Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Post Keynesian Economics: A Bibliography of Recent Introductory and Advanced Books (Updated)

Books on Post Keynesian economics and Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) appear every year, but over the past 9 years or so – especially after the financial crisis of 2008 – there seems to have been an embarrassment of riches in that many very good introductory and advanced books have appeared.

I update below my earlier list of these recent books:
Introductory Studies
Davidson, Paul. 2009. The Keynes Solution: The Path to Global Economic Prosperity (1st edn). Palgrave Macmillan, New York and Basingstoke.

Lavoie, Marc. 2009. Introduction to Post-Keynesian Economics (2nd rev. edn.). Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK.

Skidelsky, R. J. A. 2010. Keynes: The Return of the Master (rev. and updated edn.). Penguin, London.

King, J. E. 2012. The Elgar Companion to Post Keynesian Economics (2nd edn.). Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.
This is the second and updated edition of this work (1st edn. King 2003) that gives excellent short essays and overviews of all major subjects in Post Keynesian economics. This is a splendid first port of call for any research, especially for the beginner.

Wray, L. Randall. 2012. Modern Money Theory: A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

King, John E. 2015. Advanced Introduction to Post Keynesian Economics. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.
An advanced introduction to Post Keynesian economics by John E. King, whose work is always outstanding. Publisher details and the contents can be seen here. In particular, Chapter 8 is a discussion of the global financial crises of 2008 as interpreted in Post Keynesian theory.

Advanced and Specialist Literature
Hayes, Mark. 2006. The Economics of Keynes: A New Guide to The General Theory. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

Tily, Geoff. 2007. Keynes Betrayed: Keynes’s General Theory, The Rate of Interest and Keynesian Economics. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Godley, Wynne and Marc Lavoie. 2007. Monetary Economics: An Integrated Approach to Credit, Money, Income, Production and Wealth. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, N.Y.

Mitchell, William and Joan Muysken. 2008. Full Employment Abandoned: Shifting Sands and Policy Failures. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

Davidson, Paul. 2009. John Maynard Keynes (rev. edn.). Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Hein, Eckhard and Engelbert Stockhammer (eds.). 2011. A Modern Guide to Keynesian Macroeconomics and Economic Policies. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.
A recent collection of essays on many different subjects.

Keen, Steve. 2011. Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor Dethroned? (rev. and expanded edn.). Zed Books, London and New York.
This is the revised and updated version of Keen’s earlier work (Keen 2001).

Davidson, Paul. 2011. Post Keynesian Macroeconomic Theory: Foundation for Successful Economic Policies for the Twenty-First Century (2nd edn). Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham.

Harcourt, G. C. and Peter Kriesler (eds.). 2013. The Oxford Handbook of Post-Keynesian Economics. Volume 1: Theory and Origins. Oxford University Press, New York.

Harcourt, G. C. and Peter Kriesler (eds.). 2013. The Oxford Handbook of Post-Keynesian Economics. Volume 2: Critiques and Methodology. Oxford University Press, New York.
A two volume collection of essays and advanced overviews of many different issues in Post Keynesian economics.

Lee, Frederic S. and Marc Lavoie (eds.). 2013. In Defense of post-Keynesian and Heterodox Economics: Responses to their Critics. Routledge, London.

Jespersen, Jesper and Mogens Ove Madsen (eds.). 2013. Teaching Post Keynesian Economics. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK.
A collection of papers by leading Post Keynesian economists.

Lavoie, Marc. 2014. Post-Keynesian Economics: New Foundations. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.
This is the newly updated and expanded version of Lavoie’s earlier work (Lavoie 1992). It runs to 680 pages, and is possibly the best and most authoritative work available.

Davidson, Paul. 2015. Post Keynesian Theory and Policy: A Realistic Analysis of the Market Oriented Capitalist Economy. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK.

Mitchell, Bill and L. Randall Wray. Modern Monetary Theory and Practice (forthcoming, 2015).
This textbook on MMT is forthcoming. There is a table of contents here.
Further Reading
“A Bibliography on the History of Post Keynesian Economics (updated),” September 6, 2014.

“Post Keynesian Textbooks,” July 5, 2011.

“Bibliography on Post Keynesian Economics,” July 6, 2011.

“Bibliography on Post Keynesian Methodology,” September 16, 2013.

