Keynes: The End of Laissez-Faire (1926)
What is the conflict between individualism and equality? What did Locke, Rousseau,
Hume and Bentham contribute to the discussion?
“Rousseau derived equality from the state of nature, Paley from the will of God,
Bentham from a mathematical law of indifference.”
“The early nineteenth century performed the miraculous union.” ? How did
economists help with that union? Why is government interference “inexpedient”?
“...[A]bove all, the ineptitude of public administrators strongly prejudiced the
practical man in favour of laissez-faire--a sentiment which has by no means
Who drove progress from 1750 to 1850? How did Darwin help? Who was Herbert
Spencer? (Where is he buried?) “...we feel such a strong bias in favour of laissez-
faire...” Everyone in 1926?
“A study of the history of opinion is a necessary preliminary to the emancipation of
the mind. I do not know which makes a man more conservative--to know nothing
but the present, or nothing but the past.”
Were the economists really as laissez-faire as supposed?
“The phrase laissez-faire is not to be found in the works of Adam Smith, of Ricardo,
or of Malthus.”
How did Smith feel about the Navigation Acts and the usury laws?
Who made laissez-faire popular? (Would you like to read Mrs Marcet’s Conversations
of Political Economy?)
Who was Frédéric Bastiat? (What was in his “Candlemakers’ Petition”?) When was
John Stuart Mill writing? Does that mark the end of laissez-faire?
III What is the efficiency of competition?
“The object of life being to crop the leaves off the branches up to the greatest
possible height, the likeliest way of achieving this end is to leave the giraffes with
the longest necks to starve out those whose necks are shorter.” Love of money is to the individualist as sexual love was to Darwin. Explain?
What complications do economists gradually