Stockholm school (economics)

The Stockholm School (Swedish: Stockholmsskolan), is a school of economic thought. It refers to a loosely organized group of Swedish economists that worked together, in Stockholm, Sweden primarily in the 1930s.

The Stockholm School had—like John Maynard Keynes—come to the same conclusions in macroeconomics and the theories of demand and supply. Like Keynes, they were inspired by the works of Knut Wicksell, a Swedish economist active in the early years of the twentieth century.

William Barber’s comment upon Gunnar Myrdal´s work on monetary theory goes like this:

“If his contribution had been available to readers of English before 1936, it is interesting to speculate whether the ‘revolution’ in macroeconomic theory of the depression decade would be referred to as ‘Myrdalian’ as much as ‘Keynesian’”[1]

Wicksell
Knut Wicksell, Swedish economist. Important source of inspiration for John Maynard Keynes and the Stockholm School.

History and aspects

Two of the most prominent members of the Stockholm School were Stockholm School of Economics professors Gunnar Myrdal and Bertil Ohlin. The movement's name, "The Stockholm School", was launched in an article by Bertil Ohlin in the influential Economic Journal in 1937, "Some Notes on the Stockholm Theory of Savings and Investment".

The article was published in response to the publication of Keynes' magnum opus, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in 1936, and its purpose was to draw international attention to the Swedish discoveries in the field, many of which had predated the discoveries of Keynes. Gunnar Myrdal was early in supporting the theses of John Maynard Keynes, maintaining that the basic idea of adjusting national budgets to slow or speed an economy was first developed in Sweden by him and the Stockholm School.

Scandinavian welfare state

Myrdal and Ohlin went on to further develop their theories, and in so doing, they developed the intellectual underpinnings of the modern north European welfare state. Their theories were embraced and implemented as national policy by the two powerful arms of the Swedish labor movement, the Swedish Social Democratic Party and the national labor union, the Swedish Trade Union Confederation.

In the post-World War II geopolitical situation of the Cold War, with two rival predatory political blocks, their theories also achieved wide international appeal as a "Third Way", i.e. a middle way between a capitalist economy and a communist economy. The objective of this "third way" was to achieve a high level of social equality without undermining economic efficiency.

Leading members

Other members, such as Erik Lundberg, continued as business cycle-oriented economists.

See also

References

  1. ^ W. Barber (23 November 2007). Gunnar Myrdal: An Intellectual Biography. Palgrave Macmillan UK. ISBN 978-0-230-28901-7.

Further reading

Evert Gummesson

Evert Gummesson (born 1936) is Professor Emeritus of Service Marketing and Management at the Stockholm Business School, where he was formerly the Director of Research. He received his Ph.D. from Stockholm University, Stockholm School Economics. He is a Fellow and Honorary Doctor of Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland, and a Fellow of the University of Tampere, Finland.

John Maynard Keynes

John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes ( KAYNZ; 5 June 1883 – 21 April 1946), was a British economist whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. He built on and greatly refined earlier work on the causes of business cycles, and was one of the most influential economists of the 20th century. Widely considered the founder of modern macroeconomics, his ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynesian economics, and its various offshoots.During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Keynes spearheaded a revolution in economic thinking, challenging the ideas of neoclassical economics that held that free markets would, in the short to medium term, automatically provide full employment, as long as workers were flexible in their wage demands. He argued that aggregate demand (total spending in the economy) determined the overall level of economic activity, and that inadequate aggregate demand could lead to prolonged periods of high unemployment. Keynes advocated the use of fiscal and monetary policies to mitigate the adverse effects of economic recessions and depressions. He detailed these ideas in his magnum opus, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936. In the mid to late-1930s, leading Western economies adopted Keynes's policy recommendations. Almost all capitalist governments had done so by the end of the two decades following Keynes's death in 1946.

As leader of the British delegation, Keynes participated in the design of the international economic institutions established after the end of World War II, but was overruled by the American delegation on several aspects. Keynes's influence started to wane in the 1970s, partly as a result of the stagflation that plagued the Anglo-American economies during that decade, and partly because of criticism of Keynesian policies by Milton Friedman and other monetarists, who disputed the ability of government to favourably regulate the business cycle with fiscal policy. However, the advent of the global financial crisis of 2007–2008 sparked a resurgence in Keynesian thought. Keynesian economics provided the theoretical underpinning for economic policies undertaken in response to the crisis by President Barack Obama of the United States, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom, and other heads of governments.When Time magazine included Keynes among its Most Important People of the Century in 1999, it stated that "his radical idea that governments should spend money they don't have may have saved capitalism." The Economist has described Keynes as "Britain's most famous 20th-century economist." In addition to being an economist, Keynes was also a civil servant, a director of the Bank of England, and a part of the Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals.

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