Whimsical Eloquence wrote:How is this present deficit/debt blame roulette relevant to a comment on Keynesianism? The thing people seem to realise is that "Keynesian Economics" is not equivalent to "More Government Spending" or, as the more careless (though still frequent) Strawman suggest, "National Debt". Indeed, ideally implementing Keynsian counter-cyclical policy would give Governments greater budget prudence rather than Laissez-Faire policies.
This part I can agree with; people always seem to forget that part of Keynesian economics..
Whimsical Eloquence wrote:Crucially, there seems to be a most unfortunate and venal situation which has been allowed to arise without much substantive challenge namely the abandonment of any is/ought distinction in public discussion of economics in which what should be an investigation of fact has become almost entirely politicised. The idea, for instance, that a Libertarian must defend some variant of Laissez-Faire Classical models or (even more deleteriously) the Austrian school, to be consistent in their position. I might believe that Government intervention could be beneficial to the economy as a whole while still believing it to be something that should not be done. Indeed, this is surely the test of any real Liberalism (or its estranged Libertarian cousin), that even if given certainty of the benefit of State action over restrain one will still chose the latter for the sake of Liberty or Rights - consider many of the hypothetical "torture" arguments. Yet the possibility of this normative/descriptive distinction seems unknown to public discourse as currently instanced. The present situation is comparable to one that we would universally think absurd - the idea of right-wing Newtonian Physics vs. left-wing Relativistic Physics (though Conservapedia is notable in championing some strange form of this).
Eh, this part I would probably have to disagree with. As I particularly enjoy reading up on economic thought and it's development (recently read a lovely book called Keynes Hayek: THe Clash that Defined Modern Economics], there really are serious differences in the viewpoints and models that make up the Keynesian (and even amongst its branches such as New and Neo-Keynesian), Chicago School, Austrian School, etc. and if the models that serve as the foundation of these models differ, by extension the policies supported by them are going to differ. Now do I think maybe there is some overlap and that ideas from one school are implementable in another? Of course, I'm a New Keynesian, but I like the idea of Friedman's Earned Income Tax Credit that plays a major part of our welfare system now, for example, and as much as I dislike the Austrian School, some of their ideas I think have merit for discussion (and actually, I recall one criticism of Austrian economics is many of their ideas can be explained just as easily by Keynesian analysis).
Now when politicians are debating and discussing it? Yeah, it's probably just the "Wikipedia" version of both views they are debating, but within the field of economics itself I would suggest not being so quick to dismiss it as just a 'ideological spat' (as if that is necessarily a bad thing, which I don't think so *shrug*).
Whimsical Eloquence wrote:"Keynsian Economics" really is just "Economics" or "Macro-Economics" (the non-sensical peculiarity of the Micro-/Macro- division is akin to something we might expect of a bizarre parliamentary compromise) and for someone to cry out that they are a "Keynesian" is not to imply oneself in favour of Government intervention, it is to imply oneself in favour of fact.
Well, I wouldn't say the Macro/Micro division thing is just something "silly"; micro focuses on the individual units of the economy such as market structures, individual consumption choices, individual businesses, etc. while the macro side of things focuses on the economy as a whole and the effects of fiscal and monetary policies. It's really more of a specialization than a division, and one of the biggest things of New Keynesian Economics has been to synthesize them together (basically Keynesian economics with a microeconomic basis). And I would like to note that said New Keynesian economics is, I believe, the current "mainstream" economic school of thought, but again, don't be so quick to dismiss the other schools of thought (at the very least, they serve as a nice 'gadfly' to keep things thinking ^_^). Although being Keynesian does in fact imply favor of government intervention in the economy since, well, one of their main points is that markets are imperfect--->market failures that the market on it's own can't get out of on its own--->Use government intervention to get out (though I guess you could be of the idea that even if gov't intervention could make the economy more efficient it shouldn't be done, but that involves non-economic arguments *shrug*).
Feel free to criticize politicians who throw around terms like Keynesian or Austrian without knowing what the hell they are talking about though ^_^. Good chance most of them have no idea what they actually mean (heck, that Keynes Hayek book I mentioned earlier made a good argument Ronald Reagan was a grade-A Keynesian in action, Hayekian in rhetoric).