Seventy Years of the Keynesian Revolution: Past, Present and Future

Siena, Italy, July 3-6, 2006

This conference has been prepared thanks to the efforts of Robert Mundell (USA) Robert Dimand (USA) and Alessandro Vercelli (Italy).

Motivation

John Maynard Keynes never ceases to fascinate macroeconomists, whether they themselves as his disciples, as his opponents, or as eclectics drawing insight both from him and from earlier competing or complementary traditions. The questions that Keynes raised – about the stability of the economy, the economic role of government, the proper institutional framework of the world economy, the relation of economic decisions to an uncertain future – remain as vital as when he posed them. The economics of Keynes thus meets Joseph Schumpeter’s criterion for great ideas: most ideas disappear in a period varying from an after-dinner hour to a generation, but the great ones keep coming back. Not as unidentifiable strands of a cultural heritage but in recognizable form.

Keynes’s General Theory has left a deep mark on subsequent thought about how economies work and what role governments have in economic stabilization, including the thought of those who reject Keynes’s conclusions. The 70th anniversary conference provided an occasion for reflection on how Keynes changed economics, whether his breakthrough was in theory, policy, or methodology, the extent to which macroeconomics received Keynes’s message, the applicability of Keynesian theory in a global economy after the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system (of which Keynes was an architect), and his role as a public intellectual.

The proceedings of this conference will be published in English in the IEA conference series with Palgrave.