chapter  VI
The General Theory After Twenty-five Years
Pages 23

What should one say in an address commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of a book?! Normally, one thinks of the publication of a book as a birth of new ideas; and the appropriate occasion for a speech is either the day the youth attains his majority, when he is congratulated on the achievement of adult status and a brilliant future is predicted for him, or the day the old man retires, when he is congratulated on a life-time of productive labour and wished a peaceful old age. A twenty-fifth anniversary suggests a marriage-a union of ideas with literary expression, so to speak-and the appropriate speech is one which compliments the couple on their success in solving the problem of marital adjustment, and congratulates them on the number and promise of their progeny, while tactfully refraining from mentioning that in its early years the marriage was judged by many to be a mistake and doomed to failure. It is in this spirit that I wish to commemorate the Silver Anniversary of the General Theory in this lecture. We have had the coming-of-age party in the Revolutionary days of the late 1930s, and the pension presentation ceremony in the obituary assessments of the late 1940s.2 We are now

• American Economic Review, LI, no. 2, May 1961, 1-17. 1 John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and

well into the post-Keynesian era;3 and it seems more appropriate at this point to take stock of the intellectual capital embodied in the General Theory than to debate whether the investment should be considered the foundation of our fortune or written off as a dead loss.