John Maynard Keynes Narrates the Great Depression: His Reports to Philips Electronics on the State of the World Economy
Robert Dimand  1@  , Bradley Bateman  2@  
1 : Brock University, Ontario
2 : Randolph College
2500 Rivermount Avenue, Lynchburg, Virginia 24503 -  États-Unis

In October 1929, the Dutch electronics firm Philips approached John Maynard Keynes to write a regular confidential report on the state of the British and world economies, which he did from January 1930 to November 1934, at first monthly and then (as the Depression affected Philips' finances) quarterly. These substantial reports (Keynes's November 1931 report was twelve typed pages) show Keynes narrating the Great Depression in real time, as the world went through the US slowdown following the Wall Street crash, the Kreditanstalt collapse in Austria, the German banking crisis in the summer of 1931, Britain's departure from the gold exchange standard in August and September 1931, the US banking crisis leading to the Bank Holiday of March 1933, the London Economic Conference of 1933, and the coming of the New Deal. This series of reports has not been discussed in the literature, although the reports and related correspondence are in the Chadwyck-Healey microfiche edition of the Keynes Papers. This paper examines Keynes's account of the unfodling economic events of the early 1930s, his insistence that the crisis would be more severe and long-lasting than most observers predicted, and his changing position on whether monetary policy would be sufficient to promote recovery, and relates his reading of contemporary events to his theoretical developments as shown in his Cambridge lectures from 1932 to 1935 (edited by Rymes), in his Essays in Persuasion (1931), and in the writings and documents in his Collected Writings.


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