Keynes pp 11-24 | Cite as


  • D. E. Moggridge


Keynes was a product of Victorian and Edwardian England. This fact helps to explain many of his characteristic attitudes and habits of thought. Surely in that age one could assume that prices and interest rates were relatively stable, when 1914 saw prices eleven per cent below the level of fifty years earlier and when the range of fluctuation of long-term interest rates over the same period had been between 2.5 and 3.4 per cent. Again, one might be forgiven for normally assuming that the government of Britain was in the hands of an intellectual elite in an age when voters could choose between H. H. Asquith and A. J. Balfour as to who would exercise responsibility for a small Civil Service dominated by a meritocracy recruited by competitive examination in subjects which only Oxford and Cambridge seemed able to teach.


Conscientious Objection Professional Economist Intellectual Elite Religious Doubt Compulsory Military Service 
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  1. 1.
    Q. Bell, Bloomsbury, (London, 1974), p. 24.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    P. Levy, ‘The Bloomsbury Group’ in M. Keynes, (ed.), Essays on John Maynard Keynes, (Cambridge, 1975), P. 64.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    D. Garnett, The Golden Echo, (London, 1953), p. 271.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    On the whole issue of Keynes’s conscientious objection see the exchange between Elizabeth Johnson and Sir Roy Harrod in the Economic Journal for March 1960. On the pressures of Bloomsbury see, for example, David Garnett, The Flowers of the Forest, (London, 1955), pp. 148–50.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Thus the objections in his 1939 review of Tinbergen’s Statistical Testing of Business Cycle Theories: A Method and its Application to Investment Activity (JMK, xiv, pp. 306–20) again and again echo points raised in Book V of Probability. Today’s undergraduate teaching of statistics and econometrics stands on the Neyman-Pearson theory of ‘objective’ probability derived from the scientific theory mentioned above. For an indication of how this relates to Keynes’s ‘subjective’ theory in the context of many issues in modern economics the reader should consult the fascinating and suggestive book by G. L. S. Shackle, Epistemics and Economics: A Critique of Economic Doctrines, (Cambridge, 1973), esp. Book VI.Google Scholar

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© D. E. Moggridge 1976

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