18 août 2006

Keynes et le Marxisme

Libéral pragmatique, Keynes méprisait les thèses économiques socialistes en général, et la théorie économique marxiste en particulier. Un point qu'il n'est pas inutile de rappeler à l'heure où, de l'Attac au PCF, les ci-devant marxistes se réclament aujourd'hui de Keynes.

Dans une lettre à George Bernard Shaw (Dec. 2, 1934), Keynes écrit :

My feelings about Das Kapital are the same as my feelings about the Koran. I know that it is historically important and I know that many people, not all of whom are idiots, find it a sort of Rock of Ages and containing inspiration. Yet when I look into it, it is to me inexplicable that it can have this effect. Its dreary, out-of-date, academic controversializing seems so extraordinarily unsuitable as material for the purpose. But then, as I have said, I just feel the same about the Koran. How could either of these books carry fire and sword round half the world ? It beats me. Clearly there is some defect in my understanding... But whatever the sociological value of [Das Kapital] I am sure that its contemporary economic value (apart from occasional but inconstructive and discontinuous flashes of insight) is nil.

cité par Robert Skidelsky, in John Maynard Keynes - 1883-1946: Economist, Philosopher, Statesman. Page 517, Penguin Book 2003

Dans l'essai The End of Laissez-faire, deux conférences données en 1926, Keynes s'interresse à la genèse de la doctrine du Laissez-faire. Parmi les principales raisons de son succès, il mentionne l'indigence intellectuelle des grandes doctrines concurrentes: le protectionnisme et le marxisme. Extrait:

But the principles of laissez-faire have had other allies besides economic textbooks. It must be admitted that they have been confirmed in the minds of sound thinkers and the reasonable public by the poor quality of the opponent proposals - protectionism on one hand, and Marxian socialism on the other. Yet these doctrines are both characterised, not only or chiefly by their infringing the general presumption in favour of laissez-faire, but by mere logical fallacy. Both are examples of poor thinking, of inability to analyse a process and follow it out to its conclusion. The arguments against them, though reinforced by the principle of laissez-faire, do not strictly require it. Of the two, protectionism is at least plausible, and the forces making for its popularity are nothing to wonder at. But Marxian socialism must always remain a portent to the historians of opinion - how a doctrine so illogical and so dull can have exercised so powerful and enduring an influence over the minds of men and, through them, the events of history. At any rate, the obvious scientific deficiencies of these two schools greatly contributed to the prestige and authority of nineteenth-century laissez-faire.

Keynes J.M., "The End of Laissez-Faire", 1926, The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes, vol.IX, p.278

Nb : curieusement, seule la fin de cette conférence est disponible en français (La fin du laissez-faire, Payot, ou Classiques des Sciences sociales).

Aucun commentaire: