Advertisement

Robertson, Money, and Monetarism

  • Thomas Wilson

Abstract

Of the great economists of the twentieth century, there is, perhaps, none whose work is now more neglected than Dennis Robertson. This neglect might be understandable — though not, from a scholarly standpoint, justifiable — if Robertson had been concerned only with topics that are no longer of interest to economists; but this, of course, was not the case. If the views of J. M. Keynes still deserve close attention, those of D. H. Robertson cannot properly be set aside as unimportant and irrelevant. For many years the two worked closely together at Cambridge, each much influenced in developing his ideas by what the other was doing. Austin Robinson has observed that Keynes regarded Robertson as ‘the keeper of his conscience. If he could convince Dennis, he felt that he was right’.2 This was an important role but it was not his only one, for Robertson’s own creative contributions were at times ahead of Keynes’s own thinking. Did not Keynes, himself, describe Hawtrey and Robertson as respectively, his ‘grandparent and parent in the paths of errancy’?3 Although in the thirties their ideas diverged and collaboration gave place to controversy, their disagreements are in themselves illuminating. One can understand Keynes and the neo-Keynesians better if one is also familiar with what Robertson had to say. Thus John Hicks once observed that the effect on his own mind, and on Nicholas Kaldor’s, of the General Theory had been profound.

