What İs Post Keynesian Economics

Post Keynesian Economics (1970s-80s)

What is post keynesian economics

Thanks to Samuelson's reconciliation, today neoclassical economics is known as microeconomics and Keynesian economics has become largely known as macroeconomics the twin pillars of mainstream or orthodox economic thought. However, because this reconciliation clearly disavowed many of Keynes's original ideas that were not held to be compatible with neoclassical economics, many critics have sought to revive some of them and to combine them with theories of scholars such as Michael Kalecki, Joan Robinson, and Piero Sraffa to form a new school of economic thought known as "post-Keynesian Economics" (see Eicher, 1979).

Post-Keynesians are highly concerned with short-term economic growth as induced by aggregate demand and, unlike neo-classical economists, are concerned with real world variables that exist in a very concrete historical situation. For them, the adjustment process of the economy to equilibrium conditions is not so "automatic" as neoclassical economist's claimed because it largely depends on the economic agent's interpretation of both the past and expectations for the future all in the midst of a decision making setting involving complex interdependencies and unforeseen factors. As a result of these beliefs, post-Keynesians essentially deny relevance of conventional equilibrium analysis. Moreover, reliance on the role of uncertainty has created some problems for post-Keynesians because it has made it nearly impossible for them to devise any viable theory for long-term growth. It has further prevented them from developing a formal economic model that they all agree upon.
According to Professor J. A. Kregel (1976), one of the most distinguished post-Keynesian economists, "post-Keynesian theory can be viewed as an attempt to analyze various different economic problems, e.g., capital accumulation, income distribution, etc., through the methodology of Keynes." Keynes's methodology, then, was to confront "the analysis of an uncertain world was in terms of alternative specifications about effects of uncertainty and disappointment."

Using this approach while adopting theories of both Keynes and Kalecki, post-Keynesians have analyzed the relationship between income distribution and economic growth. One of the most significant conclusions of post-Keynesian economics is that for a given level of investment and an economy at equilibrium where savings equals investment, the lower the capitalist's propensity to save, the higher will be their share of national income and the lower will be the worker's share. This assertion is significant because it contradicts the claim by neoclassical economists that capitalists enjoyed a high income due to the pain that is necessary for them to save.

This result of the post-Keynesians is founded in their belief that saving is passively linked to changes in level of income, and investment is highly correlated with capitalists' expectations for the future. If optimistic, investment increases, growth occurs, and capitalists' share of income increases as well. As their income rises, capitalists save more bringing savings back in line to a new level of Keynesian equilibrium where savings and investment equate. What this means is that if capitalists are frugal (i.e. save more), or if they are abstemious (i.e. abstain from consuming), they lower their share of the national income. This, of course, directly violates Nassau Senior's assertion that the high income of capitalists was morally justified by their painful abstinence of personal consumption and willful propensity to reinvest their profits into the growth of capital.

Another area where post-Keynesians have divergent economic thought from orthodoxy has to do with their belief in the endogenity of money. For them, post-Keynesians stress the fact that real commodity and labor flows are expressed in the economy as monetary flows. They also assume that money possesses a negligible elasticity of substitution with any other medium of exchange and therefore has the unique capacity to be able to be used by financial institutions as a tool to mitigate the effects of exogenous economic system shocks.