The Point of Effective Demand
Keynes's principle of effective demand conceives competitive equilibrium in terms of the choices of entrepreneurs, investors and consumers, rather than of the optimal allocation of factors of production. In The General Theory, effective demand is distinguished from aggregate demand and from income, expected or realised, and there is no suggestion that equilibrium means the convergence of expectations. Reconsideration of Keynes's use of time and equilibrium periods leads to the conclusion that he treats employment as in continuous equilibrium, at the point of effective demand, determined by the state of expectation, the correctness of which is strictly irrelevant. The nature of the equilibrium represented by the point of effective demand is here described, not in terms of the multiplier, but in terms of the continuous equilibrium of supply and demand in short-term forward markets. This reading is faithful to Keynes's conception of aggregate demand as dependent upon the expectations of entrepreneurs, and it resolves the meaning of his 'long-period employment.' Formal appendices identify the differences between Keynes and Walras and the nature of the multiplier. The paper concludes that the Keynesian cross and 'Swedish' analysis should be abandoned, and the Walrasian conception recognised as only the limiting case of general competitive equilibrium in a monetary economy.
Volume (Year): 19 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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