The comprehensive Encyclopedia features accessible, informative and provocative contributions by leading international scholars working in the tradition of Keynes. It brings together widely dispersed yet theoretically congruent ideas, presents concise biographies of economists who have contributed to the debate on Keynes and the Keynesian Revolution, and outlines the basic principles, models and tools used to discuss the economic consequences of The General Theory.
Introduction to the Second Edition
Edited by Thomas Cate
Sixteen years have passed since the publication of the first edition of this Encyclopedia, and the world has become a very different place. Significant changes in nations’ economic, social and political institutions have taken place, driven, in part, by the adverse effects of the Great Contraction. Polite discussions about the root causes of the Great Contraction and potential public policy proposals to nudge the affected economic systems towards a sustainable recovery have become heated partisan arguments. Many a nation’s political systems, and the United States is a case in point, are polarized to an extent not seen since the 1930s.
The scholars who contributed to the second edition of this Encyclopedia, like those who contributed to the first edition, are dedicated to unlocking the mysteries surrounding J.M. Keynes: his life, his times, his theories, his policies. Keynes never met a problem he thought he could not solve; and yet even Keynes’s brilliant solutions to seeming intractable problems – the Versailles Peace Treaty, the return to gold – had one thing in common: a lack of votes in the House of Commons.
The intent of the second edition is the same as that of the first – namely, to show that the economics of Keynes is still relevant today. Most of the entries that comprised the first edition are reproduced here in the second edition. However, three changes from the first edition should be noted: (1) some of the original entries have been deleted, (2) some of the original entries have been completely rewritten by new contributors and (3) some new entries covering topics on behavioral economics and finance, structural finance and central bank operations were commissioned. The economics of Keynes remains relevant to today’s world provided we keep in mind that policy proposals cannot be developed in a political vacuum – both sides of the aisle must be willing to compromise. To paraphrase Keynes, I change my mind when confronted with new information relevant to solving the problem at hand. What do you do?