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What's the best book for understanding Keynesianism?

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yoda's walking stick
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Aug 19 2011 11:22
What's the best book for understanding Keynesianism?

I'm looking for one good one. Thanks in advance! laugh out loud

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jura
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Aug 19 2011 11:41

Try Paul Mattick's Marx & Keynes, which includes a marxist critique. Simon Clarke has written a book called Keynesianism, Monetarism and the Crisis of the State, which is freely available, but I haven't read it. It should be good, though.

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RedEd
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Aug 19 2011 16:36

I thought the Mattick book was good too. If you want Keynes from his own perspective the key text would be The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.

yoda's walking stick
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Aug 20 2011 00:57

Unfortunately, I can't find a copy of Mattick's book in print on Amazon, or anywhere I might purchase it. I really need a physical copy. I can't read lengthy texts on the computer screen.

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RedEd
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Aug 20 2011 01:11

Afraid I can't help you there. I have the same issue, so I got an e-reader (they needn't be expensive if you don't care about having all the latest, largely useless, features). I estimate that it took me about six weeks to make it worth buying in terms of downloading for free books I would have otherwise paid for.

ajjohnstone
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Aug 20 2011 05:45

for summary try these

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/education/Keynes.pdf

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/centenary/keynes%281946%29.pdf

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/oct06/page12.html

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Fall Back
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Aug 20 2011 09:20
yoda's walking stick wrote:
Unfortunately, I can't find a copy of Mattick's book in print on Amazon, or anywhere I might purchase it. I really need a physical copy. I can't read lengthy texts on the computer screen.

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=5397183192&searchurl=an%3Dmattick%26bt.x%3D0%26bt.y%3D0%26sts%3Dt%26tn%3Dkeynes

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jura
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Aug 20 2011 19:32

Yoda, you can still print it off marxists.org. I've done that with dozens of books and texts.

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playinghob
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Aug 21 2011 19:38

You can still get Marx and Keynes from the publisher Merlin Press.

http://www.merlinpress.co.uk/acatalog/WORLD_POLITICS_AND_SOCIALIST_STUDIES.html

Click on the backlist

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mojo.rhythm
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Aug 23 2011 07:12

Try something from John Kenneth Galbraith. He is (was) from the "post-Keynesian" school.

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jura
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Aug 23 2011 10:42

Playinghob, thanks a million for that link!

Anarcho
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Aug 23 2011 20:26

Mattick's book gets some important things wrong -- for example, Keynes did NOT argue that inflation should be used to erode workers wages.

Thus Mattick states that for Keynes "wages were less flexible than had been generally assumed" and lowering real wages by inflation "allowed for more subtle ways of wage-cutting than those traditionally employed." [Marx and Keynes, p. 7] Keynes, in fact, took the assumption of neo-classical economics that wages WERE completely flexible and showed how cutting wages would not decrease unemployment. I discuss this here:

C.9.1 Would cutting wages reduce unemployment?

Mattick also completely fails to discuss Keynes ideas on uncertainty and how state intervention can be used to combat it by undertaking economic activity which capitalists would not do during periods of high uncertainty -- in a crisis. Mattick also fails to discuss how full employment caused an increase in workers' power, so undermining the post-war (Bastard) Keynesian consensus (see C.8.2 What happened to Keynesianism in the 1970s?). I use the term "Bastard" as the post-war consensus was based on a fusion of Keynes and neo-classical notions, so downplaying the real contributions of Keynes.

But that is unsurprising, as Mattick saw the limits of capitalism in objective terms and so discounted the subjective (class struggle) aspect of it. Both play their part (as I discuss here).

Doug Henwood's Wall Street has an excellent section on Keynes and Keynesianism. And it is available on-line:

http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/WSDownload.html

Hope that helps!