The Writings Of Joan Robinson

Maria Cristina Marcuzzo has a bibliography of Joan Robinson at her website. The scan is from a 7-volume set published by Palgrave Macmillan titled Joan Robinson: Writings on Economics. An earlier version appeared in the book The Economics Of Joan Robinson edited by Maria Cristina Marcuzzo, Luigi L. Pasinetti and Alessandro Roncaglia (Google Books link)

Joan Violet Robinson

(photography via NPG, London)

What a great writer. I was re-reading an article The Second Crisis Of Economic Theory (1972) and two passages caught my attention this time:

To understand how disconcerting the slump was it is necessary to recall the atmosphere of the times. For fifty years before 1914 the established economists of various schools had all been preaching one doctrine, with great self-confidence and pomposity – the doctrine of laissez faire, the beneficial effects of the free play of market forces. In the English-speaking world, in particular, free trade and balanced budgets were all that was required of government policy. Economic equilibrium would always establish itself. These doctrines were still dominant in the 1920’s.

That’s quite like talks about the “great moderation” before the current crisis.

And while discussion economic problems of nations …

These problems arise in the economies that boast of their wealth. Perhaps they can afford the luxury of an economics profession that builds intricate theories in the air that have no contact with reality. But this luxury is too expensive for the so-called developing world where the doctrines of laissez faire and the free play of market forces are exported along with armaments to keep them from looking for any way out of their infinitely more grievous situation.

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