The General Theory and Keynes for the 21st Century
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The General Theory and Keynes for the 21st Century

Edited by Sheila Dow, Jesper Jespersen and Geoff Tily

This book is devoted to the lasting impact of The General Theory (and Keynes’s thought) on macroeconomic theory, methodology and its relevance for understanding the post-crisis challenges of the 21st Century. A number of contributions take their departure from Keynes's presentation during the 1930's of his new macroeconomic understanding and its policy implications. Other chapters take a more pluralistic view of Keynes's ideas and their importance for contemporary debates. Further, it is demonstrated that many textbooks often misrepresent The General Theory and therefore cannot be a reliable guide to 21st Century economic policy.
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Chapter 3: The Keynesian unblocking

Robert Skidelsky

Abstract

In light of Victoria Chick’s work on Keynes and economic methodology, in this chapter I explore why there was a Keynesian revolution at all. The reason I give is that existing political solutions to unemployment were blocked. Keynes offered an unblocking intellectual alternative in which both capitalists and workers would gain. I argue that The General Theory can be read on at least two levels: one responding to the institutional facts of the time, the second a more general rebuttal of the neoclassical road to full employment. Though the first reading has been more popular – the orthodox economics profession has always preferred Keynesian policy to Keynesian theory – Victoria Chick’s work and our experience of the Great Recession require us to build a better macroeconomics based on the second.

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