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The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
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The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
Author John Maynard Keynes
Country United Kingdom
Language English Genre Nonfiction
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Publication date 1936
Media type Print paperback
Pages 472 (2007 edition)
is a book by English economist John Maynard Keynes published in February 1936. It caused a profound shift in economic thought, giving macroeconomics a central place in economic theory and contributing much of its terminology – the "Keynesian Revolution". It had equally powerful consequences in economic policy, being interpreted as providing theoretical support for government spending in general, and for budgetary deficits, monetary intervention and counter-cyclical policies in particular. It is pervaded with an air of mistrust for the rationality of free-market decision making.
Keynes denied that an economy would automatically adapt to provide full employment even in equilibrium, and believed that the volatile and ungovernable psychology of markets would lead to periodic booms and crises. The is a sustained attack on the classical economics orthodoxy of its time. It introduced the concepts of the consumption function, the principle of effective demand and liquidity preference, and gave new prominence to the multiplier and the marginal efficiency of capital.
1 Keynes's aims in the
2 Summary of the
2.1 Book I: Introduction
2.1.1 Stickiness of wages in money terms
2.1.2 Outline of Keynes's theory
2.2 Book II: Definitions and ideas
2.2.1 The choice of units
2.2.2 The identity of saving and investment
2.3 Book III: The propensity to consume
2.3.1 The marginal propensity to consume and the multiplier
2.4 Book IV: The inducement to invest
2.4.1 The rate of investment
2.4.2 Interest and liquidity preference
2.5 The Keynesian economic system
2.5.1 Keynes's economic model
2.5.2 Keynesian economic intervention
2.5.3 The equations of Keynesian and classical economics
2.5.4 Chapter 3: The principle of effective demand
2.6 Dynamic aspects of Keynes's theory
2.6.1 Chapter 5: Expectation as determining output and employment
2.6.2 Chapter 11: Expectation as influencing the schedule of the marginal efficiency of capital
2.6.3 Chapters 14, 18: The schedule of the marginal efficiency of capital as influencing employment
2.6.4 Chapter 12: Animal spirits
2.6.5 Chapter 21: Wage behaviour
2.6.6 Chapter 22: The trade cycle
2.6.7 Wage behaviour and the Phillips curve
3 The writing of the
3.2 Observations on its readability
4 Reception 4.1 Praise 4.2 Criticisms 5 References 6 Further reading 6.1 Introductions
6.2 Journal articles
6.3 Books 7 External links
Keynes's aims in the 
The central argument of is that the level of employment is determined not by the price of labour, as in classical economics, but by the level of aggregate demand. If the total demand for goods at full employment is less than the total output, then the economy has to contract until equality is achieved. Keynes thus denied that full employment was the natural result of competitive markets in equilibrium.
In this he challenged the conventional ('classical') economic wisdom of his day. In a letter to his friend George Bernard Shaw on New Year's Day, 1935, he wrote:
I believe myself to be writing a book on economic theory which will largely revolutionize — not I suppose, at once but in the course of the next ten years — the way the world thinks about its economic problems. I can't expect you, or anyone else, to believe this at the present stage. But for myself I don't merely hope what I say,— in my own mind, I'm quite sure.
The first chapter of the (only half a page long) has a similarly radical tone:
I have called this book the , placing the emphasis on the prefix . The object of such a title is to contrast the character of my arguments and conclusions with those of the classical theory of the subject, upon which I was brought up and which dominates the economic thought, both practical and theoretical, of the governing and academic classes of this generation, as it has for a hundred years past. I shall argue that the postulates of the classical theory are applicable to a special case only and not to the general case, the situation which it assumes being a limiting point of the possible positions of equilibrium. Moreover, the characteristics of the special case assumed by the classical theory happen not to be those of the economic society in which we actually live, with the result that its teaching is misleading and disastrous if we attempt to apply it to the facts of experience.
Summary of the 
Keynes's main theory (including its dynamic elements) is presented in Chapters 2-15, 18, and 22, which are summarised here. A shorter account will be found in the article on Keynesian economics. The remaining chapters of Keynes's book contain amplifications of various sorts and are described later in this article.