Keywords

Monetary Policy Real Wage Money Supply Rational Expectation Natural Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 2.
    A. Robinson, ‘A Personal View’, in Essays on John Maynard Keynes, edited by Milo Keynes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975) p. 12.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    D. H. Robertson, Essays in Monetary Theory (London: King and Son; New York and London: Staples Press, 1940) p. 326.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    J. R. Hicks, ‘The Monetary Theory of D. H. Robertson’, Economica, February 1942, Vol. 9, pp. 53–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 5.
    F. Modigliani, ‘The Monetarist Controversy or, Should We Foresake Stabilisation Policies?’, American Economic Review, March 1977, 67(2), p. 1.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    D. H. Robertson, A Study of Industrial Fluctuation: An Enquiry into the Character and Cause of the so-called Cyclical Movements of Trade (London: King & Son, 1915; reprinted with a new introduction by the London School of Economic and Political Science, 1948).Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    J. R. Presley, Robertsonian Economics: An Examination of the Work of Sir D. H. Robertson on Industrial Fluctuation (Macmillan; New York: Holmes and Meier, 1979).Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    A. C. Pigou, Industrial Fluctuations (London: Macmillan, 1927).Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    R. G. Hawtrey, Good and Bad Trade (London: Constable, 1913).Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    D. H. Robertson, Banking Policy and the Price Level: An Essay in the Theory of the Trade Cycle (London: King and Son, 1926; reprinted with a new introduction, New York: A. M. Kelley, 1949) p. 2.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    J. Schumpeter, Business Cycles, 2 vols (New York: McGraw Hill, 1939).Google Scholar
  11. 13.
    R. E. Lucas Jr. and L. A. Rapping, ‘Real Wages, Employment and Inflation’, Journal of Political Economy, September 1969, 77(5), pp. 721–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 14.
    T. Mayer, The Structure of Monetarism (New York: Norton, 1978).Google Scholar
  13. 15.
    D. D. Purvis, ‘Monetarism: A Review’, Canadian Journal of Economics, February 1980, 13(1), pp. 6–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 20.
    M. Friedman and A. J. Schwartz, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960 (Princeton: Princeton University Press for the National Bureau of Economic Research, 1963); see also ‘Money and Business Cycles’, Review of Economics and Statistics, February 1963, 45(1), pt. 2, pp. 32–64.Google Scholar
  15. 21.
    M. Friedman, ‘The Role of Monetary Policy’, American Economic Review, March 1968, 58(1), pp. 7–8.Google Scholar
  16. 22.
    K. Wicksell, Lectures in Political Economy, Vol II, Money. Translated from the Swedish by E. Claassen and edited with an introduction by L. Robbins (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul; New York: Macmillan, 1955) p. 205.Google Scholar
  17. 23.
    D. Laidler, ‘Mayer on Monetarism: Comments from a British Point of View’, in The Structure of Monetarism, by T. Mayer et al. (New York: Norton, 1978) p. 135.Google Scholar
  18. 24.
    K. Brunner and A. H. Meltzer, ‘Monetarism: The Principal Issues, Areas of Agreement and the Work Remaining: Reply’, in Monetarism, J. Stein (ed.) (Amsterdam: North Holland, 1976) pp. 150–82.Google Scholar
  19. 25.
    D. H. Robertson, Lectures on Economic Principles. 3 vols (London: Staples Press, 1957–9; reprinted, London: Collins, Fontana Library, 1963) p. 334.Google Scholar
  20. 28.
    M. Friedman (ed.), Studies in the Quantity Theory of Money (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956) p. 19.Google Scholar
  21. 30.
    D H Robertson, Money (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1922).Google Scholar
  22. 31.
    J. M. Keynes, The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes, Vol. 13, edited by D. Moggridge (London: Macmillan; New York: St Martin’s Press; for the Royal Economic Society, 1973) p. 39.Google Scholar
  23. 33.
    A. C. Pigou, ‘The Classical Stationary State’, Economic Journal, December 1943, 53, pp. 343–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 37.
    M. Kalecki, Essays in the Theory of Economic Fluctuations (London: Allen and Unwin, 1939).Google Scholar
  25. 38.
    N. Kaldor, ‘Alternative Theories of Distribution’, Review of Economic Studies, 1955–6, 23(2), pp. 83–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 39.
    T. Wilson, ‘Professor Robertson on Effective Demand and the Trade Cycle’, Economic Journal, September 1953, 63, pp. 553–78, (reprinted here pp. 97–126).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 40.
    J. M. Keynes, The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes, Vol. 14, edited by D. Moggridge (London: Macmillan; New York: St Martin’s Press; for the Royal Economic Society, 1973) p. 551.Google Scholar
  28. 44.
    J. R. Hicks, ‘Mr Keynes and the “Classics”: A Suggested Interpretation’, Econometrica, April 1937, 5(2), pp. 147–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 48.
    F. H. Hahn, ‘Monetarism and Economic Theory’, Economica, February 1980, 47(185), pp. 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 50.
    cf B. Kantor, ‘Rational Expectations and Economic Thought’, Journal of Economic Literature, December 1979, 17(4), pp. 1422–41.Google Scholar
  31. 51.
    T. M. Humphrey, ‘Dennis H. Robertson and the Monetary Approach to Exchange Rates’. The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Virginia, 1980 (reprinted here pp. 62–79).Google Scholar
  32. 52.
    D. H. Robertson, ‘Reflections of an Ex-Magus’, Lecture given to the Marshall and other societies, 1959, unpublished.Google Scholar
  33. 53.
    J. M. Keynes, The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes, Vol 29, edited by D. Moggridge (London: Macmillan: New York: St Martin’s Press; for the Royal Economic Society, 1979).Google Scholar
  34. 54.
    A. C. Pigou, Theory of Unemployment (London: Macmillan, 1933).Google Scholar
  35. 55.
    J. M. Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (London: Macmillan, 1936) Ch. 19.Google Scholar
  36. 56.
    D. K. Benjamin and L. A. Kochin, ‘Searching for an Explanation of Unemployment in Interwar Britain’, Journal of Political Economy, June 1979, 87(3), pp. 441–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 58.
    J. M. Keynes, (1936), op. cit., p. 14; J. Tobin, ‘Inflation and Unemployment’, American Economic Review, March 1972, 52(1), pp. 1–18.Google Scholar
  38. 58a.
    J. A. Trevithick, ‘Inflation, the Natural Unemployment Rate and the Theory of Economic Policy’, Scottish Journal of Political Economy, February 1976, 23(1), pp. 37–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 59.
    J. M. Keynes, A Treatise on Money (London: Macmillan, 1930).Google Scholar
  40. 60.
    UK Committee on Finance and Industry (Macmillan Committee), Minutes of Evidence (London: HMSO, May 8–9, 1930).Google Scholar
  41. 61.
    W.J. Fellner, ‘The Robertsonian Evolution’, American Economic Review, June 1952, 42(3), pp. 265–82.Google Scholar
  42. 64.
    P. Cagan, ‘Monetarism in Historical Perspective’, in The Structure of Monetarism, by T. Mayer et al. (New York: Norton, 1978) pp. 85–93.Google Scholar
  43. 65.
    R. G. Hawtrey, Capital and Employment (London: Longmans, 1937) pp. 252–3.Google Scholar
  44. 66.
    J. R. Hicks, The Crisis in Keynesian Economics (New York: Basic Books, 1975).Google Scholar
  45. 68.
    J. T. Dunlop, ‘The Movement of Real and Money Wage Rates’, Economic Journal, September 1938, 48, pp. 413–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 70.
    J. M. Keynes, ‘Relative Movements of Real Wages and Output’, Economic Journal, March 1939, 49, pp. 34—51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 71.
    J. A. Trevithick, ‘Money Wage Inflexibility and the Keynesian Labour Supply Function’, Economic Journal, June 1976, 86 (342), pp. 327–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 73.
    J. R. Hicks, ‘The “Classics” Again’, in Critical Essays in Monetary Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967) pp. 143–54.Google Scholar
  49. 74.
    A. J. Brown, The Great Inflation 1939–1951 (London: Oxford University Press, 1955).Google Scholar
  50. 75.
    G. D. N. Worswick, ‘The Great Inflation Revisited’, in Inflation, Development and Integration. J. K. Bowers (ed.) (Leeds: Leeds University Press, 1979).Google Scholar
  51. 78.
    W. J. Fellner, ‘Criteria for Demand Management Policy in View of Past Failure’, in Contemporary Economic Problems. Edited by W. J. Fellner (Washington DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1976) pp. 85–108.Google Scholar
  52. 79.
    T. Wilson, ‘Crowding Out: The Real Issues’, Banca Naz Lavoro Quarterly Review, September 1979, (130), pp. 227–41.Google Scholar
  53. 83.
    J. M. Keynes, ‘On How to Avoid a Slump’, reprinted from The Times, 12 January 1937, in Keynes v. the ‘Keynesians’ . . . ? An Essay in the Thinking of J. M. Keynes and the Accuracy of the Interpretation by his followers. By T. W. Hutchison. IEA Hobart Paperback, 11 (London: Institute of Economic Affairs, 1977) p. 66.Google Scholar
  54. 88.
    D. H. Robertson, ‘The Radcliffe Report’. Lecture to the Erasmus Society, 1959.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John R. Presley 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Wilson

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations