Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: June 2012

5 - The Great Depression and Keynes’s General Theory


John Maynard Keynes corresponded with George Bernard Shaw for decades after meeting him at Cambridge. Shaw was not only a famous playwright, but also an amateur economist (see Chapter 7). In January 1935 Keynes wrote to Shaw:

To understand my state of mind, however, you have to know that I believe myself to be writing a book on economic theory which will largely revolutionize– not, I suppose, at once but in the course of the next ten years– the way the world thinks about economic problems.

Keynes’s forecast was remarkably accurate. His characterization of his project as “a book on economic theory,” however, was a slightly misleading. Despite the eventual publication title of The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, he was– as many commentators have noted– very much writing a tract for the times.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO
Keynes, John MaynardThe Collected Writings of J. M. KeynesCambridgeCambridge University Press 1973
Harrod, R. F.The Life of John Maynard KeynesLondonMacmillan 1951
Reeves, RichardPresident Nixon: Alone in the White HouseNew YorkSimon & Schuster Paperbacks 2001
Steindl, Frank G.What Ended the Great Depression? It Was Not World War II,Independent Review 12 2007 180
Cole, Harold L.Ohanian, Lee E.New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis,Journal of Political Economy 112 2004 779
Hall, Thomas E.Ferguson, J. DavidThe Great Depression: An International Disaster of Perverse Economic PoliciesAnn ArborUniversity of Michigan Press 1998
Gallaway, LowellVedder, RichardOut of Work: Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century AmericaNew YorkHolmes and Meier 1993
Friedman, MiltonSchwartz, Anna J.A Monetary History of the United StatesPrinceton, NJPrinceton University Press 1963
Keynes, Essays in PersuasionNew YorkW. W. Norton 1973
Keynes, John MaynardThe Means to ProsperityLondonMacmillan 1933
Krugman, PaulThe General Theory of Employment, Interest, and MoneyNew YorkPalgrave Macmillan 2007
Davis, J. RonnieThe New Economics and the Old EconomistsAmesIowa State University Press 1971
Barber, William J.From New Era to New Deal: Herbert Hoover, the Economists, and American Economic Policy, 1921–1933New YorkCambridge University Press 1985
Keynes, John MaynardThe General Theory of Employment Interest and MoneyLondonMacmillan 1973
Krugman, Paul 1948
Leijonhufvud, AxelInformation and CoordinationNew YorkOxford University Press 1981
Samuelson, Paul A.A Synthesis of the Principle of Acceleration and the Multiplier,Journal of Political Economy 47 1939 786
Besomi, DanieleHarrod, Hansen, and Samuelson on the Multiplier-Acceleration Model: A Further Note,History of Political Economy 35 2003 305
Garrison, RogerTime and MoneyLondonRoutledge 2001
Wilson, TomCapital Theory and the Trade Cycle,Review of Economic Studies 7 1940 169
Hayek, Profits, Interest, and InvestmentLondonRoutledge 1939
Keynes, John MaynardThe Pure Theory of Money: A Reply to Dr. Hayek,Economica 34 1931 393
Hayek, F. A. vonA Rejoinder to Mr. Keynes,Economica 34 1931 401
Keynes, John Maynard 1973
Thornton, HenryAn Enquiry into the Nature and Effects of the Paper Credit of Great BritainLondonGeorge Allen and Unwin 1939
Maclachlan, FionaJ. A. Hobson and the Economists,Journal of Post Keynesian Economics 25 2002 298
Malthus, T. R.Definitions in Political EconomyLondonSimpkin and Marshall 1853
Sismondi, Jean Simonde di 1819
Ricardo, DavidNotes on Malthus’s Principles of Political EconomyIndianapolisLiberty Fund 2004
Maclachlan, F. CameronThe Ricardo-Malthus Debate on Underconsumption: A Case Study in Economic Conversation,History of Political Economy 31 1999 563
Keynes, J. M.The Commemoration of Thomas Robert Malthus (III),Economic Journal 45 1935 230
Say, Jean-BaptisteA Treatise on Political Economy; or the Production, Distribution, and Consumption of Wealth,PhiladelphiaLippincott, Grambo & Co. 1855
Say, J. B.An Economist in Troubled Times: Writings Selected and TranslatedPrinceton, NJPrinceton University Press 1997
Hayek, F. A.The Pure Theory of CapitalChicagoUniversity of Chicago Press 2007
Hazlitt, HenryCritics of Keynesian EconomicsPrinceton, NJD. Van Nostrand 1960
Hutt, W. H.The Theory of Idle ResourcesLondonJonathan Cape 1939
Marget, Arthur W.The Theory of PricesNew YorkPrentice-Hall 1942
Mehring, Otto vonSome Problems of Methodology in Modern Economic Theory,American Economic Review 34 1944 87
Grant, A. T. K. 1933
Hetzel, Robert 2007
Hansen, Alvin H.A Guide to KeynesNew YorkMcGraw-Hill 1953
Hicks, J. R.Mr. Keynes and the ‘Classics’; A Suggested Interpretation,Econometrica 5 1937 147
Leijonhufvud, AxelOn Keynesian Economics and the Economics of KeynesNew YorkOxford University Press 1968
Meltzer, Allan H.Keynes’s Monetary Theory: A Different InterpretationCambridgeCambridge University Press 1988
Friedman, MiltonMilton Friedman’s Monetary Framework: A Debate with His CriticsChicagoUniversity of Chicago Press 1974
Phillips, A. W.The Relation between Unemployment and the Rate of Change of Money Wages in the United Kingdom, 1861–1957,Economica 25 1958 283
Samuelson, PaulSolow, RobertAnalytical Aspects of Anti-Inflation Policy,American Economic Review 50 1960 177