Young Keynesian Reading List

Keynesian ideas are having a resurgence today across disciplines. This reading list highlights recent academic work that lays out a broadly Keynesian thesis or concept relevant to the 21st century revival, as well as some essential background readings on central banking. Articles are categorized by field and subject. Where possible, the first link is to the text itself. If the text is not in the public domain, the text will direct you to a popular summary of the text.

Table of Contents:
ECONOMICS
Secular Stagnation
The Special Century: 1870-1970
Hysteresis: Capitalism as Eventful
Radical Uncertainty
Inequality
Marginal Propensity to Consume
HISTORY
SOCIOLOGY
Financialization
The Post-Keynesian Sociological Perspective
POLITICS
CENTRAL BANKING

Economics

Secular Stagnation

What is Secular Stagnation?

Every year, the Federal Reserve predicts the annual growth of US GDP. Every year since the 2008 recession this prediction has been revised downward. Economists have identified that the US’ economic problems aren’t due to the boom and bust economic cycles recognized in the past, but to a long-term decrease in economic growth. In layman’s terms, the economic “pie” might begin shrinking in economic depressions as the old reliable causes of economic growth (like inventions, the discovery and development of new resources, and population growth) become less reliable to incite economic recovery. For over a hundred years, American economists have been trying to devise policy to defend American democratic capitalism to secure economic growth for generations to come.

Economic Progress and Declining Population Growth by Alvin Hansen

In this work, Hansen recognizes public spending as the easiest solution to disrupt and recover from economic depressions, but wishes to employ a rigorous and scientific eye in evaluating what enables economic growth to the end of good economic policy. The economic danger posed by the population growth dropping demanded optimal use of the government’s abilities to induce recovery after economic shocks. Hansen here makes the argument for exerting responsible and practical control over economic affairs to the service and flourishing of everyday Americans.
Read the article here.

Full Recovery or Stagnation? by Alvin Hansen

In 1938, Alvin Hansen published this book in defense of American democratic capitalism. Against the authoritarian threat of central planning as practiced in the Soviet Union and the ruthlessness of leaving all but the wealthiest Americans to suffer the brunt of economic depressions, Hansen laudes the potency of governmental policy and spending. Although it might seem strange to us today, Hansen’s work was applauded in its day for rigorously making the case that the government should never balance its budget. The legacy of Hansen’s detractors is still well in the modern conservative mainstream, but Hansen’s vision of a capitalism of plenty has an equally valid claim to the American tradition.
Read the article here.

U.S. Economic Prospects: Secular Stagnation, Hysteresis, and the Zero Lower Bound by Lawrence Summers

Since the 2008 recession, economists in the discipline of macroeconomics have shifted their focus from restabilizing economies in recession to avoiding secular stagnation. Lawrence Summers is accredited with reviving the secular stagnation thesis Hansen first presented in the 1930s in 2013. In this piece, Summers focuses on the decline in the equilibrium real rate of interest caused by secular stagnation and considers several responses US financial institutions could make. The challenge of achieving growth with financial stability which Summers takes on is nothing less than ensuring a healthy economic future for the United States.
Read the article here.

Secular Stagnation by Kevin O’Rourke

In this short article, Kevin O’Rourke articulates a short history of the theory of secular stagnation and presents 21st century suggestions to tackle the problem. O’Rourke lays out his highest economic priorities in our future in an accessible and direct style. This is a perfect introduction to Secular Stagnation in the 1930s as well as the 2010s and 2020s.
Read the article here.

Secular Stagnation: Facts, causes, and cures by Coen Teulings and Richard Baldwin

In this cunning piece, Teulings and Baldwin diagnose the US’s case of secular stagnation for the skeptic. They make the case for what it is, that it’s here, and what the consequences are. “The old macroeconomic toolkit will be inadequate” and Teulings and Baldwin are determined to get more economists to consider modern public policy to counter secular stagnation.
Read the article here.

