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Guess Who Said It?

Hint: It is not President Bush the Second.

Does not this provision reduce the UN (my edit), so far as concerns an early reconsideration of any of the terms of the Peace Treaty, into a body merely for wasting time? If all the parties to the Treaty are unanimously of opinion that it requires alteration in a particular sense, it does not need a UN (my edit) and a Covenant to put the business through. Even when the Assembly of the UN (my edit) is unanimous it can only “advise” reconsideration by the members specially affected.

Yet the UN (my edit) in the hands of the trained European diplomist may become an unequalled (sic) instrument for obstruction and delay. (the work of the UN) will be done by an unwieldy polyglot debating society in which the greatest resolution and the best management may fail altogether to bring issues to a head against an opposition in favour of the status quo.

That is John Maynard Keynes in his 1919 Economic Consequences of the Peace. This early work of Keynes is certainly worth a read. It largely outlines his then unpopular (but ultimately correct) view that the reparitions the WWI “Allies” were seeking from Germany and Austria-Hungary were so honerous as to be destructive and impoverishing that political instability was inevitable. The recipe for disaster included Germany being forced to pay its reparitions in foreign exchange (Pounds and Dollars) and the only way to generate these earnings was to develop a powerful industrial sector and sell their manufactures abroad – Keynes referred to this as the transfer problem. Of course, if you have a country working like crazy only to see its bitterest enemies living the sweet life because of it, all at the same time developing a powerful industrial base, the military reaction is inevitable.

Keynes’ ideas have been badly twisted by those who wish to sacrifice free market economic at the altar of government. He was actually a fairly strong advocate of unrestrained markets – he did not believe that governments should have any involvement with the means of production. Rather, he advocated a fiscal fine tuning policy to help economies reach full employment. Not that I believe that position to be very desirable, but it is a far cry from the populist policies of today’s politicians.

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