The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Academic Book Week: The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money named the book that shaped Modern Britain

25/01/2017
#AcBooksBritain


John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money has been voted as the academic book which has had the greatest impact on modern Britain, announced today as part of Academic Book Week (23-28 January 2017).


 Chosen from a list of ‘the 20 academic books that shaped modern Britain’*, curated by leading British academics, The General Theory came out top, with 15 per cent of the public vote. In second place was The Invention of Tradition, edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, with E.P Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class coming in third. 

The top five academic books that shaped modern Britain, as voted for by the public, are:

1.    The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936) by John Maynard Keynes 
2.    The Invention of Tradition (1983) edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger 
3.    The Making of the English Working Class (1963) by E.P. Thompson 
4.    Ways of Seeing (1972) by John Berger  
5.    Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain (1984) by Peter Fryer    


What Made The General Theory a Winner?

Upon including Keynes among its Most Important People of the Century, Time magazine wrote: "his radical idea that governments should spend money they don't have may have saved capitalism."

The father of modern macroeconomics, Keynes’ The General Theory (1936) continues to shape Britain’s economic policy today. It formed the basis of ‘Keynesian economics’ – a school of thought which has largely served as the standard economic model in the UK since the Great Depression, and played a key role following the 2007-8 financial crisis. It posits that during recessions economic output is strongly influenced by aggregate demand (total spending in the economy) in the short term, and advocates state intervention in the economy to moderate ‘boom and bust’ cycles.

“Even a year ago it would have seemed that, while Keynes had so significantly helped shape Britain between 1945 and 1979, thereafter the cause of neoliberalism had triumphed. Certainly from Thatcher and Cameron no Conservative leader that I remember uttered the words ‘industrial policy’. Yet here we are with a newly-minted industrial strategy from the PM which bears distinctly Keynesian hallmarks and in desperate need of just such an economic road map as The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.” - Alan Staton, Head of Marketing & Communications, Booksellers Association, and member of the Academic Book Week committee


20 Academic Books that Shaped Modern Britain

The full list of 20 academic books that shaped modern Britain highlights books that have changed academic and popular thinking across art, science, politics, gender, cultural identity and law, and which continue to shape Britain today.

·    A Brief History of Time (1968) by Stephen Hawking
·    Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain (2013) by Matthew J Goodwin and Robert Ford    
·    Ways of Seeing (1972) by John Berger
·    Gender Trouble (1990) by Judith Butler
·    The Selfish Gene (1976) by Richard Dawkins
·    Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution (1885) by A.V. Dicey
·    Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain (1984) by Peter Fryer    
·    The Double Helix (1968) by James Watson
·    The Invention of Tradition (1983) edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger
·    The Making of the English Working Class (1963) by E.P. Thompson
·    Purity and Danger (1966) by Mary Douglas
·    The Uses of Literacy (1957) by Richard Hoggart
·    Poverty in the United Kingdom (1979) by Peter Townsend
·    Orientalism (1978) by Edward Said
·    The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936) by John Maynard Keynes
·    The Female Eunuch    (1970) by Germaine Greer
·    Modern Ireland 1600-1972 (1990) by R.F. Foster
·    The English and their History (2014) by Robert Tombs    
·    The Road to Serfdom (1994) by Friedrich Hayek
·    The Scottish Nation (1999) by Tom Devine