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Carlo Cristiano

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Two minds that never met: Frank H. Knight on John M. Keynes once again – a documentary note

Perham C. Nahl's notes from Frank H. Knight's course on Business Cycles, University of California, 1936

Edited by Carlo Cristiano and Luca Fiorito

This note presents new archival evidence about Frank H. Knight's views on John M. Keynes. The relevant material is composed of a series of lecture notes taken by Perham C. Nahl in Frank H. Knight's course on Business Cycles at the University of California at Berkeley in the fall of 1936. It emerges from the notes that the methodological gap between Keynes and Knight was irreducible, which explains the harsh tone of Knight's published review of The General Theory. Connected to this is Knight's strenuous defense of the ‘postulates of classical political economy’ as criticized by Keynes in chapter 2 of his book, an argument that was better expounded in the classroom than in the review. However, besides strong criticisms, a few constructive remarks can also be found in the notes. In criticizing Keynes, Knight proposed an interesting analysis of the business cycle that he did not develop in the published review of The General Theory, and there is even some evidence that Knight was attracted to Keynes's discussion of ‘liquidity preference.’

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Carlo Cristiano and Maria Cristina Marcuzzo

Keynes the investor has recently attracted the attention of several scholars and quite a few articles have come out in the last six years. A description of Keynes's dealings has emerged, assessing his performance as an investor as superior but not as stellar as had previously been believed. However, overall evaluation of Keynes's performance is still lacking. This paper contributes to this growing literature by filling some of the gaps, especially in relation to Keynes's investment philosophy and economic theory, and by undertaking a more comprehensive review of the available evidence, drawing on some unpublished sources which have not as yet been fully exploited.