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Nicholas Kaldor Biography

(1908–86), An Expenditure Tax, Causes of the Slow Rate of Economic Growth of the United Kingdom

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Hungarian-born economist; he became Baron Kaldor of Newnham in 1974. Kaldor taught at the London School of Economics and at Cambridge University, where he became a Fellow of King's College and Professor of Economics. In addition to his major theoretical contributions—principally to the theory of economic growth and to monetary and fiscal policy—Kaldor was an active and influential economic adviser to home and foreign governments. Although beginning his career at the London School of Economics, Kaldor soon fell under the spell of Keynes's economics, and established connections with a group of younger Keynesians at Cambridge, including Joan Robinson. He was an early advocate of the taxation of expenditure rather than income (An Expenditure Tax, 1955) and in his Inaugural Lecture at Cambridge, Causes of the Slow Rate of Economic Growth of the United Kingdom (1966), he developed the influential idea of ‘cumulative causation’: namely, that the structure of manufacturing industry was such that failure (or success) tends to be self-perpetuating. In the 1970s Kaldor became a formidable defender of Keynesian ideas in the decade which saw them coming under increasing attack from monetarist economists like Milton Friedman. The Scourge of Monetarism (1982) reveals Kaldor the polemicist at his most pure and devastating.

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