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Sounds interesting, but isn't really
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.