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Keynes, une économie politique du capitalisme financier?


  • Tutin, Christian

    (Université des Antilles et de la Guyane j)


Keynesian mass unemployment is due to a lack of investment resulting from the normal operating of the “financial machine”. Because it explains why investment and saving do not adjust smoothly to each other, the autonomy of the interest rate, driven as it is by monetary forces, plays an essential part in this theory. But Keynes’s thesis that fluctuations of the interest rate have nothing to do with the amount of current saving has never been accepted by his fellow economists, who convincingly showed that the money demand apparatus developed by Keynes could not support his rejection of the classical interdependencies between interest, saving and the net return from capital goods. In response to this critics Keynes sketched at least three lines of defense: in the Treatise on Money, he puts forward the distinction between industrial and financial circulation; in the General Theory, he referred in chapter 17 to the process of equalization of capital goods own rates of interest, and in chapter 12 to the conventional valuation of capital by financial markets, introduced. This last track seems to be the most promising one, because it offers a link between two lines of argument: what we can call the “stock argument”, already opposed to Robertson’s objections, and the “nominalist view” of capital valuation. In order to exploit this “financial” track, it is necessary to abandon Keynes’s pragmatic attitude, which consisted in extending to money the framework of value theory (i.e. demand and supply apparatus), and to elaborate a representation of debt and credit relationships which is missing in the General Theory. Pour Keynes, le blocage de l’investissement à l’origine du chômage massif résulte du fonctionnement normal du système monétaire et financier. Parce qu’elle entraîne l’absence d’ajustement automatique de l’investissement et de l’épargne, l’indépendance du taux d’intérêt par rapport à l’épargne courante joue un rôle décisif dans cette explication. La récursivité du modèle keynésien repose ainsi entièrement sur la théorie monétaire de l’intérêt, malheureusement inacceptable en l’état. Trois pistes ont été ouvertes par Keynes pour justifier l’autonomie de l’intérêt : la notion de double circulation, introduite dans le Traité de la monnaie, le processus d’alignement des taux de rendement sur le taux monétaire présenté au chapitre 17 de la Théorie générale, et la notion de convention financière du chapitre 12, portant sur l’évaluation nominale du stock de capital. Cette dernière semble la plus prometteuse. Elle débouche sur l’idée que ce sont les marchés financiers, en tant que marchés de stocks, qui imposent une contrainte globale à l’investissement, rompant ainsi le jeu des interdépendances, en même temps qu’ils rendent les entrepreneurs dépendants d’une évaluation nominale de leur capital qui leur échappe. Suivre cette piste implique l’abandon de la théorie monétaire de l’intérêt telle que l’a formulée Keynes au profit d’une théorie du capital financier.

Suggested Citation

  • Tutin, Christian, 2003. "Keynes, une économie politique du capitalisme financier?," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 79(1), pages 21-36, Mars-Juin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:actuec:v:79:y:2003:i:1:p:21-36

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. J. M. Keynes, 1937. "The General Theory of Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 209-223.
    2. Hicks, John, 2017. "A Market Theory of Money," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198796237.
    3. J. E. Meade, 1937. "A Simplified Model of Mr. Keynes' System," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 98-107.
    4. Paul Davidson, 1991. "Controversies in Post Keynesian Economics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 121, April.
    5. Ghislain Deleplace, 1988. "Ajustement de marché et « taux d'intérêt spécifiques » chez Keynes et Sraffa," Cahiers d'Économie Politique, Programme National Persée, vol. 14(1), pages 75-97.
    6. Carlo Benetti, 1998. "La structure logique de la Théorie générale de Keynes," Cahiers d'Économie Politique, Programme National Persée, vol. 30(1), pages 11-48.
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