Making the most of anomaly in the history of economic thought: Smith, marx-engels, and keynes

Samuel Hollander

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

A discrepancy between what we expect an author to say and what he actually does say should be an inducement to examine and, if necessary, adjust or even abandon the initial presumption. Unfortunately, all too often apparent anomalies are simply discarded as error or as unrepresentative, leaving the initial interpretation unaffected. The fruitfulness of according serious attention to apparent anomaly is illustrated by reference to Smith's case for government intervention in the credit market (his support of the Usury Laws), and the Marx-Engels appeal to the orthodox pricing mechanism in evaluating contemporary reformist schemes. My third case concerns Keynes's misrepresentation of Ricardian macro-economic policy, more specifically, his unwillingness to make use of his demonstrable awareness of Ricardo's actual position to support his argument against the Return to Gold at par in 1925. Here again we face an anomalous situation, though of a different sort to the first two. The object of the exercise is the same, namely to achieve a better comprehension of the author in question by resolving the anomaly, but in this instance - unlike the first two - I have not yet arrived at a resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives on Keynesian Economics
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Pages15-34
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9783642144080
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2011

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