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 95: Keynesianism in Australia

J.W. Nevile and Peter Kriesler


This chapter is about how Keynes’s ideas in his 1936 book The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money were received in the intellectual community and acted upon by governments in Australia. The ideas of Keynes in the General Theory were more rapidly adopted in Australia than in many other countries. Of the early advocates of Keynesian ideas, Giblin, Reddaway, Coombs, Crawford, Swan and Downing were probably the most influential. All of these were important in the process of adopting and implementing policy measures, and all put an emphasis on fiscal policy. However, to paraphrase Coombs, the initial result of the emergence of the Keynesian analysis was to push monetary policy into the background. Others, especially Copland, with strong reservations about the General Theory also used its framework for policy recommendations. Keynesian analysis later also made major contributions to other aspects of the macroeconomic policy debate, particularly in respect of inflation and incomes policy and economic growth. The influence of Keynes’s 1936 ideas declined substantially after 1975 – although there was some increase in interest as a result of the Global Financial Crisis.

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