Edited by Jesper Jespersen and Mogens Ove Madsen
Chapter 5: A new methodological approach to economic theory: what I have learnt from 30 years of research on Keynes
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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