Secular Stagnation: The history of a heretical economic idea by Roger Backhouse and Mauro Boianovsky

The frontier has closed, US population growth has dropped, and investment demand has fallen below what is needed. Most Americans still haven’t recovered from the 2008 recession and economists are returning to the theory of secular stagnation. Roger Backhouse and Mauro Boianovsky breakdown Hansen’s original thesis of secular stagnation and the political implications of the Keynesian legacy’s resurrection in America.
Read the article here.

Secular Stagnation: The history of a macroeconomic heresy by Roger Backhouse and Mauro Boianovsky

Backhouse and Boianovsky get into the weeds surrounding the history of Keynes’ and Hansen’s notion of secular stagnation; why it was rejected in the 1930s, what’s happened in macroeconomics since then, and why we’re returning to it now. A must-read for those who want to understand the historical legacy of the problem we’ve faced for the past 12 years and will face for the foreseeable future.
Read the article here.

Visualizing the 700-Year Decline of Interest Rates by Dorothy Neufeld

Since 1300, interest rates have been going down. Across seven centuries of political and economic restructuring this trend has stayed strong. In this article Dorothy Neufeld relays Paul Schmelzing’s top three theories as to why this is the case in a concise and accessible manner. The effect of secular stagnation can already be seen in the history of capitalism and now we must assess how we will handle this crisis 700 years in the making.
Read the article here.

Eight centuries of global real interest rates, R-G, and the ‘suprasecular’ decline, 1311-2018 by Paul Schmelzing

Paul Schmelzing demonstrates that real interest rates have been dropping since the 14th century and forces us to contend with the possibility that real rates “could soon enter permanently negative territory.” Secular stagnation is looking us square in the eyes and this paper is Schmelzing’s call for us to take it seriously.
Read the article here.

The Special Century: 1870-1970

Why is 1870-1970 known as the “Special Century”?

Robert Gordon dubbed this period in American history the “Special Century” because the quality of life of everyday people skyrocketed to a degree unparalleled in history. Analyzing the changes in output of goods and services generated by new innovations and technologies, we can see how more people started getting educated and both relative quantity and quality of capital increased despite working hours going down. This Special Century was America’s Capitalist Golden Age. One question remains however: will US economic growth return?

Is US economic growth over? Faltering innovation confronts the six headwinds by Robert Gordon

From just two basic axioms, Robert Gordon acknowledges that America’s Golden Age is over and why. His two starting principles are that there was virtually no growth before 1750 and that there is no guarantee that growth will continue indefinitely. With this in mind, Gordon hypothesizes the end of US growth. “The point of this article is that it is likely to be much worse than any epoch of US growth since the civil war.” Gordon demands that we cope with a world where incomes no longer rise.
Read the article here.

Automation and the Future of Work by Aaron Benanav

Silicon Valley has heralded a future robotic workforce for the past decade and now that automation is officially on the rise we’ve had our first look at its effect on the labor market. Unforeseen production awaits us at the cost of an unemployment crisis on an unprecedented scale— Benenav asks us how we achieve our post-scarcity future if technological advancement isn’t enough on its own? As Universal Basic Income rises in popularity Benenav brings this piece to the front with a counter-proposal.
Read the book in two parts here: 1, 2.

Hysteresis

What is Hysteresis?

In economics, hysteresis is when a given event’s effects persist once the event has concluded. For instance, an economic depression would affect unemployment, and we would say that we’re observing hysteresis in action if we still saw its effects on unemployment long after the economy had returned to normal. In other words, economic equilibriums sometimes move after certain economic events.

Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem by Blanchard and Summers

Olivier Blanchard and Lawrence Summers investigated rising European unemployment with an eye to the possibility of unemployment hysteresis. With what they learned from observing European unemployment rising over 15 years, they analyzed the Great Depression in the US. Blanchard and Summers develop a theory to explain this hysteresis and highlight the distinction between insiders and outsiders in wage bargaining.
Read the article here.

Inflation and Activity by Blanchard and Summers

Blanchard and Summers analyzed 122 recessions in 23 countries in the latter half of the 20th century and the early 21st century and observed a pattern of lower output and lower growth after many of these recessions had completely ended. Inflation has decreased less than anticipated while unemployment keeps rising. Blanchard and Summers make their analysis with Monetary Policy implications in mind.
Read the article here.

Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy by DeLong and Summers

J. Bradford DeLong and Lawrence Summers evaluate the state of a depressed economy and how hysteresis can be overcome by economic policy. When the central bank won’t enact stabilization policy because interest rates are already at their floor, fiscal policy takes on its stabilization policy mission. DeLong and Summers make the case for cautious fiscal consolidation and acknowledging hysteresis on a rigorous basis.
Read the article here.

Long-Term Damage from the Great Recession in OECD Countries by Laurence Ball

In this paper Laurence Ball evaluates the long-term effects of the 2008 recession in 23 countries. Although losses in potential output vary wildly between countries, most countries experienced strong hysteresis effects; the current growth rate of potential is depressed, implying that the level of lost potential is growing over time. This paper gives perhaps the clearest modern argument for hysteresis’ existence.
Read the article here.

Radical Uncertainty

What is Radical Uncertainty?

By Keynes’ time the field of economics had already undergone a transition from analyzing the economy as a predictable system to predicting the economy with many probabilistic trajectories. However, we don’t understand what causes some events; we can’t forecast at all, with any certainty. Radical Uncertainty is the view that total unpredictability can’t best be resolved by trying to use our insufficient probabilistic models but rather by adopting strategies to resist unpredictable events; to accept that we can’t predict the future and discuss how we can react to surprises.

The State of Long-Term Expectation by John Maynard Keynes

Keynes examines the real effect of uncertainty on the economy: a loss of confidence. The state of confidence is the most important single factor in maintaining any kind of economy and the mainstream probabilistic manner of analyzing the economy to forecast the future shunts our confidence in economists and the economy as a whole. Keynes acknowledges the problems with the current paradigm and compels us to not delude ourselves as to what we can predict and plan for the unexpected.
Read the article here.

Radical Uncertainty by John Kay and Mervyn King

John Kay and Mervyn King boldly stand up to today’s economists in this book. They tell us with confidence that “Much economic advice is bogus quantification […] we need instead robust narratives that yield the confidence to manage uncertainty.” If the goal of economic forecasting is to bring confidence to the market, probabilistic models that rely on information we simply don’t have are doomed to fail. Instead we need to plan for how we handle surprises; a book of untold value given the COVID-19 crisis.
Read the article here.

The Myth of Normal: The Bumpy Story of Inflation and Monetary Policy by Jon Faust and Eric Leeper

Analytical and quantitative frameworks ground themselves in the theoretically normal state of the economy being governed by simple rules. The problem seems clear; we are never in ‘normal’ times. Most academic frameworks will never be useful because they demand the existence of cases we have never and will never see outside of a classroom. Faust and Leeper aim to help central banks better incorporate economic factors into their policy decisions without the use of bogus frameworks.
Read the article here.

Inequality

Inequality as Disease

In everyday life, most of us think of inequality as a symptom of a failing system; we think that our society is so stratified because our economic institutions and practices have been corrupted. Although inequality can be understood as a failure of our economic system, this would be an incomplete assessment. Many economists investigate inequality not as a mere symptom, but also as a disease; inequality corrupts our economic institutions and practices. The papers and books below have taken on the project of analyzing how inequality affects the economy and how we can solve it.

Indebted Demand by Atif Mian, Ludwig Straub and Amir Sufi

Mian, Straub and Sufi study how household debt lowers demand and slows economic growth. Popular expansionary policies like monetary policy and deficit spending can improve growth in the short term but at the expense of indebted demand in the future. When the average household has enough debt, the economy can become stuck in what’s known as a “debt trap”. Escaping a debt trap demands more extreme policies focused on redistribution and dismantling structural sources of high inequality. Mian, Straub and Sufi explain how this is a problem we will have to face eventually and make the case for what is necessary to restore the economy for working people.
Read the article here.

The Savings Glut of the Rich and the Rise in Household Debt by Atif Mian, Ludwig Straub and Amir Sufi

The top 1% American income earners have been saving a greater portion of their annual income over the course of the past 35 years. This is known as the “saving glut of the rich”. This saving glut does not correspond to an increase in investment but instead a decrease in income saving across working class people and American government programs. Economic analysis reveals that the rise in top income shares has grown the saving glut and that this trend is not tolerable for the well-being of the vast majority of the American people.
Read the article here.

