Hawtrey's Leap and Other Examples of Economists Suffering from Mathematical Confusion and Illiteracy When Reading the General Theory

20 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2018

See all articles by Michael Emmett Brady

Michael Emmett Brady

California State University, Dominguez Hills

Date Written: January 31, 2018

Abstract

Mathematical innumeracy, ineptness, illiteracy, and confusion has been endemic in the economics profession since 1936 when the specific case of economists attempting to read Keynes’s General Theory is examined. Three economists will be studied–Gottfried Haberler, Ralph Hawtrey, and Joan Robinson.

The lack of a basic understanding of the mathematical model used to illustrate the theory and the difference between the use of the differential calculus as a model based on continuous functions and continuity, while the empirical application of the theory involves observations of discrete data, supports Samuelson’s construction of a bridge between continuous, mathematical models using the calculus and other mathematical techniques such as difference equations, that use empirical, discrete data, as illustrated by his correspondence principle in his 1941 dissertation.

Keywords: Hawtrey, Robinson, Haberler, mathematical ineptness, mathematical illiteracy, mathematical innumeracy, mathematical confusion

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

Suggested Citation

Brady, Michael Emmett, Hawtrey's Leap and Other Examples of Economists Suffering from Mathematical Confusion and Illiteracy When Reading the General Theory (January 31, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3115812 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3115812

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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