J. M. Keynes, Not J. Hicks or J. Meade or R. Harrod,Was the One Responsible for R. Skidelsky's 'Mathematicisation' of the General Theory: The Role of Joan Robinson in Misleading the Economics Profession

33 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2017 Last revised: 19 Oct 2017

See all articles by Michael Emmett Brady

Michael Emmett Brady

California State University, Dominguez Hills

Date Written: October 18, 2017


Extremely severe mathematical innumeracy, illiteracy, ineptness, and confusion was very wide spread in the economics profession in the 1930’s. Samuelson’s diagnosis of the problem of mathematical illiteracy in his 1941 dissertation was 100% correct. The most mathematically illiterate economist of the 1930’s was Joan Robinson. Austin Robinson was not far behind.

Richard Kahn, who was involved in a 55 year relationship with the Robinsons, chose to cover up for the periodic, completely incomprehensible pronouncements that the Robinsons made on the General Theory over a forty seven year period from 1936 to 1983 because he wanted to keep the relationship going.

Later economists simply accepted the many specious claims made by Joan Robinson as true even though J. Robinson could not comprehend algebra. It was R. Kahn who did all of the mathematical exposition for J. Robinson in her 1933 book on imperfect competition and not J.Robinson.

Later economists, for instance Robert Skidelsky and Roger Backhouse from among many other economists, who have made the same kind of error, simply accepted her canards as true based on the fact that Keynes had mentioned her name in the acknowledgements in the General Theory.

Her many canards about the General theory were: Keynes never took the twenty minutes necessary to learn or master the theory of value Keynes provided no correct micro foundations for the General Theory There are many, many mathematical and logical errors in the General Theory Kahn decided when Keynes could publish the General Theory Kahn caught many mathematical and logical errors made by Keynes in his writing of the General Theory, but Keynes went ahead anyway and published too early before all of the errors could be corrected Keynes refused to incorporate imperfect competition micro foundations in the General Theory, even though the Robinsons had this tool available for use Keynes was a Marshallian in his view of the proper role of mathematics in economics. This required that Keynes not incorporate any formal, mathematical modeling in the General Theory. Supposedly, Keynes would burn the mathematical analysis after using it to ascertain that his literary argument was correct Keynes completely rejected the use of a set of formal, simultaneous, mathematical equations because this was a general equilibrium, Walrasian approach that Keynes had condemned Keynes only used partial equilibrium, never general equilibrium, in the General Theory Keynes viewed the existence of pervasive, fundamental and irreducible uncertainty as making any type of formal mathematical modeling at the macroeconomic level impossible Keynes, on pp.378-379 of the General Theory, unwittingly allowed the perversion of his breakthrough analysis in the General Theory to take place The General Theory is a work of collaboration involving J. Robinson, A. Robinson, R. Kahn and J M Keynes R .Kahn was Keynes’s main collaborator in the writing of the General Theory There is no IS-LM model in the General Theory for the reasons given above The IS-LM model represents “Bastard Keynesianism” IS-LM was a perversion of Keynes’s General Theory that Keynes himself would never have considered using at any time in his life IS-LM represents disguised neoclassical economics J. Hicks was the creator and inventor of IS-LM

It is a simple matter to show that all of the above claims are false because J. M. Keynes himself used an explicit, simultaneous, formal, mathematical, four equation model to construct his IS-LP(LM) model in the General Theory in chapter 15, section four and in chapter 21, sections four, five and six. Underlying this model is the mathematical exposition and foundation in chapter 20 on pp. 281-286 that supplies the formal, microeconomic foundations in the theory of purely competitive firms-industries based on Keynes’s Z and D analysis of the Theory of Effective Demand that leads to the Aggregate Supply Curve analysis that is equivalent, but with a micro foundation, to Samuelson’s 45 degree cross model.

Unfortunately, R. Skidelsky and R. Backhouse, as well as all other writers on the General Theory, have, either wholly or partially, based their analysis of Keynes’s General Theory on a few, some, many or all of the above canards that were made up by Joan Robinson in her lifetime. Further, the Post Keynesian and Institutionalist schools have totally based their approaches on these canards.

Keywords: Harrod, Hicks, IS-LM, Liquidity preference, Patinkin, chapter 15, pp. 180-182 of GT, chapter 15, chapter 21

JEL Classification: B10, B12, B14, B16, B20, B22

Suggested Citation

Brady, Michael Emmett, J. M. Keynes, Not J. Hicks or J. Meade or R. Harrod,Was the One Responsible for R. Skidelsky's 'Mathematicisation' of the General Theory: The Role of Joan Robinson in Misleading the Economics Profession (October 18, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3054982 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3054982

Michael Emmett Brady (Contact Author)

California State University, Dominguez Hills ( email )

1000 E. Victoria Street, Carson, CA
Carson, CA 90747
United States

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