Unbound: How Inequality Constricts Our Economy and What We Can Do About It by Heather Boushey

Do we have to choose between equality and prosperity? Heather Boushey, one of Washington’s most influential economists, not only says no but attacks those who would ask such a question untethered from America’s economic reality in this book. Inequality undermines growth in three key ways. In a variety of ways Inequality perpetuates systemic inefficiency, waste, and stagnation for all Americans. For a professional and articulated case against inequality apologism, read this book.
Read the article here.

Regional Heterogeneity and the Refinancing Channel of Monetary Policy by Martin Beraja, Andreas Fuster, Erik Hurst, and Joseph Vavra

Starting with a study of 2008 housing equity distribution, Beraja, Fuster, Hurst, and Vavra outline inequality’s impact on economic recovery. They discover that the success of monetary policy is reliant on regional equality. Monetary policy is toothless when inequality is too great, leaving us without one of our key tools in managing the economy. In this paper they explain their study and findings with an eye to what concerns monetary policy makers.
Read the article here.

Innocent Bystanders? Monetary Policy and Inequality in the U.S. by Oliver Coibion, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Lorenz Kueng and John Silvia

Contractionary monetary policy systematically increases inequality in labor earnings, total, income, consumption and total expenditures. In short, contractionary monetary policy sacrifices long term economic stability for short term growth. Although contractionary monetary policy is important in our regulation of the economy, these impacts cannot be ignored. In this paper Coibion, Gorodnichenko, Kueng and Silvia investigate contractionary monetary policy’s impact on the economy through its exacerbation of inequality.
Read the article here.

Confront Inequality: How Societies Can Choose Inclusive Growth by Jonathan Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Andrew Berg

This book intends to attack the mainstream framework that our current state of intense inequality must be accepted to achieve economic growth. The extent of inequality within a country is a choice of government policy. While many of these policies also cause economic growth, they are not the only options and we have increasing reason to reject them. Ostry, Loungani and Berg are three economists at the International Monetary Fund who not only denounce the current paradigm but investigate how inequality weakens economic performance for all.
Read the article here.

Marginal Propensity to Consume

What is the Marginal Propensity to Consume?

If someone gets a raise, they will usually spend more than they did before; as their income increases, their consumption increases. The marginal propensity to consume (also known as the ‘MPC’) is the change in spending divided by the change in income. If Americans spend $0.05 more for every dollar of additional income, we can say they have an MPC of 0.04 (this is the actual estimated US MPC). It is often said that people who make less income have a higher MPC because necessities make up a larger portion of their budget. MPC allows us to compare spending habits between groups of people and in different countries to better inform tax cuts and low-interest rate policies.

The Distribution of Wealth and the Marginal Propensity to Consume by Christopher Carroll, Jiri Slacalek, Kiichi Tokuoka and Matthew White

According to Carroll’s, Slacalek’s, Tokuoka’s and White’s research, the annual MPC of average American families is much higher than the figure estimated in macroeconomic models because consumers have so little wealth despite their tendencies to save. This means that mainstream economists are unable to accurately analyze how economic shocks affect the consumption habits of everyday Americans. In response, Carroll et al have developed a new model to predict how MPC will change during economic hardship and how shock is distributed across different economic classes.
Read the article here.

The Distribution of Wealth and the MPC: Implications of New European Data by Christopher Carroll, Jiri Slacalek and Kiichi Tokuoka

Carroll, Slacalek and Tokuoka analyzed the micro data on household wealth across 15 European countries in order to analyze how MPC varies in relation to inequality and due to economic shocks. Carroll’s team is using the degree of detail captured in microeconomic data to study macroeconomic consequences of wealth inequality within a country.
Read the article here.

How Large is the Housing Wealth Effect? A New Approach by Christopher Carroll, Misizu Otsuka and Jiri “Jirka” Slacalek

In this paper Carroll, Otsuka, and Slacalek make the case for their model of measuring wealth distribution’s impact on aggregate consumption in an effort to supplant the mainstream model. They both explain their new model and explain why they find the mainstream model unrealistic and why it seems to be unreliable. The “housing wealth effect” can now be identified and quantified through the use of their improved model.
Read the article here.

