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Showing 1-10 of 12 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 25 reviews
on July 5, 2015
This is my favorite book which I've read by Keynes thus far. Beginning with his criticisms of the Versailles treaty, Keynes illustrates well the economic problems surrounding the ability to pay reparations...including effects on all players. Keynes then attempts to explain his ideas for solving economic issues, most of which involve debt foregiveness (bulk of which is on the USA). I wasn't really blown away by any of his alternative ideas, but the criticisms alone seemed to be dead on.

Next the author spends time discussing the return to the gold standard (primarily in the U.K.) and the issues involved with fixing the currency to gold at pre-war levels. His criticism of Churchill again seems to be dead on in this respect. He warns of re-fixing the currency at such high levels without having actual price levels adjusted first. While import prices were kept low, exporters were crippled by the need to lower prices (to remain competitive internationally) prior to the required corresponding reduction in domestic costs and wages. This forced an intense deflationary stance by the U.K. (high interest rates and policies to encourage unemployment so that wages may fall). Keynes suggested lowering rates as to cause a large buildup of gold in countries which already had competitive exports so that their prices would rise (USA and France) and their exports would be less competitive (the theme of most of his arguments were based on encouraging a trade surplus). Further, high rates only encouraged saving at a time when real capital was in abundance. Fixed assets were already available, and for excess capacity to be put to use people needed to spend.

This is the clearest argument for some kind of institutional spending during the bottom of the business cycle which I've encountered from Keynes. While the subject requires far more work and is a subject today of controversy, Keynes makes an alluring argument for private or public institutional spending (not necessarily just government spending) based around expectations and uncertainty which may result in a downward economic spiral. If changes in the general price level are confused for relative changes in prices, businesses may slow production/cancel orders (attempt to lower variable costs) in the short term. If enough companies do this, a demand crisis could occur which is self-reinforcing.

Other topics include the author's criticism of socialism (I believe he calls it "turbid rubbish"), political views, philosophy on how politics and economics may be balanced, and his vision of the economic future. I've always enjoyed Keynes' style of writing, his criticisms both witty and humorous. Instead of jumping ahead to some of his later works, I'd start with this book if you're introducing yourself to this author.
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on April 2, 2017
This is something everyone should read
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on January 22, 2011
A very compelling collection of essays written and collected by Keynes from 1919 to 1931. Many of the essays address issues that are relevant to our current economic situation in 2011, and others are interesting for historical reasons. Because Keynes was writing for educated laymen, his essays are very accessible.

Supplemental fact missed by some reviewers: this book is a facsimile copy of the collection Keynes produced in 1931; thus, complaints about errors found between the covers should not really be held against bnpublishing.net. That said, the folks at bnpublishing.net are full of themselves and cannot even produce a back cover blurb without egregious grammatical faults and a type-o. My advice is to completely ignore the only thing they wrote (the back cover blurb, which was clearly written by someone with a limited grasp of the English language!).
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on March 11, 2015
I found in reading Keynes he is often misquoted. I doubt very much if he would approve the money printing frenzy currently raging around the world.
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on September 7, 2017
Good read if you are into deep financial/economics. Was kind of dry for me not being into the economics & financials but good info.
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on January 10, 2017
Condition as stated. Only writing by Keynes worth reading unless you plan on publishing a critique of one of his many works
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on September 2, 2015
Crystal clear logic and elegant prose made this a delight to read. I can see why Buffett recommends this book.
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on January 28, 2017
A very good book.
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on May 7, 2013
There's a lot to like about J. M. Keynes. He brought the monetary corner of economics together in his General Theory. He warned the world loudly about the dangers of imposing crushing reparations on Germany after WWI. If only we had listened! He wrote a brilliant biography of economist Alfred Marshall in the form of an obituary, wrote lots of other good stuff and was a central figure in economics and in government for a long period spanning two world wars. However, Essays in Persuasion is not all that interesting.

First of all, with the exception of the first essay, which is about the folly of imposing reparations on Germany, the rest are mainly about whether the U.K. should stay on the gold standard or not, or should reflate or deflate the economy. As such, they deal with topics that were current and of vital importance during the period between the wars, but unless you happen to be very interested in economic history during this period, these ruminations are not very interesting now. Also, there is the fact that it is a bit difficult to keep up with Keynes mind, as he rumbles on in a sort of oblique sarcastic way about the advantages of rejoining the gold standard at one price versus another. Avoid this and pick up the General Theory instead, or read Alfred Marshall's bio.
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on June 5, 2017
This is the book that contains the memorable essay "Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren," on which I based one of the chapters in my forthcoming book, WTF: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us. The essay is widely available online, but having made such good use of the essay in my own writing, I wanted to own a copy of the original. I'm now happily perusing some of the other pieces by this great economist.
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