Alfred Marshall, A. C. Pigou, John Neville Keynes, and John Maynard Keynes were also all Fabian socialists. And fascism is a kind of socialism. I learn these interesting facts from Zygmund Dobbs' book, Keynes at Harvard: Economic Deception as a Political Credo. I refer to the 1962 second edition. This book was spewed out by the Veritas Foundation, a reactionary think tank, I guess, associated with a grandson of Theodore Roosevelt. This book purports to be an examination of how colleges at the time are subverting America by promoting socialism, with a focus on the economics department at Harvard. Strangely enough, no examination of the contents of Keynes' theories or of the teaching at Harvard is included. It is all about motives and extremely loose associations of individuals. For
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Alfred Marshall, A. C. Pigou, John Neville Keynes, and John Maynard Keynes were also all Fabian socialists. And fascism is a kind of socialism. I learn these interesting facts from Zygmund Dobbs' book, Keynes at Harvard: Economic Deception as a Political Credo. I refer to the 1962 second edition. This book was spewed out by the Veritas Foundation, a reactionary think tank, I guess, associated with a grandson of Theodore Roosevelt.
This book purports to be an examination of how colleges at the time are subverting America by promoting socialism, with a focus on the economics department at Harvard. Strangely enough, no examination of the contents of Keynes' theories or of the teaching at Harvard is included. It is all about motives and extremely loose associations of individuals. For example, socialists wanted to abolish the gold standard; Keynes wanted to abolish the gold standard. Thus, Keynes was promoting socialism. Nothing is said at all about the economic consequences of Winston Churchill. Anything written by any of these 'socialists' is all indoctrination and propaganda and extremism. As is apparently typical of this sort of lunacy, Dobbs provides lots of misrepresentation of his own selection of quotations.
At one point, Dobbs mentions Knut Wicksell's theory of the natural rate of interest. This leads to the following curious footnote:
"The Swedish Socialist Gunnar Myrdal, although an economist, was retained by the Carnegie Foundation to head a research study on the American Negro. This field, which was completely foreign to Myrdal (since he is a Socialist economist and there certainly is no Negro problem in Sweden), was entrusted to him because of his left-wing bias and not because of his anthropological qualifications. Among those who worked in compiling the report was James E. Jackson, Negro member of the national committee of the Communist Party of the U.S.A. and recent keynote speaker before the Russian Communist Congress in Moscow. Another researcher was Ralph J. Bunche, who at that time was well known as a follower of the Communist line and was a contributing editor of the Communist magazine Science & Society. The results of this Carnegie study were published as An American Dilemma. Amazingly enough An American Dilemma was used as the main prop by the United States Supreme Court in its decisions on the Negro question. The decisions were applauded by the Keynesians and Communists in Washington and elsewhere. The fact that Felix Frankfurter has been an enthusiastic Keynesian supporter for many years and was a national officer of the N.A.A.C.P. did not prevent him from leading the Supreme Court in these decisions. Mention of the Carnegie grant brings to mind the fact that Frankfurter's protégé in Harvard, Alger Hiss, had at one time been president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace." (p. 76)
You will not learn from Dobbs about mental gyrations white Americans go through after they tell you that America is the land of opportunity - anyone can succeed. And then how do you explain these Black Americans who do not seem to have the same opportunities? The substance of anything being discussed is not at issue. Nor does it matter whether anything these authors say is true or false.
Here is an example of Dobbs being unable to read and of writing nonsense:
"Norman Thomas, titular head of the Socialist Party, declared: 'Keynes has had great influence and his work is especially important in any reappraisal of socialist theory. He represents a decisive break with laissez-faire capitalism.' Norman Thomas' old associates of the League for Industrial Democracy, Alvin Hansen and Seymour E. Harris (both professors of economics at Harvard) have become the chief spokesmen for Keynesian economics in the United States. As usual, Harvard has carried the ball for extremists." (p. 79)
Many on the left had all sorts of opinions of about Keynes, from agreement to dismissing him as the latest bourgeois economist. Obviously, the Great Depression was a problem. Keynes had a large impact on the world, including, arguably, on the development of the United States economy from towards the end of the Great Depression. Thomas says that socialists must consider that impact. He is not saying, at least here, that he agrees or disagrees with Keynes. And Norman Thomas was hardly the most extreme one could find at the time.
By the way, throughout Dobbs cannot imagining professors assigning texts that are historically important for consideration. If a student is assigned the reading of The Communist Manifesto, it must be brainwashing into communism.
Here is another example of anti-intellectualism:
"Curiously the authorities used by [Stuart] Chase in his book the Economy of Abundance (1934) were G. D. H. Cole, J. A. Hobson, Julian Huxley, Bertrand Russell, J. M. Keynes, John Strachey and H. G. Wells, all spawned by the British Fabian Society. American sources used were Charles A. Beard, Adolph Berle, Harry W. Laider, George Soule, Rexford Guy Tugwell and Thorstein Veblen, all Fabians of the home grown variety." (p. 85)
As usual, we learn nothing about what Chase gets out of these authorities or whether they were right, wong, or at least worth thinking about on some topic or other. Other 'Fabian socialists' include Felix Frankfurter and Harry F. Ward. I suppose Dobbs is right to be worried about Harry Dexter White. I might read more about Harold Laski or John Strachey, the latter being Lytton's cousin.
Dobbs takes Henry Hazlitt as an expert on Keynes. I list other works Dobbs recommends below. I concentrate on work of the time that was probably ill-reasoned nonsense, not the memoirs of 'socialists' that might be of interest. The Martin book was not referenced, since it was published later, but definitely belongs in this list.
Michael Holroyd published his biography of Lytton Strachey between the two editions of Dobbs' pamphlet. So Dobbs learned about Bloomsbury and their interlocking sexual interactions. With his ability to keep to the point, Dobbs goes off in a new chapter about Engels living out of wedlock and provides an overview of Havelock Ellis.
You will not learn what arguments are in Keynes' writing from Dobbs' pamphlet. Nor will you see any examination of how the contents of Keynes' theory might have differed from what was taught at Harvard in any period. Apparently, 'Fabian socialism' was the 'critical theory' of Dobbs' day. It is an excuse for ignorant reactionaries of bad will to drivel on.References
- Archibald Roosevelt and Zygmund Dobbs, The Great Deceit - Social Pseudo-Sciences (1964)
- James Burnham, The Web of Subversion (1954)
- Zygmund Dobbs, Keynes at Harvard: Economic Deception as a Political Credo second edition (1962).
- John T. Flynn, The Road Ahead: America's Creeping Revolution (1949)
- Sister M. Margaret Patrica McCarren, Ph.D., Fabianism in the Political Life of Britain, 1919-1931, Heritage Foundation (1954)
- Rose Martin, Fabian Freeway: High Road to Socialism in the USA (1966).
- R. W. Whitney, Reds in America (1924)