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Lecture 11

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McGill University
Economics (Arts)
ECON 460
William Watson

Lecture 11 Keynes: The End of Laissez-Faire (1926) I 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 disappeared.” 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.” II 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
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