Unemployment, Recession and Effective Demand

Unemployment, Recession and Effective Demand

The Contributions of Marx, Keynes and Kalecki

Claudio Sardoni

In the midst of the current world economic crisis, many claim there is a necessity to return to the Marxian and Keynesian traditions in order to better understand the dynamics of market economies. This book is an important step in that direction. It presents a critical examination of the foundations of macroeconomics as developed in the traditions of Marx, Keynes and Kalecki, which are contrasted with the current mainstream. Particular attention is given to the problem of market forms and their relevance for macroeconomics.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Claudio Sardoni

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

Extract

INTENT AND MOTIVATION OF THE BOOK This book is mainly focused on the works of Marx, Keynes and Kalecki, three great economists of the past, but its object is not to provide a historical reconstruction of their thought. The book aims at giving an analytical contribution to the development of a viable alternative to the current mainstream in economics, macroeconomics in particular, by drawing from the founding fathers of two important alternative approaches to economics, the Marxist and the Post Keynesian traditions.1 Such a declaration of intent, however, requires a number of clarifications and delimitations in order to avoid vagueness and excessive boldness. First of all, it is necessary to explain why the book concentrates on Marx’s, Keynes’s and Kalecki’s original works rather than on more recent contributions inspired by them. The basic reason for this choice is that Marxists and Post Keynesians have never showed much interest in the study of the analytical relationship among Marx’s, Keynes’s and Kalecki’s original works, in particular in the relationship between the works of Marx and Keynes.2 But to look directly at their works can be very helpful to better understand which are the elements of similarity between the two traditions and, hence, to develop an alternative based on common grounds. In this sense, considering Kalecki’s contribution is of central importance, not only because he represents a sort of ‘bridge’ between the Marxian and Keynesian traditions but also because he gave answers to several important analytical problems left unsolved by both Marx...