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Future Hindsight is a weekly podcastthat takes big ideas in civic life and democracy and turns them into action items for everyday citizens.

Nov 13, 2020

Keynes's Goals

Keynes concerned himself with his day's most significant problems: WWI and WWII, the rise of fascism and revolution, and the Great Depression in the United States. He believed that assuaging fears about an uncertain future was most important, and that a more equal society would also be more secure from deflation, deprivation, and dictatorship. He aimed for policies that would grapple with crisis and uncertainty.

Economics as Politics

Keynes firmly believed that economics was an extension of politics and government, not a separate entity that existed outside of the governmental sphere of influence. Governments needed to manage their economies to ensure success, by controlling wages and working conditions, as well as setting interest rates and fiscal policy. Economics and monetary policy were political tools to achieve healthy and stable societies.

A Keynesian Future

A Keynesian in the incoming Biden administration would prioritize solving the problems of climate change, COVID, and economic inequality through a large-scale project like FDR’s New Deal. Together with traditional infrastructure spending, decarbonizing our economy would require massive public works efforts similar to the New Deal’s WPA, creating millions of new jobs, buoying the working class, and mitigating income inequality.

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Zachary D. Carter is a senior reporter at HuffPost, where he covers economic policy and American politics. He is a frequent guest on cable news and whose work has appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, and The American Prospect, among other outlets. He is also the author of The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes, which was just selected as one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by Publishers Weekly.

Carter began his career at SNL Financial (now a division of S&P Global), where he was a banking reporter during the financial crisis of 2008. He wrote features about macroeconomic policy, regional economic instability, and the bank bailouts, but his passion was for the complex, arcane world of financial regulatory policy. He covered the accounting standards that both fed the crisis and shielded bank executives from its blowback, detailed the consumer protection abuses that consumed the mortgage business and exposed oversight failures at the Federal Reserve and other government agencies that allowed reckless debts to pile up around the world.

Carter graduated from the University of Virginia, where he studied philosophy and politics. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

You can follow him on Twitter @zachdcarter.

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