22 Keynes - John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences...

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John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919) Keynes was born in 1883 to prosperous parents in Cambridge, England, and after a brief stint in the Civil Service returned to Cambridge as a lecturer in economics. He was an economic advisor to the British government during World War I, and in 1919 was part of the British delegation to the Versailles peace conference. He was appalled at the political decisions being taken there without regard to their economic implications, and resigned from the Treasury so he could write The Economic Consequence of the Peace, contrasting the wealth Europe had achieved by 1900 with the disastrous period he foresaw . CHAPTER II EUROPE BEFORE THE WAR Before 1870 different parts of the small continent of Europe had specialized in their own products; but, taken as a whole, it was substantially self-subsistent. And its population was adjusted to this state of affairs. After 1870 there was developed on a large scale an unprecedented situation, and the economic condition of Europe became during the next fifty years unstable and peculiar. The pressure of population on food, which had already been balanced by the accessibility of supplies from America, became for the first time in recorded history definitely reversed. As numbers increased, food was actually easier to secure. Larger proportional returns from an increasing scale of production became true of agriculture as
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22 Keynes - John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences...

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