The Australian Bill of Rights Bill was not passed on the 24 March 2020. I have posted the details of the Bill followed by my own experience as to why an Australian Bill of Rights is Essential for Public Safety.
This is a link to Dr. Patch Adams and the fact he cried of Human Rights. He travels the world to the places where people are deeply disadvantaged. I travelled to Russia with him and I saw him cry over a little girl who was deaf and dumb, he made her smile, she was fascinated by him. I filmed their interaction. He is a deeply kind man. Kindness matters today and will change the future. Visit: https://wpas.worldpeacefull.com/2018/09/patch-adams-cried-over-human-rights-abuses/
Gives effect to certain provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by: declaring an Australian Bill of Rights; providing that any Commonwealth, state or territory law that is inconsistent with the Bill of Rights is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency; specifying that Commonwealth, state and territory laws must be interpreted consistently with the Bill of Rights; and providing the Australian Human Rights Commission with a range of additional powers and functions in relation to the rights and freedoms in the Bill of Rights.
House of Representatives
Introduced and read a first time
16 Sep 2019
Second reading moved
16 Sep 2019
Removed from the Notice Paper in accordance with (SO 42)
24 Mar 2020
Documents and transcripts
You can open the pdf or Word document’s below to read about the rights the politicians didn’t want us to have.
A Personal Rationale as to why an Australian Bill of Rights is Essential for Public Safety
In the public interest.
I have spent 7 hours non stop writing about why we need an Australian Bill of Rights. After my story I have pasted the government legislation that was proposed by Andrew Wilkie MP for Dennison (Tasmania). It clearly is not wanted by the majority of politicians as it wasn’t passed.
The 24th of March 2020 (5 days ago) was a day Australians will not realise was the most important day of our 200 year history. Australians were in the midst of having all their rights to movement shutdown with the spread of the coronavirus. We as a people, and others around the world, are experiencing dictatorial edicts for the first time where we are being told we do not have the rights to engage in business on site (must go online), we are learning new words like ‘social distancing’, people are becoming unemployed as millions are likely to lose work given many live from pay cheque to pay cheque and industries are being shutdown given a virus. I note that President Trump is stating his nation will go back to work next month as the virus affects the elderly and vulnerable and he sees that action can be taken to protect them and that the rest are healthy. Our government is saying 6 months which could completely collapse the Australian economy. However, on a brighter note people are talking about a new social contract, they get time with families, time to think about global issues and the sort of world we are moving into. So maybe this little virus is timely for transformational change. As we lose rights maybe we will gain more rights in the future as we awaken.
I’ve been inspired for some time to advance an Australian Bill of Rights. This writing below has been inspired as I wasn’t able to stop typing and went deeper and deeper into this topic as it is dear to my heart. This focus occurred as I experienced directly my own rights been violated and suffered greatly as I had to find truth to stop the pain I felt.
I have been denied the right to shelter, to housing, to social security (revoked due to conscientious objection to corruption), to early release of superannuation under severe hardship (no money, no shelter), to equality before the law (no access to legal representation).
When evicted from my home due to a landlord breaching Council by-laws, there was no right to be rehoused. I was on a low income and had no ability to pay rent as rents were unaffordable. On route up north I was informed by a Centrelink officer (welfare), that I was not in equal partnership inside Centrelink, outside the system I have equal status. I said I am a citizen and I am equal. It made no sense that I give up my rights because they give me income support which is my right as a citizen under the Australian Constitution (Section 51, subsection 23a). Under a public/private contract system privatised job providers create a contract and have job seekers (welfare recipients) sign in a unequal agreement to activities which, in my case I knew would not get me work as I was professionally trained and I was having to apply for low wage jobs. The class system was evident in the welfare sector, had I been at a professional agency I would be given coffee, sit in plush suites and offered jobs starting at $50,000 – $200,000. At the privatised welfare agency I am offered $17 per hour in one case and I was not informed who the employer was, the treatment was evidently discriminatory breaching human rights but normalised in a unquestioned class system where a demographic serves. In addition to ineffective job provision I had real concerns about the program Work for the Dole which did not build skills but kept people working against their will, breaching the other human rights protocols. In a professional setting there is no way a person would accept working for no payment in areas that had no bearing on their work. It wasn’t even an apprenticeship training program. I have been to bonded slavery camps where people worked for free their whole lives and their fingers were worn to the bone. I was not lost on slavery.
In the Judiciary I was confronted with perverting the course of justice, misconduct and clear inequality before the law. I had no way to navigate the judicial system or have legal advice to ensure I knew my rights and had a strategy on how to defend myself to ensure justice happened. I was not prepared for legal trickery, deceptive conduct, using the courts for advantage, selecting judges, intimidation and demonisation. I knew I was confronting a form of subtle bullying using the fear of jail and costs to ensure compliance when I was innocent. I was even told that principled people get chewed up in the system, as if to be principled is a boon for lawyers, given they make more money if a person fights for what is right or moral, upholding principles as more valuable than making money out of cost orders or legal precedents. I found the comment disconcerting and at the same time an insight into those who seek justice and lose everything. Issues of misogyny were evident and inequality was in plain sight given comments about my low status and gender. Abuse was discounted as not important as I was the Appellant not the one who started the legal process. I lost my right to an Appeal given I was put through a process on another matter to then have it turn instantly into a quick Appeal then set aside. I was pressured, not unlike a forced confession, to sign an informal undertaking when the reverse is what happened to me. My perseverance was due to my desire to ensure a matter was resolved. The allegations I confronted were false and occurred after I reported sexual harassment. I knew the real loss was that the other party was not held to account, not as a form of punishment, but realisation as the behaviour causes harm. This included those in positions of power who were behind the attempted criminalisation (bullying) of the matter. If they are not held to account and justice not done then a silent green light conveys deception, misconduct and illegality works. This makes it unsafe for others in the future. I felt a duty of care for those coming after me who had no idea what they were up against. I didn’t want them to suffer as I had, I felt this duty deeply, particularly as an older woman.
I came to learn that lawyers are engaged in activities that are not honest and wording is changed to hide information legally and signatures changed. They play tricks as if it is a game that the uninformed can’t possibly see or understand as most haven’t studied a law degree for 6 years. I was most definitely at a disadvantage. I learned that judges were immune from prosecution no matter their conduct. I felt that was wrong as no-one should be above the law if we are equal. I discovered I had no right to have injustice addressed by regulators as my detailed report style of complaints were technically not accepted, although they were read, as I did receive a response as part of the rejection of the complaint. This in itself was a miracle but likely due to my 500+ page report. Again, analysis and justification in the regulator response was not accurate and implied mental health issues which appears a ‘modus operandi’ to discredit a person. What do you do when you are completely silenced and unsupported? Where to from here?
A last point, I spoke to a lawyer yesterday who left the legal profession as he saw Justice was not done. He didn’t believe in it anymore. He saw people get off crimes due to technicalities and he said it was ‘not right’.
The business of law is a key issue where the objective is profit not justice. Justice is a noble principle and I believe it is the very basis of peace building in our society. If Justice is not done then trust in public institutions diminishes and the law becomes a tool of abuse.
This raised the issue for me of corruption and it made me feel more concerned as the desire to be heard intensified, it is like a cry for help. I saw and felt human rights as a central issue as it came up overtime again and again. With perseverance I found the words to express what had happened that was concealed but loudly felt in my experience. Unfortunately, human rights are hard to prove as abuse can be subtle and collusion covered over through collegial relationships and status. If you have no witnesses or advocates you cannot find parity or justice to ensure those in positions of power uphold standards, accountability, legality, transparency and justice. Their offices must be free of corruption as they may have many people under their control and if they do not respect people on a basic level they will do harm.
The experience of not having rights leaves you in a position of utter powerlessness, or at least you perceive you are powerless as no matter what you do or say nothing happens, you cannot affect change. It is not unlike trying to defend yourself against an attack you cannot clearly see as there is no evidence trail but you know what is happening is harmful. You are confronting those who know the system and know how to remain unseen. Bullying is normalised and it is a key tactic. Bullying is a repeated negative behaviour, that is not a misunderstanding, but designed to intimidate and harm. You will suffer deep trauma as it goes on so long and you cannot understand why you are treated with such disrespect and lack of care. It personally hurts as the suffering is ignored. You will honestly assert your case over and over believing you are not understood, you then try to find a solution, you will seek help, you try to be heard, and you then seek another pathway to resolution via mediation so that the other party can understand how their actions impacted. Yet over and over you find people who see you as unequal as this sentiment permeates many areas, you become a number and unless you tick the criteria you are moved on. You know instinctively that parity must happen if social stability and harmony is to occur. If it doesn’t then toxic behaviour is rewarded and this becomes ‘how we do things around here’ as there is no rebalancing of the scales of justice. You realise you are not heard and a sense of no exit from the problem, as the path leads to a desperate desire to suicide. I have lay on the floor in the fetal position in agony desperately seeking the courage to finish. I had no mental health issue, it was in response to non-resolution, silent abuse (silent treatment) and the knowledge that I had no rights. It was extremely painful. I wrote so many reports as I had to solve the problem to find my power, as I felt disrespected and I realised my deeply felt values of equality were being confronted. It impacted me at a very deep level, it was more than cultural beliefs, it was a sense of my humanity being threatened. When you announce your experience of desiring to suicide to those in positions of authority they remain silent sending a message indicating they don’t care at all about your life. It weighs heavily on your heart as you realise you are not valued, respected and have no way of getting help. It is like a silent scream. You cannot let it go as it feels fundamental, much of what you feel you can’t articulate for a long time.
In my case, I persevered as a peacemaker as I had to know the truth as I felt the pursuit of power and control was the barrier to peace in our community. I knew I had to find out and understand the nature of power. At times it is a desperately lonely road and isolating situation and you have to be very strong to survive it. Inner truth was a light in the darkness for me. To be honest spiritually this light grew brighter the darker it became as I had nowhere to go but within to discover the real power was my sense of love, peace and forgiveness directed towards others. My life felt threatened at a deep level and it awakened me to the importance of human rights. Until you go through the revoking of rights you cannot empathise with how incredibly hard it is.
