Joan Robinson (Great Thinkers in Economics)

Joan Robinson (Great Thinkers in Economics)

Geoffrey Harcourt, Prue Kerr

Language: English

Pages: 282


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Joan Robinson is widely considered to be amongst the greatest economists of the 20th Century. This book provides a comprehensive study of her life and work, examining her role in the making of The General Theory, her critical interest in Marxian economics, her contributions to Labour Party policy and her writings on development, especially China.
















India for two years, returning to Cambridge in the late 1920s.) As we know now, Sraffa’s lectures were extremely challenging to the views on which Joan Robinson had been brought up. Yet they were also much restrained as far as Sraffa himself was concerned. There is evidence that, at the same time as he was preparing the lectures – a much protracted period as it turned out – he was also beginning to take the steps that would lead him to his lifetime project of, in effect, the revival of the

Sustained full employment alters that balance. Furthermore, unemployment, by reducing the pressure on moneywages, keeps prices relatively stable. Sustained full employment puts constant upward pressure on money-wages. The industrialists respond by putting up prices. An arbitrary redistribution then occurs both between wages and profits and between groups of wage-earners. She suggests various responses to this pressure such as controlling profit margins or allowing wages to increase relative to

article on the saving function and the problem of trend and cycle in which Matthews related the ratchet effect in Duesenberry’s (1949) model to unemployment levels rather than to output and income per head levels, that is, Matthews took into account the effects of productivity rising over time. Joan Robinson points out that ‘[c]onsumption out of profits plays an important part in the mechanism by which a long-run trend of accumulation emerges from the trade cycle. Each boom leaves behind it an

of The General Theory. Keynes broke out of the theological system of orthodox axioms by looking at the actual economy’s behaviour, bringing the argument down from stationary states into the present, here and now, when the past cannot be changed and the future cannot be known. The seeming revolution though did not last for long as the Keynesian innovations became orthodox in their turn. In particular, by assuming Keynesian policy would keep investment at the level which absorbed (created) full

into, in effect, a mixed economy (in outline exhibiting the suggestions Joan Robinson made in her lectures in China in the 1950s, see Chapter 9). Yet it is still well worth reading for it highlights in a simple stark manner, the problems of planning by a single authority: how to decide and plan what to produce and how to achieve it, once it has been decided. These problems, it is claimed, 182 Joan Robinson though present in capitalist economies, present themselves in very different forms and

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