“Bibliography on Keynes’s Theory of Probability (Updated),” July 6, 2014.

“Bibliography on Uncertainty in Post Keynesian Economics (Updated),” May 21, 2014.

King, J. E. (ed.). 2003. The Elgar Companion to Post Keynesian Economics. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK and Northhampton, MA.

Keen, S. 2001. Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences. Zed Books, New York and London.

Lavoie, Marc. 1992. Foundations of Post-Keynesian Economic Analysis. Edward Elgar Publishing, Aldershot, UK.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

John E. King’s Advanced Introduction to Post Keynesian Economics

John E. King has a new book called Advanced Introduction to Post Keynesian Economics (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2015). Publisher details and the contents can be seen here. In particular, Chapter 8 is a discussion of the global financial crises of 2008 as interpreted in Post Keynesian theory.

This looks like an excellent new book, and along with Marc Lavoie’s Post-Keynesian Economics: New Foundations (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2014) will be a foundational work for the advanced treatment of Post Keynesian theory.

King, John E. 2015. Advanced Introduction to Post Keynesian Economics. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

Lavoie, Marc. 2014. Post-Keynesian Economics: New Foundations. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

Friday, September 25, 2015

David Harvey on Reading Marx’s Capital, Volume 1, Class 05

David Harvey is a Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Class 5 of his video series on Reading Marx’s Capital, Volume 1 is below. This video deals with Chapters 7, 8 and 9 of volume 1 of Capital.

Although I have not yet done Chapter 9, my own critical analysis of chapters 7 and 8 in Capital is here:
“Marx’s Capital, Volume 1, Chapter 7: A Critical Summary,” July 31, 2015.

“Marx’s Capital, Volume 1, Chapter 8: A Critical Summary,” August 2, 2015.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Marx and Predictions of Capitalist Crisis

An interesting passage from Wilhelm Liebknecht’s book Karl Marx: Biographical Memoirs (1901) about Marx’s predictions:
“ … whoever prophesies revolutions is always mistaken in the date.

Well, though Marx was a prophet looking into the future with sharp eyes and perceiving much more than ordinary human beings, he never was a prophesier, and when Messieurs Kinkel, Ledru Rollin and other revolution-makers announced in every appeal to their folks in partibus the typical, ‘To-morrow it will start,’ none was so merciless with his satire as Marx.

Only on the subject of ‘industrial crises’ he fell a victim to the prophesying imp, and in consequence was subjected to our hearty derision which made him grimly mad. However, in the main point he was right none the less. The prophesied industrial crises did come—only not at the fixed time.” (Liebknecht 1901: 59–60).
Actually, even here Liebknecht is being somewhat dishonest about Marx supposedly not making predictions about when the final revolution would come.

In reality, with the failure of 1848 revolutions in Europe, Marx started to rethink the nature of the proletarian revolution, and from 1850 he thought such a workers’ revolution would happen after a cyclical crisis in capitalism (Sperber 2014: 274).

In these years right up until the 1860s, Marx thought that the final revolutionary outbreak that would lead to the proletarian revolution would begin in France (Sperber 2014: 289).

It seems that from the early 1850s Marx was predicting a very bad industrial crisis that would turn into the “final” proletarian revolution. Unfortunately, even the industrial crisis Marx was predicting failed to materialise, and Marx was subject to ridicule even by his own supporters like Liebknecht.

Finally, there was a recession in 1857 (which Liebknecht seems to refer to above), and Marx did indeed think it would be the prelude to the proletarian revolution he was constantly predicting (Sperber 2014: 320–323). He was disappointed again, however, when the revolution failed to materialise – and would suffer disappointment time and again as other recessions did not turn into revolutions.

Of course, Liebknecht – like other Marxists – thought that Marx’s economic theory really did properly explain and predict economic crises. Needless to say, this is false.

It is obvious that modern capitalism is subject to regular and cyclic business cycles, and anyone who claims that there will be a new business downturn at some point in the future will almost certainly be correct, and can then naively claim that they have been proven right.

But neither Marxism nor (to give another relevant example) Austrian economics has the correct economic theory that explains business cycles. Both theories are deeply flawed and have long since morphed into quasi-religious cults.

Liebknecht, Wilhelm. 1901. Karl Marx: Biographical Memoirs. C. H. Kerr & Co., Chicago.

