J.A. Hobson’s Macroeconomics: The Last Ten Years (1930–40)

  • John King

Abstract

There exists a rare unanimity among authorities on J.A. Hobson, to the effect that his macroeconomic thinking underwent no substantial change in the final decades of his life. Thus DJ. Coppock concludes that, ‘though substantially complete in 1910 the analysis of depression was refined in his later exposition’ (Coppock 1953, p. 20). John Allett agrees that it was in The Industrial System (Hobson 1909) that ‘the major aspects of Hobson’s conceptual apparatus for analysing underconsumption crises [were] brought to a completion’ (Allett 1981, p. 101). The arguments were repeated in Hobson’s The Economics of Unemployment (1922), Rationalisation and Unemployment (1930), and Property and Improperly (1937a), but ‘no major conceptual innovation took place after 1909’ (Allett 1981, p. 101). Mark Blaug expresses some surprise that Hobson ignored the Keynesian revolution in his Confessions (Hobson 1938). ‘But Hobson was eighty-years-old when he wrote his autobiography and might perhaps be excused for not paying much attention to the latest developments in economic theory’ (Blaug 1986, p. 95.)1 More recently, Peter Clarke has maintained that Hobson’s interwar writings added very little to the analysis set out in his previous work: ‘His central contentions on over-saving had not significantly changed but when he reiterated them, amid widespread unemployment, he found a more sympathetic response, even among professional economists who had previously accepted a full-employment assumption’ (Clarke 1987, p. 666).

Keywords

Depression Amid Income Baran Hull 

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© John Pheby 1994

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  • John King

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