Full text: A Portrait-Sketch of Michal Kalecki

1 o 
almost invariably turned out to be true. In some cases seemingly 
absurd events or actions he suggested as a matter of joke 
actually happened afterwards. He then said he had to stop 
making further jokes lest they became true. His anecdotes and 
stories were famous: They always fitted the situation exactly. 
In strong contrast to this abundance of comment in talking 
was his sparing use of words in writing. His works are as 
if written on stone: There is no redundance. The need for 
commentators has often been suggested. But while Keynes had his 
intermediaries and interpreters (or misinterpretors), Kalecki 
had none, although he would have needed them quite as much. 
How did it come that Kalecki remained in the dark behind Keynes 
for so long? It is an interesting question. It reflects not 
least the difference in social position. Keynes, owing to his 
family background, his already established prestige as an 
economist, his position in Cambridge, his civil service career 
and his circle of influential friends rested on firm ground in 
his native society. Kalecki was a jew newly arrived from the 
east, with no roots in England and no protectors. Keynes was in 
a position to command attention, to make people listen (and it 
was to his greatest credit that he made use of it.) Kalecki was 
not. Morover, in the social context of his writing he was too 
blunt for the taste of a profession as conservative and 
conformist as economists for the greatest part are. He is one 
of those who could not wait long enough to receive the credit 
due to them. 
Josef Steindl

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