Edited by Philip Arestis and Malcolm Sawyer
ahn (Baron Kahn of Hampstead) was one of the most distinguished and inﬂuential economists of the twentieth century. His distinction rests on an article written at the age of 25 in which he invented the most powerful practical tool ever devised in 200 years of economics – the ‘multiplier’. His inﬂuence derives from his close professional association ﬁrst with John Maynard Keynes and later with Joan Robinson. Kahn himself wrote comparatively little, his ideas appearing most often in the writings of others. Richard Kahn was born in London on 10 August 1905. He died in Cambridge on 6 June 1989 at the age of 83. He was educated at St Paul’s School and at King’s College (Cambridge) where he earned an upper second in physics in 1927. He then switched to economics and, with Keynes as one of his supervisors (the other being Gerald Shove), obtained a ﬁrst in economics in one year, completed a Fellowship dissertation in a further year, and was elected to a Research Fellowship at King’s in the spring of 1930. The dissertation, ‘The Economics of the Short Period’, was a sustained critique of the orthodox theory of the ﬁrm. Its intellectual origins lay in Piero Sraffa’s critique of Marshallian theory, which was elaborated both in his articles in Annali di Economia (1925) and the Economic Journal (1926), and in his more wide-ranging Cambridge lecture course on the theory of value which Kahn had attended. Sraffa had demonstrated in his Economic Journal article that neither...
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