Systemic Structural Violence
Violations of human rights is a form of structural violence that can’t be proved as a violent action but the actual structures are based on inequality e.g. income (access), private education (privilege, status), gender superiority, career path history and prominent groups who are silently validated professionally and ideologically. The public are not aware of these contrived signals, traditional pathways and economic structures that filter the right people into positions of power who share an ethos or membership of recognised groups and ideologies. Therefore, there is silent bias is in the system and this has consequences for those on low to middle level incomes who cannot afford prolonged court cases rendering justice out of their reach. This is how resentment builds in the community, it has its basis in unfairness due to inequality.
Freedom of Information is not free
Another area of inequity is the Freedom of Information (FOI) process that can be entered by the public to gain access to their own information held by the public sector (providing they are not privatised). In this process it becomes evident that users pay costs is used to charge people to access their own information. The barrier of costs means that people will not consent to long searches as they have to pay every 15 minutes in some cases or by the page and they can’t know the final cost or if they can afford it. Moreover, when making the request they can’t know or identify the person who would know where their information is as they don’t have insider knowledge. It is expected that they identify officers and dates. There are legal barriers to prevent access to information which is essential if the public need to check if information held is correct or to identify corruption, illegality or incompetence in information gathering, storage and accuracy. When you go through these processes you can see how lawyers have set the bar high to block sensitive information, particularly in contentious cases which is necessary for a functional democratic society. When this becomes difficult you know that the balance of power has changed and you are not being served.
Conscience or Power?
What became evident after many years was the fact that no response or accountability meant that conscience did not evoke change, only power moves people of influence. I believe there is a gender orientation, as women typically are emotionally tuned in and they will respond and empathise readily, with males it is harder, particularly if they are socialised to suppress emotions as a weakness and professionalism projects as control and unfeeling. I will add that some women can be this way if they are a masculine female. Some men can be feminine masculine which makes them more feeling. So it is not a hard and fast rule, to be fair. It became clear that abuse is about suppression of emotions, detachment and power behaviours not a simple misunderstanding. Within this context human rights abuses happen as people don’t feel naturally to rectify a situation or from a business perspective have a image or reputation to protect coupled with risk management strategies that protect the legal entity as the people are seen as a threat. It is very sad this has happened. As innocent people can suffer for years with no resolution at all.
Dismantling of Democracy and Globalisation
We are witnessing the dismantling of democracy, an unequal playing field, globalisation where money talks and the business ideology permeating the public sector as if this is efficiency and the public sector is inefficient. The reality in my opinion is that the public assets are viewed as cash cows and ownership (privatisation) of public assets ensures a sound revenue base given the secure flow of taxation dollars and if the public/private partnership arrangement is contracted in a Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) with large multinationals, they can sue governments if profits are impacted by cancelling a contract or some other form of disruption. The public have witnessed corruption and issues of corporate welfare where business is rewarded with profits whilst those in the most disadvantaged positions are treated with less rights, lower income and less access to desperately needed services. It makes you contemplate landlords and surfs – the surfs who should be grateful for the crumbs that fall off the table! They experience diminishing conditions, rising costs, abuses of rights and growing powerlessness and victimisation. The reality is that power as greed corrupts and corporate concentration (high profits) creates distortions in respect of democratic decision making as corporate donations curry influence or corporates enter politics to ensure favourable treatment or to ensure their industry profits from a restructured government sector. Thus the playing field is biased and increasingly causing harm to ‘We the People’ as those they serve are increasingly corporate interests justified as economic growth.
Silencing and Weakening of Dissent
There are growing concerns here in Australian in the silencing dissent, suppression of media freedom, changes to anti-discrimination legislation, strengthening of religious freedom (favouring one group over another) in a traditionally secular parliament, real income of welfare payments falling below the poverty line, privatisation of public services, increasing users pay for public goods (public sector assets) as ownership is gradually transferred through public/private partnership and the list goes on.
Sovereignty vs Foreign Interference
The most concerning issue that I realised was the Smart Cities agenda. This complete transformation of the economy is not understood by the public as there is no plebiscite to discuss radical changes to our lives. Although same sex had a plebiscite referendum which I believe some thought would fail. There are issues of foreign interference raised by ASIO and others. On the one hand the US is seen to infiltrate through IT sector and contractors and on the other hand there are issues of Chinese influence here. Others speak of Israel and on it goes. Sovereignty is a key issue and clearly if powerful interests are paying their way into changing our lives, We the People have a right to know given the public is paying for government and it is supposed to act in the public’s interests, not special interests.
Digital Transformation of Society without a Plebiscite Referendum
So if there are plans to disrupt the society with replacing human intelligence with artificial intelligence, or jobs with automation and digitisation of all public and private systems forcing people to use online for all their transactions, communications and activities, it sets up a scenario of a cyber reality replacing the physical reality and the implications for privacy are enormous and understated. Do the public want their identity demanded every time they transact? Do they want online tracking? Do they want voice recordings? Do they want facial recognition? DNA prints? Their debit and credit cards to have tracing chips where everything can be traced, profiled and categorised. Do they want iPhones that record everything we said generating algorithms directing paid advertisements to pop up acknowledging what is talked about breaching privacy with impunity?
Privacy and Metadata Gathering
The issue of metadata gathering is a huge issue for the public. It is often justified under the guise of national security, thus trading off rights for security asserting threats such as the war on terrorism. We then find out from whistle blowers that criminal cartels are operating at the highest levels of power and have been collecting data for years without our consent and still doing it. It is shocking as a citizen to find out about illegal black operations as disruptions and high level funding of crime e.g. Deep State and Shadow Government as referenced by ex CIA high level whistle blower Kevin Shipp. His videos explain the depth of this issue.
Citizens Feel Overwhelmed and Powerless
As a citizen this leaves you feeling that this is out of control. You feel completely powerless to do anything as politicians are not jumping up and down in outrage, then you wonder who you can trust? People appear positioned in sensitive portfolios to protect others and you think you are reporting to an authority to discover nothing is done, it raises real questions and fears about who is protecting the public interest as disclosures are protected and criminalised by legislation. How do we get the right to know what is happening in our government?
When corruption exists as a citizen, if you have bravely spoken up as I have, you don’t feel safe as you are not protected at all. You find out you phone is monitored by foreign intelligence agencies as I am a peacemaker. You realise that peace people are seen as a threat. The FBI are documented as having infiltrated peace groups which reveals a pro war stance. I was not anti-war in my work but more interested in developing inner peace and universal values refer www.worldpeacefull.com I have been astounded how I’ve been deemed a Person of Interest because I want a peaceful loving world. On radio I recorded whistle blowers and met a few and had no clue that this was deemed threatening, I was innocent in actual fact but just following a thread which lead me down a very long road to where I am now typing away here.
When a person is targeted, and in the knowledge of having dealt with lawyers, that your image can be manipulated, you can be set up, evidence falsified, you can be criminalised and your reputation called into question if you dare to challenge those in power. I realised that the left/right paradigm was really not true, it was more about challenging power and the need for power and status. I assumed I was equal.
I know I was vilified and categorised as left wing when I wasn’t left wing or part of culture wars. I found out more about these conflicts later as the real war in my view is about unfettered access to furthering commercial interests without inhibiters. The underlying issue is addiction to a way of life and the great fear of losing power. Those feeling threatened don’t sit down and question their fear, they will demonise and seek ways to silence rather than hear the critique which in truth is for their highest good. That sentiment is the same in reverse, a genuine critique of me is in my highest good. The fact no-one talks means we don’t know each other, just words on a cyber page and silently categorised without real contact and knowing of what the problem is and how to solve it. That is what a mature society would do. In our society we still fight wars without conscious understanding that ultimately these fights undermine the orchestrator of it and is a lose/lose for all. We are connected as humans and what we do to others returns. This is a universal law. That is why empires fall as Gandhi wisely observed.
When you go through these injustices it leaves you stunned and I would say the façade of democracy crashes down as you look for solid ground. Values for me is the solid ground, corruption is like shifting sand, you never know where you stand and you don’t know who to trust, even those I believed in fell from grace. I understand why people go into denial as they can’t handle the truth of what they thought was solid to be not real at all.
You realise in the system you have no power or ability to protect yourself from those who do not respect human rights and prefer to take all rights away. We’ve seen the US and Israel leave the United Nations Human Rights Council. This is extremely concerning and yet there is no real response to it.
From a public point of view, it is very frightening where we are going and we have to stop and think deeply about this direction as it will impact the children’s future. For myself I see a Brave New World, rising fascism, white supremacists, secrecy, paedophilia, secret societies, monitoring the public, targeting people, secret police forming, misinformation circulating in layers, growing inequality (weakening rights and access), deception (off balance sheet or private status), selling off public assets which renders the public having no rights yet still paying taxation for services they have to then pay for again (users pay) when it should be free.
Public/Private Organisations and Partnership
The Government Organisational Register reveals how many government departments, government organisations and contractors are engaged in government activity.
Principal bodies (Blue)-bodies connected with government policies, purposes or services which are prescribed under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and the related rules.
Secondary bodies (Green)- committees, councils, boards, statutory office holders, consultative bodies and working groups linked to the Australian Government.
Other bodies (orange) – Subsidiaries of corporate Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth companies; Joint ventures, partnerships and other companies; National Law bodies; and, Bodies linked to the Australian Government through statutory contracts, agreements and delegations.
The pie chart and bar chart indicated only 15% (Primary, blue) of departments are accountable under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.
The secondary, other (green, orange) colours appear not to be accountable under the Act. For me the issue is government oversight and public rights (through ownership). I felt concerned at this private/public arrangements and what that means for human rights and citizens rights.
Note the ‘other bodies’ (orange) reveal higher proportions in the Departments of – Finance, infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development (Smart Cities is in this portfolio) and Prime Minister and Cabinet. Does this mean other influencers who are not the public?
I am concerned there are complex multifaceted agendas going on that are not validated by the public interest test. Given my experience I do not feel the public are safe if they speak up and this challenges power, hence the increasing feeling of repression and laws changing. I do not believe I am safe when all I want is a peaceful world but I have challenged power in order to speak the truth but not with a negative intention but more an investigative challenge as I felt something was wrong and I felt duty bound to say something as people are often too scared. I don’t have children or a partner so I have nothing to lose. I don’t even have assets.
