[OPE-L:2925] Re: Re: Re: Rx Economics/Keynes

From: JERRY LEVY (jlevy@sescva.esc.edu)
Date: Fri Apr 28 2000 - 09:13:29 EDT

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In a previous exchange, see Riccardo's [OPE-L:2875], the question of
Keynes' perspective on the General Strike of 1926 was raised.

For more information on this topic, see R.F. Harrod _The Life of
John Maynard Keynes_ (NY, Avon, 1971; originally published in 1951
by St. Martin's), pp. 435-439.

"Liberals of all complexions agreed that the General Strike was
not within the limits of constitutional action, that it must be
defeated and that it must be made plain that any repetition was
doomed to failure" (p. 436).

Nonetheless, the liberals were divided on the tactics that they
proposed for dealing with the specific way in which the strike
should be defeated. Keynes, like Lloyd George, supported the
position advanced by the Archbishop of Canterbury who held that
after the strike was ended "negotiations should continue in some
form, on the basis of a return to the *status quo* before the
strike began and of letting bygones be bygones" (Ibid). This
position led Keynes into a conflict with Lord Oxford.

Riccardo previously claimed that Keynes had as his objective
the desire to make both capitalists and workers better-off.
I tend to doubt whether the British strikers of 1926 shared
this accessment of Keynes. Indeed, with friends like that ....

Yet, by supporting the crushing of the General Strike, Keynes
did indeed show that he sought to make capitalists better off
(so Riccardo is at least partially correct), forestall any
revolutionary action by the British workers, and save British

Of course, one would expect nothing more (or less) from a
20th Cetury liberal.

In solidarity, Jerry

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