A ’Second Edition’ of The General Theory by Professor Geoffrey Harcourt, Peter Riach

By Professor Geoffrey Harcourt, Peter Riach

Keynes constantly meant to jot down 'footnotes' to his masterwork The common Theory, which might take account of the criticisms made from it and make allowance him to advance and refine his rules extra. despite the fact that, a couple of elements mixed to avoid him from doing so ahead of his demise in 1946. a variety of Keynes students - together with James Tobin, Paul Davidson and Lord Skidelsky - have written right here the 'footnotes' that Keynes by no means did.

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He discerns in Keynes's philosophy at the time of the writing of The General Theory an anticipation of the modern work on fuzzy logic and fuzzy sets. Coates conjectures that these recent developments may allow a bridge to be erected between the complex, multi-dimensional yet often vague concepts of economics and the powerful analytical procedures of mathematics. Fuzzy sets evidently allow us to handle in a precise analytical manner vague concepts such as 'baldness'. This is written about with feeling by both editors of the present volume, who appreciate the notion of membership or non-membership of a category which is gradual rather than abrupt.

Brown shows how in The Economic Consequences if the Peace (1919), the Tract (1923) and the Treatise on Monry (1930a, 1930b) Keynes was well ahead of his time in his understanding of the process of inflation. Especially does Brown stress - so did Richard Kahn - the cost-push, demand-pull distinction in the Treatise on Monry. He also points out that, while Keynes was usually situation-specific in analysis and especially in his policy recommendations, he was essentially a stable prices person right up to the end of his life.

Gerrard analyses the details of Keynes's method and the changes it heralds when set in this particular context. John Davis (33) takes up a theme which has become more prominent in recent years and which we have already mentioned in this introduction: the role of conventions in Keynes's thought and analysis, especially the role that conventions play in his analysis of the behaviour of stock exchanges and of the liquidity preference function in the determination of the rate of interest. Davis allies this discussion with his own researches on Keynes's changing philosophical views following Frank Ramsey's criticism of Keynes's understanding of intuition.

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