New Keynesian Economics/Post Keynesian Alternatives

By Roy J. Rotheim | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION *

Roy J. Rotheim

This collection began with a paper given at the Post Keynesian Study Group, University College London, in the Fall of 1993, called ‘On Butterflies’ Wings and Hurricanes: A Post Keynesian Critique of New Keynesian Economies’ (Rotheim, 1993). I wrote that paper, a very early version of the one contained in the current volume, to come to grips with the publication of a ‘Symposium on Keynesian Economics Today’ in the Winter 1993 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives (as well as the then recently published two-volume collection of essays on New Keynesian Economics (Mankiw and Romer, 199la)). The essays in that symposium were primarily written by New and Neo-Keynesians and New Classicals, to the complete exclusion of anyone professing to be Post Keynesian. The total disregard of Post Keynesian economics as a viable programme capable of having something meaningful to say about ‘Keynesian economics today’, caused me to address and assess, from a Post Keynesian perspective, the Keynesian foundations of New Keynesian economics. 1

A few nights after that presentation, following a meeting of Tony Lawson’s Realism and Economics Group at Cambridge, I found myself lamenting about this unfortunate turn of events to Alan Jarvis, Economics Editor at Routledge. I said something to the effect that ‘Post Keynesians should come out with a response to the Mankiw/Romer volume’; to which he replied: ‘So do it!’

Upon returning to the States, I began the process by contacting those whom I considered to be the leading Post Keynesians, asking them what they thought of the idea of a volume of Post Keynesian alternatives to New Keynesian economics, and whether they would be willing to contribute to such a project. Some were busy, while some had other agendas which caused them not to be represented. Fortunately, however, most agreed to sign on. What follows, then, is the result of the four-and-a-half-year process to provide some clear alternatives to New Keynesian economics.

This book bears the title ‘Post Keynesian Alternatives’, emphasizing the plural of that term. Authors were chosen based on their stature in the discipline with the charge to write a piece in response to New Keynesian economics. Broad areas were suggested by me, but that was the extent of the instructions. Still, unanimity among those assessments was not to emerge. Most saw little redeeming value in any

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