The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money
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The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  2,061 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Distinguished British economist John Maynard Keynes set off a series of movements that dramatically altered the ways in which economists view the world. In his most important work, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, Keynes critiqued the laissez faire policies of the day, particularly the proposition that a normally functioning market economy will bring...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published May 12th 1965 by Mariner Books (first published December 13th 1935)
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Whitaker
One of the hardest things in the world for anyone do to is to change their mindset. Keynes, who suckled at the teats of classical economists, took off the emerald glass spectacles he was given to wear, and took a long hard look at the Depression-era. He had in his life also variously been a businessman and a fairly successful speculator. What he saw was that the theories he taught and had been taught could not explain what was happening.

In a teeny nutshell, classical economics based itself on s...more
Donovan
I think most of these reviews are Ron Paul supporters that don't really understand monetary theory AT ALL. No problem with that however, other than they project their own new version of what Adam Smith said. If they understood Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes, they would realize that they espouse economic theories, not ideologies on the role of government.

Keynes doesn't disagree with at all Adam Smith; he expands on Adam Smith's theories (which were a good 100 years prior). Keynes and Smith ar...more
Paul
Bad writing, confused thinking, pernicious policies.

I first encountered the name Keynes when reading a Time magazine article in around 1975 about West Germany's chancellor Helmut Schmidt. As I recall, the article was a complimentary one, in which Schmidt was portrayed as an intellectual technocrat who favored the intellectual and technocratic economics of John Maynard Keynes. I got the impression that Keynesian economics was something advanced and new, a sophisticated modern theory to be used by...more
Michael Quinn
It's a brutal read, especially the middle third. With an intense focus on the fundamental nature of the three factors mentioned in the title, it's easy to get bored and distracted quickly.

Nonetheless, reading the General Theory reminds me of watching Citizen Kane. The book has so thoroughly reshaped economics in its image that it's hard to recognize how revolutionary it truly is. This exacerbates the problems of the middle third, since not only is it dry and technical, it seems pretty obvious no...more
Brad
On Aug. 15, 1971, Richard "We are all Keynesians now" Nixon announced the US government would default on its pledge to deliver gold to any foreign government holding US dollars at the rate of one ounce of gold for each $35.
Thanks Breton Woods system and FDR for taking us off the gold standard, the only thing holding government and banks back from run away inflation. Breton Woods was suppose to last forever haha we soon found out that it lasted a full 27 years and while American citizens were b...more
Clinton
The General Theory of Employment, Interest & Money has turned economic science upside down where the undertone and ideas have inherently defied basic economic principles. Unfortunately, the book still influences monetary and fiscal policy. It also has invaded the economic science in general. Economics is not driven by mathematics or models; it is driven by human action. Overall, it was merely an interesting read just on the basis of understanding where Keynes develops his theory.
Dee
Sep 23, 2011 Dee rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dee by: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2088856_2089137_2089243,00.html
This certainly is not a book for a quick enjoyable read. I am a Keynesian in my economic beliefs as a result of this book. As we are continuing the crazy response to the current economic crisis, I highly recommend this book to everyone who cares about money and our economy.
Emre Poyraz
There are still many debates about Keynes and the General Theory, and this is not surprising since this is one of the most confusing books in economics (and a rather difficult one). I do not know if this should interest the general reader, but it is a must-read for any economist. But, do not expect to read it from cover to cover in one sitting! There are some chapters in the book that will force you to reconsider previous ones, and the outdated mathematical terminology does not help.

The big prob...more
Chuck
The General Theory Of Employment, Interest, And Money
John Maynard Keynes


Chapter 1

The General Theory

I have called this book the General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, placing the emphasis on the prefix general. The object of such a title is to contrast the character of my arguments and conclusions with those of the classical(1) theory of the subject, upon which I was brought up and which dominates the economic thought, both practical and theoretical, of the governing and academic class...more
Matthew
Apr 02, 2009 Matthew rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: econ geeks
Shelves: economics
A long but very stimulating read. The English is slightly archaic and the sentences long, but he's a vigorous, witty, eloquent writer. He likes to extrapolate from the case of an individual entrepreneur to the aggregate economy, which is a very different approach from other economists. As a trader himself, he's in tune with market psychology, which actually forms the basis for central tenets of his theory.

Two key differences between 1929 and 2008 strike me -- first, the world was on the gold sta...more
Doug Daley
As the book that most modern macro economics is based on, I was expecting a detailed logical analysis of economics. I was disappointed that the underlying assumptions on which the theory was built were largely stated as axiomatic instead of proven. He also seem pre-occupied with detailing his perceived short comings with the classical school. Given this books reputation I was hoping for something with more rigor. I found Wealth of Nations and several other economics books more interesting.

Jay
This is the type of book that needs to have a class attached to it. While I enjoyed it on my own, I would love to have a professor explain in detail more of the concepts inside. Basically, this work is the foundation of economics for the eighty years. The case is brilliantly made and illustrated, but as I mentioned, it is very in depth. This is why the author has so many detractors. If you read Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman side by side with this work, people will choose Capitalism o...more
Rlotz
It is my firm conviction that, if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing even when you’re badly under-qualified to do it. So here I go!

Few books have inspired as much controversy as John Maynard Keynes' magnum opus. Revered on the left, abhorred on the right, the book has been dragged back into the public spotlight after the previous economic crisis. I’ve heard some economists discuss this book in a tone normally reserved for the Bible, and others in a tone normally reserved for Twilight.