Good Governance Supports Freedom
I can’t live in a world where I am not free to determine my own life, to live my own dreams and to express who I am without fear or reprisal. I don’t want to live in fear but in hope and inspiration. I can’t live in a world that does not respect the people or pathologically cooperates in order to change systems to benefit the few allowing many to be harmed. I have real concerns about capitalism without government oversight. I am in support of good government. I do not want the government to fail
I want to live in a world where everyone lives to their highest potential, where they express their voices, talents and build together a culture of peace where we learn to live in harmony with other cultures, ideologies, religions and utilise differences to creatively expand our civilisation together. I believe there is greatness in the public that is suppressed due to the way we have structured via economics and power. I want to live in a community where we feel happiness and productivity is measures by wellbeing, caring and Gross National Happiness rather than infinite economic growth that only denudes resources and encourages market concentration of power favouring one group over another and excessive exploitation not only of people but the planet. I want to live in a world where we can use our creativity to envisage a better world to ensure our environment is protected, our wildlife do not become extinct, the oceans are not fished out, that the earth systems are not polluted, damaged or radiated causing cancer. I want to live in a world where the public around the world have a say over their lives and to have a genuine vote in a system that serves people without the need to control or rig the outcomes.
Despair at the Loss of Equality and the Indifference to Violence
I have cried at the loss of egalitarianism (equality) in my country which is what we are famous for. I have cried at the Royal Commissions into abuse of children, the elderly, disabled, mental health causing harm to those vulnerable. I have cried at the incarceration of people in private jails who are innocent, forced to work or abused inside and outside are always labelled as ex criminals (no reform or forgiveness). I have cried for innocent refugees incarcerated in the offshore detention centres desperately uncertain about their futures, left to waste for years in detention, suffering psychological abuse, separated from families and desperate to the point of suicide, some sewing up their lips and their lives oversighted by private companies with military connections. I marvelled at the billions spent on these centres when they could have roamed freely around society until their applications were processed.
Actions Taken in Our Name Harming Disadvantaged Persons
As a citizen I am dismayed at what is happening in our name and my own treatment as a citizen who has so much to offer my society yet when perceived as unemployed or homeless I experienced discrimination on the basis of the protestant work ethic and business paradigms. I was even told that I was economically unviable because I was serving society and not placing a money value on my vocation. I am different I am not motivated by money, what moves me is love and this sense of duty of care. I sit here aching in my arms and legs having sat for 4 hours straight. I feel passionate as the desire to communicate is so strong. It comes from the deepest part of who I am, it comes with innocence as truth from my perspective must be spoken as my right to freedom of speech is essential for my wellbeing. I desire to contribute to democracy and the right to be human (human rights).
The Duty of Citizenship
I felt a strong sense of citizenship as a duty to speak up as I am a peacemaker. I dreamed I was teaching peace not as a political statement but as a state of being. I have concerns for the public wellbeing, health and safety.
Other health issues such as electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation emitted by iPhones, computers, electronic devices, smart meters (electro smog) as Wi-Fi is powering the Internet of Things (IoT). EMF and 5G are reported by a growing number of experts in the media as detrimental to the health and safety of citizens and that inappropriate and inadequate testing has occurred given industry influence in government and this determined push to roll out this IT SMART technological future. It is evident that private studies skew information as Al Gore demonstrated with environmental studies, the same applies with EMF.
Lobbyists and revolving doors
The issue of lobbyists is a big issue as they have the resources, expertise and strategies to impact policy, influence politicians and divert public resources to specific industry interests rather than to benefit the public. Profit is the big issue here as they are utilising this mechanism as a strategic marketing approach to garner influence and market share. Australia has a Registry for Lobbyist and you can gain an idea of who is influencing decision makers. It should be noted that influence can be done without money and can be in-kind and hidden in creative ways. However, this link gives an idea of registered lobbyists seeking the best outcome for their industries. https://lobbyists.ag.gov.au/register
In addition, lobbyists can go one step further and enter Parliament to advocate for industry interests not the public. This has been clearly evidenced in the United States where each politician has an industry or foreign power influencing their decisions. The Federal Communications Commission head Tom Wheeler who formerly worked as a venture capitalist and lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry. Many speak about the revolving door into industry back into government on a wheel. Wheeler was critiqued for not providing stringent testing for 5G but rather focusing on industry profits which appears the weakness, as government becomes a business not a representative of the public. The public can’t match this type of power or influence as people are individuals not operating as a group, many have been made to feel they have no power or say and then they turn off in resignation. This is where the people lose power. I felt the same but I persevered and used my experience to learn about power and look for empowerment and insight as the people do have power when they come together.
Smart Cities Technology and Potential Weaponisaion concerns
Weapons experts and ex intelligence officers become whistle-blowers and reveal the intelligence community is being privatised (and weaponised as contractors for private business) and this creates greater risks in respect of public oversight and civilian safety (if deemed the enemy).
The Smart Cities technologies are sold as labour saving, predictive, automating households. The NBN networks are sold to provide better downloads yet no information is lost as ex PM Malcolm Turnbull famously said. You research and learn of Smart Meters with sim cards sending data to overseas private companies who gather and compile data determining movement in the house, technologies used, mapping household activities, behaviours etc. without any input from the public. Then you hear military experts like Mark Steele (ex Naval weapons expert) saying that public infrastructure of lighting can be weaponised through LED lights as energy directed weapons. You discover lights can be used to track and triangulate iPhone locations, gathering personal data, profiling and identifying people as mentioned by the US whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
As a citizen I actually feel very uncomfortable when I see cameras in lights. I have been to Russia and this appears worse to me than any politburo. I have been facially recognised, after I attended a Senate hearing into AFP and Press Freedom. I gave a poem ‘We the People’ to Senator Kristina Keneally who I recall indicating there will never be a Charter of Rights. I saw a parliamentary secretary look at me, and tap into a computer. The next day or so I was walking across a plaza, only person there, a bright light came on and a camera, I saw police insignia. My mother was driving her car at night, which I drove to Parliament, she was pulled over by police a few days later. Ironically I was walking and saw the flashing lights in the distance, I didn’t know she was being pulled over and breath tested. We both believe the police thought it was me. It makes you wonder about random drug tests, the collection of everyone’s mobile numbers, IDs, DNA and the intensive monitoring of the public when the issue of violence has not increased other than overseas activities which today are being questioned. So I don’t feel confident these technologies will protect me, I am more concerned about being harmed by those who do not value the freedoms and values I deeply internalise and defines democracy as my culture.
Foreign Interference Impacting Rights
The issue of government allowing of unregulated foreign IT high tech and telecommunications companies to breach privacy and using data as the new gold standard as billions and trillions can be made by advertisers and associated industries accessing private information for commercial use and resale as a market.
Again, the targeting of those who disagree or dissent with what is happening can be quietly designated as a form of ‘enemy’ is of great concern in democratic societies. It is not the same as breaking a law and legal action, this type of targeting is of an intelligence nature and removes problems illegally. That is the concern.
The public in democratic societies are not aware of what oppression is about. They still believe they have the right to speak up, they do not know that the democratic principles are changing to a technocracy where rights will be based on access (consent). No access will occur if you don’t agree with terms and conditions, so you lose the right to say ‘no’ and it impacts your quality of life. The company protects their legal rights. Thus sections of the community could become increasingly unsafe as those monitoring do not hold the same democratic beliefs or basic respect of human rights and equality. This is the core issue.
So what can we do? How can we be protected if we don’t agree with this Brave New World?
Homeless have No Rights
I became homeless because I didn’t agree with the job provider system and I refused to give consent (sign a contract) with private organisations that were not delivering jobs or real options and pathways. I was cut off income support (revoked access) as I couldn’t comply with corruption and my democratic right to say ‘no’ to what I believe is not in my interests or harmful to me. I realised private companies were profiting from disadvantage and rorting the system given ABC 7.30 Report disclosures.
When I became homeless I didn’t know that if I was not on Centrelink for 26 consecutive weeks I lost my right to access homeless services. I lost my right to access superannuation even though I am in severe hardship. I contacted politicians and today believe that I was vilification given my rights were not upheld under the Australian Constitution which had far reaching implications. I had no shelter and no income. I couldn’t get a basic income or emergency payment as I was outside of the system. I contacted politicians received confusing letters transferring responsibility to others, others signing letters, referrals and no outcome at all or no response. The latter was concerning as I recall politicians always responded. Today they don’t and I wondered if it was because I was not deemed important or an industry representative– so status as access.
I contacted the homeless sector, spoke up at conferences, but not one approached me to offer help or advice. I was not informed that I would not be able to access the sector without Centrelink which meant I kept bumping up against more walls. If I hadn’t already been through this silent treatment it happened again. There was no compassion. No pathway. No help as again my life had no value whatsoever. People just did their job and went home to their warm bed. The same issue I confronted with Centrelink and the privatised job provider system was evident again in the homelessness sector. Privatised companies making money out of those in desperate need of help. The homeless I spoke to and interviewed for radio told me that the rooming houses were charging $250 per week (same amount as Newstart allowance, welfare) so no money for food or anything over and above. Another was begging made $7 in 7 hours. Another was having a liver transplant and had been discharged from hospital in the awareness of homeless status. I’ve been told by a nurse that psychiatric or mental health cases are discharged onto the streets. Very concerning. Another complaint was private belongings stolen in homeless accommodation and no respect by those running the accommodation. Another spoke of police brutality towards a homeless woman. Another spoke of rape and sexual issues another mentioned paedophilia. A young woman’s mother died and she was rendered homeless. A young man couldn’t get work became homeless and had a drone monitor him he stated. He had been to jail as a man was rude to him and he had a fight. He was giving up on the system, it was very sad. I met a lovely older man who was sick and couldn’t afford food. Another was on drugs as his son had died and he needed to cope. So many stories, tragedies, no support, stigmatisation and the list goes on. Until you walk in the shoes of a person experiencing homelessness, you cannot know the reality and the human rights abuses. To not give a person shelter when clearly there is plenty of money is contempt for those in hardship as they are not economically viable. We witnessed billions coming from somewhere for those rendered homeless in the fires (although some reports say the money wasn’t distributed), in the coronavirus situation billions are being made available. So it sends the signal that homelessness could have ended for 116,000 people but the decision was not made based on the value of housing a homeless person compared to a project that brings in economic dividends. Profit over people is the old adage. Materialism over humanity. We can probably find many dichotomies to highlight the problem.
