Rap the Classics

It's time to bring nonfiction to the street, yo

Keynes and Hayek

Reading is great and all, but why bother when you can get the same great content from rap music? And not just any rap music. Today’s theme song is a little street ditty that pits The Man against The Austrian Man: economist John Maynard Keynes versus his foil Friedrich A. Hayek.

Enter Fight of the Century, the second Keynes-Hayek music video from the minds of EconStories.tv. The video presents a fair and balanced presentation of both economists views, by which I mean it gets some jabs in for the director’s side of the story. Which is great; this is entertainment, after all. But for those willing to go beyond the glam, the web site also includes links to real economic articles, presenting strong defenses of both economic views.

John Maynard Keynes is the father of modern macroeconomic theory, more commonly called Keynesian Economics, although nobody knows where the name comes from. Followers of his views believe that central planning of a nation’s economic resources can help avoid periods of high unemployment. By contrast, Friedrich A. Hayek supports a more free-market approach, arguing that capitalist markets are able to manage economic fluctuations on their own.

One book from each of these influential economists appears on the candidate book list for the Well-Read Man project. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, by Keynes, lays out his ideas for managing economic systems in a modern world, if you consider 1936 to be modern. Hayek’s book, The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, responds both to the rush by nations to central planning, and to the dangers of fascist systems that were helping drive World War II.

Will these books appear in the final reading list? It’s too early to say. But for now, I’m content to sit back and enjoy the antics of the two money men as they battle in the ring of world economics and urban hip-hop.


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