This note outlines and discusses some of the strands in the post-Keynesian literature on business cycles. Most post-Keynesians have focused on endogenously generated cycles, but the mechanism varies: some focus on the goods market, others on financial markets, the labor market, or political intervention. The merits of formal modeling of the cycles have also come in for debate.
Why do we experience business cycles? What creates them? Is it mass psychology, or phenomena in the management of business? Are the banks to blame or should we be looking to the unions and the politicians? Lars Tvede's story moves back in time to the Scottish gambler and financial genius, John Law, and then on to the distracted Adam Smith, the stockbroker Ricardo, the investment banker Thornton, the extrovert Schumpeter, the speculator Jay Gould and many others. The computer jugglers of the modern day, with giant networks of equations, try to solve the same questions that have attracted the at
ch. 1. A proposed taxonomy of thought about macroeconomic instability -- ch. 2. Optimism and oblivion in the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries -- ch. 3. Twentieth century theories of macroeconomic instability -- ch. 4. The birth of the business cycle, pt. 1 -- ch. 5. From the economics of ceremonial adequacy to the economics of cumulative change -- ch. 6. An institutionalist theory of the business cycle -- ch. 7. The birth of the business cycle, pt. 2 -- ch. 8. The rate of profit in the eighteenth century -- ch. 9. A chronology of eighteenth century British instability.