Second Edition Of General Theory: Overview, Extensions, by G.c. Harcourt

By G.c. Harcourt

This moment quantity includes essays which relate to advancements in Keynes' scholarship and theorizing within the years for the reason that his loss of life and demonstrates the continued validity of the Keynesian culture.

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The faith of classical economics assures us ‘yes’. The answer of The General Theory is ‘no’. The intellectual bankruptcy of classical economics is plain to see: for the chronic mass unemployment of the last two decades, it offers neither diagnosis nor prescription. The purpose of my book is to fill the void. AN OVERVIEW OF THE GENERAL THEORY 3 Our first task is to understand the sources of the systemic failures that plague us. With understanding we can design remedies. Fortunately, it appears that the remedies lie in government fiscal and monetary policies and leave intact the basic political, economic and social institutions of democracy and capitalism.

The issue is whether full employment will prevail in the face of a negative demand shock if the central bank ‘does nothing’. I have taken a constant money supply as doing nothing, and argued that it will not suffice. Things are still worse if we recognize that if the central bank and Treasury are passive, the money stock itself will decline in periods of slack economic activity. This will surely be true if money stock is interpreted to include bank deposits. Even if the stock of currency and bank reserves is held constant, increased public preference for currency over deposits and increased liquidity preferences of banks themselves will hold down their stocks of money and credit.

In this regime, all the classical homilies apply. Thrift and industry are virtues, and the rules of efficient resource allocation come into their own. Alas, much harm is done by unthinking application of those principles in the wrong settings. The great philosopher Alfred North Whitehead warned us of the ‘fallacy of misplaced concreteness’, wherein abstract generalization and principles are applied in the wrong empirical circumstances. Involuntary unemployment resulting from inadequate aggregate demand is mainly a malady of wealthy industrial capitalist economies, those of Britain, North America and continental Europe.

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