Beyond Keynes, Volume Two
Edited by Shelia C. Dow
Chapter 11: Keynes, Post Keynesians and methodology
Sheila C. Dow I INTRODUCTION The purpose of this chapter is to address the judgment expressed by some that, while Keynes made valuable contributions to the development of economic theory, those contributions are subsumed in more technically advanced modern theory. In comparison, Keynes’s economic theory is limited by the narrower range of theoretical techniques available at the time. This judgment tends to be embedded in the broader methodological position that economics, by and large, progresses over time, and technical advance is part of that process. The implication is, therefore, not only that subsequent theoretical developments are an improvement on Keynes, but that not much will be gained by considering earlier (by deﬁnition less developed) stages of thought. This chapter questions the argument that, in itself, technical advance has allowed macroeconomic theory to supersede the economics of Keynes. It is argued that such a judgment should address the methodological shift which has occurred in macroeconomics, along with technical change, from an open-system approach to a closed-system approach. The logic of Keynes’s methodology, which is carried forward in Post Keynesian economics, requires that the scope of application of formal techniques in general, and the choice of a closed-system methodology in particular, be justiﬁed in terms of the nature of the subject matter. The focus of the chapter is thus to question the notion that technical progress in economics is methodologically neutral. The argument rests on an understanding of Keynes’s methodology as diﬀering from the methodology underlying many of those...
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