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L’ambivalence du concept de liquidité dans le Treatise on Money

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  • Bauvert, Joanna


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    “What is left of Keynes?” At least, his analysis of the choice between holding liquidity and holding assets. The aim of this paper is to study the concept of liquidity and to show, relying on the Treatise on Money, that it is more appropriate to conceive money as a medium of exchange than as a store of value. First, we present a brief reminder of the way Keynes deals with liquidity through the choice of portfolio composition. However, we try to highlight the fact that, in the Treatise, Keynes perceives the limits of this analysis. In fact, it makes possible the elimination of money (when it competes with other assets). This limit, which still characterizes general equilibrium theory, leads us to propose a second approach to liquidity. In this approach, money is fundamentally a medium of exchange. Our demonstration is founded on a comparison between the structure of the fundamental equations and Cantillon’s law of formation of prices. Next, we discuss the theoretical consequences of such an approach. Finally, we show that the Keynesian paternity of the foundations of standard monetary theory holds only if the determination of prices in the Treatise is left aside. La paternité keynésienne de l’approche monétaire contemporaine est l’objet de cet article. Pour cela, deux approches de la liquidité issues du Treatise on Money sont mises en évidence. La première reprend l’interprétation traditionnelle : Keynes considère la liquidité à travers le lien entre monnaie et actifs, ce qui renvoie au choix de composition du patrimoine. Cependant, nous cherchons surtout à mettre en valeur le fait que, dans le Treatise, Keynes perçoit une limite à une telle analyse dès lors que cette dernière rend envisageable l’élimination de la monnaie (lorsqu’elle se trouve en concurrence avec d’autres actifs). La prise en compte de cette limite – à laquelle la théorie de l’équilibre général demeure confrontée – nous conduit à une seconde approche, qui représente l’apport principal de ce texte, où la liquidité est définie fondamentalement comme un intermédiaire des échanges. Notre démonstration s’appuie sur une comparaison de la structure des équations fondamentales avec la règle de formation des prix de Cantillon. La discussion porte ensuite sur les conséquences théoriques d’une telle approche. Finalement, on ne peut attribuer à Keynes la paternité des fondements de la théorie monétaire standard que si on élude la détermination des prix qu’il expose dans Treatise on Money.

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    Article provided by Société Canadienne de Science Economique in its journal L'Actualité économique.

    Volume (Year): 79 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 1 (Mars-Juin)
    Pages: 87-100

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    Handle: RePEc:ris:actuec:v:79:y:2003:i:1:p:87-100
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    1. Carlo Benetti & Jean Cartelier, 1996. "Money and price theory," Lecturas de Economía, Universidad de Antioquia, Departamento de Economía, issue 44, pages 37-54, Enero Jun.
    2. Maria Cristina Marcuzzo, 2002. "The Collaboration between J. M. Keynes and R. F. Kahn from the Treatise to the General Theory," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 34(2), pages 421-448, Summer.
    3. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467-467.
    4. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1993. "A Search-Theoretic Approach to Monetary Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 63-77, March.
    5. Carlo Benetti, 2002. "Le problème de la variation des prix. Les limites de la théorie walrassienne," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 53(5), pages 917-931.
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