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J. M. Keynes

Lord Keynes - Economist of Capitalism in Decline

In the sickness of its declining years capitalism is being nursed by the Labour Party. Lord Keynes, who died on April 21st, was the doctor who prescribed the treatment. His theories, on which rest the belief in the possibility of "full employment" under capitalism, have come to the widely accepted not because of intrinsic merit or originality, but because capitalists and the Labour politicians alike have dire need of a panacea that will, they hope, make capitalism work or at least persuade workers that it will. Faced with mounting unemployment and the political discontent that it causes, many Tory and Liberal politicians had lost confidence in their ability to save capitalism. Lord Keynes promised them another lease of life. The Labour Party, new to power, never had much confidence in its own ability, and the "economic blizzard" of 1931 that wrecked the  Labour Government destroyed even what it had; so Keynes was their hope, too.

Markets, Monopoly and War

A new edition of Rudolf Hilferding's Finance Capital: A Study of the Latest Phase of Capitalist Development has been published in a new translation and with a useful introduction and notes by Tom Bottomore (Routledge and Kegan Paul, £8.95). It provides an opportunity to consider whether the theories advanced by Hilferding and others have been confirmed in the years since the work was first published in 1910.

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