The Elgar Companion to John Maynard Keynes
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The Elgar Companion to John Maynard Keynes

Edited by Robert W. Dimand and Harald Hagemann

The most influential and controversial economist of the twentieth century, John Maynard Keynes was the leading founder of modern macroeconomics, and was also an important historical figure as a critic of the Versailles Peace Treaty after World War I and an architect of the Bretton Woods international monetary system after World War II. This comprehensive Companion elucidates his contributions, his significance, his historical context and his continuing legacy.
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Chapter 44: The Keynes–Sraffa–Hayek controversy

Heinz D. Kurz


Friedrich August Hayek in the 1930s assumed the role of a main adversary of Keynes’s explanation of unemployment and economic crises. Hayek advocated an “Austrian” version of orthodox theory, building upon the works of von Mises, von Böhm-Bawerk and Pareto. Keynes had difficulties to counter Hayek’s attack on the Treatise because he was not familiar with these works. It was therefore natural for Keynes to ask Sraffa, who was familiar with the three intellectual traditions to help him out of the impasse and ward off Hayek’s attack. This Sraffa succeeded in doing. He argued that Hayek’s alternative construction was beset by a number of difficulties and inconsistencies.

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