In Search of Dennis Robertson: Through the Looking Glass and What I Found There
Explain title: Robertson not lost but misrepresented by the established view. My project to examine the evidence and to discover the truth about this important Cambridge economist. Much known when I began my search: the facts. The orthodox view, ‘Received Opinion’, which claimed that there was a simple divide in Robertson’s life (happiness/growth-unhappiness/decline) with the Keynesian Revolution marking and causing the change. I question this. The role of biography in relation to economics is examined and the importance of temperament and life-view in relation to economics is stressed. The ‘Alice’ quotations and the philosophical significance of Lewis Carroll’s books: ‘nonsense’ tales, with a message about the reality of life and how to cope with it and with parallels in economic theory. The importance of the books for Robertson and his personal conflict - between the desire for escape versus the demands of duty and of intellectual advance versus emotional retreat – which is reflected in his approach to economics. As a corrective, I review Robertson’s professional achievement, which is considerable: his minor works and his main field of interest, cycles and growth.
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