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The Kalecki Memorial Lecture

By  and Robert RowthornAt The and Robert Rowthorn


May I say how pleased I am to be giving the Kalecki Memorial Lecture. Michal Kalecki was one of the greatest macro-economists of all time. He pioneered the use of mathematics in macroeconomics, he developed a coherent and convincing theory of aggregate demand and employment, and his writings on growth and cycles were in a class of their own. Yet his name is unknown to many younger economists and is rarely cited in modern textbooks. This is partly because economists, unlike natural scientists, have little interest in the history of their subject. It is also because Kalecki has been overshadowed by his famous contemporary, Keynes, whose location at the peak of the British academic establishment guaranteed him an influence and readership denied to an obscure, left-wing, Polish, Jewish émigré. Another factor may be that Kalecki’s writings were too clear to attract the kind of following which Keynes enjoyed. The General Theory of Keynes contained many ambiguities and obscurities which allowed different schools of thought to interpret it in line with their own predilictions. This gave The General Theory a breadth of intellectual appeal which 1 This paper is the text of a lecture given at the Oxford University Institute of Statistics to mark the hundredth anniversary of Kalecki’s birth. I have made a few minor amendments and included an appendix on the role of the export base in a regional economy. I should like to thank Michae

Year: 1999
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