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Keynes vs Smith

This article was written with Chat GPT. I made the mistake of requesting it to be witty, an art it does not yet seem to have completely mastered, writing with the intellect of a university professor in the style of a disapproving teenage boy. I have made some additions and alterations, as well as commenting on some points the AI makes, attempting to not change its argument to too great of an extent.

Let us consider two of the greatest economic thinkers of history: John Maynard Keynes and Adam Smith. Now, I know what you're thinking - comparing these two is like comparing apples to oranges, or bitcoins to tulips, or even worse, like comparing the Chicago Cubs to the New York Yankees (personally, I have no clue what these are, I believe it is attempting to say something along the lines of comparing Manchester United to Liverpool). But bear with me, and let's see if we can't have a little fun with it.

First off, let's talk about Adam Smith. He's the grandfather of modern economics, the OG of laissez-faire capitalism and an important figure in the resurgent ideology of classical liberalism. He believed that the invisible hand of the market would lead to the best possible outcomes for society. And you know what? He was right. His ideas revolutionized the way we think about commerce, and set the stage for the industrial revolution that transformed the world. Smith was a thinker who marked at least the beginning of the end for Feudalist economies, as the industrial revolution kick started the capitalistic consumerism which would then define the modern world.

But then came Keynes, like a sassy millennial ready to challenge the establishment. He said, "hold up, Adam. What if we don't just let the market do its thing? What if we actually try to influence it with government policies?" And you know what? He was also right. His ideas about fiscal and monetary policy helped steer the world out of the Great Depression and laid the foundation for the welfare state. Keynes’ economic thinking would act as a loose guide for Roosevelt’s new deal programme, and for the economic policies of British governments between 1945 and 1979.

So, what's the verdict? Are we Team Adam or Team Keynes? Well, let me put it this way. Adam Smith was the father of economics, but John Maynard Keynes was the cool uncle who let us stay up past our bedtime and eat ice cream for dinner. Smith was all about letting the market work its magic, but Keynes was all about using policy to make sure the magic happened. It's like the difference between playing a game of chess and playing a game of chess with cheat codes. Sure, the former is noble and strategic, but the latter is a lot more fun (I am sceptical about how good this analogy is, both Keynes and Smith were noble pioneers, and I am unsure if it is exactly helpful to consider economic policy in terms of which system is more “fun”).

In conclusion, Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes both made indelible marks on the field of economics, and it's up to us to decide which approach we prefer. Whether you're a laissez-faire purist or a Keynesian interventionist, one thing is certain - as long as we keep thinking critically and creatively about how to improve our economic systems, we'll be in good shape.


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