Economics as Ideology: Keynes, Laski, Hayek, and the Creation of Contemporary Politics

By Ebeling, Richard M. | Freeman, March 2004 | Go to article overview

Economics as Ideology: Keynes, Laski, Hayek, and the Creation of Contemporary Politics


Ebeling, Richard M., Freeman


Economics as Ideology: Keynes, Laski, Hayek, and the Creation of Contemporary Politics by Kenneth R. Hoover Rowman and Littlefield * 2003 * 328 pages * $75.00 hardcover; $27.95 paperback

Why do people hold the views that they do, including and especially their political and ideological views? That question has generated a vast library of what has generally come to be called "psychobabble," wherein the author attempts to "deconstruct" his biographical subject and demonstrate why the subject's upbringing and social circumstances made him the way he was, including his ideas about the social, political, and economic world in which he lived.

A recent contribution to this genre is Kenneth R. Hoover's Economics as Ideology. A political science professor at Western Washington University, Hoover wants to find out what made Harold Laski a socialist, F. A. Hayek a proponent of free-market liberalism, and John Maynard Keynes, well, a Keynesian.

Laski was one of the most prominent and influential advocates of socialism in Great Britain in the decades from World War I to the early 1950s. His writings and political activities helped move his country in the direction of central planning and the welfare state. Hoover concludes that Laski's ideology and politics were driven by a falling out with his businessman father and the Orthodox judaism of his family. His whole life was supposedly a revolt against the chains and apparent social insensitivity of religious and cultural conservatism.

Keynes was the product of a British intellectual elite and a generation at the beginning of the twentieth century that was determined to break free of Victorian morality. A focus on the pleasures of the moment and a probabilistic theory of uncertainty concerning the future resulted in Keynes discounting many of the long-run consequences from short-run policies. In Hoover's account, his homosexual adventures as a young man and his failure to father children after he married also made him think a lot less about the future impact of present policies.

Hayek, on the other hand, resented the rules and regulations that come with greater government control of social and economic affairs because of a bad marriage he entered into when he was a young man and a difficult divorce immediately after World War II. Untangling himself from an unwanted marriage, according to Hoover, supposedly is the key to understanding Hayek's desire for a society with fewer restraints on the choices of individuals.

The difficulty with taking all such psychoideological analyses seriously is that they can be used to explain almost anything, and therefore explain nothing. There have been Jews who renounced their religious and cultural ancestry and became classical liberals. There have been free-spirited homosexuals who became social and political conservatives. And there have been people trapped in bad marriages and difficult divorces who became radical socialists.

An equally crucial weakness in Hoover's book is his failure to come to grips with many of the important issues and arguments that separated these three protagonists in the decades between the two world wars. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Economics as Ideology: Keynes, Laski, Hayek, and the Creation of Contemporary Politics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.