Keynes' General Theory: Chapter 17
i wrote so many drafts of this and its finally done (for now)
Very sorry that it’s been so long to get this out. Chapter 17 is the most important in the book, and I kept writing different versions of this piece to try to “do it justice” before I realized that doing that was basically a book-length project on its own. If I were to explain how I approach understanding the economy, it’s basically through application of the model drawn out in this chapter. So instead of trying to explain my entire methodology in all its little details, I’m just going to hit some of the core aspects of the qualitative behavior of the model.
I’m not going to try to elucidate this whole model structure today, because trying to do that is why this piece is so late. The real didactic problem is that the model embedded in this chapter is a bit like how I’ve always understood the model in Kant’s First Critique. When you have the whole model assembled in mind, it’s a beautiful whirring watch full of tiny parts that all depend on one another for the tension that holds them together. From the tension and stress on any given gear, you can explain what the gears around it do all the way up to the boundary of the model as a whole. The problem is, when you’re trying to set that watch up for the first time, how do you pick which gear to start with? When they’re running, they’re all equally explanatory, when they’re not running, they’re all equally minor and pointless. Hopefully I’ll get to lay the whole thing out one day, but that is probably a book-length project. It took Kant six hundred pages and a couple editions to even kind of nail it down, there’s no way this one will fit here!
So, without further ado, Chapter 17. I should be back to something like monthly publication from here on out.