An Australian Bill of Rights
An Australian Bill of Rights is essential as vulnerable people cannot stand up for themselves, they don’t have the education, the money or the status to be treated as equals and with dignity. Many don’t vote as they know there is no advocacy for them even though they are citizens. Some call them useless eaters as they are not valued in a technocratic world where access is about income. The cashless card issue means that people can’t beg for money or purchase without being traced to retain privacy, so they are not, in my view, stalked. I regard surveillance without any violence issue or threat as a form of stalking. I’ve been through the most difficult situations were my wellbeing was ignored and when I had cancer and suicidal no-one cared at all. I came to experience a mindsets that were detached and disconnected. There was no empathy and it raised alarm in myself as I saw those with this type of disposition as dangerous. I felt it as a duty to not remain quiet, but when I did speak up I put myself in harm’s way as those in powerful positions want me to be silent. So for people like myself An Australian Bill of Rights could have removed all the pain and suffering I went through as it set the high bar of an Australian standard enforced by just laws. Over a decade of seeking a fair resolution to never even receive an apology. The refusal to hold people to account means a Bill of Rights would have the power to ensure the public are not used and abused. To see that this bill was dumped tells me the reality I face in respect of my human rights being protected. What does the International Civil and Political Covenants mean if basic rights are not valued? What about the Economic Cultural and Social rights Covenant? What about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? The Equal Opportunity Act or the Australian Human Rights Commission?
Do we just abandon what every soldier fought for, what we have all worked for and identified with? Do we just go with the money and leave human rights and ethics at the door. Who do we want to become? Do your values and actions matter? Absolutely they do.
My hope is that MP Andrew Wilkie, the former Office of National Assessment Intelligence officer turned whistle blower re-submits this Australian Bill of Rights and I would ask him to NEVER GIVE UP. As those of us homeless without income and left utterly without any real redress or power they need to have protections in a world increasingly disconnecting through technology, rewiring the neural networks in the brain (STEM, computers), losing empathy, losing community and a sense of responsibility (even to protect) for each other, increasingly self-interested, rewarding greed not kindness and moving towards this Brave New World that desires full spectrum dominance.
I believe I experienced this Brave New World ahead of others. I did communicate it in another report to government and clearly that was not received in a democratic mode of respect or at the very minimum, problem solving. It is not a world I have voted for and I will not be living in this world. My world will be one of peace, love, kindness, respect and unity. My world will encourage every person to live to their highest expression, to live out a life based on what they feel called (or inspired) to do and where we see ourselves in each other and know what we do to another returns to the self. That life has a natural justice and as we harm others we harm ourselves. This world is about higher truths, higher values and integrity where we no longer need a Bill of Rights but automatically we accord rights as we value everyone equally. That is how I live today.
MP Andrew Wilkie is an extraordinary politician. He introduced an Australian Bill of Rights into the Australian Parliament in 16 September 2019. This bill accords a clear Bill of Rights to all Australians. It will assist in ensuring we treat each other with respect and equality and retain our democracy.
Sadly this bill is one of 16 bills NOT PASSED.
In this blog I have shared from my heart all the reasons why a legally enshrined Australian Bill of Rights is critical for public safety. It will save lives and stop abuses. That is my deepest wish. I send this wish out like a ‘forget me not’, I blow my words like seeds and pray that they take root in the heart of another soul who shares my deepest wish, then they blow their words as wishes and another plants a seed. In the end we have a garden, a forest and a renewable earth. Join with me in wishing this into reality.
Thank you for reading. I am grateful. May it serve others.
My websites and blogs have emerged from my questions and visions for a better world as I seek to explore the barriers to peace in our world. May our happy destiny be unavoidable.
In the public interest. John Maynard Keynes is the reason we have a social welfare system as he argued for government intervention as it was common sense that a government inject funds into an economy, particularly during downturns. The safety net was to ensure that people were not begging on the street and had income to spend which also created stimulus. In-fact the welfare state is an excellent stabiliser of an economy given Reserve Banks (Central Banks) affecting growth and recession through changes to economic levers (interest rates, bonds).
It is noteworthy that Keynes came from a loving family. This is important in formulating what he realised was important. The social fabric.
Pauperising the public through government spending cuts across the board and specifically in welfare programs and then cutting taxes for those in upper income brackets is not a stimulus measure but a reward for donations/deals which creates distortions in the economy. Moreover, the so called asset recycling (without public referendum or even yields) transfers power to the private sector as the public has no say over this asset. this is particularly noteworthy in large infrastructure/utility assets whereby there has been cross subsidisation of essential services.
Privatisation is more costly as the asset attracts users pay where as it was free to the public when government owned. The myth of government inefficiency and incompetence has been propaganda, in my view, to promote the argument that the private sector is more efficient. The private sector will minimise costs, inclusive of wages (as a cost of production) as it seeks to maximise profit. The social costs rise in this model. Pump priming of the economy is contracted. Profits are not necessarily reinvested into the company or the nation state, those profits can go overseas and be invested in other high yield assets or illegal activities.
The nature of self interest and greed rewarded ensures distortions is so-called rational economic decisions that do not have a vested interest in public wellbeing, opinion other than stimulating consumption as the basis of the social contract. The citizen thus becomes a consumer and anyone not consuming is of zero value given cost accounting. This is why welfare is cut as the modus operandi for the private sector is self interest the government modus operandi is re-election (to be seen as accountable to the public). However, the reality is that government/business relations have fused through lobbying, donations and class together with right wing doctrines and economics philosophies (free markets, freedom, libertarianism, neo-conservatism, economic rationalism, deregulation etc.). This ideological mantra is now overlayed over the top of government evaluations of efficiency and budgets. In economics the budget is not supposed to balance as it is expected that governments will spend as this pump primes and helps to influence economic stability. Internally within government today private contractors are replacing internal expertise which was typically local citizens with foreign contractors in many instances (albeit based in Australia Pty Ltd) who gain access to government systems, policies, processes and people. Relationships and control is built around access and design. Thus specific ideologies by certain economists have been used to privatise government rather than guide economic policies to ensure social wellbeing which was why government was invented. John Maynard Keynes demonstrated social awareness, principles and courageous discourse to challenge free markets and social harm. Moreover sophisticated social policy ensured government spending allocations went to those most in need to ensure social stability as the mainstay of a strong economy. Other business model perspectives regard social spending as a waste of public money as it does not yield profits in a narrow free market orientation. The free market is about deregulation not freedom of thought, it is unfetted capitalism which drives to remove any obstacles to profit. The trickle down is the argument but as government privatises there will not be a trickle down and we will see the poverty gap grow, indifference grow and communities based on class who are gated with surveillance rather than the egalitarian society that Australia has experienced as unique in the world.
The social cost is the real cost that will impact economic growth together with the emerging ecological crisis based on human imbalance. Inequality drives to the heart of imbalance and has its roots in family breakdown and gender inequality. These basic foundations are what develop the resiliency in the human race, ideological extremes only serve to exacerbate fundamental conflicts that have not been resolved through dialogue, intelligent problem solving and a real desire for a better future for all. This is the real crisis of consciousness that is occurring. So let’s go to John Maynard Keynes and remember why economics was created in the first place.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Keynes spearheaded a revolution in economic thinking, challenging the ideas of neoclassical economics that held that free markets
would, in the short to medium term, automatically provide full
employment, as long as workers were flexible in their wage demands. He
argued that aggregate demand
(total spending in the economy) determined the overall level of
economic activity, and that inadequate aggregate demand could lead to
prolonged periods of high unemployment. Keynes advocated the use of fiscal and monetary policies to mitigate the adverse effects of economic recessions and depressions. He detailed these ideas in his magnum opus, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936. In the mid to late-1930s, leading Western economies adopted Keynes’s policy recommendations. Almost all capitalist
governments had done so by the end of the two decades following
Keynes’s death in 1946. As a leader of the British delegation, Keynes
participated in the design of the international economic institutions
established after the end of World War II but was overruled by the American delegation on several aspects.
According to the economic historian and biographer Robert Skidelsky,
Keynes’s parents were loving and attentive. They remained in the same
house throughout their lives, where the children were always welcome to
return. Keynes would receive considerable support from his father,
including expert coaching to help him pass his scholarship exams and
financial help both as a young man and when his assets were nearly wiped
out at the onset of Great Depression
in 1929. Keynes’s mother made her children’s interests her own, and
according to Skidelsky, “because she could grow up with her children,
they never outgrew home”.
In January 1889 at the age of five and a half, Keynes started at the kindergarten of the Perse School for Girls
for five mornings a week. He quickly showed a talent for arithmetic,
but his health was poor leading to several long absences. He was tutored
at home by a governess, Beatrice Mackintosh, and his mother. In January
1892, at eight and a half, he started as a day pupil at St Faith’s
preparatory school. By 1894, Keynes was top of his class and excelling
at mathematics. In 1896, St Faith’s headmaster, Ralph Goodchild, wrote
that Keynes was “head and shoulders above all the other boys in the
school” and was confident that Keynes could get a scholarship to Eton.
In 1897, Keynes won a scholarship to Eton College, where he displayed talent in a wide range of subjects, particularly mathematics, classics
and history. At Eton, Keynes experienced the first “love of his life”
in Dan Macmillan, older brother of the future Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. Despite his middle-class background, Keynes mixed easily with upper-class pupils.
In 1902 Keynes left Eton for King’s College, Cambridge, after receiving a scholarship for this also to read mathematics. Alfred Marshall begged Keynes to become an economist,
although Keynes’s own inclinations drew him towards philosophy – especially the ethical system of G. E. Moore. Keynes joined the Pitt Club and was an active member of the semi-secretive Cambridge Apostles
society, a debating club largely reserved for the brightest students.
Like many members, Keynes retained a bond to the club after graduating
and continued to attend occasional meetings throughout his life. Before
leaving Cambridge, Keynes became the President of the Cambridge Union Society and Cambridge University Liberal Club. He was said to be an atheist.
