Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Acquisition

Frustrating week. My laptop died (hopefully non-backed up data - which is not most of it anyway - should be fine... figuring that out today) right when we're looking at getting new siding for the house, and big purchases stress me out. Usually I am not the type to shop to relieve stress (particularly when the stress is over big purchases!), but the one single exception is if I am in the neighborhood of Second Story Books in Dupont Circle.

And in fact, the Urban Institute is a couple blocks south of said wonderful used bookstore, and I happened to be at the Urban Institute for a great talk on the returns to post-secondary education.

So of course it was only natural that I picked up a 1952 edition of Étienne Mantoux's book The Carthaginian Peace: Or, the Economic Consequences of Mr. Keynes. This is one I've been interested in for a while just from leafing through it in the library but never had the opportunity or inclination to pick it up. Mantoux is a fascinating guy - he was born in Paris, spent a lot of time in England including at the LSE with Robbins and Hayek (I don't yet know if that had any impact on his thoughts on Keynes). He fought in WWII and died days before the end of fighting (and before he could see his book published). The book is basically a refutation of The Economic Consequences of the Peace. It's not cited very often, although those that do cite it apparently find the arguments compelling. The preface is a little odd - it talks about how Mantoux worked on it while in the United States, and that he was therefore working with unbiased data sources. The guy was French, born in 1913. He's not exactly a neutral party in the whole "what should we do about the Germans" question. That doesn't mean it's a bad argument, but it's worth noting. What I've gleaned from the preface on the train ride is that a lot of the argument uses pre-war data. That strikes me as a little odd as well - much of Keynes's argument concerns the destruction of productive capacity.

Anyway, I do not have a dog in this fight at this point, and I'll have to read it. But it was a nice find.

1 comment:

  1. Although this comment is belated, Daniel, I have a question that does relate to The Economic Consequences of the Peace...have you read this article by Larry Lepper in the March 2013 edition of the Cambridge Journal of Economics?



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