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captain obvious strikes again

July 22, 2013

I really love how Paul Krugman, a self-described Keynesian, continuously introduces what are essentially Marxist terms and concepts in his op-eds as if they’re some novel ideas he’s just now come up with or stumbled upon.

For example, in an op-ed from last December, Krugman writes:

So the story has totally shifted; if you want to understand what’s happening to income distribution in the 21st century economy, you need to stop talking so much about skills, and start talking much more about profits and who owns the capital. Mea culpa: I myself didn’t grasp this until recently. But it’s really crucial.

And a couple days ago, in an op-ed about China, he writes:

The story that makes the most sense to me … rests on an old insight by the economist W. Arthur Lewis, who argued that countries in the early stages of economic development typically have a small modern sector alongside a large traditional sector containing huge amounts of “surplus labor” — underemployed peasants making at best a marginal contribution to overall economic output. The existence of this surplus labor, in turn, has two effects. First, for a while such countries can invest heavily in new factories, construction, and so on without running into diminishing returns, because they can keep drawing in new labor from the countryside. Second, competition from this reserve army of surplus labor keeps wages low even as the economy grows richer.

Seriously, how the hell did this guy get a Nobel Prize in economics? This shit’s like Marxism 101. And yet, Marx and Engels rarely get any of the credit for their sizable contributions to both heterodox and mainstream economics alike. Instead, people like Lewis, who relied heavily on Marx for his own ideas about what Marx and Engels called the ‘reserve army of labour,’ are more prone to getting honourable mentions in Krugman’s mainstream regurgitations of ideas put forth over 150 years ago by Marx and Engels than Marx or Engels themselves.

From what I can tell, Keynesianism is essentially Marxism for liberal statists and capitalist apologists who’re interested in keeping a failing system going.

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