Estimating the marginal propensity to consume using the distributions of income, consumption, and wealth by Jonathan Fisher, David Johnson, Jonathan Latner, Timothy Smeeding and Jeffrey Thompson

Fisher and his team propose that most studies of economic inequality separately examine income inequality, consumption, and wealth inequality, missing the vital synergy between these three factors. This paper examines the synergy between these three measures and how change in wealth affects change in consumption at different levels of wealth. During shocks, low wealth American households respond the most to changes in income meaning that a transfer of wealth to low wealth households would result in a massive increase in economic growth.
Read the article here.

Monetary Policy and the Redistribution Channel by Adrien Auclert

Redistribution through monetary policy affects consumption in three key ways; an earnings heterogeneity channel, a Fisher channel, and an interest rate exposure channel. Adrien Auclert explains that these are caused by unequal income gains, unexpected inflation, and real interest rate changes respectively. In this paper Auclert suggests that all three of these effects amplify the effects of monetary policy.
Read the article here.

HISTORY

Capital as Process and the History of Capitalism by Jonathan Levy

Most historical writing has understood capital materially— a physical factor of production. In this paper, Jonathan Levy challenges that conceptualization and analyzes capital as a process of forward-looking valuation; a process of investment. This distinction from the traditional narrative allows us to understand modern capitalism and how it acts today. This paper makes the case for Levy’s novel conception of what capital is and how it succeeds where 20th century theories fail. What does it mean to do capitalism, and why have we been getting that wrong so far?
Read the article here.

Appreciating Assets: New Directions in the History of Political Economy by Jonathan Levy

“What is ‘the economy,’ anyway?” Modern historians often adopt the lenses of sovereignty and capital, but understanding history as a series of interactions between atomized units of civil societies or nation-states fails to account for economic processes which break national boundaries by necessity. In this work, Jonathan Levy investigates how financial asset appreciation is co-opted to political, national or ideological, ends. “How might political values and political struggle be consciously reconnected to capitalism’s ever-shifting sphere of economic valuation?”
Read the article here.

Accounting for Profit and the History of Capital by Jonathan Levy

How did we get here? Jonathan Levy grapples with this question directly in this article. “Focused on the United States, this article narrates a history of profit from the dissemination of early modern double-entry bookkeeping practices to the mark-to-market criteria of contemporary global capitalism.” As the forms of capital shift under modern capitalism, profit becomes a matter of interpretation. Levy lends us an analysis of capital and profit as fundamentally bound to a rate over time; capital is inextricably linked with the temporality of its forms.
Read the article here.

Economentality: How the Future Entered Government by Timothy Mitchell

“How should we understand the emergence of this new way of referring to collective life?” The innovation of economization sets up this paper; what it means to economize and the origins of the practice as we think of it today. What Mitchell investigates is not this history but how economization entered the government’s sphere of responsibility and control. In this paper Mitchell proposes that we can understand the work of economics in relation to other modes of government that draw upon future economic potential.
Read the article here.

Fixing the Economy by Timothy Mitchell

Although we think of the economy as all relations of production, distribution, and consumption within a given country or region, each of these actions are “irreducibly hybrid” according to Timothy Mitchell. Through the example of the economy of an Egyptian village Mitchell demonstrates this principle and points out the core flaw in how we conceive of economic actions in general and in individual cases.
Read the article here.

Rethinking Economy by Timothy Mitchell

Economic theory and the economics of the real world are not neatly divided according to Timothy Mitchell. Although the term “economy” has been used in different ways over time, we can now say that the projects that form the economy engage with economics as a social science. In other words, all economic practices are now self-referential, studying themselves. In order to rethink economics, Mitchell confronts the fact that the object the study of economics observes is… itself.
Read the article here.

Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World by Adam Tooze

The 2008 financial crisis must not be underestimated; it was a world wide event which demanded political and economic reorganization. As a historian, Adam Tooze examines the consequences of the crisis from a decade out in an effort to illuminate the long-term consequences of global catastrophe. Economic collapses can not be best understood as discrete events, but rather as shifts in the global network of capitalism.
Read the article here.