In May 1904, he received a first-class BA in mathematics. Aside
from a few months spent on holidays with family and friends, Keynes
continued to involve himself with the university over the next two
years. He took part in debates, further studied philosophy and attended
economics lectures informally as a graduate student for one term, which
constituted his only formal education in the subject. He took civil
service exams in 1906.
The economist Harry Johnson wrote that the optimism imparted by Keynes’s early life is a key to understanding his later thinking.
Keynes was always confident he could find a solution to whatever problem
he turned his attention to and retained a lasting faith in the ability
of government officials to do good.
Keynes’s optimism was also cultural, in two senses: he was of the last
generation raised by an empire still at the height of its power and was
also of the last generation who felt entitled to govern by culture,
rather than by expertise. According to Skidelsky, the sense of cultural unity current in Britain from the 19th century to the end of World War I
provided a framework with which the well-educated could set various
spheres of knowledge in relation to each other and life, enabling them
to confidently draw from different fields when addressing practical
In October 1908, Keynes’s Civil Service career began as a clerk in the India Office. He enjoyed his work at first, but by 1908 had become bored and resigned his position to return to Cambridge and work on probability theory, at first privately funded only by two dons at the university – his father and the economist Arthur Pigou.
By 1909 Keynes had published his first professional economics article in The Economic Journal, about the effect of a recent global economic downturn on India. He founded the Political Economy Club, a weekly discussion group. Also in 1909, Keynes accepted a lectureship in economics funded personally by Alfred Marshall. Keynes’s earnings rose further as he began to take on pupils for private tuition.
In 1911 Keynes was made the editor of The Economic Journal. By 1913 he had published his first book, Indian Currency and Finance. He was then appointed to the Royal Commission on Indian Currency and Finance
– the same topic as his book – where Keynes showed considerable talent
at applying economic theory to practical problems. His written work was
published under the name “J M Keynes”, though to his family and friends
he was known as Maynard. (His father, John Neville Keynes, was also
always known by his middle name).
First World War
The British Government called on Keynes’s expertise during the First World War.
While he did not formally re-join the civil service in 1914, Keynes
traveled to London at the government’s request a few days before
hostilities started. Bankers had been pushing for the suspension of specie payments – the convertibility of banknotes into gold – but with Keynes’s help the Chancellor of the Exchequer (then Lloyd George)
was persuaded that this would be a bad idea, as it would hurt the
future reputation of the city if payments were suspended before it was
In January 1915, Keynes took up an official government position at the Treasury.
Among his responsibilities were the design of terms of credit between
Britain and its continental allies during the war and the acquisition of
scarce currencies. According to economist Robert Lekachman,
Keynes’s “nerve and mastery became legendary” because of his
performance of these duties, as in the case where he managed to assemble
– with difficulty – a small supply of Spanish pesetas.
The secretary of the Treasury was delighted to hear Keynes had
amassed enough to provide a temporary solution for the British
Government. But Keynes did not hand the pesetas over, choosing instead
to sell them all to break the market: his boldness paid off, as pesetas
then became much less scarce and expensive.
Keynes’s colleague, David Lloyd George. Keynes was initially wary of the “Welsh Wizard,” preferring his rival Asquith,
but was impressed with Lloyd George at Versailles; this did not prevent
Keynes from painting a scathing picture of the then-prime minister in
his Economic Consequences of the Peace.
Keynes’s experience at Versailles
was influential in shaping his future outlook, yet it was not a
successful one. Keynes’s main interest had been in trying to prevent Germany’s compensation payments
being set so high it would traumatize innocent German people, damage
the nation’s ability to pay and sharply limit her ability to buy exports
from other countries – thus hurting not just Germany’s economy but that
of the wider world.
Unfortunately for Keynes, conservative powers in the coalition that emerged from the 1918 coupon election
were able to ensure that both Keynes himself and the Treasury were
largely excluded from formal high-level talks concerning reparations.
Their place was taken by the Heavenly Twins – the judge Lord Sumner and the banker Lord Cunliffe
whose nickname derived from the “astronomically” high war compensation
they wanted to demand from Germany. Keynes was forced to try to exert
influence mostly from behind the scenes.
The three principal players at Versailles were Britain’s Lloyd George, France’s Clemenceau and America’s President Wilson.
It was only Lloyd George to whom Keynes had much direct access; until
the 1918 election he had some sympathy with Keynes’s view but while
campaigning had found his speeches were only well received by the public
if he promised to harshly punish Germany, and had therefore committed
his delegation to extracting high payments.
Lloyd George did, however, win some loyalty from Keynes with his
actions at the Paris conference by intervening against the French to
ensure the dispatch of much-needed food supplies to German civilians.
Clemenceau also pushed for substantial reparations, though not as high
as those proposed by the British, while on security grounds, France
argued for an even more severe settlement than Britain.
Wilson initially favored relatively lenient treatment of Germany –
he feared too harsh conditions could foment the rise of extremism and
wanted Germany to be left sufficient capital to pay for imports. To
Keynes’s dismay, Lloyd George and Clemenceau were able to pressure
Wilson to agree to include pensions in the reparations bill.
Towards the end of the conference, Keynes came up with a plan
that he argued would not only help Germany and other impoverished
central European powers but also be good for the world economy as a
whole. It involved the radical writing down of war debts, which would
have had the possible effect of increasing international trade all
round, but at the same time thrown the entire cost of European
reconstruction on the United States.
Lloyd George agreed it might be acceptable to the British
electorate. However, America was against the plan; the US was then the
largest creditor, and by this time Wilson had started to believe in the
merits of a harsh peace and thought that his country had already made
excessive sacrifices. Hence despite his best efforts, the result of the
conference was a treaty which disgusted Keynes both on moral and
economic grounds and led to his resignation from the Treasury.
In June 1919 he turned down an offer to become chairman of the British Bank of Northern Commerce, a job that promised a salary of £2000 in return for a morning per week of work.
Keynes’s analysis on the predicted damaging effects of the treaty appeared in the highly influential book, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, published in 1919.
This work has been described as Keynes’s best book, where he was able
to bring all his gifts to bear – his passion as well as his skill as an
economist. In addition to economic analysis, the book contained pleas to
the reader’s sense of compassion:
I cannot leave this subject as
though its just treatment wholly depended either on our pledges or on
economic facts. The policy of reducing Germany to servitude for a
generation, of degrading the lives of millions of human beings, and of
depriving a whole nation of happiness should be abhorrent and
detestable, – abhorrent and detestable, even if it was possible, even if
it enriched ourselves, even if it did not sow the decay of the whole
civilized life of Europe.
Also present was striking imagery such as “year by year Germany must
be kept impoverished and her children starved and crippled” along with
bold predictions which were later justified by events:
If we aim deliberately at the
impoverishment of Central Europe, vengeance, I dare predict, will not
limp. Nothing can then delay for very long that final war between the
forces of Reaction and the despairing convulsions of Revolution, before
which the horrors of the late German war will fade into nothing.
Keynes’s followers assert that his predictions of disaster were borne out when the German economy suffered the hyperinflation of 1923, and again by the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the outbreak of the Second World War. However the historian Ruth Henig
claims that “most historians of the Paris peace conference now take the
view that, in economic terms, the treaty was not unduly harsh on
Germany and that, while obligations and damages were inevitably much
stressed in the debates at Paris to satisfy electors reading the daily
newspapers, the intention was quietly to give Germany substantial help
towards paying her bills, and to meet many of the German objections by
amendments to the way the reparations schedule was in practice carried
Only a small fraction of reparations was ever paid. In fact, the historian Stephen A. Schuker demonstrates in American ‘Reparations’ to Germany, 1919–33,
that the capital inflow from American loans substantially exceeded
German out payments so that, on a net basis, Germany received support
equal to four times the amount of the post-Second World War Marshall Plan.
Schuker also shows that, in the years after Versailles, Keynes
became an informal reparations adviser to the German government, wrote
one of the major German reparation notes, and supported the
hyperinflation on political grounds. Nevertheless, The Economic Consequences of the Peace
gained Keynes international fame, even though it also caused him to be
regarded as anti-establishment – it was not until after the outbreak of
the Second World War that Keynes was offered a directorship of a major
British Bank, or an acceptable offer to return to government with a
formal job. However, Keynes was still able to influence government
policy making through his network of contacts, his published works and
by serving on government committees; this included attending high-level
policy meetings as a consultant.
Keynes had completed his A Treatise on Probability before the war but published it in 1921. The work was a notable contribution to the philosophical and mathematical underpinnings of probability theory, championing the important view that probabilities were no more or less than truth values intermediate between simple truth and falsity. Keynes developed the first upper-lower probabilistic interval
approach to probability in chapters 15 and 17 of this book, as well as
having developed the first decision weight approach with his
conventional coefficient of risk and weight, c, in chapter 26. In
addition to his academic work, the 1920s saw Keynes active as a
journalist selling his work internationally and working in London as a
financial consultant. In 1924 Keynes wrote an obituary for his former
Alfred Marshall which Joseph Schumpeter called “the most brilliant life of a man of science I have ever read.”
Marshall’s widow was “entranced” by the memorial, while Lytton Strachey rated it as one of Keynes’s “best works”.
In 1922 Keynes continued to advocate reduction of German reparations with A Revision of the Treaty. He attacked the post-World War I deflation policies with A Tract on Monetary Reform in 1923
– a trenchant argument that countries should target stability of
domestic prices, avoiding deflation even at the cost of allowing their
currency to depreciate. Britain suffered from high unemployment through
most of the 1920s, leading Keynes to recommend the depreciation of sterling
to boost jobs by making British exports more affordable. From 1924 he
was also advocating a fiscal response, where the government could create
jobs by spending on public works.
During the 1920s Keynes’s pro stimulus views had only limited effect on
policy makers and mainstream academic opinion – according to Hyman Minsky one reason was that at this time his theoretical justification was “muddled”. The Tract
had also called for an end to the gold standard. Keynes advised it was
no longer a net benefit for countries such as Britain to participate in
the gold standard,
as it ran counter to the need for domestic policy autonomy. It could
force countries to pursue deflationary policies at exactly the time when
expansionary measures were called for to address rising unemployment.
