Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Google Ngram Tracks the Failure in our Economic Thinking

Noodling around with Google Ngram tonight.  This is a look at all books tracked by nGram in English as they refer to four reportedly famous economists: Freidrich Hayek, John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman and Paul Krugman.

Here is the breakdown for English overall.
Friedman dominates the 80s and into the early 90s but then Keynes makes a comeback.  Hayek never makes much of a difference.

Here is the breakdown of American English

Milton Friedman peaks after 1980 with the implementation of Reaganomics (aka Voodoo Economics).  This is such a clear picture of how our our economic thinking transformed from a technocratic, government-managed market economy to the so-called "free market" where capitalism came off the rails.

Keynes maintains a steady state throughout it all, Paul Krugman is a rising star after 1990 and finally, poor, sad-clown Hayek is basically flatlined in his heterodoxy.  But I'm sure the zealots at the Von Mises Institute can explain that away somehow.

Let's look at British English now
The British never lost their love of Keynes, though Friedman gives him a run for his money during the Thatcher years in the 1980s.  And Hayek shows some life in the 80s, more so than in the US.  Probably due to the creation of "think" tanks in the UK that focused on his "ideas" and the penetration of these ideas into the Thatcher administration.

Cool tool.

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