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Say'S Law and the Keynesian Revolution

This highly original contribution examines one of the most controversial concepts in the history of economics - the true meaning of the Law of Markets. This has been a contentious issue since the publication of Keynes's General Theory, but has also divided economists since it first emerged almost two centuries ago in the writings of James Mill. This book discusses the change in the understanding of the nature of the business cycle wrought by the General Theory whose major innovation in overturning Say's Law was to introduce demand deficiency into mainstream economic thought. The volume provides a robust and innovative exposition of the crucial point of division between classical and Keynesian economics, demonstrating that the role of demand deficiency was the fundamental issue at stake. Steven Kates first discusses Keynes's interpretation of Say's Law before documenting its development within classical theory. He then charts the development of post-General Theory interpretations of Say's Law, challenging Keynes's definition which was captured in the phrase `supply creates its own demand'. The author also attempts to unravel the vast literature on the progress made by Keynes between his Treatise on Money published in 1930 and the General Theory, published six years later. He suggests that the crucial point in the origins of the General Theory was Keynes's discovery of Malthus's writings on Say's Law at the very depths of the Great Depression in 1932. This provocative book will be required reading for scholars and students interested in the history of economic thought, the history of macroeconomics and the Keynesian revolution.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction 1. Say's Law in the Structure of the General Theory 2. J.-B. Say, James Mill and Robert Torrens 3. David Ricardo 4. John Stuart Mill 5. Say's Law in English Classical Theory 6. Say's Law in the Classical Theory of the Business Cycle 7. Keynes's Discovery of Say's Law 8. Influences Deepening Keynes's Understanding of Say's Law 9. The Early Post-General Theory Evolution of Say's Law 10. Modern Interpretations of Say's Law 11. Critics of the Modern Interpretation 12. Conclusion Appendix Bibliography Index

About the Author

Steven Kates, Associate Professor of Economics, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia


'His book not only summarizes the entire literature on Say's Law but also offers a new perspective on the place of this theorem in the Anglo-American literature (as well as in Ropke and Haberler) between James Mill and Maynard Keynes. I consider this book required reading for macroeconomists as well as historians of economic thought and intellectual historians.' - Evert Schoorl, De Economist 'Based on the comprehensive and well-written historically analytical chapters alone, this book is highly recommended for students interested in the history of economic thought, as well as for contemporary theorists and empiricists who are concerned with non-Keynesian research on business cycles and unemployment.' - Roy Rotheim, Journal of Economic Literature 'In this fascinating and well-researched book, Kates takes issue with the standard Keynesian interpretation of Say's law of markets.' - Thomas M. Humphrey, The Economic Journal 'Steven Kates has written a book of considerable learning. He has written an animated and stimulating book. He has written a book that treats with fresh handsome well known materials. It is a pleasure to read, and a gift to its field.' - William Coleman, History of Economics Review 'A first rate and scholarly study. Its discussion of the role, interpretation and misinterpretation of Say's LawA" in the Keynesian and subsequent literature is particularly valuable. No other source throws as much light on these more-recent writings or examines them more systematically.' - William J. Baumol, New York University and Princeton University, US

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