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“Your Position is Thoroughly Orthodox and Entirely Wrongâ€: Nicholas Kaldor and Joan Robinson, 1933–1983

John King

Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 1998, vol. 20, issue 4, 411-432

Abstract: Nicholas Kaldor (1908-86) and Joan Robinson (1903-83) were almost exact contemporaries and enjoyed very similar careers. Both began as innovative but fundamentally orthodox microeconomists, soon turning (very early, in the case of Robinson) to the defense and development of Keynesian macroeconomics. They were both lifelong socialists and, during the Second World War, energetic propagandists for the fledgling British welfare state. In the 1950s each published a series of penetrating critiques of neoclassical distribution and growth theory, subsequently extending the attack to mainstream analyses of value, international trade, development, and the very foundations of equilibrium methodology. By 1975 Kaldor and Robinson were generally recognized as the founding parents of Post Keynesian economics in Britain, or what its U.S. progenitor Sidney Weintraub described as the “Kaldor-Kalecki-Robinson revolution in distribution theory†(Eichner and Kregel, 1975; Weintraub, 1972, p. 45). For some years they were close personal friends. They spent decades–indeed, Robinson spent her entire working life–in Cambridge, where they were belatedly appointed to chairs in 1966.

Date: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:cup:jhisec:v:20:y:1998:i:04:p:411-432_00