A query on Keynesian economics

I have received a brief email from one of my students:

Dear Dr Kates,

First let me thank you for the emails guiding us through the course.

On a personal note, I am curious as to how and why you believe that we should beware of the Keynesian approach (theories that we all have been taught at some point). Is there a book or some articles I could read to in order to understand why the pre-Keynesian era is more relevant to our current economy?

Thank you.

Kind regards

This I can tell you is not an every-day occurrence in the life of an academic. I have now replied:

You don’t know how much you have gladdened my heart in writing to me with your query. As I try to emphasise, I do not ask anyone in an introductory course to choose which side is right and I teach both. You have no doubt which side I think is valid, but I also teach Keynesian economics as accurately as anyone I know, all the more so since I understand it so well since I have studied it for so long. Nevertheless, you may be in the only classroom in the world that is taught the other side as comprehensively as you will find in this course.

But you ask where you might find some literature on the non-Keynesian classical side. I have, as it happens, just completed an 1800-page, two volume collection of every article critical of Keynesian economics written since the publication of The General Theory in 1936. But if you are looking for what I think of as the best criticism available, the best I can offer are two articles I wrote myself, the first one written at the end of 2008 and published at the beginning of 2009 just as the various stimulus packages were getting under way. The second was a five-year review of the first article written in 2014.

This is what was published in 2009 under the title, “The Dangerous Return to Keynesian Economics”.

This is what was published five years later under the title: “Keynesian Economics’ Dangerous Return – Five Years On”.

Both somewhat long, but both are straight to the point and were written so they could be understood without an economics training. Given how things are going, I am not anticipating much improvement on things when I come to write the ten-year review in 2019.

Again, I thank you for your query and I hope these articles will provide you with the insight into the material you are being taught. And, let me remind you, there is also the course text which covers these same issues in greater theoretical depth.

With kind regards.

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