Towards a critical but constructive appraisal of Keynes’s thought
). Keynes himself was brutally rude about Marxism, dismissing it as ‘illogical and dull’ ( Collected Writings , Volume IX: 285; the Collected Writings are hereafter cited using ‘CW’ with the volume number, e.g. CWIX: 285). Some of Keynes’s followers can be more sympathetic (Cottrell 2012 ) and several ‘post-Keynesians’ are happy to acknowledge Marxist insights on class and dynamic change. But they typically insist that these insights can only thrive when grafted onto a Keynesian stem.
From the Marxist side, there have been useful engagements with Keynes but these
In a similar vein to the previous chapter on unemployment, this chapter and the next argue that there are problems and lacunae in Marx’s understanding of money and finance which a critical engagement with Keynes can help to address.
This chapter again begins with Marx and assumes a degree of familiarity and sympathy with Marxist political economy in general and Marx’s views on money in particular. Marx said profound things about money, some of which anticipate Keynes. But as de Brunhoff’s ( 1976 ) sympathetic and honest account acknowledges
This book sees Keynes as neither villain nor hero and develops a sympathetic ‘left’ critique. Keynes was an avowedly elitist and pro-capitalist economist, whom the left should appropriate with caution. But his analysis provides insights at a level of concreteness which Marx’s analysis largely ignored and which were concerned with issues of the modern world which Marx could not have foreseen. A critical Marxist engagement can simultaneously increase the power of Keynes’s insight and enrich Marxism. To understand Keynes, whose work is liberally invoked but seldom read, the book first puts Keynes in context, explaining his biography and the extraordinary times in which he lived, his philosophy and his politics. The book describes Keynes’s developing critique of ‘the classics’, of mainstream economics as he found it, and summarises the General Theory. It shows how Keynes provides an enduringly valuable critique of orthodoxy but vital insights rather than a genuinely general theory. The book then develops a Marxist appropriation of Keynes’s insights. It argues that Marxist analysis of unemployment, of money and interest, and of the role of the state can be enriched through such a critical engagement. The book addresses Keynesianism after Keynes, critically reviewing the practices that came to be known as ‘Keynesianism’ and different theoretical traditions that have claimed his legacy. It considers the crisis of the 1970s, the subsequent anti-Keynesian turn, the economic and ecological crises of the twenty-first century, and the prospects of returning to Keynes and Keynesianism.
appropriate a share of value created elsewhere. It is, however, necessary to go beyond this simple fact, and a critical engagement with Keynes can add valuable nuance.
The second section therefore revisits Keynes’s critique of orthodoxy and his alternative depiction of interest rate determination. There are two alternative mainstream views, one positing interest rates as simply tending to a natural rate that brings aggregate supply and demand into line, the second treating money itself in marginalist terms and seeing interest rates as determined by time preferences for
The well-being of Europe’s citizens depends less on individual consumption and more on their social consumption of essential goods and services – from water and retail banking to schools and care homes – in what we call the foundational economy. Individual consumption depends on market income, while foundational consumption depends on social infrastructure and delivery systems of networks and branches, which are neither created nor renewed automatically, even as incomes increase. This historically created foundational economy has been wrecked in the last generation by privatisation, outsourcing, franchising and the widespread penetration of opportunistic and predatory business models. The distinctive, primary role of public policy should therefore be to secure the supply of basic services for all citizens (not a quantum of economic growth and jobs). Reconstructing the foundational has to start with a vision of citizenship that identifies foundational entitlements as the conditions for dignified human development, and likewise has to depend on treating the business enterprises central to the foundational economy as juridical persons with claims to entitlements but also with responsibilities and duties. If the aim is citizen well-being and flourishing for the many not the few, then European politics at regional, national and EU level needs to be refocused on foundational consumption and securing universal minimum access and quality. If/when government is unresponsive, the impetus for change has to come from engaging citizens locally and regionally in actions which break with the top down politics of ‘vote for us and we will do this for you’.
the policy of hand-outs and the clientele system, they cared only about
winning the next elections and staying in power, and not in formulating a
common stand with the EU. After 2009, the PASOK government could rely
on the party’s previous positive engagement with the EU. But this time round,
it avoided full engagement with its partners. It appeared in two minds over
European cooperation. It believed it had the ability to pull through under its
own steam. It deemed that recourse to the EU would put obstacles in the way
of the programme it wanted to implement. It
of students from all over the world. However, we
could not hope to speak on behalf of the movement in its entirety.
Some members of RE will feel that our arguments are too bold while
others will want them to go further.
Our movement calls for more openness, diversity, engagement and
reflection in economics and so it has a place for all of these views. We
hope that this book reflects those principles and in doing so is part of
the change we want to see. Thank you for reading this book and not
leaving economics to the experts! If you want to know more about
mid-December if Greece was to be able to meet pending liabilities; otherwise, a disorderly default would follow.
A necessary precondition for the release of the instalment and the continued
engagement of the EU was the unequivocal acceptance by the leaders of both
the government and the main opposition political parties, George Papandreou
and Antonis Samaras, of all existing commitments made by Greece. Samaras
was less than tactful in this matter and framed such commitments in terms of
an assault on ‘national dignity’. Multiple heated meetings took place, with
placed to provide students with
a liberal education. This is apparent in our curriculum review. At
Cambridge there is less of a reliance on textbooks and more engagement with economic literature; multiple-choice tests are not used;
and they provide small-group supervision with academics instead
of large tutorials with graduate students.9 Other universities cannot
provide the same resources per student and so struggle to develop the
personalised relationship between student and academic that is such
an important part of liberal education.
However, our curriculum review
charismatic member of the Cambridge Apostles when Keynes arrived. Moore’s philosophy was formed out of an engagement with two locally influential alternative traditions, neo-Hegelianism and pragmatism. On the one hand, Moore rejected what he perceived as the neo-Hegelians’ radical holism and idealism (both of which much amplified anything in Hegel). This meant that their idealism was accordingly general rather than individual, ‘constituted by our mind, qua a participation in the eternal consciousness’ (Passmore 1968 : 59). Moore refused to dissolve the parts into the