This paper explores the “proto-Keynesian” ideas of progressive members of the scientific management community with regard to micro- and macroeconomic planning/management.
Based on a systematic exegetical analysis of articles published in a largely unexplored primary/archival source, the Bulletin of the Taylor Society between 1915 and 1934.
This paper surfaces a latent “proto-Keynesian” bedrock among progressive segments of the US management community that provides a more cogent explanation for the wholehearted reception, as well as the decisive impact, of Keynes’ ideas on US macroeconomic policy than do extant explanations in the history of economic thought. Further, it reveals that most of these progressive managers with views as to both cause of and solution for the 1930’s Depression were members of the Taylor Society, an epistemic community devoted to the ideas of Frederick Winslow Taylor, the father of scientific management.
The paper adds to the small but growing corpus of revisionist management history that seeks to problematize the received wisdom about scientific management or Taylorism. Few, if any, management historians appreciate that F. W. Taylor provided the basic planning tools which if developed, could enhance humanity’s control over anarchic market forces and aid the construction of a society based on democratic and effective planning.
The author would like to acknowledge the assistance of Chris Nyland and the comments of the anonymous referees in the preparation of this paper.
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