These days we’re hearing a lot about John Maynard Keynes, the British economist who’s one of the few that most people know by name. He’s most commonly associated with the “broken windows” theory and the economic policy of the great depression era. Martin Wolf has a great column on the lessons Keynes offers in the current crisis. I don’t know a whole lot about Keynes, but I absolutely love this paragraph:
Keynes’s genius – a very English one – was to insist we should approach an economic system not as a morality play but as a technical challenge. He wished to preserve as much liberty as possible, while recognising that the minimum state was unacceptable to a democratic society with an urbanised economy. He wished to preserve a market economy, without believing that laisser faire makes everything for the best in the best of all possible worlds.
That sounds just about perfect to me.