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This chapter investigates the nature of the transformation of macroeconomics by focusing on the impact of the Great Depression on economic doctrines. There is no doubt…
This chapter investigates the nature of the transformation of macroeconomics by focusing on the impact of the Great Depression on economic doctrines. There is no doubt that the Great Depression exerted an enormous influence on economic thought, but the exact nature of its impact should be examined more carefully. In this chapter, I examine the transformation from a perspective which emphasizes the interaction between economic ideas and economic events, and the interaction between theory and policy rather than the development of economic theory. More specifically, I examine the evolution of what became known as macroeconomics after the Depression in terms of an ongoing debate among the “stabilizers” and their critics. I further suggest using four perspectives, or schools of thought, as measures to locate the evolution and transformation; the gold standard mentality, liquidationism, the Treasury view, and the real-bills doctrine. By highlighting these four economic ideas, I argue that what happened during the Great Depression was the retreat of the gold standard mentality, the complete demise of liquidationism and the Treasury view, and the strange survival of the real-bills doctrine. Each of those transformations happened not in response to internal debates in the discipline, but in response to government policies and real-world events.
Marshall, Pigou, and Keynes on one side of the Atlantic, and Fisher on the other, had different approaches to the quantity theory of money. But they shared its basic…
Marshall, Pigou, and Keynes on one side of the Atlantic, and Fisher on the other, had different approaches to the quantity theory of money. But they shared its basic framework, with the result that theoretical discussions did not prevent some degree of mutual support on policy proposals. If a divergence there was, at this stage, this pertained the feasibility of Fisher’s proposals, because Fisher’s enthusiasm for reform could find no match at Cambridge. This notwithstanding, and although in varying degrees, Marshall, Pigou, and Keynes were sympathetic with Fisher’s battle for “stable money.” Indeed, a fragment from the Keynes Papers shows that, at a very early stage of his career, Keynes paid great attention to Fisher’s empirical research on the relationship between “Appreciation and interest,” taking the relation between nominal and real rates of interest as a possible explanation of the trade cycle. For some time at least, this widened the common ground upon which Fisher’s proposals for “stable money” could find some support at Cambridge.
The 40-letter correspondence concerning the French translation of The General Theory, between John Maynard Keynes and his translator, Jean de Largentaye, is a testimony of…
The 40-letter correspondence concerning the French translation of The General Theory, between John Maynard Keynes and his translator, Jean de Largentaye, is a testimony of their close collaboration, which also involved Piero Sraffa in 1938 and 1939. Largentaye’s lexicon appears at the end of the French edition, providing definitions in French of technical terms used by Keynes. After its publication by Payot in 1942, the French edition of The General Theory was well received in France and no doubt contributed to the economic and social successes of the country in the subsequent 25 years.
Kendall P. Cochran has claimed that John Maynard Keynes “developed a theory that would try ‘to account for things as they are’. In so doing he became another important…
Kendall P. Cochran has claimed that John Maynard Keynes “developed a theory that would try ‘to account for things as they are’. In so doing he became another important social economist.
The first foreign-language publication of The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes was published in German in the same year as the…
The first foreign-language publication of The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes was published in German in the same year as the English original in 1936. The article discusses some quality problems of the translation, but focuses in particular on the controversies which evolved around interpretations of the Preface Keynes wrote for the German edition. Whereas a margin of doubt remains as to the responsibility for the text which finally appeared in German, any accusations that Keynes had sympathies for or was indifferent to the Nazi regime are clearly rejected.
Although the global economic crisis that began in 2007 has renewed interest in Keynes among the wider educated public, graduate courses in macroeconomics usually teach…
Although the global economic crisis that began in 2007 has renewed interest in Keynes among the wider educated public, graduate courses in macroeconomics usually teach little about Keynes and the issues he analyzed, and what little they teach is often wrong (e.g., that Keynes assumed an arbitrarily fixed money wage rate or that he ignored expectations). Consequently, as macroeconomists turn their attention to the possibility, causes and consequences of financial crises and global depression, they do not have access to the insights into these questions produced by earlier generations of economists. The time and attention constraints of theory courses do not allow simply directing the students to the extensive scholarly literature on the economics of Keynes, so this paper offers a suggested introduction to the economics of Keynes for a graduate course in macroeconomics.
The Austrian economist Ludwig Lachmann claimed that Keynes was a lifelong subjectivist. To evaluate this, we start by distinguishing Keynes’ writings on probability theory from his writings on economics. In the General Theory (1936), Keynes’ treatment of expectations provides the basis for Lachmann’s view that Keynes was a subjectivist at heart. In his Treatise on Probability (1921), Keynes refers explicitly to the subjectivism–objectivism divide in probability theory and pins his colors to the objectivist mast. In this essay, we present the objectivist slant in Keynes’ earlier writings on probability theory. Thereafter, we evaluate the criteria Lachmann employed to cast Keynes as a subjectivist.
A collection of essays by a social economist seeking to balanceeconomics as a science of means with the values deemed necessary toman′s finding the good life and society…
A collection of essays by a social economist seeking to balance economics as a science of means with the values deemed necessary to man′s finding the good life and society enduring as a civilized instrumentality. Looks for authority to great men of the past and to today′s moral philosopher: man is an ethical animal. The 13 essays are: 1. Evolutionary Economics: The End of It All? which challenges the view that Darwinism destroyed belief in a universe of purpose and design; 2. Schmoller′s Political Economy: Its Psychic, Moral and Legal Foundations, which centres on the belief that time‐honoured ethical values prevail in an economy formed by ties of common sentiment, ideas, customs and laws; 3. Adam Smith by Gustav von Schmoller – Schmoller rejects Smith′s natural law and sees him as simply spreading the message of Calvinism; 4. Pierre‐Joseph Proudhon, Socialist – Karl Marx, Communist: A Comparison; 5. Marxism and the Instauration of Man, which raises the question for Marx: is the flowering of the new man in Communist society the ultimate end to the dialectical movement of history?; 6. Ethical Progress and Economic Growth in Western Civilization; 7. Ethical Principles in American Society: An Appraisal; 8. The Ugent Need for a Consensus on Moral Values, which focuses on the real dangers inherent in there being no consensus on moral values; 9. Human Resources and the Good Society – man is not to be treated as an economic resource; man′s moral and material wellbeing is the goal; 10. The Social Economist on the Modern Dilemma: Ethical Dwarfs and Nuclear Giants, which argues that it is imperative to distinguish good from evil and to act accordingly: existentialism, situation ethics and evolutionary ethics savour of nihilism; 11. Ethical Principles: The Economist′s Quandary, which is the difficulty of balancing the claims of disinterested science and of the urge to better the human condition; 12. The Role of Government in the Advancement of Cultural Values, which discusses censorship and the funding of art against the background of the US Helms Amendment; 13. Man at the Crossroads draws earlier themes together; the author makes the case for rejecting determinism and the “operant conditioning” of the Skinner school in favour of the moral progress of autonomous man through adherence to traditional ethical values.