Keynes Resurrected? Saving Civilization, Again and Again

Friday, 17 October
3 to 5 pm
in Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2125

Every time capitalism is beset by crisis, many of its most engaged critics clamour for Keynes. Why does Keynesian reason have such a hold on “progressive” thought, and why, at moments of “crisis” like the present, does a knee-jerk Keynesianism always seem to reappear? What makes Keynesianism make so much sense to so much of the Left at times like this? What facts of the varieties of Keynesianism reproduce a wisdom that seems so consistently appealing, and on what historical premises could it possibly deliver on its promises? This is an attempt to answer these questions, tracking the fundamentals of Keynesianism not only in the explicit endorsements of Keynes in the years immediately following the fall of Lehman Brothers (September 2008), but also across a longer trajectory of thought, from Robespierre to Hegel, through Keynes to Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. I take up this argument via a discussion of the core of the Keynesian theory of modern market-based civil society, its relation to Keynes’ and Keynesian economics, and the intimate ties between these ideas and the broad range of contemporary progressive thought.

Geoff Mann, Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University

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