The Treasury and Bank of England were still in favor of the gold
standard and in 1925 they were able to convince the then Chancellor Winston Churchill to re-establish it, which had a depressing effect on British industry. Keynes responded by writing The Economic Consequences of Mr. Churchill and continued to argue against the gold standard until Britain finally abandoned it in 1931.
Keynes had begun a theoretical work to examine the relationship between unemployment, money, and prices back in the 1920s. The work, Treatise on Money,
was published in 1930 in two volumes. A central idea of the work was
that if the amount of money being saved exceeds the amount being
invested – which can happen if interest rates are too high – then
unemployment will rise. This is in part a result of people not wanting
to spend too high a proportion of what employers payout, making it
difficult, in aggregate, for employers to make a profit. Another key
theme of the book is the unreliability of financial indices
for representing an accurate – or indeed meaningful – an indication of
general shifts in purchasing power of currencies over time. In
particular, he criticized the justification of Britain’s return to the gold standard in 1925 at pre-war valuation by reference to the wholesale price index. He argued that the index understated the effects of changes in the costs of services and labor.
Keynes was deeply critical of the British government’s austerity measures during the Great Depression. He believed that budget deficits during recessions
were a good thing and a natural product of an economic slump. He wrote,
“For Government borrowing of one kind or another is nature’s remedy, so
to speak, for preventing business losses from being, in so severe a
slump as the present one, so great as to bring production altogether to a
At the height of the Great Depression, in 1933, Keynes published The Means to Prosperity,
which contained specific policy recommendations for tackling
unemployment in a global recession, chiefly counter-cyclical public
spending. The Means to Prosperity contains one of the first mentions of the multiplier effect.
While it was addressed chiefly to the British Government, it also
contained advice for other nations affected by the global recession. A
copy was sent to the newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt and other world leaders. The work was taken seriously by both the American and British governments, and according to Robert Skidelsky,
helped pave the way for the later acceptance of Keynesian ideas, though
it had little immediate practical influence. In the 1933 London Economic Conference opinions remained too diverse for a unified course of action to be agreed upon.
Keynesian-like policies were adopted by Sweden and Germany, but
Sweden was seen as too small to command much attention, and Keynes was
deliberately silent about the successful efforts of Germany as he was dismayed by their imperialist ambitions and their treatment of Jews.
Apart from Great Britain, Keynes’s attention was primarily focused on
the United States. In 1931, he received considerable support for his
views on counter-cyclical public spending in Chicago, then America’s
foremost center for economic views alternative to the mainstream. However, orthodox economic opinion remained generally hostile regarding fiscal intervention to mitigate the depression, until just before the outbreak of war. In late 1933 Keynes was persuaded by Felix Frankfurter
to address President Roosevelt directly, which he did by letters and
face to face in 1934, after which the two men spoke highly of each
However, according to Skidelsky, the consensus is that Keynes’s efforts
only began to have a more than marginal influence on US economic policy
Keynes’s magnum opus, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money was published in 1936. It was researched and indexed by one of Keynes’s favorite students, later the economist David Bensusan-Butt. The work served as a theoretical justification for the interventionist policies Keynes favoured for tackling a recession. The General Theory challenged the earlier neoclassical economic paradigm, which had held that provided it was unfettered by government interference, the market would naturally establish full employment
equilibrium. In doing so Keynes was partly setting himself against his
former teachers Marshall and Pigou. Keynes believed the classical theory
was a “special case” that applied only to the particular conditions
present in the 19th century, his theory being the general one. Classical
economists had believed in Say’s law, which, simply put, states that “supply creates its demand“,
and that in a free market workers would always be willing to lower
their wages to a level where employers could profitably offer them jobs.
An innovation from Keynes was the concept of price stickiness
– the recognition that in reality workers often refuse to lower their
wage demands even in cases where a classical economist might argue it is
rational for them to do so. Due in part to price stickiness, it was
established that the interaction of “aggregate demand” and “aggregate supply”
may lead to stable unemployment equilibria – and in those cases, it is
the state, not the market, that economies must depend on for their
The General Theory argues that demand, not supply, is the key
variable governing the overall level of economic activity. Aggregate
demand, which equals total un-hoarded income in a society, is defined by
the sum of consumption and investment. In a state of unemployment and
unused production capacity, one can only enhance employment and total income by first
increasing expenditures for either consumption or investment. Without
government intervention to increase expenditure, an economy can remain
trapped in a low employment equilibrium – the demonstration of this
possibility has been described as the revolutionary formal achievement
of the work.
The book advocated activist economic policy by government to stimulate
demand in times of high unemployment, for example by spending on public works.
“Let us be up and doing, using our idle resources to increase our
wealth,” he wrote in 1928. “With men and plants unemployed, it is
ridiculous to say that we cannot afford these new developments. It is
precise with these plants and these men that we shall afford them.”
The General Theory is often viewed as the foundation of modern macroeconomics. Few senior American economists agreed with Keynes through most of the 1930s.
Yet his ideas were soon to achieve widespread acceptance, with eminent American professors such as Alvin Hansen agreeing with the General Theory before the outbreak of World War II.
Keynes himself had only limited participation in the theoretical debates that followed the publication of the General Theory as he suffered a heart attack in 1937, requiring him to take long periods of rest. Among others, Hyman Minsky and Post-Keynesian
economists have argued that as result, Keynes’s ideas were diluted by
those keen to compromise with classical economists or to render his
concepts with mathematical models like the IS–LM model (which, they argue, distort Keynes’s ideas).
Keynes began to recover in 1939, but for the rest of his life his
professional energies were largely directed towards the practical side
of economics – the problems of ensuring optimum allocation of resources
for the war efforts, post-war negotiations with America, and the new
international financial order that was presented at the Bretton Woods Conference.
In the General Theory and later, Keynes responded to the
socialists who argued, especially during the Great Depression of the
1930s, that capitalism caused war. He argued that if capitalism were
managed domestically and internationally (with coordinated international
Keynesian policies, an international monetary system that didn’t put
the interests of countries against each other, and a high degree of
freedom of trade), then this system of managed capitalism could promote
peace rather than conflict between countries. His plans during World War
II for post-war international economic institutions and policies (which
contributed to the creation at Bretton Woods of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and later to the creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and eventually the World Trade Organization) were aimed to give effect to this vision.
Although Keynes has been widely criticized – especially by members of the Chicago school of economics
– for advocating irresponsible government spending financed by
borrowing, in fact he was a firm believer in balanced budgets and
regarded the proposals for programs of public works during the Great
Depression as an exceptional measure to meet the needs of exceptional
During the Second World War, Keynes argued in How to Pay for the War,
published in 1940, that the war effort should be largely financed by
higher taxation and especially by compulsory saving (essentially workers
lending money to the government), rather than deficit spending, in order to avoid inflation.
Compulsory saving would act to dampen domestic demand, assist in
channeling additional output towards the war efforts, would be fairer
than punitive taxation and would have the advantage of helping to avoid a
post-war slump by boosting demand once workers were allowed to withdraw
their savings. In September 1941 he was proposed to fill a vacancy in
the Court of Directors of the Bank of England, and subsequently carried out a full term from the following April. In June 1942, Keynes was rewarded for his service with a hereditary peerage in the King’s Birthday Honours. On 7 July his title was gazetted as “Baron Keynes, of Tilton, in the County of Sussex” and he took his seat in the House of Lords on the Liberal Party benches.
As the Allied victory began to look certain, Keynes was heavily involved, as leader of the British delegation and chairman of the World Bank commission, in the mid-1944 negotiations that established the Bretton Woods system.
The Keynes plan, concerning an international clearing-union, argued for
a radical system for the management of currencies. He proposed the
creation of a common world unit of currency, the bancor, and new global institutions – a world central bank and the International Clearing Union.
Keynes envisaged these institutions managing an international trade and
payments system with strong incentives for countries to avoid
substantial trade deficits or surpluses.
The USA’s greater negotiating strength, however, meant that the
outcomes accorded more closely to the more conservative plans of Harry Dexter White. According to US economist J. Bradford DeLong, on almost every point where he was overruled by the Americans, Keynes was later proved correct by events.
The two new institutions, later known as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
(IMF), were founded as a compromise that primarily reflected the
American vision. There would be no incentives for states to avoid a
large trade surplus; instead, the burden for correcting a trade imbalance would continue to fall only on the deficit
countries, which Keynes had argued were least able to address the
problem without inflicting economic hardship on their populations. Yet,
Keynes was still pleased when accepting the final agreement, saying that
if the institutions stayed true to their founding principles, “the
brotherhood of man will have become more than a phrase.”
the war, Keynes continued to represent the United Kingdom in
international negotiations despite his deteriorating health. He
succeeded in obtaining preferential terms from the United States for new and outstanding debts to facilitate the rebuilding of the British economy.
Just before his death in 1946, Keynes told Henry Clay, a professor of social economics and advisor to the Bank of England, of his hopes that Adam Smith‘s “invisible hand”
could help Britain out of the economic hole it was in: “I find myself
more and more relying for a solution of our problems on the invisible
hand which I tried to eject from economic thinking twenty years ago.”
From the end of the Great Depression to the mid-1970s, Keynes
provided the main inspiration for economic policymakers in Europe,
America and much of the rest of the world.
While economists and policymakers had become increasingly won over to
Keynes’s way of thinking in the mid and late 1930s, it was only after
the outbreak of World War II that governments started to borrow money
for spending on a scale sufficient to eliminate unemployment. According
to the economist John Kenneth Galbraith
(then a US government official charged with controlling inflation), in
the rebound of the economy from wartime spending, “one could not have
had a better demonstration of the Keynesian ideas.”
The Keynesian Revolution was associated with the rise of modern liberalism in the West during the post-war period.
Keynesian ideas became so popular that some scholars point to Keynes as
representing the ideals of modern liberalism, as Adam Smith represented
the ideals of classical liberalism. After the war, Winston Churchill attempted to check the rise of Keynesian policy-making in the United Kingdom and used rhetoric critical of the mixed economy in his 1945 election campaign. Despite his popularity as a war hero, Churchill suffered a landslide defeat to Clement Attlee whose government’s economic policy continued to be influenced by Keynes’s ideas.
