Keynes’s General Theory for Today

Keynes’s General Theory for Today

Contemporary Perspectives

Edited by Jesper Jespersen and Mogens Ove Madsen

The themes of this important new volume were chosen to mark the 75th anniversary of the publication of The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. The distinguished authors concentrate on the relevance of this seminal publication for macroeconomic theory, method and the politics of today. This is particularly pertinent as similarities with the 1930s are striking in terms of unemployment, low growth, financial fragility and the European monetary union resembling the gold standard.

Chapter 5: A new methodological approach to economic theory: what I have learnt from 30 years of research on Keynes

Anna Carabelli

Subjects: economics and finance, history of economic thought, post-keynesian economics


As any scholar knows, 30 years are certainly not enough, in modern times, to acquire a complete understanding of a topic such as economics or even one of its branches. Now I am perfectly aware that they are insufficient even for claiming a mastery of one of the heroes of economics, or at least of one of its main heroes, namely John Maynard Keynes, to whom I have devoted so much of my academic life. But I also know, now, that this owes much to Keynes’s peculiar vision of economics; and that learning from Keynes is, to a relevant extent, learning about economics itself. And I guess that if a true epistemologic revolution has not occurred in economic theory after Keynes, this is because Keynes had come to develop a complexity approach to economics, one which regards economics as essentially a method to cope with the complexity of the economic material, which cannot be even partially grasped if adopting the lens of the mainstream of the discipline. What follows is a bird’s-eye view of Keynes’s attempted methodological revolution in economics as I came to understand it throughout 30 years of research; of what I have learnt, in other words, working on the Treatise on Probability (hereafter: TP) as Keynes’s ‘essay on method’ and focusing on the consistency between such methodological positions and Keynes’s economic writings, notwithstanding varying circumstances and changing theories.

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