Courtesy Reuters

The Economic Consequences of the Peace

The Future in Retrospect

THE ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES OF THE PEACE, by JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES. London: Macmillan, 1919. New York: Harcourt, 1920.

I HAVE a vivid recollection of walking up Whitehall in the early summer of 1919, when we were all tired of reading the tiny daily increments of news and views in the papers concerning the proceedings at Versailles, and getting confirmation of the rumor that the economists had been having a bad time in Paris trying to hold within the bounds of reason the politicians and eminent lawyers who were in the inner circles of settlement. Either the economists in that circle were too few to count, or else they were at fault in not bringing into the fray, if they could, the array of eminent supporters who were kicking their heels outside. Surely such a display of consolidated expertise would have impressed, where the single skirmisher would be bundled aside. No one can ever know whether additions to the prophets would have made prophecy more acceptable in that strange uprush of combatant concession to mass psychology on "paying for the war," and "what Germany would have done if she had won." Waiting while a slow witness at the Royal Commission on Income Tax thought of his answer, Professor Pigou gossiped to me that Maynard Keynes was giving up in Paris in sheer despair, and that he was producing a book which would startle the Powers in its self-vindication and its pictures of personality. Indeed, to this day, there are apocryphal stories of sentences in the manuscript that were even more biting than those that ultimately survived and which the earnest persuasion of friends alone prevailed on the author to remove from his manuscript. To this day there will be those who think that publication was not a "right" thing to do -- not quite nice for a civil servant -- while others think the end, if sufficiently serious, justifies the means; many who just "wait and see," and if the prophet turns out right, then what

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