Keynesian theory after Keynes
in Keynes and Marx
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Keynesian scholarship is enormous and diverse. Rather than feigning an overview of the literature, this chapter sketches three broad trajectories of Keynesian critique to make an argument that each remains limited by an ambiguous and unsatisfactory break with neo-classical economics. The chapter first considers neo-classical synthesis Keynesianism, associated with Samuelson’s textbook introduction to economics, the IS/LM (investment savings/liquidity money) models of Hicks and Hansen, and the Phillips Curve interpretation of inflation. Second, the chapter looks at market imperfections, considering alternative New Keynesian and post-Keynesian accounts, with briefer notes on money and financial instability. Despite declarations of mutual hostility, the relatively moderate New Keynesians and the putatively more radical post-Keynesians have much in common in their emphasis on imperfections, implying that neo-classical world of perfect competition remains central to their vision, even if as a focus of antagonism. There is often common ground too in hopes that states can reduce the imperfections or ameliorate their consequences. Third, the chapter considers an alternative strand of post-Keynesianism which puts more emphasis on time and uncertainty. Potentially profound insights tend to be reined in as they are marshalled for an in-house squabble with mainstream economists. Even as a more fundamental critique, the identification of radical uncertainty shows the follies of much of the existing economic formalism without providing the basis for an alternative political economy.

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