John Maynard Keynes
Other articles where The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money is discussed: economics: Money: …on traditional thinking in his General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1935–36) was this quantity theory of money. Keynes asserted that the link between the money stock and the level of national income was weak and that the effect of the money supply on prices was virtually nil—at least…
John Maynard Keynes
By The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica Edit History
John Maynard Keynes See all media
Born: June 5, 1883 Cambridge England
Died: April 21, 1946 (aged 62) England
Notable Works: “A Treatise on Money” “The Economic Consequences of the Peace” “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money”
Notable Family Members: father John Neville Keynes
Subjects Of Study: World War I Germany United Kingdom government economic policy unemployment
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John Maynard Keynes, (born June 5, 1883, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England—died April 21, 1946, Firle, Sussex), English economist, journalist, and financier best known for his economic theories (Keynesian economics) on the causes of prolonged unemployment. His most important work, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1935–36), advocated a remedy for economic recession based on a government-sponsored policy of full employment.
Background and early career
Keynes was born into a moderately prosperous family. His father, John Neville Keynes, was an economist and later an academic administrator at King’s College, Cambridge. His mother was one of the first female graduates of the same university, which he entered in 1902.
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At Cambridge he was influenced by economist Alfred Marshall, who prompted Keynes to shift his academic interests from mathematics and the classics to politics and economics. Cambridge also introduced Keynes to an important group of writers and artists. The early history of the Bloomsbury group—an exclusive circle of the cultural elect, which counted among its members Leonard and Virginia Woolf, the painter Duncan Grant, and the art critic Clive Bell—centred upon Cambridge and the remarkable figure of Lytton Strachey. Strachey, who had entered Cambridge two years before Keynes, inducted the younger man into the exclusive private club known simply as “the Society.” Its members and associates (some of them homosexual, like Keynes himself) were the leading spirits of Bloomsbury. Throughout his life Keynes was to cherish the affection and respond to the influence of this group.
After earning a B.A. in 1905 and an M.A. in 1909, Keynes became a civil servant, taking a job with the India Office in Whitehall. His experience there formed the basis of his first major work, Indian Currency and Finance (1913), a definitive examination of pre-World War I Indian finance and currency. He then returned to Cambridge, where he taught economics until 1915. With the onset of World War I, Keynes returned to government employment, this time in the Treasury (an agency even more powerful than its American counterpart), where he studied relations with allies and recommended means of conserving Britain’s scant supply of foreign currencies.
His performance may have marked Keynes for a public career, but the Versailles Peace Conference changed his aspirations. Accompanying Prime Minister David Lloyd George to France as an economic adviser, Keynes was troubled by the political chicanery and burdensome policies that were to be imposed upon the defeated Germany. He resigned his post, depressed, to quote from a letter to his father, by the impending “devastation of Europe.”
He took an activist’s stance, however, by transforming personal distress into public protest. In two summer months he composed the indictment of the Versailles settlement that reached the bookstores by Christmas 1919 as The Economic Consequences of the Peace. The permanent importance of this polemical essay lies in its economic analysis of the stringent reparations placed upon Germany and the corresponding lack of probability that the debts would ever be paid. The popular success of the book, however, came from the blistering sketches of Woodrow Wilson, Georges Clemenceau, and Keynes’s old chief, Lloyd George. As a consequence, in some Whitehall circles Keynes was considered a man not quite to be trusted, an iconoclast willing to rock any boat into which he had imprudently been invited.
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Keynes’s reputation at Cambridge was quite different. He was esteemed as the most brilliant student of Marshall and fellow economist A.C. Pigou, authors of large definitive works explaining how competitive markets functioned, how businesses operated, and how individuals spent their incomes. After publication of The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Keynes resigned his lecture post but stayed on as a fellow of King’s College, dividing his time between Cambridge and London.
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Keynes profoundly influenced the New Deal and created the basis for classic economic theory. “I can think of no single book that has so changed the conception held by economists as to the working of the capitalist system” (Robert L. Heilbroner). Index.
Print length 416 pages Language English
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