The Economic Consequences of the Peace

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Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920 - Business & Economics - 298 pages
3 Reviews
A sever economic critique of the 1920 Treaty of Versailles written by the famous economist, who was a member of the British peace delegation until he quit with disgust.

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User Review  - HadriantheBlind - LibraryThing

Needed to get more acquainted with Keynes, so I'm starting at the beginning. This is one of those classics which have permeated modern thought so thoroughly that you feel as though you've read it ... Read full review

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User Review  - jcbrunner - LibraryThing

Keynes' The Economic Consequences of the Peace is a good companion piece to Margaret MacMillan's Paris 1919. Keynes participated as an expert in the Paris peace treaty negotiations which were mainly ... Read full review

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Page 63 - mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril. . . . Every territorial settlement involved in this war must be made in the interest and for the benefit of the populations concerned, and not as a part of any mere adjustment or compromise of claims amongst rival States.
Page 51 - Pair is foul, and foul is fair, Hover through the fog and filthy air. The subtlest sophisters and most hypocritical draftsmen were set to work, and produced many ingenious exercises which might have deceived for more than an hour a cleverer man than the President. Thus instead of saying that German-Austria is
Page 150 - Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.
Page 62 - the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of AlsaceLorraine." (13). An independent Poland, including "the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations" and "assured a free and secure access to the sea.
Page 60 - free. The Allied Governments feel that no doubt ought to be allowed to exist as to what this provision implies. By it they understand that compensation will be made by Germany for all damage done to the civilian population of the Allies and to their property by the aggression of Germany by land, by sea, and from the air.
Page 72 - reserve the right to retain and liquidate all property, rights and interests belonging at the date of the coming into force of the present Treaty to German nationals, or companies controlled by them, within their territories, colonies, possessions and protectorates, including territories ceded to them by the present Treaty.
Page 150 - The Allied and Associated Governments recognize that the resources of Germany are not adequate, after taking into account permanent diminutions of such resources which will result from other provisions of the present Treaty, to make complete reparation for all such loss and damage." The President could comfort himself that this was no
Page 160 - such supplies of food and raw materials as may be judged by the Governments of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers to be essential to enable Germany to meet her obligations for Reparation may also, with the approval of the said Governments, be paid for out of the above sum.'
Page 76 - operating in Russia, China, Turkey, Austria, Hungary, and Bulgaria, or in the possessions or dependencies of these States, or in any territory formerly belonging to Germany or her allies, to be ceded by Germany or her allies to any Power or to be administered by a Mandatory under the present Treaty.'
Page 80 - In territory outside her European frontiers as fixed by the present Treaty, Germany renounces all rights, titles and privileges whatever in or over territory which belonged to her or to her allies, and all rights, titles and privileges whatever their origin which she held as against the Allied and Associated Powers

About the author (1920)

John Maynard Keynes, an English economist, is regarded as the most important and influential economist of the twentieth century, if not of all time. A brilliant child, he wrestled with the economic meaning of interest before he was 5 years old. He excelled both as a student and as a member of the debating team at Eton. His reputation at King's College at Cambridge University was such that he was invited to weekly breakfasts with economist A. C. Pigou, and even Alfred Marshall begged him to become a professional economist. He was elected president of the Union, the most important nongovernmental debating society in the world, and his close friends included the intellectual members of the Bloomsbury group. Keynes was described as a phenomenon---and all of this took place before he graduated from Cambridge. After graduating in 1905, Keynes took a civil service post in India. Bored with his job, he resigned and returned to Cambridge to teach. In 1912 he assumed the editorship of the Economic Journal, the leading journal in Britain at the time, continuing in the post for 33 years. His first major book, Indian Currency and Finance (1913), was an immediate success. He took part in the Paris Peace Conference as a representative of the Treasury. Later he held several other government advisory posts, served as a director of the Bank of England, and was president of an insurance company. In addition, Keynes was a noted patron of the arts and married the most beautiful and popular ballerina of his era. As if this weren't enough, he managed to amass a small fortune by investing in stocks and foreign currencies in his spare time. At the Paris Peace Conference, Keynes became so dismayed by the harsh terms imposed on Germany in the Treaty of Versailles that he resigned in anger several days before the treaty was signed. He then wrote The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919), which outlined the folly of the treaty. Being a man of many interests, Keynes next took a brief break from economics to publish A Treatise on Probability (1921), which Bertrand Russell (see Vols. 4 and 5) described as "impossible to praise too highly." Keynes's A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923) was a rather technical book that questioned the value of the gold standard over a managed paper currency. A Treatise on Money (1930), which explored the business cycle, was followed by Essays in Persuasion (1931) and Essays in Biography (1933). The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936, was Keynes's crowning achievement, and it took the world by storm. According to Keynes, the economy could be thought of as being divided into consumer, investment (or business), government, and foreign sectors. This was hardly a novel idea, but Keynes went on to postulate the exact nature of expenditures in each sector, especially the spending patterns of the consumer sector, which he portrayed by using a graph he called a "consumption function." He reasoned that fluctuations in total economic activity could be traced to instability in the business sector, which had a multiplier effect on the rest of the economy. The relationship specified in The General Theory were tantalizing to economists, because they could be tested and empirically verified. Subsequent research largely confirmed Keynes's propositions. Soon governments, including that of the United States, began to develop a set of national income accounts to provide estimates of gross national product and national income. The General Theory was also popular because it offered policy prescriptions to help deal with the problems of depression, recession, and unemployment. Today the term "Keynesian" is used to describe individuals or policies that use taxation and government spending to affect aggregate economic performance.

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