In this rigorous 1989 study of John Maynard Keynes's views on economic theory and policy from 1920–46, Professor Meltzer argues that some of Keynes's main ideas have been ignored or misstated. While attention has focused on short-term countercyclical policies, the main policy implications have been neglected. Keynes placed great emphasis on rules, predictability, and reduction of uncertainty. In keeping with his theoretical work, he opposed discretionary fiscal changes and favored rules to reduce instability and increase the capital stock. These policies are consistent with, and provide evidence for, the interpretation of Keynes's theory developed here.
Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. Keynes in the 1920s: ideas, beliefs, and events; 3. Theories, implications, and conjectures in the 1920s; 4. The General Theory: a different perspective; 5. Monetary reform and international economic order; 6. Other interpretations of The General Theory; 7. Conclusion; References; Index.
' … it is written in clear English, and is accessible to anybody who has read a standard introduction to macroeconomics. Thanks to a monetarist, Keynes at last stands revealed.' The Economist
'Numerous authors have purported to explain what John Maynard Keynes really meant. In this outstanding contribution, Meltzer differs from his many predecessors in an important way. While most have emphasized Keynes's magnum opus, The General Theory, or fragments thereof, he examines the full array of Keynes's economic utterances, including his earlier major books, A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923) and A Treatise on Money (1930), plus his many articles, lectures, speeches, letters, and other record Meltzer's volume displays both impeccable scholarship and exceptional readability.' Choice
' … this book is an important contribution to the continuing debate about Keynes and Keynesians. With a relevance broader than its title indicates, the book will force each reader to re-examine his or her own attitude toward Keynes and to re-evaluate Keynes's contribution to economic thought.' Journal of Economic History
'It is a careful, honest, and enlightened appreciation of Keynes's contributions to monetary theory. But it is also aimed at reclaiming Keynes's thought from confusion with what is normally called 'the neoclassical synthesis' or the 'Keynesian model'.' Marcello de Cecco, Journal of Monetary Economics
'This careful and conscientious account can be strongly recommended to any serious economist - to Keynes's faithful followers as well as to those many more who condemn him.' Lorie Tarshis, Journal of Economic Literature