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Retrospectives: Lord Keynes and Mr. Say: A Proximity of Ideas

Alain Beraud () and Guy Numa

Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2019, vol. 33, issue 3, 228-42

Abstract: Since the publication of Keynes's General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, generations of economists have been led to believe that Say was Keynes's ultimate nemesis. By means of textual and contextual analysis, we show that Keynes and Say held similar views on several key issues, such as the possibility of aggregate-demand deficiency, the role of money in the economy, and government intervention. Our conclusion is that there are enough similarities to call into question the idea that Keynes's views were antithetical to Say's. The irony is that Keynes was not aware of these similarities. Our study sheds new light on the interpretation of Keynes's work and on his criticism of classical political economy. Moreover, it suggests that some policy implications of demand-side and supply-side frameworks overlap. Finally, the study underlines the importance of a thorough analysis of the primary sources to fully grasp the substance of Say's message.

JEL-codes: B12 B22 B31 E00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.33.3.228
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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:33:y:2019:i:3:p:228-42