from Don Boudreaux’s Cafe Hayek’s Quotation of the Day 2/20/16
… is from pages 292-293 of Richard Vedder’s and Lowell Gallaway’s still-relevant and resonant 1993 book, Out of Work:
One of the clichés that has emerged from the Keynesian episode is Keynes’s remark to the effect that in the long run we are all dead. That comment, as much as any single remark, captures the mind set of the twentieth century, especially in the realm of making economic policy. The emphasis is on the short run, today, not tomorrow. Don’t worry about the long run. You’ll be dead then. Unfortunately, though, long runs do come, and when they arrive they are greeted by large numbers of people who are still alive and who are forced to deal with the full consequences of the short-run-oriented policy decisions of the past. And so, defunct academic scribblers and political dilettantes from distant ages continue to wield their influence on contemporary life, more often than not for the worse.
For a very intelligent man this was an incredibly shortsighted comment. Such thinking, however, was the essence of the Pragmatic movement that characterized the early Progressive movement- a movement that championed experience over reason and thought.
Humans die, but their bad ideas live far too long.