- 지은이: Paul A. Samuleson
- 제목: Lord Keynes and the General Theory
- 출처: Econometrica, Vol. 14, No. 3(July 1946), pp. 187-200; John Maynard Keynes: Critical Assessments, Vol. 5, pp. 190-202; The Collected Scientific Papers of Paul A. Samuelson, vol. 2.
- 자료: The first(up to p.195 only); the second(구글도서); the first(Jstor);
The death of Lord Keynes will undoubtedly afford the occasion for numerous attempts to appraise the character of the man and his contribution to economic thought. The personal details of his life and antecedents will very properly receive extensive notice elsewhere.
It is perhaps not too soon to venture upon a brief and tentative appraisal of Keynes's lasting impact upon the development of modern economic analysis. And it is all the more fitting to do so now that his major work has just completed the first decade of its very long life.
The Impact of the General Theory : (... ...)
The General Theory Itself
Thus far, I have been discussing the new doctrines without regard to their content or merits, as if they were a religion and nothing else. True, we find a Gospel, Scriptures, a Prophet, Disciples, Apostles, Epigoni, and even a Duality; and if there is no Apostolic Succession, there is at least an Apostolic Benediction. But by now the joke has worn thin, and it in any case irrelevant.
The modern saving-investment theory of income determination did not directly displace the old laten belief in Say's Law of Markets (according to which only "frictions" give rise to unemployment and overproduction). Events of the years following 1929 destroyed the previous economic synthesis. The economists' belief in the orthodox systhesis was not overthrown, but had simply atrophied: it was not as though one's soul had faced a showdown as to the existence of the Deity and that faith was unthroned, or even that one had awakened in the morning to find that belief had flown away in the night; rather it was realized with a sense of belated recognition that one no longer had faith, that one had been living without faith for a long time, and that what after all was the difference?
The nature of the world did not suddenly change one black October day in 1929 so that a new theory became mandatory. Even in their day, the older theories were incomplete and inadequate: in 1815, in 1844, 1893, and 1920. I venture to believe that the 18th and the 19th centuries take on a new aspect when looked back upon from the modern perspective; that a new dimension has been added to the reading of the Mercantilists, Thornton, Malthus, Ricardo, Tooke, David Wells, Marshall, and Wicksell.
Of course, the Great Depression of the Thirties was not the first to reveal the untenability of the classical synthesis. The classical philosophy always had its ups and downs along with the great swings of business activity. Each time it had come back. But now for the first time, it was confronted by a competing systemㅡa well-reasoned body of thought containing among other things as many equations as unknowns. In short, like itself, a synthesis; and one which could swallow the classical system as a special case.
A new ^system^, that is what requires emphasis. Classical economics withstand isolated criticism. Theorists can always resist facts; for facts are hard to establish and are always changing anyway, and ^ceteris paribus^ can be made to absorb a good deal of punishment. Inevitably, at the earliest opportunity, the mind slips back into the old grooves of thought since analysis is utterly impossible without a frame of reference, a way of thinking about things, or in short a theory.
Herein lies the secret of the ^General Theory^. It is a badly written book, poorly organized; any layman who , beguiled by the author's previous reputation, brought the book was cheated of his 5 shillings. It is not well suited for classroom use. It is arrogant bad-tempered, polemical, and not overly-generous in its acknowledgments. It abounds in mares' nests and confusions: involuntary unemployment, wage units, the equality of savings and investment, the timing of the multiplier, interactions of marginal efficiency upon the rate of interest, forced savings, own rates of interest, and may others. In it the Keynesian system stands out indistinctly, as if the author were hardly aware of its existence or cognizant of its properties; and certainly he is at his worst when expounding its relations to its predecessors. Flashes of insights and intuition intersperse tedius algebra. An awkward definition suddenly gives way to an unforgettable cadenza. When it finally is mastered, we find its analysis to be obvious and at the same time new. In short, it is a work of genius.
It is not unlikely that future historians of economic thought will conclude that the very obscurity and polemical character of the ^General Theory^ ultimately served to maximize its long-run influence. Possibly such an analyst will place it in the first rank of theoretical classics along with the work of Smith, Cournot, and Walras. Certainly, these four books together encompass most of what is vital in the field of economic theory; and only the first is by any standards easy reading or even accessible to the intelligent layman.
In any case, it bears repeating that the ^General Theory^ is an obscure book so that would-be anti-Keynesians must assume their position largely on credit unless they are willing to put in a great deal of work and run the risk of seduction in the process. The ^General Theory^ resembles the random note over a period of years of a gifted man who in his youth gained the whip hand over his publishers by virtue of the acclaim and fortune resulting from the success of his ^Economic Consequences of the Peace.^
Portrait of the Scientist : (...)