    “I wonder if anyone who comments on this blog – and I include Craig in my question – has ever read Keynes first hand from cover to cover (or perhaps I should say from covers to covers) as opposed to relying on digests, summaries and commentaries……”

    It’s hardly likely to be you. Have you finished “Noddy goes to Toytown” yet?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    Mr Goss

    You should confine your lack of seriousness and depth to the threads on Ukraine and Russia and leave threads like this one to serious commenters. You – as a believer in 9/11 holograms, a Holodomor and Holocaust denier and a believer in a world-wide Rothschild+Freemasons conspiracy – do not qualify as one of the latter. What was that you were saying about the Noddy books…? 🙂

  • lysias

    Although I have not read Keynes’s magnum opus, I have read through his Economic Consequences of the Peace.

    Piketty is perhaps more relevant in this day and age. And I have read him straight through. (In French first, as I got it before the English translation appeared, although I then read it again in English, to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.)

    Any mention of Piketty in the debate?

  • John Goss

    “I wonder if anyone who comments on this blog – and I include Craig in my question – has ever read Keynes first hand from cover to cover (or perhaps I should say from covers to covers) as opposed to relying on digests, summaries and commentaries……”

    Anyway, what’s it matter? “In the long run we are all dead.” Keynes said that. 🙂

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    Paul Johnstone

    That is probably true – unfortunately.

    I have the impression you know why I asked the question.

  • John Goss

    I’m impressed Lysias. You must be a linguist. I recall you were recommending Nina Potopova’s “Russian Language” course recently. No, Picketty, not even in English. i’ve never quoted him in any of my arguments. But if I did it wuld probably be something like:

    “Indeed, the distribution of wealth is too important an issue to be left to economists, sociologists, historians, and philosophers.”

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    In which way would you say that Piketty is more relevant in this day and age and specifically to the issue of what Craig called austerity politics?

  • lysias

    “Indeed, the distribution of wealth is too important an issue to be left to economists, sociologists, historians, and philosophers.”

    I think Piketty would agree. He is very critical of other economists, and makes great use in his book of authors like Balzac and Jane Austen.

  • John Goss

    Craig never mentioned “austerity politics” but as you misquote and misrepresent (9:26 pm) so many of us one more won’t make much difference! 🙂

  • John Goss

    Habbabkuk at 9:42 pm. Apology accepted. But I don’t know how you managed to get it in before I’d drawn your attention to it. 🙂

  • lysias

    Hard to remember every sentence in a 1,000-page book, but you have to admit I remembered that he did argue along those lines.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    Mr Goss

    “Lysias at 9:43 pm. Piketty would probably agree since it’s a quote from his “Capital in the 21st Century”.”
    ___________________

    Thanks for that clarification, John.

    Is that the book our friend Lysias has “read straight through” in French and then English? 🙂

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    Anyway, Lysias, how about a reply to my question, which was:

    “In which way would you say that Piketty is more relevant in this day and age and specifically to the issue of what Craig called austerity politics?”

  • John Goss

    “Hard to remember every sentence in a 1,000-page book, but you have to admit I remembered that he did argue along those lines.”

    Indeed Lysias. Very few people can read something and memorise it. Oscar Wilde could I believe and I’ve heard that Tony Blair could memorise something placed before him. What a waste of such a talent. He could have been a decent individual with an eidetic memory, but he chose to become a war-criminal whose memory (hopefully) won’t ever let him forget his crimes. If it does we must keep reminding him. 🙂

    I used to be able to memorise a poem in a night. It’s a long time ago.

  • craig Post author

    I read Keynes when studying economics at the Civil Service College. I have read Piketty recently – a populariser more than an original thinker. I don’t think anyone will read him Piketty in 80 years time.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Why go on about people not reading Keynes when economic historians like Eric Hobsbaum have no more to say about him than about Harold Macmillan, Nikita Khrushchev, and Algeria?