The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of Global Order, 1916-1931 by Adam Tooze

World War I ushered in an unprecedentedly swift restructuring of the global economy, demanding action on the part of every nation which felt its impact as the United States began to take the reins of international finance. Adam Tooze examines how the Great War challenged the institutions of the day and the aftermath which we still reap today;“The strain of the war ravaged all economic and political assumptions, bringing unheard-of changes in the social and industrial order.”
Read the article here.

The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy by Adam Tooze

Adam Tooze analyzes Hitler’s nationalist ambitions in the context of rising American economic dominance. In response to globalization causing a total lack of German control of their economy, Hitler simultaneously reinvented the German economy and doomed it to fail. Anyone interested in the rise of fascism as a consequence of economic strife and decentralization would find valuable insights in this book.
Read the article here.

Anomalies and Continuities: Positivism and Historicism on Inequality by Gabriel Winant

Historians often fall into the trap of solidarism— that idea different eras are distinct as responses to one another rather than as an ongoing and cumulative series of events. What Gabriel Winant suggests as an antidote is the refocusing of history under the lens of history as a series of continuities rather than as a series of actions and reactions— societies are not founded whole cloth as informed by prior life, but gradually marbled according to the interests of the day. Winant suggests that this way of looking at history is nothing less than to read historically; there is nothing else to be done.
Read the article here.

Sociology

Financialization

What is Financialization?

Financialization is the process of development of financial capitalism which began in the 1980s. This form of capitalism is unique in its high debt-to-equity ratio and financial services accounting for a relatively large share in national income. This is seen by many as one of the last stages of a country shifting away from industrial capitalism.

The financialization of the American economy by Greta Krippner

Although finance has been on the rise since the 1980s, economists have often omitted this major part of the capitalist apparatus. Krippner’s goal in this paper is to analyze the financial sector to answer questions about our economic system that aren’t often asked. Who controls modern corporations? How much has globalization eroded state autonomy? In welcoming the modern financial world into economic analysis Krippner evaluates the new class of “finance capitalists” and “finance capital” as distinct from their historically recognized counterparts.
Read the article here.

Capitalizing on Crisis by Greta Krippner

Krippner has made the argument for financialization before elsewhere, but this book is committed to diving into why and how financialization was able to take place. In the 1970s and 80s US policymakers laid the groundwork for financialization by deregulating financial markets, encouraging foreign capital entering the US economy, and changing monetary policy in response to high interest rates. Financialization, says Krippner, is not a natural state of development in capitalism, but a natural state of development in liberalism; it has, first and foremost, a political root.
Read the article here.

The Land of Too Much by Monica Prasad

Monica Prasad asks three key questions; Why does the United States have more poverty than any other developed country? Why did the neoliberal revolution take place? Why did the 2008 financial crisis happen? The Land of Too Much is a perfect scholarly introduction to understanding how the United States is crippled at once by excess and deprivation under an economic framework which prizes the efficiency of the market first and foremost.
Read the article here.

The Crisis and the Free Market by Monica Prasad

Will the COVID-19 Pandemic change the battlefield of economic reform? In order to answer this question, Prasad asks “Why do Republicans defend the current economic system?” She considers regulatory capture and that Republicans might be true ideological believers, but discovers instead the political impetus for the unfounded conservative economic policies which have shaped our world and continue to be brought to the senate floor.
Read the article here.

The Class Politics of the Dollar System by Yakov Feygin and Dominik Leusder

Although all countries have a vested interest in ditching the dollar standard, no one will say that they want to. How can this be? Feygin and Leusder find in their investigation of the issue that the dollar system, although terrible for developing countries, affects people in all countries on the basis of class rather than along national lines. That’s right: the dollar system isn’t good for Americans. In this concise article Feygin and Leusder outline the class politics of the dollar system and examine the possible future of reform.
Read the article here.