By the 1950s, Keynesian policies were adopted by almost the entire developed world and similar measures for a mixed economy
were used by many developing nations. By then, Keynes’s views on the
economy had become mainstream in the world’s universities. Throughout
the 1950s and 1960s, the developed and emerging free capitalist
economies enjoyed exceptionally high growth and low unemployment.
Professor Gordon Fletcher has written that the 1950s and 1960s, when
Keynes’s influence was at its peak, appear in retrospect as a golden age of capitalism.
In late 1965 Time magazine ran a cover article with a title comment from Milton Friedman (later echoed by U.S. President Richard Nixon), “We are all Keynesians now“.
The article described the exceptionally favourable economic conditions
then prevailing, and reported that “Washington’s economic managers
scaled these heights by their adherence to Keynes’s central theme: the
modern capitalist economy does not automatically work at top efficiency,
but can be raised to that level by the intervention and influence of
the government.” The article also states that Keynes was one of the
three most important economists who ever lived, and that his General Theory was more influential than the magna opera of other famous economists, like Adam Smith‘s The Wealth of Nations.
Keynesian economics were officially discarded by the British
Government in 1979, but forces had begun to gather against Keynes’s
ideas over 30 years earlier. Friedrich Hayek had formed the Mont Pelerin Society
in 1947, with the explicit intention of nurturing intellectual currents
to one day displace Keynesianism and other similar influences. Its
members included the Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises
along with the then young Milton Friedman. Initially the society had
little impact on the wider world – according to Hayek it was as if
Keynes had been raised to sainthood after his death and that people
refused to allow his work to be questioned.
Friedman however began to emerge as a formidable critic of Keynesian
economics from the mid-1950s, and especially after his 1963 publication
of A Monetary History of the United States.
On the practical side of economic life, “big government”
had appeared to be firmly entrenched in the 1950s, but the balance
began to shift towards the power of private interests in the 1960s.
Keynes had written against the folly of allowing “decadent and selfish”
speculators and financiers the kind of influence they had enjoyed after
World War I. For two decades after World War II the public opinion was
strongly against private speculators, the disparaging label “Gnomes of Zürich”
being typical of how they were described during this period.
International speculation was severely restricted by the capital
controls in place after Bretton Woods. According to the journalists Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson,
1968 was the pivotal year when power shifted in favour of private
agents such as currency speculators. As the key 1968 event Elliott and
Atkinson picked out America’s suspension of the conversion of the dollar
into gold except on request of foreign governments, which they
identified as the beginning of the breakdown of the Bretton Woods
Criticisms of Keynes’s ideas had begun to gain significant
acceptance by the early 1970s, as they were then able to make a credible
case that Keynesian models no longer reflected economic reality. Keynes
himself included few formulas and no explicit mathematical models in
his General Theory. For economists such as Hyman Minsky,
Keynes’s limited use of mathematics was partly the result of his
scepticism about whether phenomena as inherently uncertain as economic
activity could ever be adequately captured by mathematical models.
Nevertheless, many models were developed by Keynesian economists, with a
famous example being the Phillips curve
which predicted an inverse relationship between unemployment and
inflation. It implied that unemployment could be reduced by government
stimulus with a calculable cost to inflation. In 1968, Milton Friedman
published a paper arguing that the fixed relationship implied by the
Philips curve did not exist.
Friedman suggested that sustained Keynesian policies could lead to both
unemployment and inflation rising at once – a phenomenon that soon
became known as stagflation.
In the early 1970s stagflation appeared in both the US and Britain just
as Friedman had predicted, with economic conditions deteriorating
further after the 1973 oil crisis.
Aided by the prestige gained from his successful forecast, Friedman led
increasingly successful criticisms against the Keynesian consensus,
convincing not only academics and politicians but also much of the
general public with his radio and television broadcasts. The academic
credibility of Keynesian economics was further undermined by additional
criticism from other monetarists trained in the Chicago school of economics, by the Lucas critique and by criticisms from Hayek’s Austrian School. So successful were these criticisms that by 1980 Robert Lucas claimed economists would often take offence if described as Keynesians.
Keynesian principles fared increasingly poorly on the practical
side of economics – by 1979 they had been displaced by monetarism as the
primary influence on Anglo-American economic policy. However, many officials on both sides of the Atlantic retained a preference for Keynes, and in 1984 the Federal Reserve officially discarded monetarism, after which Keynesian principles made a partial comeback as an influence on policy making.
Not all academics accepted the criticism against Keynes – Minsky has
argued that Keynesian economics had been debased by excessive mixing
with neoclassical ideas from the 1950s, and that it was unfortunate that
this branch of economics had even continued to be called “Keynesian”. Writing in The American Prospect, Robert Kuttner
argued it was not so much excessive Keynesian activism that caused the
economic problems of the 1970s but the breakdown of the Bretton Woods
system of capital controls, which allowed capital flight from regulated economies into unregulated economies in a fashion similar to Gresham’s law phenomenon (where weak currencies undermine strong currencies).
Historian Peter Pugh
has stated that a key cause of the economic problems afflicting America
in the 1970s was the refusal to raise taxes to finance the Vietnam War, which was against Keynesian advice.
A more typical response was to accept some elements of the
criticisms while refining Keynesian economic theories to defend them
against arguments that would invalidate the whole Keynesian framework –
the resulting body of work largely composing New Keynesian economics. In 1992 Alan Blinder
wrote about a “Keynesian Restoration”, as work based on Keynes’s ideas
had to some extent become fashionable once again in academia, though in
the mainstream it was highly synthesised with monetarism and other
neoclassical thinking. In the world of policy making, free market
influences broadly sympathetic to monetarism have remained very strong
at government level – in powerful normative institutions like the World Bank, the IMF and US Treasury, and in prominent opinion-forming media such as the Financial Times and The Economist.
A series of major bailouts
were pursued during the financial crisis, starting on 7 September with
the announcement that the U.S. Government was to nationalise the two government-sponsored enterprises which oversaw most of the U.S. subprime mortgage market – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In October, Alistair Darling, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, referred to Keynes as he announced plans for substantial fiscal stimulus to head off the worst effects of recession, in accordance with Keynesian economic thought. Similar policies have been adopted by other governments worldwide.
This is in stark contrast to the action imposed on Indonesia during the Asian financial crisis of 1997, when it was forced by the IMF to close 16 banks at the same time, prompting a bank run.
Much of the post-crisis discussion reflected Keynes’s advocacy of
international coordination of fiscal or monetary stimulus, and of
international economic institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank,
which many had argued should be reformed as a “new Bretton Woods”, and
should have been even before the crises broke out.
The IMF and United Nations economists advocated a coordinated international approach to fiscal stimulus.Donald Markwell
argued that in the absence of such an international approach, there
would be a risk of worsening international relations and possibly even
world war arising from economic factors similar to those present during
the depression of the 1930s.
By the end of December 2008, the Financial Times reported that “the sudden resurgence of Keynesian policy is a stunning reversal of the orthodoxy of the past several decades.”
In December 2008, Paul Krugman released his book The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008,
arguing that economic conditions similar to those that existed during
the earlier part of the 20th century had returned, making Keynesian
policy prescriptions more relevant than ever. In February 2009 Robert J. Shiller and George Akerlof published Animal Spirits,
a book where they argue the current US stimulus package is too small as
it does not take into account Keynes’s insight on the importance of
confidence and expectations in determining the future behaviour of businesspeople and other economic agents.
In the March 2009 speech entitled Reform the International Monetary System, Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the People’s Bank of China,
came out in favour of Keynes’s idea of a centrally managed global
reserve currency. Zhou argued that it was unfortunate that part of the
reason for the Bretton Woods system breaking down was the failure to
adopt Keynes’s bancor. Zhou proposed a gradual move towards increased use of IMF special drawing rights (SDRs).
Although Zhou’s ideas had not been broadly accepted, leaders meeting in April at the 2009 G-20 London summit
agreed to allow $250 billion of special drawing rights to be created by
the IMF, to be distributed globally. Stimulus plans were credited for
contributing to a better than expected economic outlook by both the OECD
and the IMF,
in reports published in June and July 2009. Both organisations warned
global leaders that recovery was likely to be slow, so counter
recessionary measures ought not be rolled back too early.
While the need for stimulus measures was broadly accepted among
policy makers, there had been much debate over how to fund the spending.
Some leaders and institutions, such as Angela Merkel
and the European Central Bank,
expressed concern over the potential impact on inflation, national debt
and the risk that a too large stimulus will create an unsustainable
Among professional economists the revival of Keynesian economics
has been even more divisive. Although many economists, such as George
Akerlof, Paul Krugman, Robert Shiller, and Joseph Stiglitz, supported
Keynesian stimulus, others did not believe higher government spending
would help the United States economy recover from the Great Recession. Some economists, such as Robert Lucas, questioned the theoretical basis for stimulus packages. Others, like Robert Barro and Gary Becker, say that empirical evidence for beneficial effects from Keynesian stimulus does not exist.
However, there is a growing academic literature that shows that fiscal
expansion helps an economy grow in the near term, and that certain types
of fiscal stimulus are particularly effective.
Reception and views
economic thinking only began to achieve close to universal acceptance
in the last few years of his life. On a personal level, Keynes’s charm
was such that he was generally well received wherever he went – even
those who found themselves on the wrong side of his occasionally sharp
tongue rarely bore a grudge.
Keynes’s speech at the closing of the Bretton Woods negotiations was
received with a lasting standing ovation, rare in international
relations, as the delegates acknowledged the scale of his achievements
made despite poor health.
Austrian School economist Friedrich Hayek was Keynes’s most prominent contemporary critic, with sharply opposing views on the economy.
Yet after Keynes’s death, he wrote: “He was the one really great man I
ever knew, and for whom I had unbounded admiration. The world will be a
very much poorer place without him.”
