The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Cricket, Keynes, Cambridge and Mary Poppins
by Peter

Over the last few days I have been reading this book about Keynes and the Golden Age of Cricket. The argument is that Cricket and Economics are a good source of metaphors for each other ("stonewalling" as "deferred gratification" for example), and that the young Keynes may have been influenced by this.

The author is an old cricketing colleague of mine (not that I played at such an exalted level). He clearly knows his stuff on disputes in late nineteenth century economics and cricket.

The book purports to consist of cricket diary entries of J.N. Keynes from 1896, followed by a succession of cricketing essays from J. Mayanard Keynes. The final section - essentially in the author's voice - is a bit of a rant on the anti-European press (worth reading for a comparatively rare expression of pure neo-Keynesian. pro-European invective).

Where does Mary Poppins (the controversial subject of debate on Liberal England fit in?

Turn straight to the endnotes on page 325. Note 111 (unlucky number for cricketers) deals with Mary Poppins, and the scene where the boy spends his tuppence on birdseed:

as Poppins and Keynes knew, a woman on low income would have a very high propensity to consume and that tuppence would work through local markets many times before being leaked out of the system in hoarding, creating employment and welfare for everyone, including the Banks family...The image had a powerful effect on those of us born in 1958 and 1959. No sooner had I noted the above analysis than David Boyle, of the New Economics Foundation, published his The Tyranny of Numbers...The piece selected for the Observer in January 2001 began

"Mary Poppins was the first film I saw...I came away from the cinema determined to make sure that I flung my tuppence away on a little old bird woman rather than marvelling at the strange alchemy of compound interest if I put it in a bank"


I suspect that there is nothing innocent in Jonathan Calder's throwaway item on Mary Poppins. Rather, this is visible part of a vast, hidden conspiracy )involving others such as Stephen Glenn and Chris Black.

I´m only glad to have done my small part in exposing it. In the meantime, I am keeping my daughters on a strict diet of Arthur Ransome.
posted by Peter Pigeon @ 10:53 am  
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