Policy in War and Peace: The Recommendations of J. M. Keynes

  • Tom Wilson
Part of the Keynes Seminars book series (KESE)


Over the past decade, Keynesian policies have been subjected to severe attack and there can be no doubt that Keynesianism has lost much ground—if ground can be measured by political and academic support. Today, when Keynesians are thus fighting a defensive action, it must be hard for members of a younger generation to appreciate the immense excitement that followed the publication of The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in 1936. It was a time of hope—hope that was to pervade the war-time discussion of post-war policies and was to remain strong for many years thereafter. It is true that, by 1936, a recovery from the worst depths of the Depression had taken place and this recovery owed little to expansionary fiscal policies of a Keynesian type; but it was also an incomplete recovery. Unemployment was still high and, even in 1937, the United States had barely regained its 1929 level of GNP when another downturn took place.


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  1. 1.
    Reprinted in T. W. Hutchison, Keynes v. the Keynesians? (Institute of Economic Affairs, 1977).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    We may note in passing that his analysis at this point was very similar to earlier theories of forced savings, notably that developed by D. H. Robertson in ‘Industrial Fluctuation and the Natural Rate of Interest’, Economic Journal (1934)Google Scholar
  3. reprinted in Essays in Monetary Theory (London: P. S. King and Son, 1940)Google Scholar
  4. see also T. Wilson, ‘Robertson, Money and Monetarism’, Journal of Economic Literature (Dec. 1980).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See W. H. Hancock and M. M. Gowing, British War Economy (London: HMSO, 1949) pp. 46 et seq.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    See José Harris, William Beveridge (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978).Google Scholar
  7. 14.
    D. Winch, Economics and Policy (London: Fontana, 1967) pp. 281–2.Google Scholar
  8. 18.
    See D. Robertson, Banking Policy and the Price Level (London: P.S. King and Son,1926)Google Scholar
  9. 26.
    See J. C. R. Dow, Management of the British Economy 1945–60 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964).Google Scholar
  10. 32.
    See T. W. Hutchison, op. cit., which contains Keynes’s articles from The Times of 1937, andGoogle Scholar
  11. also comments by Kahn and Hutchison. See also the interesting article by G. C. Peden, ‘Keynes, The Treasury and Unemployment’, Oxford Economic Papers (March 1980).Google Scholar

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© Keynes College 1982

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  • Tom Wilson

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