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The Economic Consequences of the Peace [Unknown Binding]

John Maynard Keynes
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan (1920)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001OR5E2C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keynes was right on the key issues 3 July 2011
By Derek Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read the "General Theory" many years ago as an undergraduate, I decided it was time to read "Economic Consequences of the Peace". Keynes attended much of the conference and wrote fascinating pen-portraits of the main players - Clemenceau believing in the inevitability of eternal conflict and wanting a Carthaginian Peace; Wilson having high moral principles but insufficient intellect to stand up to Clemenceau; and Lloyd George converted to an ever more oppressive treaty by the need to win an early general election in Britain. These pen-portraits alone make the book worth reading, but of much greater interest is the analysis of the terms of the Peace.

In my judgement the key observations Keynes made in this book about the state of Europe in 1919 and about the Versailles Treaty were:
1. Not only Germany but also much of Europe (excluding Britain) was in a poor economic condition and would find recovery difficult.
2. One particular factor he noted was the existence of inflation and the danger of it continuing, worsening and damaging economies. He said the problem was serious throughout Europe and particularly Germany, which already had a large budget deficit.
3. The Treaty contributed nothing towards creating a fair, functioning and integrated economic system in Europe.
4. The Treaty breached the terms of the Armistice Agreement in the level of reparations and territorial adjustment, which was morally reprehensible. Germany had not surrendered unconditionally but was treated as though she had.
5. Germany could not possibly pay the full amount of reparations on given knowledge and all reasonable assumptions about the immediate economic future. In addition reparations were unfair in that unlike an indemnity the amount was unknown and unknowable.
6.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Luc REYNAERT TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
For Keynes, the Peace Treaty of Paris after World War I was a matter of life and death, of starvation and existence, and the fearful convulsions of a dying civilization.

But the negotiating politicians had absolutely no vision. Clemenceau wanted a Carthaginian peace, President Wilson was essentially a theologian and Lloyd George yielded to national electoral chicane.

The victors had no magnanimity. `The future life of Europe was not their concern; its means of livelihood was not their anxiety. Their preoccupations related to frontiers and nationalities, to imperial aggrandizements, to the future enfeeblement of a strong and dangerous enemy, to revenge and to the shifting of their unbearable financial burden on to the shoulders of the defeated.

But for Keynes, the policy of reducing Germany to servitude for a generation was abhorrent and detestable: `Nations are not authorized, by religion or natural morals, to visit on the children of their enemies the misdoings of parents or of rulers.'

Keynes had the decency to leave the negotiations from the moment he saw the looming disastrous results.

Keynes brilliantly calculated that Germany could not pay the imposed debt. He foresaw the coming German hyperinflation. He clearly recognized the danger of `a victory of reaction' (the right) in Germany, because it would endanger the security of Europe and the basis of peace.

Eventually that's what happened with all its disastrous consequences for Europe.

His prediction of millions of dead from starvation in Germany didn't occur.

This sometimes rather technical book is still a very worth-while read. His author was a visionary.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Typical JMK 12 May 2014
By jumac
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Absolutely staggering perception of the problems of the day, and turned round by understanding of the interwar years. Hard going at times but probably due to the 1919 style of writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 14 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just as good as I remembered it; a classic text, with the eerie prediction of another war in 20 years, which came true. I would highly recommend it as a seminal text on the impact of Versailles.
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5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding prescience 5 Sep 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This should be compulsory reading in all schools even if it has to be truncated. It forecast the future war and is inherently supportive of the European Union.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A post WW1 warning applicable to today. 11 Sep 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
The Economic Consequences of the Peace by John Maynard Keynes was written before Hitler came to power and should have been a warning to all at the time of the consequences of victors treating an enemy too harshly. Given the economic conditions we find ourselves in and the war on terror Keynes' work serves as a reminder of the need to give one's enemy hope for a better future as defeat looms near.
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