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Keynes: Contemporary Responses to the General Theory (Key Issues Series) [Paperback]

By Roger E. Backhouse (Editor)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   257
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.52" Width: 5.46" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 15, 1999
Publisher   St. Augustine's Press
ISBN  1890318280  
EAN  9781890318284  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Keynes's General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (published in February 1936) is probably the most influential and controversial economics book of the twentieth century. Keynes claimed to have undermined the foundations of orthodox economics and to have developed a radically new way of thinking about unemployment.

This volume brings together forty of the reviews published before the end of 1936, showing how a wide range of economists and political and literary figures responded to the book. It shows a variety and intensity of the reactions evoked by Keynes. Because they are all very early reviews, they antedate the articles (notably by J. R. Hicks) that appeared early in 1937 and which provided the framework (the so-called IS-LM model) through which economists have come to interpret Keynes's ideas. Here we have perspectives on Keynesian economics that are untainted by the work of subsequent interpreters.

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More About Roger E. Backhouse

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Roger E. Backhouse is Professor of the History and Philosophy of Economics at the University of Birmingham, where he has taught since 1980, and at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. In 2007 he was Ludwig Lachmann Research Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the London School of Economics. He currently holds a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship. He is the co-editor (with Philippe Fontaine) of The History of the Social Sciences since 1945 (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and The Unsocial Social Science? Economics and Neighboring Disciplines since 1945 (2010) and (with Bradley W. Bateman) of The Cambridge Companion to Keynes (Cambridge University Press, 2006). He is co-author (with Bradley W. Bateman) of Capitalist Revolutionary: John Maynard Keynes. He is author of The Puzzle of Modern Economics, The Ordinary Business of Life and The Penguin History of Economics. He has written for a number of journals including Economica, the Journal of Economic Perspectives, History of Political Economy, the Journal of the History of Economic Thought and the Journal of Economic Methodology. He has been review editor of the Economic Journal, editor of the Journal of Economic Methodology and associate editor of the Journal of the History of Economic Thought.

Roger Backhouse was born in 1951 and has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Birmingham.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Economics > General   [6309  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Economics > Theory   [1183  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
How not to read the General Theory  Feb 13, 2006
Backhouse has compiled a set of past book reviews of J M Keynes's General Theory(GT,1936).The only reason for buying this book is that it demonstrates how not to read the GT.Every single reviewer of the GT in this volume(as well as every single economist-historian-philosopher in the 20th century)skips the mathematical modeling done by Keynes in chapters 19,20,and 21(as well as the comparison-contrast that Keynes makes between his mathematical model and the mathematical model put forth by A C Pigou in his 1933 book,The Theory of Unemployment,in the appendix to chapter 19) of the GT.Every single reviewer in this volume reads the GT as if it were a literary novel,allowing them to "interpret" Keynes's meaning in any way that they wish.One can see in these essays how the "What did Keynes mean?" industry got started and why it continues to flourish.Underlying each of the reviews is the explicit or implicit claim that either Keynes had no mathematical model of his theory in the GT or that his model,whatever it was, is filled with all kinds of mathematical and/or logical errors.It is a sad commentary on 20th century social science that not a single academic economist,historian,or philosopher,who had written on the GT, decided to check out Keynes's formal mathematical analysis in chapters 10,19 plus appendix,20,and 21 by simply integrating the derivatives that appear in those chapters,especially on pp.55-56,ft.2 and on pp.282-286 of the GT, to see what the original mathematical functions consisted of.This reviewer did so in 1981 when he was writing a dissertation on Keynes's GT and A Treatise on Probability.Every part of Keynes model is not only mathematically correct,but incorporates Pigou's model,the same model used by all neoclassical economists,such as monetarists,rational expectationists,real business cycles,etc.,as a special case.Keynes's actual aggregate demand function turns out to be Y=C+I =bY+(1-b)Y=PO,where b is the marginal propensity to consume and (1-b)is the marginal propensity to invest,a function of the marginal efficiency of capital and the rate of interest,O is real output and P is defined as the actual price level within the context of the mathematical model presented in chapter 10 of the GT only.Keynes's expected aggregate supply function,Z(= Z1 + Z2),is equal to wN +P ,where w is the money wage,N equals aggregate employment, and P is defined as expected profit within the context of the mathematical model(the D-Z model)contained in chapters 20 and 21 of the GT only.Z is always a linear function that will shift up and down as expectations of future profits and future prices change over time.Keynes's expected aggregate demand function is D (=D1+D2)=pO,where p is an expected price.The aggregate supply curve is the locus or set of all possible different D=Z outcomes,one for each different expected price.The D=Z function can be linear or convex.Keynes derives the following mathematical condition:w/p=mpl/(mpc+mpi),where mpl is the marginal product of labor derived from an aggregated neoclassical production function defined by Keynes on pp.283 and 285 of the GT.Unfortunately,Keynes expressed his results in the form of elasticities(p.116;p.283) so that a reader of the GT could compare his elasticities with the elasticities that Pigou derived from his model in 1933.Pigou's main result(as well as the main result of Friedman,Lucas,Sargent,Barro,etc.)is that w/p=mpl defines a full employment outcome macroscopically.It is obvious that this is a special case of Keynes's general result that can only occur if,and only if, mpc+mpi=1=mpc+mps,where mps is the marginal propensity to save.If mpc+mpi<1=mpc+mps,you obtain a set of stable ,multiple unemployment equilibriums.The conclusion one can derive from rereading these book reviews of the GT is that none of the reviewers knew how to apply basic differential and/or integral calculus or how to simplify an elasticity.It is also apparent that the editor,Backhouse,is mathematically illiterate.He has no idea of what Keynes's Y,D,and Z functions are or what they mean.It is a queer state of affairs indeed when economists publish huge amounts of books and articles about Keynes's general theory while having no knowledge of the mathematical model used by Keynes or even the mathematical model constructed by Pigou in 1933 that Keynes generalized,especially when Keynes told Dennis Robertson point blank in 1935 that his D-Z model(Z'-Z) was in a chapter called " The Employment Function ". Anyone who can follow a table of contents will find this listed as chapter 20 in the GT.

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