The Post-Keynesian Sociological Perspective

Imagined Futures: Fictional Expectations and Capitalist Dynamics by Jens Beckert

Whenever we make decisions, we are trying to cause a good future to come about. This imagined future, according to Jens Beckert, is ultimately fictional. As a result, moments of economic decision-making allow for creativity in the economy and influence our real, experienced future. Beckert uses this article to deconstruct and investigate how fictional expectations surrounding dynamics of the economy address how people act; is our understanding of the economy as influential on our society as unacknowledged empirical economic pressures?
Read the article here.

Postscript: Fields and Markets: Sociological and Historical Perspectives by Jens Beckert

This postscript discusses the contributions to the special issue of HSR in the light of recent interdisciplinary studies on markets and market societies. It picks out the problem of legitimacy, the importance of events in the formation of markets and the configuration of fields, the role of disorder in the evolution of markets and the relation of markets and fields as the major threads running through the issue and identifies the investigation of the development of modern capitalism as a pressing task for future collaborative research by sociologists, historians, and political scientists.
Read the article here.

Institutional Isomorphism Revisited: Convergence and Divergence in Institutional Change by Jens Beckert

Mechanisms which Jens Beckert’s peers identify as sources of isomorphism (institutions developing into having the same structure) can also support divergent change. The most recent attempts to understand sociological institutionalism have sidelined the role played by divergent institutional development and Beckert wants to rectify that in this article. What is wrong with the current sociological paradigm? How can we understand and evaluate how structures grow apart?
Read the article here.

What is Sociological about Economic Sociology? Uncertainty and the Embeddedness of Economic Action by Jens Beckert

The new economic sociology project is to achieve a sociological understanding of economic processes as a critique of economic analysis. In this article Jens Beckert tries to define and appraise the burgeoning field of economic sociology as it becomes more and more popular. What do economists fail to understand about the economy that sociology provides? Why and how do sociologists participate in this new project?
Read the article here.

Politics

The Left in a Foxhole? by Geoff Mann

“Poverty serves no purpose, has no place, and cannot be justified.” This is what Geoff Mann calls the radical kernel at the heart of Keynesianism. It has been said that Keynes’ The General Theory has been a desperate attempt to save capitalism from itself, but Mann finds a greater insight; the crises of capitalism are produced by capitalism for no good reason. To Keynes liberal capitalism is a machine which breaks itself and tries to keep itself broken. Mann’s greater works are worthwhile, but this article is a rich and deep cut into the project of reading Keynes as a radical. This article distills why Keynes’ work is important in the 21st century and advertises Geoff Mann’s own work brilliantly.
Read the article here.

In the Long Run We Are All Dead: Keynesianism, Political Economy, and Revolution by Geoff Mann

Verso Books calls this book “a groundbreaking debunking of moderate attempts to resolve financial crises, […] a proposal for capital without capitalism and revolution without revolutionaries.” The 21st century Keynesian project is not to save capitalism, but to save civilization from itself; how can the small-state, free-market disaster be fixed through the structures already present today? A radically and refreshingly pragmatic take on how to fix capitalism.
Read the article here.

Keynes Against Capitalism: His Economic Case for Liberal Socialism by James Crotty

“It is almost universally believed that Keynes wrote his magnum opus, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, to save capitalism from the socialist, communist, and fascist forces that were rising up during the Great Depression era. This book argues that this was not the case with respect to socialism.” In this book James Crotty traces Keynes’ political views throughout his career and walks us through an interpretation of The General Theory which makes the case for Liberal Socialism.
Read the article here.

Secular Stagnation: Keynesianism and the Demographic Theory of Crisis by Melinda Cooper

Since the 2008 financial crisis most mainstream economists have embraced the idea of secular stagnation; that capitalist growth is irreversibly in its endgame. As many economists have returned to Keynesian economic analysis, the notion of demographic analysis consistently comes up but is rejected. In this article, Melinda Cooper investigates how and why demographic catastrophism might still be relevant to today’s economy. This scrap of Keynes’ work has traditionally been rejected as an argument for the welfare state and Cooper wants to challenge that paradigm.
Read the article here.

Central Banking

To learn more about the intellectual history that informs Young Keynesianism, explore our syllabus of pragmatic economics.

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