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

  • John King


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).


Interest Rate Trade Cycle Capital Good Consumption Good Monopoly Power 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen, G.C. (1961), The Structure of Industry in Britain, London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  2. Allett, J. (1981), New Liberalism: The Political Economy of JA. Hobson, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  3. Backhouse, R.E. (1990), ‘J.A. Hobson as a Macroeconomic Theorist’, in Freeden (1990), pp. 116–36.Google Scholar
  4. Baran, P.A. and Sweezy, P.M. (1964), Monopoly Capital, New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  5. Blaug, M. (1986), Great Economists before Keynes, Brighton: Wheatsheaf.Google Scholar
  6. Chase, S. (1925), The Tragedy of Estate, New York, Macmillan.Google Scholar
  7. Chase, S. (1929), Men and Machines, New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  8. Schlink, F.J. (1927), Your Money’s Worth: a Study in the Waste of the Consumer’s Dollar, London: Cape.Google Scholar
  9. Clark, J.M. (1923), Studies in the Economics of Overhead Costs, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  10. Clarke, P.F. (1987), ‘Hobson, J.A.’, in The New Palgrave: a Dictionary of Economics, London: Macmillan, pp. 664–6.Google Scholar
  11. Clarke, P.F. (1988), The Keynesian Revolution in the Making 1924–1935, Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  12. Clarke, P.F. (1990), ‘Hobson and Keynes as Economic Heretics’, in Freeden (1990), pp. 100–15.Google Scholar
  13. Coppock, D.J. (1953), ‘A Reconsideration of Hobson’s Theory of Unemployment’, Manchester School 21, pp. 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Culbertson, W.P. Jr. and Eklund, R.B. Jr. (1977), ‘John A. Hobson and the Theory of Discriminating Monopoly’, History of Political Economy 9, pp. 273–82.Google Scholar
  15. Dearie, N. (1931), Review of Hobson (1930), Economic Journal 41, pp. 77–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dimand, R.W. (1988), The Origins of the Keynesian Revolution: the Development of Keynes’s Theory of Employment and Output, Aldershot: Elgar.Google Scholar
  17. Dorfman, J. (1969), The Economic Mind in American Civilisation, vol. V, New York: Kelley.Google Scholar
  18. Durbin, E.F.M. (1933a), ‘A Reply to Mr. Hobson’, Economica 13, pp. 417–25.Google Scholar
  19. Durbin, E.F.M. (1933b), Purchasing Power and Trade Depression: a Critique of Under-consumptionism, London: Cape.Google Scholar
  20. Elbaum, B. and Lazonick, W. (eds) (1986), The Decline of the British Economy, Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  21. Freeden, M. (1990), Reappraising JA. Hobson: Humanism and Welfare, London: Unwin Hyman.Google Scholar
  22. Hannah, L. (1983), The Rise of the Corporate Economy, 2nd edn London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  23. Harcourt, G.C. (ed.) (1985), Keynes and His Contemporaries, London: Macmillan. and O’Shaughnessy, T.J. (1985), ‘Keynes’s Unemployment Equilibria: Some Insights From Joan Robinson, Piero Sraffa and Richard Kahn’, in Harcourt (1985), pp. 3–41.Google Scholar
  24. Hayek, F.A. von (1931), The “Paradox” of Saving’, Economica 11, pp. 125–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hilferding, R. (1910), Finance Capital, translated by Tom Bottomore, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985.Google Scholar
  26. Hobson, J.A. (1891), The Element of Monopoly in Prices’, Quarterly Journal of Economics 6, pp. 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hobson, J.A. (1900), The Economics of Distribution, London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  28. Hobson, J.A. (1909), The Industrial System: an Inquiry into Earned and Unearned Income, London: Longman, Green.Google Scholar
  29. Hobson, J.A. (1922), The Economics of Unemployment, London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  30. Hobson, J.A. (1926a), ‘The Success of American Capitalism’, Foreign Affairs [London] 7 June, p. 370.Google Scholar
  31. Hobson, J.A. (1926b), The Evolution of Modern Capitalism, 3rd edn, London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  32. Hobson, J.A. (1930), Rationalisation and Unemployment: An Economic Dilemma, London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  33. Hobson, J.A. (1931a), The State as an Organ of Rationalisation’, Political Quarterly 2, pp. 30–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hobson, J.A. (1931b), Poverty in Plenty, London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  35. Hobson, J.A. (1932a), From Capitalism to Socialism, London: Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  36. Hobson, J.A. (1932b), The World’s Economic Crisis’, The Nation [New York] 135, July 20, pp. 53–4.Google Scholar
