John Maynard Keynes: Top Ten Conflict Tips

I thought it high time we had one of our Top Ten Conflict Tips from another great thinker, the economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946). He is famous I guess for demonstrating that markets aren’t self regulating, that irrational expectations often dominate the manias and panics that characterize market economies and that aggregate demand may not automatically lead to a full employment equilibrium. But I thought it would be good to get his wider take on the world, given his general wisdom and willingness to change his mind.
  1. Ideas shape the course of history.
  2. If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would be splendid.
  3. Too large a proportion of recent “mathematical” economics are mere concoctions, as imprecise as the initial assumptions they rest on, which allow the author to lose sight of the complexities and interdependencies of the real world in a maze of pretentious and unhelpful symbols
  4. The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.
  5. There is no harm in being sometimes wrong – especially if one is promptly found out.
  6. Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking.
  7. In the long run we are all dead.
  8. When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?
  9. For my part, I think that capitalism, wisely managed, can probably be made more efficient for attaining economic ends than any alternative system yet in sight, but that in itself it is in many ways extremely objectionable.
  10. The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.


About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Economic Conflict, Philosophy of Conflict, Top Ten Conflict Tips from Great Thinkers, US Political Conflict, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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