The ideas of John Maynard Keynes have never been more timely. No one has bettered Keynes's description of the psychology of investors during a financial crisis: The practice of calmness and immobility, of certainty and security, suddenly breaks down. New fears and hopes will, without warning, take charge of human conduct [and] the market will be subject to waves of optimistic and pessimistic sentiment.'
Keynes's preeminent biographer, Robert Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick, brilliantly synthesizes from Keynes' career and life the aspects of his thinking that apply most directly to the world we currently live in. In so doing, Skidelsky shows that Keynes's mixture of pragmatism and realism, which distinguished his thinking from the neo-classical or Chicago school of economics that has been the dominant influence since the Thatcher-Reagan era and which made possible the raw market capitalism that created the current global financial crisis, is more pertinent and applicable than ever. Keynes never wavered in his belief in the capitalist system. And crucially, Keynes offers nervous capitalists a positive answer to the question we now face: When unbridled capitalism falters, is there an alternative?
"In the long run," as Keynes famously said, "we are all dead." We may not have time to wait for the perfect theoretical operation of capital, as the neo-classicists insist will happen eventually. In the meantime, we have Keynes: more supple, more human and more magnificently real than ever.
©2009 Robert Skidelsky; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"An important contribution at a time of soul-searching, a must read even if one doesn't fully accept its conclusions.... This is a wonderfully stimulating book, one that reflects the author's unparalleled erudition. We're living in the second Age of Keynes - and Robert Skidelsky is still the guide of choice." (Paul Krugman)
"Skidelsky's book excels. It's a passionate polemic that makes a strong case for economists and policymakers to reread their Keynes." (BusinessWeek)
Yes. I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of biography with our modern economic conundrum. It's amazing how Skidelsky brings it all together. I listened to first part several times. I wasn't familiar with a lot of the terminology but it was compelling enough to get me to do some research on my own. I often didn't feel lost even when I was over my head.
I learned quite a few things about Keynes and economics in general that I'd not previously known. Keynes was a much more interesting man than I would have imagined and his philosophy was quite a bit more realistic and utilitarian than I would have imagined. It seems that maybe if his philosophy had been applied more rigorously then it was the outcomes of Keynesian style economics would have been better. As it stands right now it is simply driving America into deeper and deeper financial holes that will become increasingly difficult to extract ourselves from.
Overall this book is a good look at the other side of the Supply Side and Austrian School economic arguments. It is worth listening to in my opinion.
Engineer in St Louis, Missouri, United States
Skidelsky gives Keyens for inventing inflation-based solutions to downturns in economic cycles. People have been doing that forever. Kings used to charge seniority, so now "modern" governments charge seniority through inflation. Further, it is curious that Keynes basis this ideology on people having good honest governments, governments run surpluses during "good' times, populations growing in quality-not just numbers, and "the people" have restraint. Since we now the four conditions do not exist, how is Keynes a master of anything?
Robert writes lucidly and with clarity. he also is very pertinent for our times, learned a lot and enjoyed this book immensely.
Points I particularly thought were engaging: His definition of risk and uncertainty for Keynes. Secondly, the ethical standpoint of economics.
Got me thinking
Great book, thanks!
In terms of applying Kaynes to modern day problems the book is excellent, there were a few areas of Kaynes original work that I wanted to know more about. Quote from the General Theory: "the utility of the wage when a given volume of labour is employed is equal to the marginal disutility of that amount of employment" ... right... I suppose the book wasn't aimed at covering every bit of Kaynes original work hence I've given it 4 stars but a simple english explanation of that sentance is one of the things I was hoping for
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