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Where Keynes Went Wrong: And Why World Governments Keep Creating Inflation, Bubbles, and Busts Paperback – September 16, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 387 pages
  • Publisher: Axios Press (September 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604190442
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604190441
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #941,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Just what the world needs, and just in time. Keynes is demolished and his quack system refuted. But this wonderful book does more. It restores clear thinking and common sense to their rightful places in the economic policy debate. Three cheers for Hunter Lewis!" — James Grant (Editor of Grant's Interest Rate Observer)

“…[An] impassioned…and…much needed book.” —Gene Epstein (Barron's)

From the Publisher

Among Top Seven Books Recommended Year End by Barron's Economic Editor.

Among Top Five Finance and Economics Books 2009 Recommended by 800-CEO-Read --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Hunter Lewis was born in Dayton, Ohio, USA, in 1947 and graduated from the Groton School and Harvard University (AB 1969). After working at the Boston Company, then one of the largest investment managers, first as assistant to the president and then vice-president, in 1975 Lewis co-founded and served as co-chief executive and then chief executive of Cambridge Associates LLC, an investment advisor to research universities and colleges representing over three-quarters of U.S. higher education endowment assets, foundations, cultural organizations, international organizations and other non-profit institutions as well as families. Cambridge Associates is now a global firm with offices and clients around the world.

In addition to his work at Cambridge Associates, Lewis has served as treasurer and president of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, a graduate research institute affiliated with 150 American colleges and universities, president of the Alliance for Natural Health-USA, chairman of the National Environmental Trust, chairman of Dumbarton Oaks (affiliate of Harvard University), founder and chairman of the Trearne Foundation, which provides educational assistance to foster children, chairman of the Worldwatch Institute, chairman of Shelburne Farms, treasurer of the World Wildlife Fund (World Wide Fund for Nature), trustee of World Wildlife Fund International, member of the Advisory Board of Environmental Health Sciences, trustee of the Morgan Library, trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, trustee of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (Monticello), trustee of the Peabody School, trustee of the Groton School, trustee of the Core Knowledge Foundation, and member of the World Bank Pension Finance Committee.

Lewis has contributed to many newspapers and periodicals including the New York Times, the Times of London, the Washington Post, and the Atlantic Monthly, as well as numerous websites such as Forbes.com. He is also an author and editor of books on economics and moral philosophy. His works include: Where Keynes Went Wrong: And Why World Governments Keep Creating Inflation, Bubbles, and Busts (Axios Press; September 25, 2009), Are the Rich Necessary?: Great Economic Arguments and How They Reflect Our Personal Values (Axios Press; September 25, 2007; Rev Updated PB edition October 30, 2009), A Question of Values : Six Ways We Make the Personal Choices That Shape Our Lives (Harper Collins, 1990, Axios Press, Rev Updated edition May 25, 2000), The Beguiling Serpent (Axios Press; August 31, 2000), Alternative Values: For and Against Wealth, Power, Fame, Praise, Glory, and Physical Pleasure (Axios Press; July 25, 2005) and The Real World War (Coward, McCann & Geoghegan/Putnam; 1982).

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I don't believe that any of the people who have thus far written negative reviews for this book have actually read the book; I very much enjoyed it. "Where Keynes Went Wrong may be thought of as the book that [Henry] Hazlitt [Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics] initially planned to write, or at least something along similar lines. It does not follow Keynes page by page, but rather concentrates on a few key topics. It is meant to be understandable by almost anyone, whether or not a student of economics." The text in reference is John Maynard Keynes - The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. And while the great majority of Keynes quotes come from General Theory, Lewis also draws from contemporary news articles, correspondence's and acquaintances recollections.

I suppose the greatest compliment I can pay to this book is this: the title is very accurate. Hunter Lewis performs a great service for the general reader by explaining exactly why there are flaws in Keynes logic, where the flaws are specifically in his work and what the practical flaws are in Keynesian economics. In doing so, Lewis draws much support from preeminent economists Ludwig von Mises - Human Action: A Treatise on Economics and F. A. Hayek -
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136 of 157 people found the following review helpful By Robert M. Blumen on September 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The first section What Keynes Really Said consists of short excerpts from Keynes' own books, mostly The General Theory. Lewis sets out to provide the reader with a fair and unbiased understanding of Keynes' views. Going back to the source is a worthwhile endeavor because most people know what they know through a macro textbook using a second or third-generation graphical synthesis of Keynes' idea, or through media buzzwords such as "stimulus" and "consumer confidence".

The second section, Why Keynes Was Wrong mirrors the structure of the first section. In the table of contents, the two sections are lined up in vertical columns. For example, a section in the first part called Spend More, Save Less, and Grow Wealthy is lined up against a section in the second part called Spend More, Save Less, and Grow Poorer.

There are several main themes in book. One is that most of Keynes key doctrines are paradoxical. The most well-known example is the paradox of thrift: saving is good for the individual but if everyone tries to save, then it drives the economy downwards into a bust. Another example is "unemployment equilibrium". In each case, Lewis provides simple, logical arguments against Keynes's paradoxes. The book could be characterized as a defense of common sense against obscurantism and muddle-headedness.

Keynes' reliance on paradox brings to mind what philosopher Michael Levin calls "the skim milk fallacy", which he describes as follows: "According to this paradigm, science always shows that things are the reverse of how they seem. Deep scrutiny of virtually any phenomenon will reveal that everyday convictions about it are wrong.
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51 of 58 people found the following review helpful By T. M. Smith on January 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
While I am myself a Democrat, and I gather that some reviewers thought the book bashed Obama and the Democrats,I thought Lewis's point is that government economic policies are generally based on Keynesianism, regardless of the party in power. In any case, for me the real value in this book is that Lewis uses Keynes's own words to show what Keynesian economics was really all about, in a way that is so much more readable than Keynes himself.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Larry R Frank Sr, MBA, CFP on January 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lewis' work is easy to read and follow. Well organized into "five parts" (actually a Part Six is called "Envoi") which are aligned in the Contents section which shows visually how Lewis has arranged the chapters between Parts Two and Three; the sections of his work where Lewis contrasts what Keynes said and where he is off. The Endnotes section is also important to understanding Lewis' points since this is where he goes into more detail of certain topics (indicated by superscript letters). Reading these endnotes as they occur brings further insight into Lewis' narrative.

Most works take up one side or the other on economic philosophy. There is more written about Keynes or interpretations of Keynes. There are fewer books about what alternatives may be available to these policies. This is one of the few books, if any, written that compares point by point the differences between what Keynes wrote and counterpoints to his thoughts. As with Marx, who left an explanation of how socialism would work to those who followed, Keynes left much of just how his theories would work to those who followed. Even Keynes himself wasn't a complete Keynesian (as we know it today)! With this in mind, those who interpreted Keynes acting under what they thought where his percepts may not have produced the results Keynes would have desired.

What we do need to understand are the points and counterpoints of the arguments, made by the press, media, and some government officials. This is a good book to read.
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