Volume LI 2 - 2017
Keynes and the Manchester Guardian's Reconstruction Supplements
Peter Clarke, pp. 9-23
This introduction explains why and how Keynes became associated with the project for publishing Reconstruction Supplements that would circulate throughout Europe in 1922-3. The idea came from C.P. Scott, the long-serving editor and proprietor of the Manchester Guardian, Britain’s most prestigious liberal newspaper. Keynes agreed to edit the proposed series, to recruit contributors from across Europe, and to write a number of essays himself. This was a new kind of journalistic challenge for him, but it brought both prestige and considerable financial rewards. The proposal was intimately linked with the commission for Keynes to attend the international Genoa Conference in the spring of 1922 as a special correspondent, contributing a series of articles that were widely syndicated. All this came at a critical moment in his personal life, at the beginning of his relationship with the Russian ballerina Lydia Lopokova, who was to become his wife. Her impact on the project should not be underestimated, encouraging Keynes to write in a more accessible way than previously. The results were seen not only in the publication of the Supplements themselves but also in the subsequent book that Keynes published, A Tract on Monetary Reform, which owes much to the Supplements both in style and in substance.