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2024 | Buch

Keynes as an Economist, World System Planner and Social Philosopher

Economic Theory and Policy

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This book provides an insightful and original perspective on the work and legacy of John Maynard Keynes. It explores his work as an economist, world system planner, and social philosopher to highlight the different ways he influenced economics, economic policy, and the global political economy. Particularly attention is given to the development of the ideas which led up to The General Theory, his role as a planner and negotiator within international organizations, his work on the development of the post-war UK system, his debates with British Economists.

This book examines the work and international legacy of one of economics’ defining thinkers. It will be of interest to students and researchers interested in the political economy and the history of economic thought.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Part I

Frontmatter
Chapter 1. How Did Keynes Transform His Theory from the Tract into the Treatise?: Consideration Through Primary Material
Abstract
The issue of reparations and war debts was one of the most serious problems facing the world in the interwar-period. The United States, concerned solely with war debts repayment, turned down not only the Allied proposal to link reparations and war debts, but also the British 1922 proposal to cancel the inter-Allied war debts. The return to the Gold Standard at pre-war parity in April 1925 may be seen as an aspect of Britain’s struggle to retain hegemony.
Toshiaki Hirai
Chapter 2. How, and For How Long, Did Keynes Maintain the Treatise Theory?
Abstract
Many historians of economic theory have by now studied how Keynes developed his theory from A Tract on Monetary Reform through A Treatise on Money to The General Theory. After the pioneering studies by Moggridge (1973) and Patinkin (1976, 1982), there followed Dimand (1988), Amadeo (1989), Clarke (1988,1998), Melzer (1988), Moggridge (1992), Skidelsky (1992), Laidler (1999), and others. This is no wonder, for the Keynesian Revolution remains the most singular phenomenon that economic theory and policy have ever seen.
Toshiaki Hirai
Chapter 3. The Turning Point in Keynes’s Theoretical Development: From A Treatise on Money to the General Theory
Abstract
How did Keynes proceed from A Treatise on Money (hereafter the Treatise) to the General Theory? What was it that enabled him to change from the world of the former to that of the latter, and where exactly is the change to be located? These questions are crucial in understanding the Keynesian Revolution, and many interpretations have consequently been put forward. In our view, however, they lack the groundwork of thorough investigation. The present paper seeks to answer these questions convincingly with a new interpretation.
Toshiaki Hirai
Chapter 4. A Sketch of the General Theory
Abstract
In February 1936, the General Theory was published after going through the process discussed in the previous chapters. This work brought about the phenomenon called the “Keynesian Revolution” in the field of economic theory and policy. In this chapter, we will examine the message issued by the General Theory in line with the original text.
Toshiaki Hirai

Part II

Frontmatter
Chapter 5. On the Relief Problem
Abstract
The years during which Keynes and his contemporaries were active saw the world endeavoring to restore the Pax Britannica which had collapsed as a consequence of the World War I. But this attempt proved in vain, and as confusion and division deepened, the world was engulfed by the World War II. In this scenario Keynes stood out as the figure who exerted the largest influence as economist, economic policymaker, and international system planner.
Toshiaki Hirai
Chapter 6. On the International Clearing Union
Abstract
As explained in Explanatory Note II, in July 1940, the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Consultative Council was set up to help and advise the Chancellor on special problems arising from war conditions. Keynes accepted Council membership and was soon to find himself engaged in a range of important assignments.
Toshiaki Hirai
Chapter 7. On the Commodity Control Scheme
Abstract
In this chapter we examine Keynes’s activities as a planner of buffer stocks of primary commodities in the context and background of the UK political scene in the 1940s. Among other things, it is our aim to clarify (i) the significance of a buffer stock plan in Keynes’s economic thought, and (ii) how and why the plan was transmuted in the political situation of the time.
Toshiaki Hirai
Chapter 8. The Welfare State in the Making: W. Beveridge and Keynes
Abstract
The social system of the post-war UK is often referred to as “Keynes = Beveridge System” after Keynes, who brought on the “Keynesian Revolution” in the field of economic theory and policy with his General Theory, and Beveridge, who laid the foundations of the social security system with the Beveridge Report. As will be seen, Keynes and Beveridge endeavored in close collaboration to see their ideas implemented in the 1940s, earning the whole-hearted support of young economists and officials.
Toshiaki Hirai
Chapter 9. Keynes’s Employment Policy in the Making
Abstract
The main purpose of this chapter is to examine, chronologically, the course taken by “the Keynesian Revolution in economic policy” in the 1940s of the UK.
Toshiaki Hirai

