The theory of output as a whole, which is what The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money purports to provide, is much more easily adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state. John Maynard Keynes
In looking at and assessing the economic paradigm of John Maynard Keynes a man himself fixated on aggregates we must look at the aggregate of his thought, and the aggregate of his ideology.
Keynes was not just an economist. Between 1937 and 1944 he served as the head of the Eugenics Society and once called eugenicsthe most important, significant and, I would add, genuine branch of sociology which exists. And Keynes, we should add, understood that economics was a branch of sociology. So lets be clear: Keynes thought eugenics was more important, more significant, and more genuine than economics.
Eugenics or the control of reproduction is a very old idea.
In The Republic, Plato advocated that the state should covertly control human reproduction:
You have in your house hunting-dogs and a number of pedigree cocks. Do not some prove better than the rest?Do you then breed from all indiscriminately, or are you careful to breed from the best?And, again, do you breed from the youngest or the oldest, or, so far as may be, from those in their prime? And if they are not thus bred, you expect, do you not, that your birds and hounds will greatly degenerate? And what of horses and other animals? Is it otherwise with them? How imperative, then, is our need of the highest skill in our rulers, if the principle holds also for mankind? The best men must cohabit with the best women in as many cases as possible and the worst with the worst in the fewest,and that the offspring of the one must be reared and that of the other not, if the flock is to be as perfect as possible. And the way in which all this is brought to pass must be unknown to any but the rulers, if, again, the herd of guardians is to be as free as possible from dissension. Certain ingenious lots, then, I suppose, must be devised so that the inferior man at each conjugation may blame chance and not the rulers and on the young men, surely, who excel in war and other pursuits we must bestow honors and prizes, and, in particular, the opportunity of more frequent intercourse with the women, which will at the same time be a plausible pretext for having them beget as many of the children as possible. And the children thus born will be taken over by the officials appointed for this.
Additionally, Plato advocated disposing with the offspring of the inferior:
The offspring of the inferior, and any of those of the other sort who are born defective, they will properly dispose of in secret, so that no one will know what has become of them. That is the condition of preserving the purity of the guardians breed.
In modernity, the idea appears to have reappeared in the work first of Thomas Malthus, and later that of Francis Galton.
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Guest Post: Keynesianism & Eugenics