Volume LI 2 - 2017
Keynes's Principles of European Reconstruction
Gerhard Michael Ambrosi, pp. 25-52
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 (Gustav 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 on “Pacifism” and “Population” as principles for a future reconstruction in Europe. The article argues that in his endeavours for the reconstruction in Europe Keynes practiced a third principle, namely that of pragmatism. It kept him from underwriting propagandistic programmes for Pan Europeanism although the reconstruction of the basic unity of Europe was his major aim. Practicing this principle Keynes laid important foundations for the European integration which did happen after World War II. He did not live to see the success of his life-long endeavours. The article ends with the claim that Keynes definitely should have a place of special honour in the Pantheon of Pan European personalities.