Thu Nov 9, 2006

Keynes' Amazon Bulldog

I came across The Cambridge Companion to Keynes in the bookshop yesterday and went to add it to my Amazon wishlist this morning. When I looked it up in the catalog I saw that it had a rating of only 2 stars and my first thought was: I bet that guy is responsible! And I was right. A while ago I was poking around in the literature on Keynes and Post-Keynesianism and anytime I checked a book on Amazon there would be a review from Michael E. Brady. Typically, it would be a long, desnely-written single paragraph of criticism, complete with page references to the literature and especially to Keynes’s works.

In fairness, his complete list of Amazon reviews (333 of them at current count) shows he is perfectly capable of writing a generous review. But he does have a couple of bees in his bonnet. He doesn’t like people who Get Keynes’ Macroeconomics Wrong at all. Even beyond the macro stuff, however, he gets very annoyed at critics of Keynes’ Treatise on Probability, whom he sees as slavishly following the allegedly mistaken (and ad hominem) views of Frank Ramsey. In a way, Brady’s own reviews on this topic can be read as an effort to undo the effects of what he clearly thinks of as the worst book reviews of all time, namely Ramsey’s 1922 and 1926 comments on Keynes’ Treatise, whose malign effects have propagated down through the literature. A true believer. Here is his own book on Keynes.