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2.12.2 The ‘fundamentalist’ interpretation

This interpretation of the General Theory regards Keynes’s work as a frontal

assault on neoclassical orthodoxy. Fundamentalists regard the influence of

unstable expectations due to uncertainty as a key feature of Keynes’s work,

particularly as expressed in Chapters 12 and 17 of the General Theory, where

he discusses ‘The State of Long-Term Expectations’ and ‘The Essential Properties

of Interest and Money’. Fundamentalists also point to Keynes’s (1937)

Quarterly Journal of Economics article entitled ‘The General Theory of

Employment’, which Keynes wrote in response to his critics, as evidence that

the problems of decision making under conditions of uncertainty lay at the

heart of his system. The key figures in this school include George Shackle

(1967, 1974) and Joan Robinson (1962), although a very early statement can

be found in Townshend (1937). Fundamentalists reject the hydraulic interpretation

as a ‘bastardization’ of Keynes’s contribution. The ideas and development

of this Post Keynesian school are explored in Chapter 8.