• Short Summary

    John Maynard Keynes, the UK economist who presided over the theoretical revolution in economic theory in the 1930's, was born in Cambridge, Cambridge in 1883.

  • Description

    SCU MONO STILL John Maynard Kenyes

    LONDON, UK, 1941: (MONO) (MUTE) Bevin with Chinese Ambassador at reception with Kenyes in the background (2 shots)

    VERSAILLES, FRANCE 1919. GV EXTERIOR Lloyd George and other delegates arrive. INTERIOR Delegates in hall of mirrors (2 shots)

    PARIS, FRANCE 1965 GV & SV Gold bars in vault (2 shots)

    NEW YORK, USA, 1929. Street sign "Wall Street": TV INTERIOR Stock Exchange. CU Newspaper headlines. TV Stock Exchange. CU Man tearing up ticker tape. TV PAN Men line-up. INTERIOR SV Soup kitchen. (9 shots)

    UK: 1936: SVs Marchers on Jarrow Crusade. Carrying Jarrow Petition. SCU Sign post "London". LV Marchers (6 shots)

    BRETTON WOODS, USA, 1944: GVs & SVs Delegates at founding conference of IMF. Delegates signing agreement. Others watch (5 shots)

    GERMANY 1945: LV Bombed building. SCU Rubble. SCU AND SV Children playing in rubble. USA 1947: CU & SCU George Marshall speaking (5 shots)

    CAMBRIDGE, UK. JULY 1983 (COLOUR) EXTERIOR GV King's College. GV ZOOM INTO SV Keyne's rooms (2 shots)

    CAMBRIDGE, UK, JULY 1983. GV INTERIOR King's College Library. SCU Leaflet depicting Keynes and his wife Lydia Lopokova. SV INTERIOR Keynes Library. SV PAN FROM Volumes of Keynes TO student reading (5 shots)

    CAMBRIDGE, UK, JULY 1983. DEPARTMENT OF APPLIED ECONOMICS. SCU Senior Research Officer Terry Ward speaking (SOT)


    WILLS: "How do you think he would view the present policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank particularly regarding their attitude to third world countries?"

    WARD: "I feel at the present time he would be emphasising the importance of creating additional borrowing facilities for third world countries which have got into debt problems and would be emphasising the importance of ensuring that they don't cut back on their domestic expansion which is happening at the present time; so I think he would be highly critical of the attitude that the IMF and present major government are adopting to the third world debt problem."

    WILLS: "Yes, I mean, you think he would be very critical of the sort of high interest or relatively high interest rates?"

    WARD: "Yes, yes, I think so. Keynes always put growth employment ahead of financial considerations and he was quite adamant in the 1930's that high levels of unemployment, economic recession should not be used as a weapon to control inflation that there are other ways of going about this, that high unemployment was really the most iniquitous, the most evil result, of governments' economic policies and should be avoided at all costs."

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    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: John Maynard Keynes, the UK economist who presided over the theoretical revolution in economic theory in the 1930's, was born in Cambridge, Cambridge in 1883. A critic, political journalist, successful financier and member of the famous Bloomsbury Set -- he achieved permanent fame with his refutation of laissez faire economics and his advocacy of high employment. He was also concerned with international monetary institutions calculated to limit the spread of global depression. He played a prominent part in the Bretton Woods Conference of 1944 which led to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

    SYNOPSIS: Keynes was one of the most brilliant of a brilliant generation moving effortlessly from the academic world of Cambridge of important political office. His insistence on private and public investment as a way out of the Great Depression of the 30's was adopted by one Western democracy after another after the second World War.

    In this rare library film Keynes is seen at a reception for the Chinese Ambassador in London. Keynes had a personal charisma and authority and was an intimate alike of artists, scholars and politicians.

    But one of the turning points in his early career was the Versailles Peace Conference. During World War I he worked for the Treasury and was daily concerned with the economic management of the war. He accompanied the UK Prime Minister Lloyd George to Versailles as his economic adviser. But he was appalled at the political chicanery of the proceedings and the unrealistic reparations imposed on a defeated Germany. He resigned and wrote "The Economic Consequences of the Peace" which was a strong indictment of the conference. As a consequence in some Whitehall circles Keynes was labelled as iconoclast for the rest of his life
    In 1925 he opposed England's return to the gold standard and advocated a more flexible method of foreign exchange.

    But its was his response to the Great Depression of the 30's which swept him to economic fame. Instead of believing in the market economy Keynes showed that it was possible to governments to interfere and create employment through investment.

    Long before the depression Keynes was worried about persistent unemployment in British heavy industries. The Jarrow marches of the 30's when the unemployed from the North East marched on London brought home to millions the tragedy of unemployment. Conventional remedies were helpless but Keynes in the General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money supplied new explanations and new policies.

    Keynes was also active on the international scale. At the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944 he played a major part. But whether he would approve of the present policies of the IMF and the World Bank which grew out of Bretton Woods remains doubtful.

    In 1945 with large areas of Europe devastated by bombing and scorched earth policies the immediate need was food and materials to get production going again. Keyne's influence was apparent in the so-called Marshall plan when George Marshall the American Secretary of State proposed massive aid to help Europe re-establish itself. Keyne's last public service was the negotiation in 1945 of a multi-million dollar loan from the US to the UK to help rebuild British industry.

    All his life Keynes was connected with King's College Cambridge both as a student in 1902 and later as a don and bursar.

    He was an avid biblophile and in 1946 bequeathed most of his library of 6,000 volumes to the College. The volumes showed the strength and breadth of his mind and included a number of first and early editions of authors ranging from philosophers such as Bentham and Descartes to astronomers such as Galileo and Newton.

    One of the main questions which arise is whether Keyne's policies are applicable to the global recession of the 80's. Visnews reporter Peter Wills asked Cambridge economist Terry Ward about Keyne's work.

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