Grandiose Conceptions

Magpie of the blog Magpie’s Asymmetric Warfare reminds us of Keynes’ evaluation of his own general theory:

I believe myself to be writing a book on economic theory which will largely revolutionise … the way the world thinks about economic problems. When my new theory has been duly assimilated and mixed with politics and feelings and passions, I can’t predict what the final upshot will be in its effect on actions and affairs. But there will be a great change, and in particular the Ricardian foundations of Marxism will be knocked away. (Keynes to George Bernard Shaw, Jan 1, 1935, as quoted by Geoffrey Pilling)

So, quite a cautious self-evaluation, really, compared with, say, Henry Fool’s assessment of his magnum opus:

It’s a philosophy. A poetics. A politics, if you will. A literature of protest. A novel of ideas. A pornographic magazine of truly comic book proportions. It is, in the end, whatever the hell I want it to be. And when I’m through with it it’s going to blow a hole this wide straight through the world’s own idea of itself. (Henry Fool to Simon Grim, just before rocks are thrown at the house, as quoted by IMDb.)

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