The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money Book Summary - The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro
00:00

The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money summary

John Maynard Keynes

The “Keynesian Revolution”—the Masterpiece That Changed Economics

3.9 (48 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money by John Maynard Keynes revolutionized economics by challenging classical economic theories and advocating for government intervention to manage aggregate demand and stabilize the economy.

Table of Contents

    The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money
    Summary of 4 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 4

    Classical economic theories misunderstand the causes of unemployment

    In his critique of traditional economic theory, Keynes dissected a couple of core assumptions of classical economics. Let’s dive deeper into his arguments:

    First, classical economists argue that a worker’s wage reflects the value they contribute to a business. They believe that if a company decides not to employ someone, the company’s loss is equal to the wage that the worker would have been paid. In other words, they think that a worker’s contribution to a company’s value is directly tied to their wage.

    The second assumption of classical economics is that a worker’s wage is the lowest amount at which they’d be willing to work. This is often seen as an equilibrium point where the demand for labor meets the supply.

    But Keynes took issue with these assumptions because he saw that they failed to account for a significant real-world phenomenon: involuntary unemployment.

    Keynes pointed out that there are situations where workers are both willing and able to work at the current wage, but they’re unable to find employment. Traditional economists typically argue that this is actually a form of voluntary unemployment because they assume that workers are simply refusing to work for lower wages. They believe that high unemployment during economic downturns is due to workers’ refusal to accept wage cuts.

    Keynes challenged this view, arguing that the unemployment rate can fluctuate significantly without any corresponding changes in workers’ wage demands or productivity. This indicates that there are other factors at play influencing the unemployment rate, factors that the classical theory doesn’t fully consider.

    He believed that the classical theory’s assumptions didn’t accurately reflect the complexities of the real world, particularly in relation to involuntary unemployment and workers’ attitudes toward wages. His critique sought to expose these inadequacies and offer a more nuanced understanding of employment and wages.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money?

    Key ideas in The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money about?

    The General Theory of Employment (1936) is a deep dive into the complexities of economic activity and employment. It critically examines how factors like interest rates, human psychology, and speculation influence investment and, ultimately, employment. It argues for more direct intervention by public authorities in organizing investment to mitigate instabilities, particularly during periods of economic downturn.

    The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money Review

    The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936) is a seminal work that revolutionized economics and shaped modern macroeconomics. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Delving into the complex relationships between employment, interest rates, and money, it offers a comprehensive and thought-provoking analysis.
    • Keynes challenges traditional economic theories with his revolutionary ideas about government intervention and the role of aggregate demand in economic stability.
    • The book's relevance in addressing economic crises makes it a valuable resource for understanding the dynamics of recessions and depressions, even in today's context.

    Who should read The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money?

    • Economics students seeking in-depth knowledge
    • Policymakers interested in macroeconomic strategies
    • Enthusiasts of economic theory and history

    About the Author

    John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946) was a British economist, renowned for his innovative ideas that shaped modern macroeconomics and economic policies. Known as one of the founders of modern theoretical macroeconomics, Keynes’s work has significantly influenced economic theory and policy, justifying government intervention in the economy. In addition to the General Theory of Employment, Keynes authored several other influential works including The Economic Consequences of the Peace and A Treatise on Money.

    Categories with The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money

    Book summaries like The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money FAQs 

    What is the main message of The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money?

    The main message of The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money is about the relationship between unemployment, inflation, and government intervention in the economy.

    How long does it take to read The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money?

    The reading time for The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money is a thought-provoking read that provides valuable insights into macroeconomics. It is certainly worth exploring for those interested in understanding economic theories.

    Who is the author of The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money?

    The author of The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money is John Maynard Keynes.

    What to read after The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
    • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
    • Paradise Lost by John Milton
    • Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
    • The Next Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley & Sarah Stanley Fallaw
    • The Mindful Body by Ellen J. Langer
    • The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand
    • Capital by Karl Marx
    • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
    • Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson