The Modern Revolution in Political Economy by James Piereson

Piereson, James. "John Maynard Keynes and the Modern Revolution in Political Economy." Society. Vol. 49, Iss. 3 (May, 2012), pp. 263-273.


Keynes understood capitalism to be an historical institution that evolved through different phases, with each one calling for new modes of theory and understanding. He wrote persuasively about the cultural and political forces that brought about an end to the “age of laissez faire.” Keynes, like the master economist he described in his tribute to Marshall, performed the roles of philosopher, historian, and economist in trying to explain why the old order collapsed and why it could not be rebuilt on its former terms. Keynes spent the interwar years wrestling with the European crisis brought on first by war and then by economic upheaval. If the old order was dead, then another had to be constructed on new intellectual foundations. This was a challenge that Keynes addressed in a series of essays and books that he published during this period, culminating in the publication of The General Theory.

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