Monday, December 12, 2011

The Marginal Propensity to Consume

I'm a slow reader. I don't do well with books like  A Game of Thrones. But my pace helps a lot when I'm in The General Theory. My recommendation: Read the excerpt slowly and enjoy it. Keynes is wonderful.

From the conclusion of Chapter 10, TGT:

Ancient Egypt was doubly fortunate, and doubtless owed to this its fabled wealth, in that it possessed two activities, namely, pyramid-building as well as the search for the precious metals, the fruits of which, since they could not serve the needs of man by being consumed, did not stale with abundance. The Middle Ages built cathedrals and sang dirges. Two pyramids, two masses for the dead, are twice as good as one; but not so two railways from London to York.

Thus we are so sensible, have schooled ourselves to so close a semblance of prudent financiers, taking careful thought before we add to the "financial" burdens of posterity by building them houses to live in, that we have no such easy escape from the sufferings of unemployment. We have to accept them as an inevitable result of applying to the conduct of the State the maxims which are best calculated to "enrich" an individual by enabling him to pile up claims to enjoyment which he does not intend to exercise at any definite time.

Your mind wandered, didn't it. Start over and read slowly.

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