Chapter 10: Conclusion: From Keynes to Keynesianism
10. Conclusion: from Keynes to Keynesianism The terms ‘Keynesian’ and ‘Keynesianism’ started to be used during Keynes’s lifetime. The expression ‘Keynesian revolution’ appeared as the title of a book by Lawrence Klein in 1947, though Keynes himself qualified as revolutionary the consequences of his new theory. As their use became more frequent, the meaning of these words became increasingly ambiguous. Keynes himself told Austin Robinson, after dining with economists in Washington, in 1944: ‘I was the only non-Keynesian there’ (J. Robinson, 1979, p. 27). According to other accounts, he distanced himself from some of his disciples shortly before his death. The links between Keynes’s ideas, the Keynesian revolution and Keynesianism are thus complex. It exceeds the scope of this conclusion to fully cover this field, which I have approached elsewhere1 and which has been studied in innumerable other works. The literature on the Keynesian revolution and Keynesianism is, in effect, more abundant than the literature on Keynes. It will suffice here to raise certain of its issues, while finishing with an evaluation of the contemporary relevance of Keynes’s message. THE KEYNESIAN REVOLUTION Keynes was not the only inspiration behind the revolution that bears his name. As this book has tried to show, his understanding of society and the proposed political actions resulting from it preceded the construction of the economic theory that legitimized them. This understanding and these propositions were situated in a particular historical context. When Keynes was born, the competitive and liberal capitalism that had triumphed in nineteenth-century...
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