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.)

Here is an early correspondence concerning the establishment of Heteconomist:

Stars will fall. Earth will stand still. Rockets will launch off the plains of Mars. Humanity will disappear up its own wormhole to explode out the other side in dazzling bright light. Consciousness will come face to face with consciousness and stare itself down to the core of its essence the day Heteconomist hits the internet and revolutionizes the way we think about economics blogging. (peterc to confidant, as quoted by peterc.)


5 thoughts on “Grandiose Conceptions

  1. Peter,

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I doubt your recollection of that early correspondence, but — you’ll understand — evidence is required in matters like this. History is a serious affair.

    Lacking a photocopy of the correspondence, at least direct witness’ testimony would help substantiate your case.

    In the absence of that, I suppose you’ll have to produce your Eton College HSC and your Cambridge Uni/King’s diploma.

    On second thoughts, forget about photocopies and testimonies: diploma and certificate are enough. πŸ™‚

  2. You may have caught me out in a fabrication there, Magpie. πŸ™‚

    The Henry Fool quote, however, is real. Admittedly Henry himself is fictitious.

  3. Admittedly Henry himself is fictitious.

    Which — paradoxically — is in itself quite significant, if one thinks about it.

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