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Keynes and Economics: The Early Stage



The following pages offer a contribution to the understanding of Keynes’s débuts as an economist, in the hope we might dissipate a few myths, some created by Keynes himself, others by disciples or adversaries. Following some preliminary remarks on these misunderstandings, we will recall how Keynes became a professional economist, showing that he did not arrive to economics by chance, that this was indeed a natural result of his early preoccupations and thinking. But, even when he was a confirmed economist, economics remained secondary for Keynes, after ethics and politics, and this until the end of his life. We will examine this in part three of this paper, where we consider how Keynes viewed economics in the first decade of our century. We will show that certain important themes in his economic reflections, his view of laissez-faire in particular, are clearly present in early works, and that the methods he would later apply to economic studies were built up at that date. In the last part of this paper, we will turn to Keynes’s early theoretical economics, examining in particular his reflections on the quantity theory of money, in his lectures notes. We will show that his position towards this theory -- at least in its most simplified version -- was already somewhat critical at that early stage, drawing on his philosophical and methodological views.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilles Dostaler, 1999. "Keynes and Economics: The Early Stage," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 9901, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques.
  • Handle: RePEc:cre:uqamwp:9901

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David E.W. Laidler, 2016. "The Golden Age of the Quantity Theory," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 4959.
    2. Davis,John B., 2008. "Keynes's Philosophical Development," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521065511, November.
    3. Mark Blaug & Walter Eltis & Dennis O’Brien & Don Patinkin & Robert Skidelsky & Geoffrey Wood, 1995. "The Quantity Theory of Money," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 73.
    4. Jacob Viner, 1927. "Adam Smith and Laissez Faire," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 198-198.
    5. Sayers, R S, 1972. "The Young Keynes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(326), pages 591-599, June.
    6. Fitzgibbons, Athol, 1988. "Keynes's Vision: A New Political Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286417, Decembrie.
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    Keynes; History; Economic Thought;
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    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals

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