SEE THE FOLLOWING FOR THE OTHER PARTS:
5[Mises, Planning for Freedom, chap. 6, pp. 50–63.]
Keynes entered the political scene in 1920 with his book, The Economic
Consequences of the Peace. He tried to prove that the sums demanded for
reparations were far in excess of what Germany could afford to pay and
to “transfer.” The success of the book was overwhelming. The propaganda
machine of the German nationalists, well entrenched in every country,
was busily representing Keynes as the world’s most eminent economist
and Great Britain’s wisest statesman.
Yet it would be a mistake to blame Keynes for the suicidal foreign
policy that Great Britain followed in the interwar period. Other forces,
especially the adoption of the Marxian doctrine of imperialism and “capitalist warmongering,” were of incomparably greater importance in the rise
of appeasement. With the exception of a small number of keen-sighted
men, all Britons supported the policy which finally made it possible for the
Nazis to start the Second World War.
A highly gifted French economist, Étienne Mantoux, has analyzed
Keynes’s famous book point for point. The result of his very careful and
conscientious study is devastating for Keynes the economist and statistician, as well as Keynes the statesman. The friends of Keynes are at a loss to
find any substantial rejoinder. The only argument that his friend and biographer, Professor E.A.G. Robinson, could advance is that this powerful
indictment of Keynes’s position came “as might have been expected, from
a Frenchman.”6 As if the disastrous effects of appeasement and defeatism
had not affected Great Britain also!
Étienne Mantoux, son of the famous historian Paul Mantoux, was the
most distinguished of the younger French economists. He had already
made valuable contributions to economic theory — among them a keen
critique of Keynes’s General Theory, published in 1937 in the Revue
d’Économie Politique — before he began his The Carthaginian Peace or
the Economic Consequences of Mr. Keynes.7 He did not live to see his book
published. As an officer in the French forces he was killed on active service.
6Economic Journal, vol. 57, p. 23.
7Oxford University Press, 1946.
The Mises Reader–Unabridged, pp. 348-349, Shawn Ritenour, Editor