Imag...more
Alex Milledge
I wish I could say that I understood everything that Keynes said, but I didn't. I saw a lot of words and terms that seemed to belong in a political economy treatise, but all they were to me were just ideas and phrases bound together by a sentence and a paragraph. It's no fault to Keynes. Economics is probably the hardest to read out any of the subjects I have encountered.

With that being said, I picked up a bit every now and then I understood. Some of the terms I remembered from my high school ec...more
Jemma
A tour de force of revolutionary Economic thinking, 30s style. A little too complicated to fully comprehend unless you are studying Economics though. Nonetheless a truly groundbreaking work which taught us how to get out of a Depression and stay out. Shame the Chancellor hasn't read it.

Still the style of the book is fun. A bit stiff as you would expect from a pre-sixties academic work but makes repeated efforts to be less stuffy and to reach out. Near the end, Keynes even breaks into song.
John
A book that George the second should read. One of the key elements of his argument to me is the "crazy" premise that rich people save money at a greater rate than poor people. Attacks alot of neoclassical theories in a very intuitive way. The question that remains, for the reader, is what does our government do about this in terms of policy, regulation and implementation. Whether or not you agree with the entirety of Keynes conclusions or arguments is irrelevant. This is a very important book.
Rob Roy
This is a difficult read, especially since the last course in economics I took was over 40 years ago. The math is pretty well beyond me as well. Nonetheless, there is valuable insight to be gained here. This book is the basis for the economic system abandoned in 1981,that may well have prevented where we are now.
Guy Cranswick
Even for a non economist reader the writing here is sharp and lucid. Keynes's mind, his education come through in the clarity of his prose, free of jargon and stupid management speak, that academic economists use today.
Michael
Now getting into the real scholarly shit. This should wreak havoc on my ADD.
Kenny
5 for insight, 3 for readability
Steve
Arrogant, unrealistic.
Justin Tapp
I found this free at Project Gutenberg and is the first ebook I've read exclusively on my iBooks (instead of Kindle & Kindle apps). I decided it would be great to read it since I just finished Wealth of Nations. My highlights and notes are legion, but Apple/iBooks doesn't put them out on a website for easy copy-and-paste like Amazon does.

This review is not intended to be exhaustive, it's just my main take-aways. Like WoN, the GT is a book you read a lot about but really need to read for you...more
Mark Oppenlander
(This is not the edition of the book that I read, but it is the closest I could find in Goodreads.)

I read this primarily for personal edification. Keynes is often quoted as one of the most influential economists of the past century, and his works were cited a lot during of our most recent few economic crises. Reading this book, considered his most important work, it is easy to see why his name is on everyone's lips; he was way ahead of his time. Although my eyes glazed over at times, and I skimm...more
Suman
It amazes me that one simple equation could end something as horrible as the great depression, but that is what happened with the publication of this book. Of course, this equation also required the apostate view that there is not always a demand for any given amount of supply (a fundamental tenet of "classical" economics), and that there can be situations in which entrepreneurs, seeing a lack of demand, will not produce anything, and therefore not employ people, who will stop spending, etc. etc...more
David
Leer a Keynes es más difícil de lo que jamás pude pensar... es fácil distraerse, aventarlo, retomarlo, perderse en lo vasto de su prosa, en lo humilde y arrogante de sus conclusiones.

Es muy interesante ver cómo este documento, podríamos llamar histórico, habla de las tasas de interés cercanas a cero, la importancia de la inversión en infraestructura y la socialización de la inversión, sobre que deben establecerse compromisos por los que las autoridades deben cooperar con la iniciativa privada......more
Tony Bogar
Yes, I might have to read this one again. It's one of those that doesn't sink in the first time around. The overall impression, yes. The fine details, no.
Akshay
Revolutionary new theory which overturned prior thoughts that economy would operate at max efficiency on its own and that cutting wages was only way to increase unemployment

Economies suffer from lack of demand which can be cured by temporary government increasing money supply

From end of Great Depression to early 1970's, Keynesian economics prevailed - Golden Age of Capitalism

Displaced by Monetarianism (minimal govt and free markets) from 1979-1984 - Volker fighting inflation

Keynesian resurgence...more
B
Jul 12, 2013 B rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own, westend
All the greatest hits are here! Animal spirits! Scribblers in the air! Trade cycles!

I have to say that I did not understand a lot of it, in part because of dated jargon and algebra and in part because Keynes trusts that you will remember all of his definitions and variables. Despite that, it is remarkably clear and much of the fault probably lies in a reader unwilling to invest enough time to decode everything.

I am sure there is a better book for a beginner and a more accurate book in our time,...more
Usman W. Chohan
The best chapter is the set of Concluding Notes on the Social Philosophy Towards which the General Theory might lead [Ch. 24]
Memorable quote from ch. 24: "Dangerous human proclivities can be canalised into comparatively harmless channels by the existence of opporunities for money-making private wealth, which if not satisfied in this way, may find their outleet in cruelty. It is better that a man should tyrannise over his bgank balance than over his fellow-citizens."
Fouad Jaber
the main thrust ofcthis book is the idea that in contrast with the classical view, the market doesn't naturally tend to full employment equilibrium. this is due the marginal propensity to consumer which being less Tgabk required and causing insufficient demand. the solution proposed by keynes was state intervention to create the required effective demand which only then could allow full employment to take place.
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“Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally.” 5 likes
“The ideas which are here expressed so laboriously are extremely simple and should be obvious. The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds.” 0 likes
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