John Maynard Keynes’s 1936 General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money is a perfect example of the global power of critical thinking. A radical reconsideration of some of the founding principles and accepted axioms of classical economics at the time, it provoked a revolution in economic thought and government economic policies across the world. Unsurprisingly, Keynes’s closely argued refutation of the then accepted grounds of economics employs all the key critical thinking skills: analysing and evaluating the old theories and their weaknesses; interpreting and clarifying his own fundamental terms and ideas; problem solving; and using creative thinking to go beyond the old economic theories. Perhaps above all, however, the General Theory is a masterclass in problem solving.
Good problem solvers identify their problem, offer a methodology for solving it, and suggest solutions. For Keynes the problem was both real and theoretical: unemployment. A major issue for governments during the Great Depression, unemployment was also a problem for classical economics. In classical economics, theoretically, unemployment would always disappear. Keynes offered both an explanation of why this was not the case in practice, and a range of solutions that could be implemented through government monetary policy.
Table of Contents
Ways in to the Text
Who was John Maynard-Keynes?
What does The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money Say?
Why does The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money Matter?
Section 1: Influences
Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context
Module 2: Academic Context
Module 3: The Problem
Module 4: The Author's Contribution
Section 2: Ideas
Module 5: Main Ideas
Module 6: Secondary Ideas
Module 7: Achievement
Module 8: Place in the Author's Work
Section 3: Impact
Module 9: The First Responses
Module 10: The Evolving Debate
Module 11: Impact and Influence Today
Module 12: Where Next?
Glossary of Terms
People Mentioned in the Text
Dr John Collins is a member of the faculty at the London School of Economics, where he is currently Executive Director of the LSE IDEAS International Drug Policy Project.