- Paperback: 308 pages
- Publisher: Simon Publications (1 Oct. 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1931541132
- ISBN-13: 978-1931541138
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,099,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Economic Consequences of the Peace Paperback – 1 Oct 2001
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The Economic Consequences of Peace marked the entrance into the world scene of the twentieth century s most influential economist. It should be in the library of every serious student of world affairs. Paul A. Volcker, from his introduction --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
John Maynard Keynes --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
The Versailles treaty has a bad reputation in popular memory, especially British. While historians originally also tended to be critical, the last decades have seen a reassessment, and a recognition that the peacemakers faced an imperfect job no matter what, and could not magically solve the destruction and disorders wrecked by WWI. Some historians now even argue that the reparations were not punitive, and that Germany could afford to pay them. In my view this goes too far, and Keynes's book is quite convincing in this respect. The reparations total discussed in Keynes's book, $40 billion, was of the order of the total size of pre-war German GDP, perhaps more, and more than ten times total German exports. The amount eventually proposed by the Commission, while smaller at a nominal $31 billion, remained huge in proportion to the German economy. Entirely accessible to the layman, written with complete clarity, and short, this is essential reading for anyone with even a passing interest in history and the peace of 1919.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This edition is somewhat like a print out of a pdf from your office printer. No page numbers, no title page, no publisher info. Read morePublished 8 months ago by LondonListener
A stunning and beautiful essay - short and sharp, with moving and compelling prose. Keynes sets out (in 1919) why Brexit (sorry Versailles) is a tragedy - with a strong liberal... Read morePublished 9 months ago by M M MacNair
Candidates for high government office should be required to demonstrate their understanding of Keynes's analysis and conclusions. Read morePublished 10 months ago by RMF
A well-written explanation of how Allied politicians should have treated Germany at the end of WW1 and of how, alas, their short-term personal and national self-interests instead... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Gordon