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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936), John Maynard Keynes takes pains to contrast his theory with what he termed “classical economists” such as David Ricardo, Alfred Marshall, and James Mill. This classification includes what today would be called neoclassical economists, to whom Keynes makes most frequent reference. The reason for this is that his classification is based on the absence of a theory of “effective demand.” Keynes called his theory a general theory, which means that he was “chiefly concerned with the behavior of the economic system as a whole,—with aggregate incomes, aggregate profits, aggregate output, aggregate employment, aggregate investment, aggregate saving rather than with the incomes, profits, output, employment, investment and saving of particular industries, firms or individuals.” Here Keynes appears to be primarily concerned to differentiate his approach from what is now called neoclassical microeconomics, and in particular to the use of Marshall’s method of partial equilibrium or Léon Walras’s general equilibrium based on individual supply and demand functions.

Keywords: The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, John Maynard Keynes, classical economists, David Ricardo, Alfred Marshall, profits, employment, Léon Walras, supply and demand

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