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The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money Paperback – June 7, 2009
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As a non-economist, I was struck by several things. First was Keynes' demolition of "classical" economic theory on the means of increasing employment, political economy, and the relationship of supply to demand. (Think Say, Malthus, and especially Ricardo and Pigou.) This was totally unexpected, but given the revolutionary nature of his argument, entirely understandable. Second, I was stuck by the way in which Keynes structures his theory - it was much more reminiscent of philosophy than economics, as the terms Keynes uses are first clearly defined and deliniated before the relationship between ideas (and his postulates on the cause and effect between them) is discussed. Lastly, I was pleasantly suprised by the wit and cleverness of his writing.
That said, I found it difficult reading, primarily because I am not fluent with many of the concepts Keynes discusses (the "elaasticity of effective demand" as it relates to the Quantity Theory of Money for example). WIth patience, plenty of revisiting the definitions of economic terms and careful deliberate thought, I was able to follow the gist of Keynes' General Theory. It made for slow going. Whether you agree (or not) with Keynes' theories have become as much a political exercise as an economic one, and are waters I'd rather not wade into here. In terms of the merits of the book, for the lay reader, you really have to want it to wade through it - it may be suprising at how poorly represented Keynes' ideas are represented in the popular imagination (for example, that Keynes supported deficit finance). That alone an incentive for giving _The General Theory_ a try.
Most educated Americans know something of John Maynard Keynes, the great British economist whose hugely influential work “T"The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money", strongly influenced economic theory and practice during the last half of the twentieth century, particularly with regard to the role of government in stimulating and regulating a nation's’s economic life. Nevertheless it remains true that almost all of the "intelligentsia" in general, and most economists in particular, have never read the book, despite the fact that it is readily available in today’s mega-bookstores such as of course, Amazon.com (at a reasonable price and) in a good quality paperback.
Indeed, by a curious twist, the people who seem most to have made some attempt to read Keynes' oeuvre are those who appear most outraged by it and determined to revile it. If one is skeptical about this, (read the reviews), where veritable "frothing at the mouth" denunciations seem to dominate. These would hardly be worth reading except for the mindset they reveal, which goes far toward illuminating some of the attitudes of the 1930's otherwise inexplicable at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Their very virulence convinces one that Keynes was clearly on to something; if an author enrages half the world he must be at least half right.
Keynes detractors are right about one thing: "General Theory..." is a tough read, though not for some of the reasons they indicate. Keynes actually uses very little mathematics, the alleged prevalence of which is one of the points usually cited in criticism.Read more ›
After seeing the amount of vitriol hurled at this book I wondered for a second if I have somehow misunderstood it, or carelessly missed a passage in which Keynes urged us to kill babies. No, John Maynard Keynes did not kill babies, nor was he as such disproved (merely disagreed with).
The abuse showered upon him is a clear and unfortunate evidence of the ideological division between (politically) liberal and conservative approach to economics, which in itself is not an exact or precise science (some would say it is not even a science) and lacks sufficient rigor to have anything beyond trivial proved or disproved (I, personally, prefer the phrasing along the lines of "convincingly demonstrate") within its framework. With all this in mind economics quite often provides ample room for opposing views, especially when views are not directly conflicting, except when viewed through polarizing lens of ideology.
The "conservative" economists along the lines of Friedman and Hayek, so frequently mentioned as anti-thesis of Keynes preached (in my gross simplification) free markets and government non-intervention, which while a valid perspective hardly merits a nearly religious fervor.
Keynes, or any other sensible theoretical economist, would agree that free-markets are a good idea in principle, which is seldom if ever realized.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The paper back Stellar Editions is a large format, very small print, and has no footnotes.
The "Look inside" is deceiving, I don't know why they use that... Read more
Large format, small type edition. It's physically flexible and more than adequate for research, study and general interest reading. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Good Book. Good Price. Don't know enough about Keynes to say more, but he seems a very interesting and accomplished fellow, who is apparently a mathematician and not an economist... Read morePublished 2 months ago by LaFleur
Great book which I will use in my college classes as a professor.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I love John Maynard Keynes and his economic theories Bloomsbury circle was superinteresting!Published 3 months ago by Robert