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Berkeley (but maybe Roosevelt College). Notes for 9 lectures on income and employment. Lerner, 1947.



The following (typed unless noted) lecture series outline by Abba Lerner is quite typical for his lecture notes. When I checked the University of California catalogues for 1945/46 and 1946/47, I discovered that there were no courses numbered in the 300’s at that time. William Fellner did teach a graduate course Economics 235A and 235B “Advanced Money and Credit” that could conceivably have been the relevant course.

It is also quite possible that Lerner’s handwritten note on the first card “Univ. of California Spring 1947” was incorrect. Maybe some day, this loose end gets tied. According to Lerner’s c.v. he was Professor of Economics at the New School for Social Research (1946-47) and at Roosevelt University, Chicago (1947-59).  He also lists visiting professorships at Roosevelt College in the Spring and Summer of 1947. He does not list the University of California for that year.
Source: Library of Congress. Papers of Abba P. Lerner. Box 6, Folder 2 “Biographical, 1943-82, n.d.”.


Income and Employment

9 lectures

  1. I, C Y, S. ✓ defs. ✓ system.
  2. Say and Keynes FF ✓ [functional finance]
  3. Rigidities and Unemployment
  4. The Rate of interest ✓
  5. Neo classical theory of Emp.
  6. Business Cycles
  7. FF and National Debt. ✓
  8. Employment Policy
  9. Sentimental Internationalism.

handwritten: multiplier ✓

handwritten: [Univ. of California Spring 1947]



1. F. April 11th, 1947

✓ I and C make Y
✓ S and I. defs.
Steering Wheel
Deficits or big budgets (for defl
Keynes’ Law.
✓ simplicity and complicators.

Ec Steering Wheel
FF and Fed Debt
Integrated FE policy



2. F. April 18th, 1947

Repeat I, C, and Y ✓

Functional Finance Principles. ✓
[handwritten: o] six instruments
Deficits or big budgets.

Say’s law and Keynes’ Law. ✓

Refs. Ec Steering Wheel
FF and Fed Debt
Integrated FE Policy



3. F. April 25th, 1947

S and I. Pd. count receipts and payments. ✓
increased M. “out of” not ✓
value appreciation (Brookings)

[following section labeled “O” =omit?]
FF and six instruments
            implicit combination
Budgets and Debt Principles fall
Fear of Debt. Internal and External.
grandchildren. Interest Burden.
Real Burden. Inequality.
Inflation and taxes. Incentives
both ways – silent socialism.
What Aternative? Private
Debt worse. efficiency,
price charge, monopolistic
falsification keeps the evil
an especially bad tax system
though private.
Limit and limit.

handwritten addition: multiplier ✓



4. F. May 2, 1947

S and I again. govt S and I too ✓

Robertson’s definition ✓ –don’t explain. ✓

Ex ante—no clear meaning. ✓

propensities—equ. conditions. ✓

handwritten addition unclear: low? i

Debt. in- external. grandchild
interest burden. Real burden
inequality inflation and taxes.

incentives and loss offset
silent socialism Alternative?
private debt worse. efficiency
price charge monopoly as bad
tax limit and limit.



5. F. May 9, 1947

? No I and S ?

Continue Debt
Real burden
Distribution, loss offset,
socialism, profit rebate,
taxes, bad taxes, why taxes
bad? surplus. departure from
optimum price. what alternative
tax now or later.
troubles those of FE not of Debt.
private debt. efficiency of
private vs. public investment.
monopoly as very bad tax.
(negative rent)

limit and limit (Hansen)

Next Theory of Interest.



6. F. May 16, 1947

Conclude Debt.
Private vs. Govt Debt.
greater efficiency
charging average cost
like bad tax worse.

limit and limit.

Theory of Interest.
Classical S & D for saving Handwritten: Define F.E.


Handwritten: 7. May 23

Loanable funds ✓
Liquidity preference ✓
Must bring in Income
Assets and Money, (credit & Capital)
o[=omit?] ? Sigma
two margins OK ✓

Next Neo Classical Theory
Business Cycles.



8. F. June 6, 1947

Questions on Theory of Interest. ✓
Neo-Classical Theory of Employment
eight stages. Like Int. Th. ✓
Stability conditions
marginal propensity to invest.
marginal efficiency of investment
marginal productivity of Cap.

Business Cycles
expansion and prosperity
prosperity depending on expansion.

Kalecki’s scheme.
(Process analysis)



9. Sat. June 7, 1947 (?)

Sentimental Internationalism

Free trade failure
beggar my neighbor
advantages of fixed exchanges
International Monetary Fund.
exchange adjustment vs. price adjustment.
hedging. longterm investment for foreign trade.
competitive devaluation—T.T. ✓

hoarding each others’ currencies
conditions for single currency.
symptom cannot be legislated.


Source: Library of Congress. Papers of Abba P. Lerner. Box 22, Folder “Lectures and speeches: Other, 1937-47”.

Image Source: Publicity photo of Abba Lerner from Beth Emet’s announcement of speakers in its 1958 Forum (that included besides Dr. Abba Lerner, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as the actor Theodore Bikel) in Library of Congress. Abba P. Lerner Papers. Box 6, Folder 8 “’B’ miscellany”.

Irwin Collier

Posted by: Irwin Collier