Keynes and his Battles

Keynes and his Battles

Gillies Dostaler

This fascinating book brings together and examines all aspects of the life and work of one of the most influential thinkers of the last century, John Maynard Keynes, whose theses are still hotly debated. It combines, in an accessible, unique and cohesive manner, analytical, biographical and contextual elements from a variety of perspectives.

Chapter 6: Money: Economic Motor and Social Pathology

Gillies Dostaler

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, history of economic thought


It is hardly possible to overestimate the importance of money. Letter to Lytton Strachey, 5 July 1907 Money is a funny thing, – it seems impossible to believe that the present system will be allowed to continue much longer. As the fruit of a little extra knowledge and experience of a special kind, it simply (and undeservedly in any absolute sense) comes rolling in. Letter to Florence Ada Keynes, 23 September 1919 Money is only important for what it will procure. A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923-1, p. 1) The love of money as a possession – as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life – will be recognised for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease. ‘Economic possibilities for our grandchildren’ (1930-17, p. 329) The evolution of Keynes’s economic theory is punctuated by three books: A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923-1), A Treatise on Money (1930-1) and The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936-1). While the first started as newspaper articles, the second was an academic work from the start, aiming in part at deepening and correcting the ideas contained in the first. The third started as a correction of the second, of which Keynes was not satisfied. Keynes considered, after the publication of his last book, publishing Footnotes to ‘The General Theory’ (JMK 14, pp. 133–4).1 The words ‘money’...

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