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John Maynard Keynes: The Economic Consequences of the Peace [Paperback]

John Maynard Keynes
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 May 2010
"The Economic Consequences of the Peace" gave economist John Maynard Keynes a huge but controversial influence on perceptions of the peace treaty signed after World War I. John Maynard Keynes was not only a brilliant economist, but a superb writer with a keen eye for the foibles of the great men of his time. "The Economic Consequences of the Peace" is a must read for anyone interested in the Versailles Peace Treaty and the aftermath of its signing. Even today, the power of Keynes' argument is evident. Though Keynes admitted that the allies might not hold Germany to all the economic terms of the treaty, he still felt strongly that many of the terms of the treaty, whether enforced or not, discouraged sound planning by German investors, companies, and its government, and unnecessarily impoverished the German people. As pointed out in his classic book, Keynes felt this was bad for not just Germany, but all of Europe.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (17 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452878471
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452878478
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 93,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"It should be in the library of every serious student of world affairs." - Paul A. Volcker" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

John Maynard Keynes, (1883-1946) was a British economist whose ideas have profoundly affected modern macroeconomics and social liberalism, both in theory and practice. He advocated interventionist economic policy, by which governments would use fiscal and monetary measures to mitigate the adverse effects of business cycles, economic recessions, and depressions. His ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynesian economics, and its various offshoots. In the 1930s, Keynes spearheaded a revolution in economic thinking, overturning the older ideas of neoclassical economics that held that free markets would automatically provide full employment as long as workers were flexible in their wage demands. Following the outbreak of World War II, Keynes's ideas concerning economic policy were adopted by leading Western economies. During the 1950s and 1960s, the success of Keynesian economics was so resounding that almost all capitalist governments adopted its policy recommendations. In 1999, Time magazine included Keynes in their list of the 100 most important and influential people of the 20th century, commenting that; "His radical idea that governments should spend money they don't have may have saved capitalism". Keynes is widely considered the father of modern macroeconomics, and by various commentators such as economist John Sloman, the most influential economist of the 20th century. In addition to being an economist, Keynes was also a civil servant, a patron of the arts, a director of the Bank of England, an advisor to several charitable trusts, a writer, a private investor, an art collector, and a farmer.

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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 100 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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