What Attracted Keynes to Malthus’s High Price of Provisions?
Keywords:John Maynard Keynes, Thomas Robert Malthus, effective demand, poverty, unemployment
In his biographical essay on Malthus, Keynes highly praised Malthus’s early short pamphlet, High Price of Provisions. Yet there have been remarkably few commentators who have paid attention to High Price of Provisions; and fewer have taken notice of two underlying but importantly related problems hidden in Keynes’s analysis of this pamphlet. This paper attempts to resolve these problems by providing a more comprehensive explanation for Keynes’s discussion of High Price of Provisions than Keynes himself. Not only does this paper reinforce the idea that Keynes discovered the concept of effective demand by reading Malthus, but it further proposes that Keynes would have seen other parallels between himself and Malthus, including their methods of approaching practical economic problems.