Monday, September 21, 2009

Speaking of Keynes

Today's issue of The Wall Street Journal included a review of a new book (free content at this writing) on John Maynard Keynes. The book is by Robert Skidelsky who wrote a masterful three-volume biography of Keynes (link is to the second volume) a few years back. I have it and it holds a prominent place on my "biographies" shelf. The new book, Keynes: The Return of the Master, deals more with Keynesian economics than with Keynes, according to reviewer Greg Mankiw. Mankiw's review addresses the polarizing effect Keynes has on many. But it also discusses what he considers a critical shortcoming of the book - that of the author's lack of familiarity with economics.

Another broader review of Keynes is found in this week's Economicprincipals blog by David Warsh. Warsh points out that, despite the revolutionary aspects of Keynes's work, there is still much disagreement - not just about the theory but its implications. Warsh works his way through a comprehensive bibliography about Keynes and Keynesian economics. He points out some of the main problems with Keynes's work, and some of the main problems Keynes had with the conventional wisdom of his day. For those wishing to know the strengths and weaknesses of the Keynesian school, this might be an interesting starting point.

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