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  • 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.

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