Readers may be surprised to learn that, as a Marxist, I never felt great interest for Karl Marx, the man (not exactly Robert Paul Wolff's attitude, but not that different, either).
That's why having read recently that Marx was afflicted (in his old age?) by frequent boils was a bit of a revelation to me. Having once had a big and very visible abscess in my right thigh, I can put myself in Marx's shoes.
I remember that boil, too: blood, pus, redness, warmth. Neither a pretty sight, nor fatal -- evidently -- although undeniably uncomfortable.
"Churchill held —- where I confess escapes me -— that great men usually have unhappy childhoods. At both Eton and Cambridge, Keynes, by his own account and that of his contemporaries, was exceedingly happy. The point could be important. Keynes never sought to change the world out of any sense of personal dissatisfaction or discontent. Marx swore that the bourgeoisie would suffer for his poverty and his carbuncles. Keynes experienced neither poverty nor boils. For him the world was excellent". (pp. 197-198)Given his intellectual reputation, I suppose one can give Galbraith the benefit of the doubt and assume he intended that as a humorous comment, not to be taken too seriously.
Regardless, experience shows bourgeois economists enjoy taking a dig at the old Moor. Any pretext will do. In fact, that is commonplace, almost as a ritual way to signal their membership in the Very Serious Person Club (a mix of freemasons' "secret" handshakes and hippie bashing), which, in the case of Keynesian economists, goes hand in hand with lionising Our Lord (or carefully managing His image).
Then it dawned on me. Galbraith's intended witticism -- formulaic, therefore tedious -- is rather like Marx's chronic boils: an annoying pimple in the nose; hardly fatal.
Enter Brad DeLong. Tired -- perhaps -- of playing second fiddle to Nobel laureate and John Bates Clark medallist Paul Krugman as top online Keynesian VSP ("Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little", Gore Vidal supposedly said), DeLong apparently decided to stick to his less glamorous day job: teaching. With that in mind, he assembled a reading list on Marxism for post-Millennials (an upcoming UC-Berkeley for-credit PhD econ course, surely?), featuring prominently the best of his own abundant academic research, as expertly peer-reviewed and published in his own blog.
One should congratulate DeLong for finding a goal better suited to his capabilities: to be the big, fat, swollen, infected, throbbing, suppurating carbuncle in the ass of Marx.
Irritating? Certainly. Fatal? Nah. Besides, there's a silver lining: I'd guess some members of the online post Keynesian/MMT community may finally experience tertiary education!
More good news: A TSSI vs DeLong debate looks out of the question. With characteristic chivalry, DeLong seems intent on sparing Andrew Kliman and Alan Freeman the hard time. ;-)
Phew! Lucky them.