Friday, April 02, 2010

Keynes: Economics as Impressionism

A correspondent alerts me to this fascinating quotation from the esteemed economist John Hicks:

"Of all great economists, Mr. Keynes is probably the most Impressionist; the General Theory, in particular, needs to be read at a distance, not worrying too much about detail, but looking principally at the general effect. At least, that is how I have read it myself, and it seems that as a result I retain a higher opinion of it than Professor Robertson does. His own criticisms sometimes remind one of a man examining a Seurat with a microscope and denouncing the ugly shape of the individual dots. It is very probable that the Impressionist method is not particularly appropriate to the higher economics (though it may be suitable enough for more popular writing); however, it is Mr.Keynes' method, and in his hands it has some countervailing virtues."
"The Monetary Theory of D.H. Robertson", 1942, Economica.