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Fernando J. Cardim de Carvalho
Much of the criticism directed at austerity programs implemented after the 2007/2008 financial crisis, more forcefully in the eurozone, have relied on the same arguments Keynes and others raised against the (British) Treasury View developed in the 1920s and 1930s. Austerity, however, has been proposed most insistently in the 2010s by European authorities, led by the German Federal Ministry of Finance, the Bundesfinanzministerium (BMF). While the arguments for austerity then and now share some common elements, there are enough original arguments being presented by the BMF to make many of the criticisms ineffective. The paper reconstructs both views, the Treasury's and the BMF's, to show and evaluate their similarities and their differences.
Thomas Palley and Matías Vernengo
Robert J. Gordon
In the late 1960s the stable negatively sloped Phillips curve was overturned by the Friedman–Phelps natural rate model. Their Phillips curve was vertical in the long run at the natural unemployment rate, and their short-run curve shifted up whenever unemployment was pushed below the natural rate. This paper criticizes the underlying assumption of the Friedman–Phelps approach that the labor market continuously clears and that changes in unemployment down or up occur only in response to ‘fooling’ of workers, firms, or both. A preferable and resolutely Keynesian approach explains quantity rationing by inertia in price and wage setting. The positive correlation of inflation and unemployment in the 1970s and again in the 1990s is explained by joining the negatively sloped Phillips curve with a positively sloped dynamic demand curve. For any given growth of nominal GDP, higher inflation implies slower real GDP growth and higher unemployment. This ‘triangle’ model based on demand, supply, and inertia worked well to explain why inflation and unemployment were both positively and negatively correlated between the 1960s and 1990s, but in the past decade the slope of the short-run Phillips curve has flattened as inflation exhibited a muted response to high unemployment in 2009–2013 and low unemployment in 2016–2018.
Despite a few pockets of relatively fast expansion, overall deficiency of demand characterises the world economy. The external stimulus provided by the US is declining; Europe's net impact is negative because of the emphasis on generating current-account surpluses. While China is already a significant global economic player, it cannot adequately counter the effect of this reduced impetus from the major developed countries. Much of the developing world is relying on unsustainable debt-driven bubbles in the financially liberalised environment to generate economic recovery. Sustaining the development project will require countries to shift from export-oriented growth to more reliance on domestic demand through wage and employment increases.
Economic theory that is relevant to the real world is always a product of its time, taking for granted the institutions and behaviours that characterise that time. Old books, like Keynes’s General Theory, present a conundrum: how much is still pertinent today and what revisions are necessary to bring the theory into line with changes in the economic system since the book was written. This chapter attempts an answer to that question. It is argued that the principle of effective demand and liquidity preference is almost unchanged, but that globalisation and changes to the banks’ behaviour pose serious questions for the theory, as does our new awareness of resource constraints and climate change. The underlying methodology remains the best on offer and should be retained in any revision.
It was some fifty years ago, when Harry Johnson came to the LSE and established his monetary seminar there, that Vicky Chick and I first met, and have remained friends and colleagues ever since. During these fifty years there have been several regime changes in monetary management. The Bretton Woods system of pegged exchange rates gave way in 1971–72 to a rather inchoate non-system of regional pegging (or fixing as in the euro-zone) combined with a – somewhat managed – float between major currencies. So, until the early 1970s, only the Fed in the USA had to concern itself with the principles, regime and rules for managing its domestic monetary system.
Edited by Sheila Dow, Jesper Jespersen and Geoff Tily
The chapters in this volume, and its companion volume, The General Theory and Keynes for the 21st Century, originated in a celebration marking the happy coincidence that 2016 saw the 80th birthdays both of the publication of Keynes’s General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money and of Victoria Chick, who has contributed so much to the development of Post-Keynesian theory and method. Her monograph Macroeconomics after Keynes: A Reconsideration of the General Theory has been one of the stepping stones for two generations of macroeconomists. As with Keynes, from the very beginning of her career monetary, banking and financial theory have been of special interest: how to analyse the development of money and finance, and the intertwined relationship between financial and real activities. The chapters in these volumes serve as a reminder to academic and professional economists of the narrowness, let alone the limited relevance, of the conventional account of Keynes. They are indicative of a more substantial and richer approach to economics, just as mainstream economics is being forced to confront its grave limitations in the wake of the global financial crisis and subsequent stagnation. Those from the mainstream who are approaching these limitations in a constructive manner are therefore found assessing the nature of money and deposit creation, the role of uncertainty and ideas around multiple equilibria – constant themes of Vicky’s research.