Saturday, February 7, 2009

History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes

You need to go and read John Maynard Keynes' remarks about the economic crisis of 1930.

Here's a taste:

This is a nightmare, which will pass away with the morning. For the resources of nature and men's devices are just as fertile and productive as they were. The rate of our progress towards solving the material problems of life is not less rapid. We are as capable as before of affording for everyone a high standard of life—high, I mean, compared with, say, twenty years ago—and will soon learn to afford a standard higher still. We were not previously deceived. But to-day we have involved ourselves in a colossal muddle, having blundered in the control of a delicate machine, the working of which we do not understand. The result is that our possibilities of wealth may run to waste for a time—perhaps for a long time.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Or we might get blank verse. Consider how productive - perhaps uniquely so - was the interplay between "nature" and "men's devices" in the 1930s, yielding immense oil discoveries in Oklahoma, Texas, and California (6 of the estimated total 7 billion barrels of oil consumed in the course of World War II came from the US), unlocking the miracle of hybridization that launched the "green revolution," offering up the technology to mine a millenium's-worth of accumulated soil fertility in the steppes and plains of the planet. These may not have rhymes in our current dictionary ...