Sperber, Jonathan. 2014. Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life. Liveright Publishing Corporation, New York.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Steve Keen on Mathematics in Economics

This is a discussion by Steve Keen of mathematics in economics and the abuse of mathematics in neoclassical theory. More discussion of the issue here and here.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Karl Marx’s Night Out on London Town

This is for pure amusement and from Wilhelm Liebknecht’s fascinating book Karl Marx: Biographical Memoirs (1901).

The context is that Marx and various friends were drunk and out on the town in London in the 1850s:
“One evening Edgar Bauer, acquainted with Marx from their Berlin time and then not yet his personal enemy in spite of the ‘Holy Family,’ had come to town from his hermitage in Highgate for the purpose of ‘making a beer trip.’ The problem was to ‘take something’ in every saloon between Oxford street and Hampstead Road—making the ‘something’ a very difficult task, even by confining yourself to a minimum, considering the enormous number of saloons in that part of the city. But we went to work undaunted and managed to reach the end of Tottenham Court Road without accident. There loud singing issued from a public house; we entered and learned that a club of Odd Fellows were celebrating a festival. We met some of the men belonging to the ‘party,’ and they at once invited us ‘foreigners’ with truly English hospitality to go with them into one of the rooms. We followed them in the best of spirits, and the conversation naturally turned to politics—we had been easily recognized as German fugitives; and the Englishmen, good old-fashioned people, who wanted to amuse us a little, considered it their duty to revile thoroughly the German princes and the Russian nobles. ….

And now in London, in the company of the kind old Odd Fellows, I together with my two companions ‘without a country’ came into a quite similar position. Edgar Bauer, hurt by some chance remark, turned the tables and ridiculed the English snobs. Marx launched an enthusiastic eulogy on German science and music—no other country, he said, would have been capable of producing such masters of music as Beethoven, Mozart, Haendel and Haydn, and the Englishmen who had no music were in reality far below the Germans who had been prevented hitherto only by the miserable political and economical conditions from accomplishing any great practical work, but who would yet outclass all other nations. So fluently I have never heard him speaking English. For my part, I demonstrated in drastic words that the political conditions in England were not a bit better than in Germany (here Urquhart's pet phrases came in very handy), the only difference being that we Germans knew our public affairs were miserable, while the Englishmen did not know it, whence it were apparent that we surpassed the Englishmen in political intelligence.

The brows of our hosts began to cloud, similarly as formerly in the ‘Haefelei’; and when Edgar Bauer brought up still heavier guns and began to allude to the English cant, then a low ‘damned foreigners!’ issued from the company, soon followed by louder repetitions. Threatening words were spoken, the brains began to be heated, fists were brandished in the air and—we were sensible enough to choose the better part of valor and managed to effect, not wholly without difficulty, a passably dignified retreat.

Now we had enough of our ‘beer trip’ for the time being, and in order to cool our heated blood, we started on a double quick march, until Edgar Bauer stumbled over a heap of paving stones. ‘Hurrah, an idea!’ And in memory of mad student's pranks he picked up a stone, and Clash! Clatter! a gas lantern went flying into splinters. Nonsense is contagious—Marx and I did not stay behind, and we broke four or five street lamps—it was, perhaps, 2 o’clock in the morning and the streets were deserted in consequence. But the noise nevertheless attracted the attention of a policeman who with quick resolution gave the signal to his colleagues on the same beat and immediately countersignals were given. The position became critical. Happily we took in the situation at a glance; and happily we knew the locality. We raced ahead, three or four policemen some distance behind us. Marx showed an activity that I should not have attributed to him. And after the wild chase had lasted some minutes, we succeeded in turning into a side street and there running through an alley—a back yard between two streets—whence we came behind the policemen who lost the trail. Now we were safe. They did not have our description and we arrived at our homes without further adventures.” (Liebknecht 1901: 146–151).
The image of Marx as the violent, drunken Communist lout on a pub crawl, smashing public property and in trouble with the police is a far cry from the traditional image of him as the sober scholar spending endless nights at the British museum library.

Liebknecht, Wilhelm. 1901. Karl Marx: Biographical Memoirs. C. H. Kerr & Co., Chicago.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Bill Mitchell on Reframing the Progressive Agenda

Bill Mitchell speaks here on MMT as part of reframing the progressive agenda, presented in London on August 27, 2015.