Saturday, October 13, 2007

New Book on Keynes Pleases Me, But Won't Please Everybody

The first of 17 volumes for the Great Thinkers in Economics series, edited by A. P. Thirwall, has been published by Palgrave Macmillan. It is by Paul Davidson and is titled simply: John Maynard Keynes.

I have read the first three chapters and it promises to be a controversial account of Keynes life and economics. It describes 'Keynes' and his 'revolutionary views' and shows what he was trying to do in macro-policy betwen the wars and for a short-time after the end of World War II. This is likely to be criticised by many recent economists.

Having worked for a couple of years on Adam Smith and recognised that most interpetation of his work has been totally misrepresenteative of his legacy, I feel a certain affinity with Paul Davidson, whose account of the treatment of Keynes also shows that many modern economists also misunderstand his purpose in The General Theory, echoes much of what I found in modern accounts of Adam Smith, and the question that remains whether I shall continue to see these parallels between the two philosophers turned political economists.

Keynes stood out against what he called 'Classical Economists', into which he lumped Adam Smith, a challengeable error in my view, and the neo-classical paradigm took root and flowered, and co-incidentally 'Keynesian' policy consensus went into decline in the monetarist controversies. Much that is described as 'Keynesian' is quite different from The General Theory (again in my view, and perhaps Davidson's) and his legacy suffers a fate not that different from Adam Smith's.

Paul Davidson's John Maynard Keynes, retails at £55 in the UK and is availabe on Amazon or from bookshops (IBN 978-1-4039-9623-7). So far, it's a good read. I shall report when I finish reading my copy.


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