Was at the launch of Bill Keegan’s new book ‘Mr Osborne Experiment’ last night with my friend Professor Steve Keen, organised by the Mile End group at KCU.
It was a sad but inevitable fact that the audience was dominated by Old Keynsians, including the Tory Father of the House, Andrew Adonis and even Ed Balls as many great and good columnists and treasury alumni. The labour politicians weirdly constrained between what they intellectually believe and what politically they can say, given Osborne’s media dominance of the narrative that austerity has no alternative. Sadly these are no most unfashionable ideas.
The book is lively and short enough to read at a single sitting. It sums up nicely the argument not that austerity prevented growth bit that it delayed and reduced it unnecessarily. He concludes that principally austerity is not about economics but the shrinking of the state.
The arguments though are primarily old Keynesian. The author does not take on the psuedo gurus they have been cited by the treasury in support of austerity, no mention of Reineirt and Roggoff, Alesina or Sumner. So I think, sadly, of the book, will anyone listen?
From a lakosian perspective I think the new ‘Treasury view’ will only be toppled if it is shown to be old fashioned from a fiscal and monetary theory perspective.