Keynes and his Battles

Keynes and his Battles

Gillies Dostaler

This fascinating book brings together and examines all aspects of the life and work of one of the most influential thinkers of the last century, John Maynard Keynes, whose theses are still hotly debated. It combines, in an accessible, unique and cohesive manner, analytical, biographical and contextual elements from a variety of perspectives.

Chapter 2: Ethics: The Sources of Keynes’s Vision

Gillies Dostaler

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, history of economic thought


We repudiated entirely customary morals, conventions and traditional wisdom. We were, that is to say, in the strict sense of the term, immoralists. The consequences of being found out had, of course, to be considered for what they were worth. But we recognised no moral obligation on us, no inner sanction, to conform or to obey. Before heaven we claimed to be our own judge in our own case . . . Yet so far as I am concerned, it is too late to change. I remain, and always will remain, an immoralist. ‘My Early Beliefs’ (1938-12, pp. 446–7) Birth control and the use of contraceptives, marriage laws, the treatment of sexual offences and abnormalities, the economic position of women, the economic position of the family – in all these matters the existing state of the law and of orthodoxy is still medieval – altogether out of touch with civilised opinion and civilised practice and with what individuals, educated and uneducated alike, say to one another in private. ‘Am I a Liberal?’ (1925-17, p. 302) Victoria acceded to the throne of Great Britain and Ireland in 1837, at the age of 18, and became Empress of India in 1871. She would reign until 1901.1 Her diamond jubilee, in 1897, symbolized the triumph of Victorian England. Her reign accompanied the victory of laissezfaire within British borders. The 1846 abolition of laws hampering wheat importation marked the victory of free trade, which was completed by the repealing, in 1849 and 1854, of the protectionist navigation...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information