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Getting Rid of Keynes ? A reflection on the history of macroeconomics

  • Economics


The aim of this paper is to give an account of the unfolding of macroeconomic from Keynes to the present day. To this end I shall use a grid of analyses resulting from the combination of two distinctions. The first is the Marshall-Walras divide, the second is the distinction between Keynesianism viewed as a conceptual apparatus and Keynesianism viewed as a policy cause. On the basis of these distinctions, I construct two box diagrams. Box diagram No.1 has complex general equilibrium and simple general equilibrium (I.e. macroeconomics) models as its columns, and the Marshallian and Walrasian approaches as its rows. Box diagram No.2 has the Keynesian policy cause (justifying demand activation) and the anti-Keynesian policy cause (a defence of laissez-faire) as its columns, and the Marshallian and Walrasian conceptual apparatuses as it rows. This framework allows me to recount the history of macroeconomics as if it were a matter of filling in, step by step, the different slots in my two box diagrams. One of the claims made in the paper is that the rise of new classical macroeconomics can be encapsulated as the replacement of Marshallian by Walrasian macroeconomics, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, as the emergence of models that are anti-Keynesian on the score of both their analytical apparatus and their policy cause.

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