Part III

Frontmatter
Chapter 10. A Treatise on Probability and “My Early Beliefs”
Abstract
In September 1938, Keynes read “My Early Beliefs” (Keynes 1939a) at the Memoir Club. This memoir, made public with Keynes’s “Will”, went on to draw attention from various angles. The reasons for this were, among others; (i) the only memoir which showed the path of thought followed by the economist who brought about the “Keynesian Revolution”; (ii) the ethical path pursued by a central member of the Bloomsbury Group; (iii) the path taken by an important member of the philosophical milieu in Cambridge.
Toshiaki Hirai
Chapter 11. Keynes’s “New Liberalism” Re-examined: From a Wide Perspective
Abstract
This chapter deals with Keynes’s social philosophy. Through the General Theory he is too well-known for the “Keynesian Revolution” in the history of economics. And yet his activity as an economist occupies a small—albeit crucial—part of his career. He was a remarkable philosopher at a young age, and in his mid-thirties was a core member of the Treasury [of the British Empire] at the Paris Peace Conference, which negotiated over how devastated Europe after World War I should be rebuilt. Keynes resigned from his post, however, impeaching the Treaty of Versailles thus concluded. Thereafter, as an intellectual leader of the Liberal Party, he came to seek and advocate “New Liberalism” in the 1920s, energetically pursuing “persuasive activities” through his own bulletin and the mass media. A distinctive feature of these activities was that he actively and consciously interacted with European as well as American policymakers, consciously aiming to influence the public opinion. And most notably, Keynes’s major works of economics were written in parallel with such activities.
Toshiaki Hirai
Chapter 12. Socialism Versus Capitalism: A.C. Pigou’s Social Philosophy
Abstract
In this chapter, we will examine Pigou’s social philosophy, mainly through Socialism versus Capitalism (Pigou 1937). This is all the more intriguing because it was about the same time that the General Theory was published. Secondly, we will take up “Central Planning” Pigou (1948) in Pigou (1952) written ten years later. As an addendum, we will take a look at Alfred Marshall and Current Thought (Pigou 1953). This is useful as an indication of how Pigou viewed Marshall.
Toshiaki Hirai
Chapter 13. Liberal Interventionism: D.H. Robertson’s Social Philosophy
Abstract
Robertson, as is clear in Robertson (1950), has the face of a Pigovian utilitarian in that he supports the theory of cardinal utility. In it, Robertson criticizes those who advocate the New Welfare Economics, such as Hicks of ordinal utility theory (Pareto’s position) and Samuelson of revealed preference theory, and expresses his full support for Pigou’s theory of cardinal utility. Robertson is also widely known for his original economic fluctuation theory developed in Banking Policy and the Price Level (Robertson 1926). And because Robertson had a theory of dynamics that focused on the characteristics of modern industry with large-scale production, he became more and more critical of Keynes who proceeded to A Treatise on Money and then The General Theory.
Toshiaki Hirai
Chapter 14. Hawtrey’s Philosophy: Thought and Things
Abstract
Hawtrey (1879–1975) is well-known as an economist who developed a monetary theory of economic fluctuations in, e.g., Good and Bad Trade [Hawtrey 1913] and Trade and Credit [Hawtrey 1928] as well as an advocate for the so-called Treasury View—in contrast with Keynes. Furthermore, he was severely critical of Keynes as the author of the Treatise from his own theoretical stance.
Toshiaki Hirai
Chapter 15. Hawtrey’s Social Philosophy: Welfare and Value
Abstract
Hawtrey is, first and foremost, widely known today as an economist in Cambridge, who developed a theory of monetary economic fluctuations. Different from Pigou’s theory focused on psychological factors and Robertson’s one focused on real factors, Hawtrey grasped economic fluctuations as purely monetary phenomenon caused by the behavior of banks. He is also widely known as an economist, who provided the theoretical basis for the so-called Treasury View.
Toshiaki Hirai
Backmatter
Metadaten
Titel
Keynes as an Economist, World System Planner and Social Philosopher
verfasst von
Toshiaki Hirai
Copyright-Jahr
2024
Electronic ISBN
978-3-031-40135-0
Print ISBN
978-3-031-40134-3
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-40135-0