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Evolving Economic Realities:

Revisiting John Maynard Keynes and Other Economists Past and Present

A Display and Reader’s Shelf in the New Books Area of Meyer Library Spring 2010

The Reference & Government Information Department of Meyer Library presents a Readers’ Advisory Program and Display, Evolving Economic Realities: Revisiting John Maynard Keynes and Other Economists Past and Present featuring recommended reading and resources related to evolving economic conditions and the new economy in conjunction with Missouri State University’s 2010 Public Affairs and Conference theme.

Since 2008, the world has witnessed a severe financial crisis of global proportions not seen since the depression of the 1930s.” This has been a time of grave concern for the economy and the future. All are looking for relief from the financial down turn, for paths to recovery, for improved livelihood, and for hope for the future and common good.

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    From: “Welcome from the Chair” on the MSU Public Affairs Conference 2010 website at


Some have looked back to the Great Depression of 1939 for understanding of our situation today. Two recent books, Keynes: the Return of the Master by Robert Skidelsky (2009) and Keynes: The Rise, Fall, and Return of the 20th Century’s Most Influential Economist by Peter Clarke (2009), have highlighted the thinking of depression economist John Maynard Keynes as applicable to our current economic woes. He and other economists of that time, such as Joseph Schumpeter and Friedrich Hayek had different perspectives on the causes of and paths to recovery from the Great Depression. Schumpeter, Hayek and other classical economists thought that the economy had natural fluctuations of good times and bad, dependent on supply and demand and viewed depressions as necessary in checking destructive economic practices and developments. But Keynes would have none of it and took a humanitarian approach sympathizing with unemployed workers, their livelihoods and dashed hopes as they adhered to balanced budgets, the gold standard, and unfettered trade. While some depression economists held that government should do little to stop such downturns, Keynes reasoned that if the future couldn’t be predicted, then a system was needed that could handle breakdowns. Keynes believed it was not about efficiency or wealth- building, but how economics related to an ethical life, to art and beauty, and to what is truly good and valuable.

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    From: Farrell, Christopher. 2009. "The Redemption of Keynes." Business Week no. 4148: 86-88.

Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed January 7, 2010).

We invite readers to look at the rich resources related to past and current economists and economic theory in garnering understanding of The New Economy: Peril and Promise, the theme of MSU’s Public Affairs Conference, April 13-16, 2010.


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