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 87: The rise, fall, and return of the master

Peter Clarke


Currently some Keynesians laud an overdue revival of interest in the master’s analysis, faced with the manifestly irrational expectations that can drive market instability; whereas others point to the way that policies of “austerity” exerted such a strong political hold internationally from about 2010. There is often tension between claims for the timeless validity of economic ideas and the ideological purchase that they acquire in an ever-changing context of policy and politics. Keynes’s analysis did not (like that of an Einstein) carry the day among fellow scientists simply through its own theoretical elegance, but because of a public policy dimension. The General Theory was a work for which the world had already been prepared. Persuasion of the experts paralleled Keynes’s own efforts as a publicist to persuade outside opinion; an example not lost upon Milton Friedman, in later rendering a new generation of politicians slaves to the Chicago School.

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