The Economic Consequences of the Peace

The Economic Consequences of the Peace

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The Economic Consequences of the Peace by John Maynard Keynes

John Maynard Keynes, then a rising young economist, participated in the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 as chief representative of the British Treasury and advisor to Prime Minister David Lloyd George. He resigned after desperately trying and failing to reduce the huge demands for reparations being made on Germany. The Economic Consequences of the Peace is Keynes' brilliant and prophetic analysis of the effects that the peace treaty would have both on Germany and, even more fatefully, the world. A popular lecturer of economics at Cambridge University and editor of the Economic Journal, Keynes made The Economic Consequences of the Peace a major step in his career. It was translated into a dozen languages and sold 100,000 copies in six months. Taken seriously even by those who were opposed to his claims, the book helped lift economics to a new, higher level of recognition and acceptance.

This volume, with its insightful portraits of Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau, and Woodrow Wilson, remains one of the great works of political economy of our time. In a penetrating introduction written for this new edition, David Felix explores Keynes' reasons for writing the book, analyzes the author's arguments, and paints an historical backdrop of the period during which it was written.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780765805294
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 08/31/2003
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 298
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.73(d)

About the Author

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) was one of the greatest economic theorists of the twentieth century. He was chairman of the liberal journal of opinion The Nation and economics advisor for more than thirty years to British governments. He wrote several books, including his masterpiece, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, the two-volume Treatise on Money, and A Tract on Monetary Reform.

David Felix is professor emeritus of history in the City University of New York. His research interests include the history of ideas, economic history, and biography. He is the author of Biography of an Idea: John Maynard Keynes and the General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Keynes: A Critical Life, Marx as Politician, and other works.

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The Economic Consequences Of The Peace 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
geronimoFG More than 1 year ago
A prophetic book about the long-term consequences of retaliation of the I World War winners against Germany. Keynes clearly demonstrates how the harsh conditions imposed to Germany plunged the country in starvation, unemployement, riots, revolutionary plots and eventually open the way to nazism. This book has been ignored and/or obscured for long time since it highlights the blind, greedy behavior of Brits and French and somehow forecasts the great turmoil that swept Europe and the whole World in the years onward. Strongly recommended for scholars really dealing with the human History.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book achieved instant fame when it was published in 1919, not only for its scathing criticism of the Versailles Treaty but also for its personal attacks against leading signatories (especially Clemenceau and Wilson). For a book focused primarily on economic concerns, the text is surprisingly easy to read. However, the book's poor organization vitally detracts from its effectiveness. The principle reason the book is still famous today lies in the fact that it was written by none other than John Maynard Keynes, the founder of 20th century style, gov't & debt driven economics. The book is organized into chapters on pre-war Europe, Allied statesmen, summary of key treaty points, reparations, post-war Europe predictions, and Keynes' suggestion of remedies to provide a practical treaty settlement. Unfortunately, within each chapter things are jumbled together without clear rhyme or reason. (Is this indicative of Keynes' own personal organization and logical thinking?) Within the book, he makes a very practical (but politically infeasible) argument for a non-vindictive treaty. He basically suggests that the Allies should forget both about reparations and repayment of wartime debts from the other Allies, and instead they should settle (though not ideally) for frontier adjustments and confiscation of only German gov't property. (Did the German gov't sponsor Keynes' work in writing this book?) Keynes argues that a crushing reparations burden on the German people would disincent them to produce anything beyond a mere subsistence minimum and discourage entrepreneurial enterprise. There is some logic in this point however, later on he goes on to state that the US should forgive its $10 billion debt to its wartime allies ($5 billion of which was owed by the UK). Forgive me if I'm wrong, but doesn't such a move disincent American entreprises from entrepreneurship as well. It's extremely hypocritical that the Allied gov'ts desperately sought loans from the US during the war and then once it was over to claim that they couldn't pay them. If they didn't want to repay, then they shouldn't have borrowed the money - period. (If I borrow money to buy a home, the bank won't ever agree to forgive my debt - regardless of whether I'm out of work, injured, or the house burns down. I don't see why gov'ts should get any exceptional treatment.) Notwithstanding his problems with disorganization and inconsistent logic, Keynes does produce a reasonable, brief list of treaty rememdies, especially in his efforts to restore economic life throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Not until the advent of the Cold War and the interests of extending American political influence would Keynes' policies largely succeed (albeit yet again to the detriment of American taxpayers). Overall, I felt the book was ok. I would only recommend it if you have an interest in reading all of Keynes' work. Don't expect to find any theoretical economic insights in the book, though.