- Paperback: 168 pages
- Publisher: Stellar Classics (May 5, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 198781780X
- ISBN-13: 978-1987817805
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 208 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,287,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money Paperback – May 5, 2016
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As a non-economist, I was struck by several things. First was Keynes' demolition of "classical" economic theory on the means of increasing employment, political economy, and the relationship of supply to demand. (Think Say, Malthus, and especially Ricardo and Pigou.) This was totally unexpected, but given the revolutionary nature of his argument, entirely understandable. Second, I was stuck by the way in which Keynes structures his theory - it was much more reminiscent of philosophy than economics, as the terms Keynes uses are first clearly defined and deliniated before the relationship between ideas (and his postulates on the cause and effect between them) is discussed. Lastly, I was pleasantly suprised by the wit and cleverness of his writing.
That said, I found it difficult reading, primarily because I am not fluent with many of the concepts Keynes discusses (the "elaasticity of effective demand" as it relates to the Quantity Theory of Money for example). WIth patience, plenty of revisiting the definitions of economic terms and careful deliberate thought, I was able to follow the gist of Keynes' General Theory. It made for slow going. Whether you agree (or not) with Keynes' theories have become as much a political exercise as an economic one, and are waters I'd rather not wade into here. In terms of the merits of the book, for the lay reader, you really have to want it to wade through it - it may be suprising at how poorly represented Keynes' ideas are represented in the popular imagination (for example, that Keynes supported deficit finance). That alone an incentive for giving _The General Theory_ a try.
This edition is bunk, though. I think it's one of those quick-print versions where a publishing company takes a text available through public domain and prints you a copy when you order it. That's probably fine in itself, but this one is missing all of the footnotes, where (I hear!) Keynes conducts a lot of his argument with his contemporary economists. Page 81 even references them: "My running comments on the above [topic] have been made in the footnotes." But no footnotes!
This particular edition is also large (~7.5"x10") with fairly small print, making a less than ideal physical reading experience. It's skinny, too, squeezing more than 400 pages worth of material into 167 pages. I don't know about you, but I really like being able to turn the pages more often than I can here. Turning makes me feel like I'm making progress.
There is ample room in the margins and other white space for your own notes, though, which is a plus.