2013년 1월 12일 토요일

[Excerpt of Kaldor's] Alternative Theories of Distribution


지은이: Nicholas Kaldor
출처: The Review of Economic Studies, Vol. 23, No. 2 (1955 - 1956), pp. 83-100

※ Excerpt of Keynes on a "widow's cruse" and "Danaid's jar"

IV. Keynesian Theory

Keynes, as far as I know, wa never interested in the problem of distribution as such. One may nevertheless christen a particular theory of distribution as "Keynesain" if it can be shown to be an application of the specifically Keyensian apparatus of thought and if evidence can be adduced that at some stage in the development of ideas, Keynes came near to formulating such a theory. [1] 

[1] I am referring to the well-known passage on profits being likened to a "widow's cruse" in the Treatise on Money, Vol. 1, p. 139. 
" If entrepreneurs choose to spend a portion of their profits on consumption (and there is, of course, nothing to prevent them from doing this) the effect is to increase the profit on the sale of liquid consumption goods by an amount exactly equal to the amount of profits which have been thus expended ... Thus however much of their profits entrepreneurs spend on consumption, the increment of wealth belonging to entrepreneurs remain the same as before. Thus profits, as a source of capital increment for entrepreneurs, are a widow's cruse which remains undepleted however much of them may be devoted to riotous living. When on the other hand, entrepreneurs are making losses, and seek to recoup these losses by curtailing their normal expenditure on consumption, i.e., by saving more, the cruse becomes a Danaid jar which can never be filled up; for the effect of this reduced expenditure is to inflict on the producer of consumption-goods a loss of an equal amount. Thus the diminution of their wealth, as a class is as great, in spite of their savings, as it was before." 
This passage, I think, contains the true seed of the ideas developed in the General Theoryㅡas well a showing the length of the road that had to be traversed before arriving at the conceptual framework presented in the latter work. The fact that "profits", "savings", etc. were all defined here in a special sense that was later discarded, and that the argument specifically refers to expenditure on consumption goods, rather than entrepreneurial expenditure in general, should not blind us to the fact that here Keynes regards entrepreneurial incomes as being the resultant of their expenditure decisions, rather than the other way roundㅡwhich is perhaps the most important difference between "Keynesian" an "pre-Keynesian" habits of thought.

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