For John King, author of A History of PostKeynesian Economics since 1936 , post-Keynesian economics is ‘a dissident school
of thought in macroeconomics’. 1 His
book traced post-Keynesian economics back to 1936, the year when The General Theory of
Employment, Interest and Money , by John Maynard Keynes, was published. This was
important to establish the legitimacy of the dissenting tradition he represented,
demonstrating that the economists who formed the subject of his book were
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.
“Classics”’, would have it, here the attempted reconciliation with the mainstream is overt and Keynes’s criticisms become a special case of the system he was criticising.
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. As Shaikh ( 2016 ) has argued, the emphasis for both remains on imperfections
What does it mean to live in an era of ‘posts’? At a time when ‘post-truth’ is on everyone’s lips, this volume seeks to uncover the logic of post-constructions – postmodernism, post-secularism, postfeminism, post-colonialism, post-capitalism, post-structuralism, post-humanism, post-tradition, post-Christian, post-Keynesian and post-ideology – across a wide array of contexts. It shows that ‘post’ does not simply mean ‘after.’ Although post-prefixes sometimes denote a particular periodization, especially in the case of mid-twentieth-century post-concepts, they more often convey critical dissociation from their root concept. In some cases, they even indicate a continuation of the root concept in an altered form. By surveying the range of meanings that post-prefixes convey, as well as how these meanings have changed over time and across multiple and shifting contexts, this volume sheds new light on how post-constructions work and on what purposes they serve. Moreover, by tracing them across the humanities and social sciences, the volume uncovers sometimes unexpected parallels and transfers between fields usually studied in isolation from each other.
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
Karl Polanyi (1886–1964) returned to public discourse in the 1990s, when the Soviet Union imploded and globalization erupted. Best known for The Great Transformation, Polanyi’s wide-ranging thought anticipated twenty-first-century civilizational challenges of ecological collapse, social disintegration and international conflict, and warned that the unbridled domination of market capitalism would engender nationalist protective counter-movements. In Karl Polanyi and Twenty-First-Century Capitalism, Radhika Desai and Kari Polanyi Levitt bring together prominent and new thinkers in the field to extend the boundaries of our understanding of Polanyi's life and work. Kari Polanyi Levitt's opening essay situates Polanyi in the past century shaped by Keynes and Hayek, and explores how and why his ideas may shape the twenty-first century. Her analysis of his Bennington Lectures, which pre-dated and anticipated The Great Transformation, demonstrates how Central European his thought and chief concerns were. The next several contributions clarify, for the first time in Polanyi scholarship, the meaning of money as a fictitious commodity. Other contributions resolve difficulties in understanding the building blocks of Polanyi's thought: fictitious commodities, the double movement, the United States' exceptional development, the reality of society and socialism as freedom in a complex society. The volume culminates in explorations of how Polanyi has influenced, and can be used to develop, ideas in a number of fields, whether income inequality, world-systems theory or comparative political economy. Contributors: Fred Block, Michael Brie, Radhika Desai, Michael Hudson, Hannes Lacher, Kari Polanyi Levitt, Chikako Nakayama, Jamie Peck, Abraham Rotstein, Margaret Somers, Claus Thomasberger, Oscar Ugarteche Galarza.
There would, however, appear to be an uncomfortable convergence between Keynes and the monetarist mainstream, at least in as far as both accept that states control the money supply. Putatively more radical ‘post-Keynesian’ theories reject this to insist instead on endogenous money, inverting Keynes’s own positions. Instead, money comes from the market, not the state (Moore 1988 , King 2015 ). Private financial institutions respond to firms’ demands. Historically, private banks issued their own notes and continue to issue credit, which amounts to money. Even
periodizing the histories of
those disciplines themselves. However, as Backhouse’s analysis of one of these rare
economic post-concepts – post-Keynesian – nicely shows, there are exceptions to
this rule. Although post-Keynesian was initially charged with ‘a purely temporal
meaning’, it subtly evolved into a term with more complex and layered connotations.
Intellectual history therefore appears to be an excellent heuristic tool to
get a grip on the multiplicity of meanings and the misunderstandings that spring from it. It
economic perspectives that answer them using a different
set of tools. Post-Keynesians, for example, would emphasise private
debt as a cause of financial crises, while Austrians would emphasise
the role of central banks. Economics students are currently introduced to neither of these perspectives and are not given reasons why
they should be considered wrong compared to neoclassical models.
The lack of clear answers to these questions is a symptom of the
fact that the social world is complex. This means that approaching
it from only one perspective can miss vital insights
This volume, by contrast, seeks to put these
historical questions centre stage. It does so by offering intellectual histories of some of
the most influential post-terms from the past hundred years: post-capitalist, post-Keynesian,
post-Christian, post-ideological, postmodern, post-secular, poststructuralist, postcolonial,
postfeminist, and post-traditional. The chapters collected in this volume ground these
concepts in varied and shifting historical contexts. They explore their articulation,