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Keynes and Persuasion

Maria Cristina Marcuzzo ()

Chapter Chapter 1 in Keynes for the Twenty-First Century, 2008, pp 23-40 from Palgrave Macmillan

Abstract: Abstract In this chapter, I examine the central role persuasion—in the two-way sense of persuading and of being persuaded—played in Keynes’s work, for it is crucial to an understanding of his behavior in all of his multifarious endeavors. In the process of both elaborating and transmitting ideas, persuasion calls for ability in reasoning, the gift of arousing passions, and a particular flair in personal relationships—qualities that Keynes possessed to the utmost degree. But why was persuasion so important for him? Biography played a part, insofar as Keynes was embedded in the milieu of the highly educated British class, for which clubs, debating societies, and learned fellowships represented the bulk of social life. More fundamentally, however, persuasion was essential to his conception of economics as a method of molding ideas and opinions in an exchange with others, as he explained in a celebrated passage of The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money: “It is astonishing what foolish things one can temporarily believe if one thinks too long alone, particularly in economics (along with the other moral sciences), where it is often impossible to bring one’s ideas to a conclusive test either formal or experimental” (CWK7, xxiii; emphasis added).

Keywords: International Monetary Fund; Joint Statement; Dollar Reserve; Persuasion Strategy; Bretton Wood Agreement (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008
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DOI: 10.1057/9780230611139_2

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