by Antonio Negri
from: Radical Philosophy
John Maynard Keynes was a gentleman ? that is, an honest bourgeois, not a petty-bourgeois like Proudhon, or an ideologue, but an easy man ? and when political economy was still concerned with the political ordering of market and society every classical economist knew this. Keynes thought that knowledge functioned factually and that, in the culture of pragmatism, a teleological dispositif needed to be brought into the analysis of series of phenomena and their assemblage; that by organizing the order of facts one could cautiously and efficiently construct the order of reason. In his case, this dispositif consisted in securing the reproduction of the capitalist system.
In Keynes?s times economic science was not that horrid little mathematical device that all variants of financial adventurism and derivations of rent now have at their disposal. Now we know what happens when this mathematization ends up in the hands of dodgers? individualism? This is not to say that mathematics has nothing to do with economics or other disciplines; quite the opposite: it can be useful and productive for political economy, but at a completely different level. One instance is where neo-Keynsianism resulted from the encounter between socialist planners in the Soviet Union (or the liberal planners of the New Deal) and the mathematicians of market rationalization invented by L?on Walras. But for Keynes and his contemporaries the relationship between reason and reality was still entirely political: capital still sought clarity for itself. more