The Elgar Companion to John Maynard Keynes
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The Elgar Companion to John Maynard Keynes

Edited by Robert W. Dimand and Harald Hagemann

The most influential and controversial economist of the twentieth century, John Maynard Keynes was the leading founder of modern macroeconomics, and was also an important historical figure as a critic of the Versailles Peace Treaty after World War I and an architect of the Bretton Woods international monetary system after World War II. This comprehensive Companion elucidates his contributions, his significance, his historical context and his continuing legacy.
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Chapter 88: Keynesianism in the United Kingdom

Geoff Tily


The chapter contests the conventional wisdom that Keynes’s impact on the world began only after his death, when policy-makers and economists alike finally saw the state could be a force for macroeconomic advantage. The reality is that Keynes’s call for monetary reform was felt from 21 September 1931 when Britain left the gold standard. The moment of his death was probably the high point of his influence. The vast scale of his influence on economic thinking, policies and outcomes in Britain is restored, with global monetary architecture as necessary context. The chapter concentrates on the period from his first contributions to the high point. His residual influence from his death is then traced more briefly: through the golden age and the complete undoing of his contributions from the 1970s under financial “liberalisation” to the present practical and intellectual catastrophe. An appendix contains relevant annual and decade average macroeconomic statistics.

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