  37. Hobson, J.A. (1932c), The Recording Angel: A Report from Earth, London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  38. Hobson, J.A. (1933), ‘Underconsumption: an exposition and a reply’, Economica 13, pp. 402–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hobson, J.A. (1934a), ‘Under-Production and Under-Consumption’, New Statesman 24 March, pp. 442–3.Google Scholar
  40. Hobson, J.A. (1934b), Democracy and a Changing Civilisation, London: Bodley Head.Google Scholar
  41. Hobson, J.A. (1934c) Untitled fragment of typescript lecture, Hobson Collection, Brynmor Jones Library, University of Hull, DHN/24/12.Google Scholar
  42. Hobson, J.A. (1935), ‘Under-consumption and its Remedies’, pp. 47–59 of G. Hutton (ed.), The Burden of Plenty?, London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  43. Hobson, J.A. (1936), Veblen, reprint, New York: Kelley, 1963.Google Scholar
  44. Hobson, J.A. (1937a), Property and Improperly, London: Gollancz.Google Scholar
  45. Hobson, J.A. (1937b), The Economics of Thorstein Veblen’, Political Science Quarterly 52, pp. 139–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Hobson, J.A. (1938), Confessions of an Economic Heretic, London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  47. Howard, M.C. and King, J.E. (1989), A History of Marxian Economics: Volume I, 1883–1929, London: Macmillan; Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Keynes, J.M. (1936) The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  49. Hobson, J.A. (1971), Collected Writings, Volume 5, London: Macmillan for the Royal Economic Society.Google Scholar
  50. Hobson, J.A. (1973a), Collected Writings, Volume 13, London: Macmillan for the Royal Economic Society.Google Scholar
  51. Hobson, J.A. (1973b), Collected Writings, Volume 14, London: Macmillan for the Royal Economic Society.Google Scholar
  52. Hobson, J.A. (1979), Collected Writings, Volume 29, London: Macmillan for the Royal Economic Society.Google Scholar
  53. King, J.E. (1988) Economic Exiles, London: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Hobson, J.A. (1990), ‘Percival William Martin and the Flaw in the Price System’, mimeo. Melbourne La Trobe University.Google Scholar
  55. Lee, A.J. (1970) The Social and Economic Thought of J.A. Hobson’, PhD thesis, University of London.Google Scholar
  56. Loveday, A. (1930) Britain and World Trade, London: Longmans, Green.Google Scholar
  57. Martin, P.W. (1924), The Flaw in the Price System, London: P.S. King.Google Scholar
  58. Martin, P.W. (1929), Unemployment and Purchasing Power, London: P.S. King.Google Scholar
  59. Meriam, R.S. (1931), ‘Unemployment: Its Literature and Its Problems’, Quarterly Journal of Economics 46, pp. 158–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Moggridge, D.E. (1973), ‘From the Treatise to the General Theory: an Exercise in Chronology’, History of Political Economy 5, pp. 72–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Mond, A. (1927), Industry and Politics, London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  62. Mummery, A.F. and Hobson, J.A. (1889), The Physiology of Industry, London: Murray.Google Scholar
  63. Panico C. (1987), The Evolution of Keynes’s Thought on the Rate of Interest’, Contributions to Political Economy 6, pp. 53–71.Google Scholar
  64. Robbins, L. (1932), ‘Consumption and the Trade Cycle’, Economica 12, pp. 413–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Robinson, J. (1942), An Essay on Marxian Economics, London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  66. Rutherford, M. (1993), ‘J.A. Hobson and American Institutionalism: Underconsumption and Technological Change’, Chapter 10 in this volume. Schneider, M.P. (1987), ‘Underconsumption’, pp. 741–5 of The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, vol. 4, London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  67. Schneider, M.P. (1993), ‘Modelling Hobson’s Underconsumption Theory’, Chapter 6 in the present volume.Google Scholar
  68. Stamp, J.C. (1931), ‘Mr Keynes’s Treatise on Money’, Economic Journal 41, pp. 241–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Sweezy, P.M. (1938), ‘J.A. Hobson’s Economic Heresies’, The Nation 147, 27 August, pp. 209–10.Google Scholar
  70. Sweezy, P.M. (1942), The Theory of Capitalist Development, New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Pheby 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • John King

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations