April 15, 2024

Economix: Keynes vs. Hayek: A Rap Battle Renewed

Round 2 of the great economics smackdown is now available on video. In the impressively produced rap video “Fight of the Century” by the economist Russ Roberts and the producer and director John Papola, Friedrich Hayek and John Maynard Keynes square off to argue over such questions as whether the government should spent less or more, the source of prosperity, and whether war or natural disasters be a blessing in disguise. (Part 1 came out last year.)

In the latest installment, Keynes raps:

It’s just like an engine that’s stalled and gone dark
To bring it to life, we need a quick spark
Spending’s the life blood that gets the flow going
Where it goes doesn’t matter, just get spending flowing

And Hayek responds:

You see slack in some sectors as a “general glut”
But some sectors are healthy, and some in a rut
So spending’s not free – that’s the heart of the matter
Too much is wasted as cronies get fatter.

Will there be a Round 3? In a conversation about the project, Mr. Roberts, an economist at George Mason University, didn’t rule it out.

Q. Where did the idea for the video come?

Mr. Roberts: John Papola, the filmmaker who works with me on these, approached me about two and a half years ago and said ‘Let’s do a video together.” He heard my podcasts and is an economics geek. I said “What for?” But then we talked about it.

Q. This is the second video; how did the first one do?

A. We got two million hits and it has been subtitled in 11 languages. I thought 50,000 was a lot, so we were kind of excited by that, so we said we’d do another one. We wanted it to be as visually entertaining as the first one.

Q. How did you fund it?

A. The first one we did essentially on a shoestring with a little love and a lot of favors. This time we created a Web site with additional interviews with Keynesians and Hayekians. We put up links for anyone who wanted to learn more, and there’s a “Donate” button for people who want to do a little something outside the box for economics education.

Q. How much have you collected?

A. Hundreds of people have responded. We’ve gotten tens of thousands of dollars.

Q. Sounds like you could do a feature film next.

A. Well, 10 minutes is long time, but who knows? I’m interested in trying to make economics accessible to a general audience. What’s really gratifying is that I get e-mails from teachers all over the world in high schools and colleges who said they are using it in their classes.

Q. Given that your Web site is titled Cafe Hayek, I can guess you are rooting for in this fight.

A. I’m a Hayekian, but John and I feel very strongly that we should be fair to Keynes… He has good rhymes, he looks good on camera and he’s got the better physique.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=521877bef7035a3e8dec1ecaa8973625

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