Maurice Dobb was one of John Maynard Keynes’ favorite students. He was also a committed Marxist and a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain.
Illustration by “Kotryna Zukauskaite
No economist — maybe no human — has ever been better at scorn than John Maynard Keynes. He was a masterful debater when he wanted to be. But, like the proper scion of Britain’s elite that he was, Keynes preferred to laugh at his enemies. In 1925, sympathizers with the Soviet Union were treated to a world-class exhibition of this disdain. Keynes had just returned from his first trip to the USSR, and he was ready to wax polemical.
“How can I accept a doctrine,” he asked, “which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete economic textbook which I know to be not only scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeois and intelligentsia who, with whatever faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human advancement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the Red bookshops.” “It is hard,” he concluded, “for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values.” (más…)