Depression economics before the General Theory: the order in Cole’s Chaos

Snowden, P N (2009) Depression economics before the General Theory: the order in Cole’s Chaos. Oxford Economic Papers, 61 (3). pp. 415-439. ISSN 0030-7653

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Exploiting a neglected account of earlier macroeconomic thinking, the present study addresses continuing controversies over the revolutionary status of Keynes’ General Theory, and the origins of the Great Depression that inspired it. Although G.D.H. Cole's reputation as a labour historian endures, his popular writings on economics are no longer influential. Among these works, a 1932 volume combined Cole's historical perspective on the sources of the Depression with an attempt to present, for the general reader, a consensus account of the economic mechanisms involved. Deflationary forces originating in the real economy, and exacerbated by the operation of the international gold standard, were seen as inducing US policy actions that promoted the Wall Street boom. Supportive of modern writing on inter-war monetary arrangements, Cole's account suggests that structural issues in the emergence of demand deficiency, and the role of the market crash in the subsequent slump, have been under-emphasized in recent research.

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Oxford Economic Papers
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11 Jul 2011 18:25
Last Modified:
22 Sep 2023 00:12