Correcting Skidelsky's Fairy Tales About J M Keynes's Mathematical Capabilities and Exposition in the a Treatise on Probability, General Theory and After
33 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2016
Date Written: December 27, 2016
Robert Skidelsky has erroneously evaluated the mathematical analysis of J M Keynes for 35 years. The explanation for his numerous and continuing errors, concerning J M Keynes mathematical exposition, can be traced to two fundamental reasons. The first reason is his own severe mathematical limitations, illiteracy, innumeracy, and ineptness. The second reason is related to the first. Given his own extreme deficiencies in mathematics, logic, and statistics, he was forced to rely on the erroneous evaluations made of Keynes’s mathematical analysis in both the A Treatise on Probability and General Theory that were provided to him by Austin and Joan Robinson, Richard Kahn, GLS Shackle, Paul Davidson, and Richard Braithwaite . We will demonstrate that Skidelsky’s claims about Keynes being a poor mathematician make no sense, given that the League of Nations selected Keynes to review the work of Jan Tinbergen in 1938-39, based on his reputation as an expert on Probability and Statistics stemming from his A Treatise on Probability, as well as the Keynes–Harrod exchanges of 1937-38 and Keynes’s contribution to Ramsey’s 1928 article on savings in the Economic Journal. Skidelsky’s assertions about Keynes being a poor mathematician means that Keynes could never have reviewed, engaged and corrected the mathematical analysis used in Roy Harrod’s growth theory article of 1939 for publication in the Economic Journal. Skidelsky is just the latest example of writers on Keynes who have made gross ,erroneous misevaluations of Keynes’s work. These writers, mainly economists and philosophers ,but also historians, were unable to work through Keynes’s analysis themselves in either the A Treatise on Probability and/or the General Theory.
Keywords: Harrod-Keynes exchanges, Keynes-Tinbergen exchanges, Keynes's mathematical analysis, illiteracy
JEL Classification: B10, B12, B14, B20, B22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation