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Keynes as a Writer: Three Case Studies


  • Rod O'Donnell

    () (Department of Economics, Macquarie University)


Should someone who is regarded as a good writer also be a clear writer, especially in subjects such as economics, philosophy and politics? This paper examines the interaction between certain of Keynes's characteristics as a writer and the clarity of his writings. Its central thesis is that lack of clarity in Keynes's writings is sometimes due to poor or careless use of language. That is to say, the underlying clarity of thought in his writings is obscured by poor word choice of laxity in the unemployment of language. To illustrate the thesis, three case studies are presented, involving passages for How to Pay for the War, the Treatise on Probability, and the General Theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Rod O'Donnell, 2003. "Keynes as a Writer: Three Case Studies," Research Papers 0307, Macquarie University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mac:wpaper:0307

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    More about this item


    Keynes; writing; clarity; language; interpretation;

    JEL classification:

    • A23 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Graduate
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals


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