Keynes's Principles of European Reconstruction
27 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2017
Date Written: March 5, 2017
In 1922-3 J.M. Keynes was general editor of a series of 12 publications on 'The Reconstruction in Europe', (Manchester Guardian Commercial Supplements). Its contents are little known today, although when published it had an extraordinarily wide readership, having been published simultaneously in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Its contributors were politicians (Lloyd George, UK, Calvin Coolidge, USA, etc.), bankers (Paul Warburg, USA, Hjalmar Schacht, Germany, Josiah Stamp, UK, etc.), famous socialists (Rudolf Hilferding, Germany, Maxim Gorki, USSR, Jean Longuet, France, grandson of Karl Marx, etc), economists (Custav Cassel, Sweden, A.C. Pigou, UK, Charles Gide and Charles Rist, France, etc.), and Nobel Laureates for Peace (Norman Angell, Frithjof Nansen). A most prominent contributor was Keynes himself. At the end of the series, in January 1923, Keynes reflected on "The Underlying Principles", focussing in particular "Pacifism" and "Population". On both accounts Keynes has later been accused of being inconsequential and unreasonable, even irresponsible. The article argues that there was a third principle involved. In these and in later activities Keynes revealed a Principle of Pragmatism in a felicitous way. It kept him from underwriting lofty programmes for Pan Europeanism. But in ultimate effect it enabled him to lay important foundations for European integration after World War II. He did not live to see the fruits of his life-long endeavours in this field. The article ends with the claim that Keynes definitely should have a place of special honour in the Pantheon of Pan European personalities.
Keywords: World War I, European Integration, Pacifism, Population, Economic History, Keynesian Economics
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