Ethics and Uncertainty

Hardback

Ethics and Uncertainty

The Economics of John M. Keynes and Frank H. Knight

9781840644456 Edward Elgar Publishing
William Greer, Chair, Area of Professional Learning and J. Henry Kegley Associate Professor of Business and Economics, Milligan College, US
Publication Date: 2000 ISBN: 978 1 84064 445 6 Extent: 160 pp
Ethics and Uncertainty explores how two economists, who both placed ‘uncertainty’ at the heart of their economic theories, come to drastically different and opposing policy recommendations. The volume illustrates that the important lesson to learn from both Knight and Keynes is that ethics and the desire to improve mankind should be the focus of economic enquiry.

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Despite their common emphasis upon uncertainty as a key economic variable, Frank Knight and John Maynard Keynes viewed its role from different ethical perspectives. These attitudes were derived from contrasting formative influences and differing views regarding the role of economic theory as applied to the real world.

William Greer reveals that the intellectual atmosphere into which Keynes was born led him to consider individual and collective action positively, enabling policymakers to take purposeful, deliberate action, in the face of an uncertain, non-ergodic future. The conservative, theological era from which Knight emerged left him accepting of a predetermined, ergodic world in which the government should assume a minimal role in ensuring the smooth operation of a system of otherwise free markets.

Ethics and Uncertainty explores how two economists, who both placed ‘uncertainty’ at the heart of their economic theories, come to drastically different and opposing policy recommendations. The volume illustrates that the important lesson to learn from both Knight and Keynes is that ethics and the desire to improve mankind should be the focus of economic enquiry.

This fascinating volume will be essential reading for followers of Keynes and Knight. The book will also be welcomed by scholars in the field of economic thought, and those interested in the development of modern macroeconomics and microeconomics.
Contents
Contents: Preface Introduction 1. Background and Direction 2. Contrasting Theological and Intellectual Influences 3. Probability and Uncertainty to Knight and to Keynes 4. The Ethical Implications of Uncertainty to Knight and to Keynes 5. The Purpose and Method of Economics to Knight and to Keynes 6. Contrasting Economic Outlooks and Policy Recommendations 7. Conclusion Bibliography Index
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