The Failure of the New Economics
The Failure of the "New Economics" (1959) is a book by Henry Hazlitt offering a detailed critique of John Maynard Keynes' work The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936).
Hazlitt's work represents the most detailed critical analysis of The General Theory ever undertaken from an Austrian perspective. Hazlitt embarked on this project because, in his view, although general critiques of Keynes and The General Theory had been made, no critic had completed a detailed, paragraph-by-paragraph, analysis of the work and accordingly followers of Keynes could argue that previous critiques were shallow and did not indicate an understanding of Keynes' revolutionary ideas.
Editor John Chamberlain reviewed The Failure of the "New Economics" in The Freeman, and in light of its controversial, heterodox nature titled his article, They’ll Never Hear the End of It, writing:
|“||Mr. Hazlitt takes up the General Theory line by line and paragraph by paragraph, discovering scores of errors on almost every page. Not only does he kill Keynes; he cuts the corpse up into little pieces and stamps each little piece into the earth. The performance is awe-inspiring, masterly, irrefutable — and a little grisly. At times one almost feels sorry for the victim. But, since Keynesian doctrines have created so much misery in the world, any sympathy is misplaced. Hazlitt’s job had to be done.||”|
Reviewer Joseph McKenna comments that Hazlitt is "grossly unfair" in comparing Keynes' statements of facts to historical events more recent than the General Theory, and that Hazlitt rejects mathematical formulations and aggregation as imperfect, while the question is, "whether the approximation is sufficiently accurate to add anything to our understanding."