John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes of Tilton

Early Career and Critique of Versailles

Keynes served (1906–08) in the India Office of the civil service, where he was concerned with problems of Indian currency. He subsequently returned to Cambridge, where he taught economics until 1915. During World War I, he worked in the Treasury, advancing in 1919 to the position of principal British treasury representative. After accompanying British prime minister Lloyd George to the peace conference ending the war, however, he resigned in protest of what he considered the inequitable economic provisions of the Versailles Treaty. His Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919) vividly presented his views and won him world fame. Keynes criticized the Versailles Treaty for its vindictiveness, specifically the impossibly high reparations levied on the Germans, and for its abandonment of the relatively free pre-1914 economy based on gold and low tariffs. He foresaw that German economic weakness stemming from the Versailles provisions would involve the whole of Europe in ruin.

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