Analytical steps in the critique of classical political economy
Both Marx and Keynes offer a critique of Say’s Law, the classical proposition that supply creates its own demand. Separated by nearly a century of economic thought there are both similarities and differences between these approaches: both taking their starting point from the classical political economy of Say and Ricardo, but with Keynes also addressing the marginalist postulates of neoclassical economics. For some scholars this has allowed Keynes’s ideas to be easily absorbed into orthodox economics, leading to a clarion call for his theory of employment to be reconfigured along classical lines. As a possible contribution, this presentation will help develop the classical foundations of Keynes by starting with Marx. First, Marx’s critique is formalised in a model of simple commodity circulation, that draws from his Theories of Surplus Value. Second, by introducing profits, a model of aggregate demand and supply is formulated from these classical foundations in a way that resembles the system presented in Keynes’s General Theory. This analysis will examine the role of economic surplus and money in both Marx and Keynes.
Andrew Trigg teaches economics at The Open University, where he co-directs the Open Political Economy Group (OPEG) that regularly hosts seminars in London and Milton Keynes.
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