Essays In The Theory Of Employment

Essays In The Theory Of Employment

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Essays in the Theory of Employment JOAN ROBINSON OXFORD BASIL BLAGKWELL 1947 First printed 1937 Macmillan Co. Ltd. Second Edition October 1947 Reprinted November 1947 Printed in Great Britain for BASIL BLACKWELL MOTT, LIMITED by A. R, MOWBRAY Co. LIMITED, London and . Oxford FOREWORI THERE have been considerable developments since these essays were written, both in theory and in experience. From the point of view of theory, they belong to the period of the first impact upon economic thought of Keynes 3 General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. From the point of view of experience, they belong to a period when the existence of unemployment over shadowed all economic problems. I think that they are most easily to be understood in the light of their historical setting, and that any attempt to bring them up to date by shifts of emphasis would be confusing. At the same time I believe that they are not without relevance to the dominant problems of the present day. I have therefore not made any substantial changes in the text of the first edition. I have, however, made a few alterations which might equally well have been made in the first instance. . I have removed an error from the argument on Mobility of Labour p. 33, I have simplified the exposition of the effect of inventions on em ployment p. 96, and I have amplified the discussion of the influence of exchange depreciation on the balance of trade p. 143. JOAN ROBINSON CAMBRIDGE February, 1947 FOREWORD TO FIRST EDITION THESE essays represent an attempt to apply the principles of Mr. Keynes General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money to a number of particular problems. References to the General Theory are provided for the convenience of the reader, not by way of acknowledgment to Mr. Keynes, for the very existence of this book, for what it is worth, must be regarded as an acknowledg ment to the work of Mr. Keynes. The following are reprinted each with some alteration by vi FOREWORD permission of the editors concerned Disguised Unemployment from the Economic Journal, The Long-Period Theory of Employ ment except Section 5 from the eitschnft fur Nationalokonomie and the first part of Some Reflections on Marxist Economics from-the Economic Journal. An Economists Sermon wai originally delivered to a study circle of the Student Christiar Movement at Peterhouse, Cambridge. JOAN ROBINSON CAMBRIDGE October, 1936 CONTENTS PART I PAOK FULL EMPLOYMENT - - - , v - - - i MOBILITY OF LABOUR - - - - - 29 CERTAIN PROPOSED REMEDIES FOR UNEMPLOYMENT 44 DISGUISED UNEMPLOYMENT - - - 60 PART II THE LONG-PERIOD THEORY OF EMPLOYMENT - 75 THE CONCEPT OF ZERO SAVING - - - 101 DISINVESTMENT - - - - - - 112 DIAGRAMMATIC ILLUSTRATIONS - - - - 119 PART III THE FOREIGN EXCHANGES - - - - 134 BEGGAR-MY-NEIGHBOUR REMEDIES FOR UNEMPLOY MENT -------156 PART IV INDETERMINACY - - - - - - 171 AN ECONOMISTS SERMON - - - 175 SOME REFLECTIONS ON MARXIST ECONOMICS - 183 PART I FULL EMPLOYMENT BEFORE discussing the definition and the characteristics of full employment it is necessary to say something about the factors which influence changes in money wages. A problem which has caused much perplexity is presented by the relationship, as it exists in the minds of employees, between changes in real wages and changes in money wages. As to what actually occurs there is no dispute. A cut in money wages will always be resisted by Trade Unions with whatever force they may command while a rise in prices, such as occurs when there is an increase in effective demand, does not normally lead to the demand for a rise in money wages sufficient to prevent real wages from falling. Even when Trade Unions are strong enough to prevent money wages from falling, they frequently submit to a fall in real wages, brought about by a rise in prices and accompanied by an increase in employment...
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