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Edited by Guillaume Vallet

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Inequalities and the Progressive Era

Breakthroughs and Legacies

Edited by Guillaume Vallet

Inequalities and the Progressive Era features contributors from all corners of the world, each exploring a different type of inequality during the ‘Progressive Era’ (1890s-1930s). Though this era is most associated with the United States, it corresponds to a historical period in which profound changes and progress are realized or expected all over the globe.
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Edited by Guillaume Vallet

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Edited by Robert W. Dimand and Harald Hagemann

The most influential and controversial economist of the twentieth century, John Maynard Keynes was the leading founder of modern macroeconomics, and was also an important historical figure as a critic of the Versailles Peace Treaty after World War I and an architect of the Bretton Woods international monetary system after World War II. This comprehensive Companion elucidates his contributions, his significance, his historical context and his continuing legacy.
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Robert W. Dimand and Harald Hagemann

“Rereading the General Theory”, wrote Milton Friedman (1997, p. 5), “has reminded me what a great economist Keynes was.” His Chicago colleague, Judge Richard Posner (“How I became a Keynesian” 2009), when driven by the Global Financial Crisis to actually read Keynes’s The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, was shocked to discover that he found the book admirable, readable and helpful in understanding the world, and even was converted to Keynesianism (not at all an effect that rereading the book had on Friedman). That Keynes was an economist of sufficient historical influence, both of attraction and repulsion, to warrant inclusion with David Ricardo or Alfred Marshall in The Elgar Companion series hardly seems debatable. We cannot imagine a three-volume biography of any other economist, however well written, being published, let alone being a best seller (Skidelsky 1983–2000, 2003). The evolution of modern macroeconomics cannot be understood without reference to Keynes’s influence – and in the case of monetarism and New Classical economics, to reactions against his influence (see Skousen, Dissent on Keynes, 1992). The Global Financial Crisis has provoked an outpouring of books with titles such as Keynes: The Return of the Master (Skidelsky 2009), Keynes: The Rise, Fall and Return of the 20th Century’s Most Influential Economist (Clarke 2009), Maynard’s Revenge. The Collapse of Free Market Macroeconomics (Taylor 2010), The Return to Keynes (Bateman et al. 2010), The Fall and Rise of Keynesian Economics (Eatwell and Milgate 2011) and Keynes Hayek: The Clash that Defined Modern Economics (Wapshott 2011). Yet even if Keynes had never written General Theory, he would have been historically important as the critic of the Versailles Peace Treaty and author of the Economic Consequences of the Peace, and as a leading Treasury advisor and international negotiator during and after two world wars. His interests and activities, notably as a philosopher and as a cultural entrepreneur, ranged far beyond economics. The Elgar Companion to John Maynard Keynes surveys and samples the scholarship on his life and legacy, the influences on his intellectual development, and the nature and context of his contributions. This body of scholarship, anchored by the great biographies of Keynes by Donald Moggridge (1992) and Robert Skidelsky (1983–2000), has benefitted from the 30 volumes of The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes (1971–89, general editors Donald Moggridge and Austin Robinson, volume editors Donald Moggridge and, for four volumes, Elizabeth Johnson), supplemented by T.K. Rymes’s reconstruction of Keynes’s lectures in the early 1930s (Rymes 1989), and by much now-available unpublished material such as declassified Treasury files (see Lekachman 1964, for an overview of earlier studies of Keynes as an economist). It has also benefitted from a changed, and deepened, understanding of Keynes as an economist, notably by Axel Leijonhufvud’s distinction between Keynesian economics (the economics of the mainstream of those who considered themselves Keynes’s followers) and the economics of Keynes himself (Leijonhufvud 1968; see also Minsky 1975, Friedman 1997 and Harcourt and Riach 1997 for other perspectives on the economics of Keynes). Views of Keynes the man also evolved: contrast Jeff Escoffier (1995) on Keynes as a gay man with the reticence of Harrod (1951). Too much can, and all too often has, been made of this: Keynes’s pre- Lydia homosexuality can explain his break from the economic orthodoxy of Pigou and Robertson only if a similarity can explain a difference. The Bloomsbury group, a crucial context for Keynes, is now much better known and understood than it was.

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African decolonization and world disarmament

The Life and Work of Arthur (A.J.) Brown

Kenneth Button

Brown served on the Raisman Commission that reported on the challenges of decolonization of British East Africa, and as a member of the Advisory Group on Central Africa. The chapter sets out his participation in these two ventures as one of the main economists on one and as the economic expert on the other. It focuses on the way Brown applied trade and development economics to the issues that were encountered is this period of radical change in Africa. Brown, along with the likes of Oscar Lange and Wassily Leontief, also served in 1960 as the British representative in the United Nations consultative group on Economic and Social Consequences of Disarmament that explored the likely effects of large-scale disarmament on national incomes and employment. It considers Brown’s quantitative contributions to the group.

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Brown’s later activities

The Life and Work of Arthur (A.J.) Brown

Kenneth Button

This chapter covers Brown’s later activities at Leeds University, when he was among (other things) a senior pro-vice-chancellor, and his work after retiring from Leeds. The latter includes serving on the Donald MacDougall Commission, a European Commission (EC) Study Group of independent economists charged with examining the future role of public finance at the Community level in the general context of European economic integration. The chapter also considers Brown’s later work, World Inflation Since 1950 (1985), in which he updates and expands his earlier analysis of the subject, making use of advances in econometric techniques, new theories of price inflation, and improved data sets.

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Building an economics department

The Life and Work of Arthur (A.J.) Brown

Kenneth Button

This chapter focuses on Brown’s activities at Leeds University, especially regarding the Economics Department that he served and was head of for an extended period from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. This is set in the more general context of the evolutionary changes that were taking place in English higher education at that time. It also outlines his views on the nature of an economics department and on the senior management of one.

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The development of an applied economist

The Life and Work of Arthur (A.J.) Brown

Kenneth Button

Brown’s early life and education is described, along with the socio-economic environment of the part of the UK he was brought up in. An account is offered of the economics education at Oxford University in the 1930s and the influence of Keynes on the way economics was treated. The chapter provides an outline of the courses taught in the philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE) degree and some of the individuals involved in that teaching.

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Domestic policy advisor

The Life and Work of Arthur (A.J.) Brown

Kenneth Button

This chapter looks at Brown’s role as an economic advisor on a range of UK domestic matters. It initially offers an overview of Brown’s own opinions regarding the official advisory role, and then looks at some of his other activities, which included serving on the Advisory Boards of both the new University of Kent and the University of Bradford, created from a former College of Advanced Technology. He also served for many years on the University Grants Committee that advised the Department of Education and Science on university financing. His appointment was linked to his earlier work on the Tress-Brown Index that provided the foundation for assessing university base costs.