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 52: Lionel Robbins

Susan Howson


Lionel Robbins (1898–1984) is most famous for his Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science. He is also well known to have been “anti-Keynes” in the 1930s: in the early years of that decade he favoured Austrian views on the trade cycle with their implication that macroeconomic employment policy was useless or worse. However, during if not slightly before the Second World War he changed his mind about the efficacy of macroeconomic policy; after the war he admitted to being a “Keynesian” of sorts. This chapter considers his reactions to Keynes and his work in the 1930s, including his famous row with Keynes in 1930, in 1940–45 when he worked closely with Keynes in wartime government service, and in the years after Keynes’s death in 1946.

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