    Hobsbaum does even mention Keynes’ works in the Reference or suggested reading section of The Age of Extremes.

    It’s all about him and his fellow academics!

  • doug scorgie

    Habbabkuk (La vita e’ bella)
    2 Apr, 2015 – 8:56 pm

    “Just wanted to say thank you for this new thread which – I hope – will get some discussion going on internal UK matters of direct interest to everyone, as opposed to sterile and self-referring “discussions” on matters such as Palestine, Ukraine and so on.”
    …………………………………………………………………………………………..

    Habbabkuk, you run away from discussions on Palestine/Israel which is why you have jumped in to this new thread.
    …………………………………………………………………………………………….

    Habbabkuk (La vita e’ bella)
    Israeli Criminals No Longer Welcome thread.

    1 Apr, 2015 – 9:05 pm

    “Whereas it is correct that the legislation referred to was passed following various visits (or non-visits) to the UK by Israeli public figures, the impression Craig gives – perhaps inadvertently? – is that it is a piece of legislation which only applies to Israelis.”
    …………………………………………………………………………

    Habbabkuk, as you know, in the UK the judicial system allowed private parties and individuals to present their own evidence of war crimes before a magistrate who could then, if he or she felt the case was strong enough, issue a warrant for the suspect’s arrest.

    You say:

    “In fact, the general point of the legislation is to prevent any individual or organisation from being able to effect [sic] the arrest of a visiting foreign public figure by simply persuading any old magistrate to agree…”

    No Habbabkuk, the point of the legislation is to prevent individuals or organisations from presenting EVIDENCE to a magistrate.

    “…simply persuading any old magistrate to agree…” is nonsense.

    The magistrates in these cases were not “any old magistrates” but experienced professional magistrates known as stipendiary magistrates. Perhaps you didn’t know that.

    What the legislation has done Habbabkuk, is breach the principle of separation of the state and the judiciary.

    Decisions in these cases are now in the hands of a political appointee.

    Now, to move on, say something sensible in reply to Craig’s:

    “It is fantastic to hear austerity economics being challenged…”

    And:

    “When did anybody last see nuclear weapons directly challenged on mainstream TV?”

  • craig Post author

    Hobsbawn a great historian. But nowhere near the status of Keynes, who fundamentally changed perceptions of the role of the state in regulating economic growth, and had a huge practical impact on government policies and thus human lives. Keynes ranks with Adam Smith and Karl Marx as originator of economic perceptions which profoundly affected human history.

  • lysias

    While we’re discussing books on austerity economics (and in this case also austerity politics), one book from a few decades ago that I highly recommend is G.E.M. de Ste. Croix’s The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World: From the Archaic Age to the Arab Conquests. It may sound drearily Marxist from the title (and Ste. Croix was indeed a Marxist of an idiosyncratic kind), but it is in fact a refreshingly original look at the whole history of the ancient Greco-Roman world. And it provides a most cautionary example of how that kind of world collapses: Ste. Croix argues that the Greco-Roman world collapsed because the Greek and Roman elites worked together to destroy, over a period of centuries, Greek democracy, and that that left the field open for a process in which an elite that represented an ever-smaller proportion of the population monopolized more and more of the wealth and property, so that in the end only that tiny elite felt any loyalty to the system, something the immiserated bulk of the population was unwilling to make sacrifices to maintain.

  • lysias

    Another book that I was very impressed by when I read it a few years ago was David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years. It has now reappeared in a new revised, expanded edition which I have gotten on my Kindle, and which I intend to read in the new edition in the near future. I also thought it was relevant to the issue of austerity economics.

  • RobG

    I must admit to being somewhat cynical about this tv debate, because I wasn’t quite sure of how it would be presented; but my mind was changed after watching all two hours of it.

    For me, the four guys in suits all came across as second-hand car salesman. The three women all came across much better, particularly Nicola Sturgeon, who many people in England would now be voting for, if they had an SNP candidate.

    What a strange world British politics has become.

1 2

Comments are closed.