Table of Contents

Keynes’s General Theory

Keynes’s General Theory

Seventy-Five Years Later

Edited by Thomas Cate

This volume, a collection of essays by internationally known experts in the area of the history of economic thought and of the economics of Keynes and macroeconomics in particular, is designed to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publication of The General Theory.

Editor’s Introduction

Thomas Cate

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


Thomas Cate In a letter to George Bernard Shaw dated 1 January 1935, Keynes wrote: To understand my state of mind, however, you have to know that I believe myself to be writing a book on economic theory which will largely revolutionize – not, I suppose, at once but in the course of the next 10 years – the way the world thinks about economic problems. J. M. Keynes, Collected Writings, Vol. XIII, p. 492 (emphasis in original) While the question of a revolution in the Kuhnian or Lakatosian sense has yet to be completely resolved, the economic profession has experienced a dramatic transformation since the publication of The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (Keynes 1936).1 As Samuelson notes: ‘The General Theory caught most economists under the age of 35 with the unexpected virulence of a disease first attacking and decimating an isolated tribe of south sea islanders’ (Samuelson 1966, p. 1517). At least three differences distinguish The General Theory from some of Keynes’s earlier books. First, there is the difference in audience: The Economic Consequences of the Peace (Keynes, CW, vol. I) and A Tract on Monetary Reform (Keynes, CW, vol. IV) were written for a much larger audience: Fellow economists, policy makers and sophisticated readers who were aware of the issues being raised in each book; whereas The General Theory was written for his fellow economists. Second, there is the difference in tone and style of writing: Economic Consequences and the Tract are much more engaging, lively,...