The Public Interest

The political philosophy of J.M. Keynes

David Schaefer & Roberta A. Schaefer

Spring 1983

NOT very long ago, the triumph of Keynesian economics as the guiding force in American public policy seemed assured. But now, with a Republican administration committed to monetarism and supply-side economics, and with the Democrats suddenly concerned about the size of the federal budget deficit, it is clear that we have traveled a long way from the “Keynesian consensus” in an unexpectedly short time. Yet it would be premature to say that what Robert Lekachman calls “the age of Keynes” is over. Not only may we suspect the existence of a more or less hidden Keynesian orientation in the current liberal agenda (public works programs, attacks on “tight money,” etc.), but, as George Gilder has recently written, “the actual works of Keynes... are far more favorable to supply-side economic policy than current Keynesians comprehend.”

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