Friday, April 01, 2005

thought and power.

“[t]he ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas. Not, indeed, immediately, but after a certain interval; for in the field of economic and political philosophy there are not many who are influenced by new theories after they are 25 or 30 years of age, so that the ideas which civil servants and politicians and even agitators apply to current events are not likely to be the newest. But, soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good and evil.”

by John Maynard Keynes The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Chapter 24.


At 10:27 AM, Blogger gringo said...

Thanks to ANPD for sending me the article from the LRB which contained this quote. I have printed it out, and stuck it on my desk at work, highlighting the bit about politicians and people in the public service being dominated by archaic theory.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger gringo said...

Blogger is currently being a bee-atch, and won't let me correct the link to the General Theory in the post above.

I am thinking that I should read it again sometime. It is cool that that you can access the whole text online.

At 7:21 PM, Blogger Brownie said...

reading suggestions, old but good: there is a writer called Michael Thomas who does finance thrillers (I think he wrote the Silver Bears which was filmed with Michael Caine). I know I have read and enjoyed them all.
Mario Puzo's Prizzi's Money of course is excellent.


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