Rothbard on Keynes the Neo-Mercantilist

“From just a brief excursion into mercantilist theory and practice, we may conclude that Lord Keynes might have come to regret his enthusiastic welcome to the mercantilists as his forbears. For they were his forbears indeed; and the precursors as well of the interventions, subsidies, regulations, grants of special privilege, and central planning of today. But in no way could they be considered as “progressives” or lovers of the common man; on the contrary, they were frank exponents of the Old Order of statism, hierarchy, landed oligarchy, and special privilege—that entire “Tory” regime against which laissez-faire liberalism and classical economics leveled their liberating “revolution” on behalf of the freedom and prosperity of all productive individuals in society, from the wealthiest to the humblest. Perhaps the modern world will learn the lesson that the contemporary drive for a new mercantilism may be just as profoundly “reactionary,” as profoundly opposed to the freedom and prosperity of the individual, as its pre-nineteenth-century ancestor.”

Murray N. Rothbard; Economic Controversies pg 653; ‘Trade and Freedom’


  1. For a more recent work on J.M. Keynes, one that explains his philosphical and political beliefs, see Hunter Lewis “Where Keynes Went Wrong”.

    “But why bother Paul” – because the beliefs of Keynes are still quite common among the establishment elite today.



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