Friday, August 22, 2008

Economists 101

•Adam Smith (1723-1790) He was a champion of the free market and wrote the masterpiece "The Wealth of Nations". When Great Britain dominated the world, he argued that it couldn't afford to hold its rebellious American colonies.

•John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) The Great Depression convinced Keynes that the government had to engage in deficit spending to combat unemployment. Keynesianism focused on total spending by consumers, industry and government, and when there's a recession consumers and industry aren't spending enough. Therefore government should spend more to take up the slack. Stagflation in the 1970s put a big dent in the theory, though not big enough.

•John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) The left love this guy because of his anti big business views. He argued that big companies have little to fear from competitors and exercise lots of influence over consumers.

•Milton Friedman (1912-2006) GENIUS. He challenged Keynesian ideas, advocated free-floating exchange rates, school vouchers, the shift from a draft to a volunteer military and for doctors to be allowed to practice medicine without a license. He put an emphasis on the role of money in the economy, though it has always been difficult to agree as to how the money supply is calculated.

•Arthur Laffer (1940- ) is the man behind supply-side economics. Supply-siders put their emphasis on tax cuts, and especially marginal tax rates (the high rates at which income above a certain level is taxed). This boosts economic growth but also boosts government deficits.

This movie is good on content but apparently boring.

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