Sorry for the slow posting - here's something that might be interesting though. I've recently been leafing through a first edition of Keynes's "How to Pay for the War" (1940) that Evan picked up for me at a U Chicago library book sale. It's a really fascinating read and an often overlooked gem I think - I will have to read it properly once I'm done with Piketty. This, along with the Treatise on Money, for some reason does not get reprinted as often as Keynes's other books and so the treatment from people is often more casual. But I like it a lot for a couple reasons:
1. First it highlights quite
explicitly the mission that is animating Keynes pretty much from the
beginning, which is how a free society works in the modern economy. He
sees one group of people who embrace a free society that pretend there
is nothing really different about a modern economy (what he refers to
elsewhere as "laissez faire", and then he sees another group that
understands there is something different but addresses it by abandoning
the free society (communists and fascists). He thinks that neither are a
viable option. This understanding of his role is there throughout his
life, but it comes out very clearly in How to Pay for the War.
2. The General Theory is detailed on investment theory but not as
detailed on consumption theory - particularly the microfoundations of
consumption theory. This is what gets developed in the 50s and 60s and
this is really the foundation of New Keynesian economics. In How to Pay
for the War Keynes seems to really deal a lot more with micro
consumption behavior, which is understandable since he's talking about
intertemporal public finance and tax issues.
3. He is talking
about slowing growth and fighting inflation. A lot of people act like
Kenyes forgot to address this, sometimes based on nothing more than a
well circulated Hayek Youtube video claiming he forgot it.
He talks about expectations for post-war slumps, and as anyone that
knows about his exchange at the Fed in '43 I believe (maybe '42) he is
not pessimistic about it like Samuelson was at the time.
carries over critiques of price controls and rationing that echo
insights into consumer theory that he was making as far back as Economic
Consequences of the Peace.
There are so many common threads
here that just leafing through it makes me want to read his major works
again (and in some cases for the first time), and take notes/outlines of
it all to do something with... who knows.
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