Lionel Robbins, former head of the economics department at the London School of Economics,
who engaged in many heated debates with Keynes in the 1930s, had this
to say after observing Keynes in early negotiations with the Americans
while drawing up plans for Bretton Woods:
This went very well indeed. Keynes
was in his most lucid and persuasive mood: and the effect was
irresistible. At such moments, I often find myself thinking that Keynes
must be one of the most remarkable men that have ever lived – the quick
logic, the birdlike swoop of intuition, the vivid fancy, the wide
vision, above all the incomparable sense of the fitness of words, all
combine to make something several degrees beyond the limit of ordinary
I am spellbound. This is the most
beautiful creature I have ever listened to. Does he belong to our
species? Or is he from some other order? There is something mythic and
fabulous about him. I sense in him something massive and sphinx like,
and yet also a hint of wings.
Keynes’s intellect was the sharpest
and clearest that I have ever known. When I argued with him, I felt
that I took my life in my hands, and I seldom emerged without feeling
something of a fool.
Keynes’s obituary in The Times
included the comment: “There is the man himself – radiant, brilliant,
effervescent, gay, full of impish jokes … He was a humane man
genuinely devoted to the cause of the common good.”
As a man of the centre described by some as having the greatest impact of any 20th-century economist,
Keynes attracted considerable criticism from both sides of the
political spectrum. In the 1920s, Keynes was seen as anti-establishment
and was mainly attacked from the right. In the “red 1930s”, many young
economists favoured Marxist views, even in Cambridge,
and while Keynes was engaging principally with the right to try to
persuade them of the merits of more progressive policy, the most
vociferous criticism against him came from the left, who saw him as a
supporter of capitalism. From the 1950s and onwards, most of the attacks
against Keynes have again been from the right.
In 1931 Friedrich Hayek extensively critiqued Keynes’s 1930 Treatise on Money. After reading Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, Keynes wrote to Hayek
“Morally and philosophically I find myself in agreement with virtually
the whole of it”, but concluded the letter with the recommendation:
we need therefore, in my opinion, is not a change in our economic
programmes, which would only lead in practice to disillusion with the
results of your philosophy; but perhaps even the contrary, namely, an
enlargement of them. Your greatest danger is the probable practical
failure of the application of your philosophy in the United States.
On the pressing issue of the time, whether deficit
spending could lift a country from depression, Keynes replied to Hayek’s
criticism in the following way:
I should… conclude rather
differently. I should say that what we want is not no planning, or even
less planning, indeed I should say we almost certainly want more. But
the planning should take place in a community in which as many people as
possible, both leaders and followers wholly share your moral position.
Moderate planning will be safe enough if those carrying it out are
rightly oriented in their minds and hearts to the moral issue.
Asked why Keynes expressed “moral and philosophical” agreement with Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, Hayek stated:
Because he believed that he was
fundamentally still a classical English liberal and wasn’t quite aware
of how far he had moved away from it. His basic ideas were still those
of individual freedom. He did not think systematically enough to see the
conflicts. He was, in a sense, corrupted by political necessity.
According to some observers,[who?]
Hayek felt that the post-World War II “Keynesian orthodoxy” gave too
much power to the state, and that such policies would lead toward
While Milton Friedman described The General Theory as “a great book”, he argues that its implicit separation of nominal from real magnitudes is neither possible nor desirable. Macroeconomic policy, Friedman argues, can reliably influence only the nominal. He and other monetarists have consequently argued that Keynesian economics can result in stagflation,
the combination of low growth and high inflation that developed
economies suffered in the early 1970s. More to Friedman’s taste was the Tract on Monetary Reform (1923), which he regarded as Keynes’s best work because of its focus on maintaining domestic price stability.
Joseph Schumpeter was an economist of the same age as Keynes and one of his main rivals. He was among the first reviewers to argue that Keynes’s General Theory was not a general theory, but a special case.
He said the work expressed “the attitude of a decaying civilisation”.
After Keynes’s death Schumpeter wrote a brief biographical piece Keynes the Economist
– on a personal level he was very positive about Keynes as a man,
praising his pleasant nature, courtesy and kindness. He assessed some of
Keynes’s biographical and editorial work as among the best he’d ever
seen. Yet Schumpeter remained critical about Keynes’s economics, linking
Keynes’s childlessness to what Schumpeter saw as an essentially short
term view. He considered Keynes to have a kind of unconscious patriotism
that caused him to fail to understand the problems of other nations.
For Schumpeter “Practical Keynesianism is a seedling which cannot be
transplanted into foreign soil: it dies there and becomes poisonous as
Keynes sometimes explained the mass murder that took place during the first years of communist
Russia on a racial basis, as part of the “Russian and Jewish nature”,
rather than as a result of the communist rule. After a trip to Russia,
he wrote in his Short View of Russia that there is “beastliness
on the Russian and Jewish natures when, as now, they are allied
together”. He also wrote that “out of the cruelty and stupidity of the
Old Russia nothing could ever emerge, but (…) beneath the cruelty and
stupidity of the New Russia a speck of the ideal may lie hid”, which
together with other comments may be construed as anti-Russian and antisemitic.
Some critics have sought to show that Keynes had sympathy with Nazism,
and a number of writers described him as antisemitic. Keynes’s private
letters contain portraits and descriptions, some of which can be
characterized as antisemitic, others as philosemitic. Scholars have suggested that these reflect clichés current at the time that he accepted uncritically, rather than any racism. On several occasions Keynes used his influence to help his Jewish friends, most notably when he successfully lobbied for Ludwig Wittgenstein to be allowed residency in the United Kingdom, explicitly in order to rescue him from being deported to Nazi-occupied Austria. Keynes was a supporter of Zionism, serving on committees supporting the cause.
Allegations that he was racist or had totalitarian beliefs have been rejected by Robert Skidelsky and other biographers.
Professor Gordon Fletcher wrote that “the suggestion of a link between
Keynes and any support of totalitarianism cannot be sustained”.
Once the aggressive tendencies of the Nazis towards Jews and other
minorities had become apparent, Keynes made clear his loathing of
Nazism. As a lifelong pacifist he had initially favoured peaceful
containment of Nazi Germany,
yet he began to advocate a forceful resolution while many conservatives
were still arguing for appeasement. After the war started he roundly
criticised the Left for losing their nerve to confront Hitler:
The intelligentsia of the Left were
the loudest in demanding that the Nazi aggression should be resisted at
all costs. When it comes to a showdown, scarce four weeks have passed
before they remember that they are pacifists and write defeatist letters
to your columns, leaving the defence of freedom and civilisation to Colonel Blimp and the Old School Tie, for whom Three Cheers.
Views on inflation
Keynes has been characterised as being indifferent or even positive about mild inflation. He had indeed expressed a preference for inflation over deflation, saying that if one has to choose between the two evils, it is “better to disappoint the rentier” than to inflict pain on working class families.
He also supported the German hyperinflation as a way to get free from
reparations obligations. However, Keynes was also aware of the dangers
of inflation. In The Economic Consequences of the Peace, he wrote:
is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist
System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of
inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an
important part of the wealth of their citizens. There is no subtler, no
surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch
the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law
on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man
in a million is able to diagnose.
Views on trade imbalances
Keynes was the principal author of a proposal – the so-called Keynes Plan – for an International Clearing Union.
The two governing principles of the plan were that the problem of
settling outstanding balances should be solved by “creating” additional
“international money”, and that debtor and creditor should be treated
almost alike as disturbers of equilibrium. In the event, though, the
plans were rejected, in part because “American opinion was naturally
reluctant to accept the principle of equality of treatment so novel in
The new system is not founded on free-trade (liberalisation of foreign trade)
but rather on the regulation of international trade, in order to
eliminate trade imbalances: the nations with a surplus would have an
incentive to reduce it, and in doing so they would automatically clear
other nations deficits.
He proposed a global bank that would issue its currency – the bancor –
which was exchangeable with national currencies at fixed rates of
exchange and would become the unit of account between nations, which
means it would be used to measure a country’s trade deficit or trade
surplus. Every country would have an overdraft facility in its bancor
account at the International Clearing Union. He pointed out that
surpluses lead to weak global aggregate demand – countries running
surpluses exert a “negative externality” on trading partners, and posed,
far more than those in deficit, a threat to global prosperity.
In his 1933 Yale Review article “National Self-Sufficiency,”
he already highlighted the problems created by free trade. His view,
supported by many economists and commentators at the time, was that
creditor nations may be just as responsible as debtor nations for
disequilibrium in exchanges and that both should be under an obligation
to bring trade back into a state of balance. Failure for them to do so
could have serious consequences. In the words of Geoffrey Crowther, then editor of The Economist,
“If the economic relationships between nations are not, by one means or
another, brought fairly close to balance, then there is no set of
financial arrangements that can rescue the world from the impoverishing
results of chaos.”
These ideas were informed by events prior to the Great Depression
when – in the opinion of Keynes and others – international lending,
primarily by the U.S., exceeded the capacity of sound investment and so
got diverted into non-productive and speculative uses, which in turn
invited default and a sudden stop to the process of lending.
Influenced by Keynes, economics texts in the immediate post-war
period put a significant emphasis on balance in trade. For example, the
second edition of the popular introductory textbook, An Outline of Money,
devoted the last three of its ten chapters to questions of foreign
exchange management and in particular the “problem of balance”. However,
in more recent years, since the end of the Bretton Woods system in 1971, with the increasing influence of Monetarist
schools of thought in the 1980s, and particularly in the face of large
sustained trade imbalances, these concerns – and particularly concerns
about the destabilising effects of large trade surpluses – have largely
disappeared from mainstream economics discourse and Keynes’ insights have slipped from view. They are receiving some attention again in the wake of the financial crisis of 2007–08.
Keynes’s early romantic and sexual relationships were exclusively with men. Keynes had been in relationships while at Eton and Cambridge; significant among these early partners were Dilly Knox and Daniel Macmillan.
Keynes was open about his affairs, and from 1901 to 1915 kept separate
diaries in which he tabulated his many sexual encounters. Keynes’s relationship and later close friendship with Macmillan was to be fortunate, as Macmillan’s company first published his tract Economic Consequences of the Peace.
Attitudes in the Bloomsbury Group, in which Keynes was avidly involved, were relaxed about homosexuality. Keynes, together with writer Lytton Strachey, had reshaped the Victorian attitudes of the Cambridge Apostles: “since [their] time, homosexual relations among the members were for a time common”, wrote Bertrand Russell. The artist Duncan Grant, whom he met in 1908, was one of Keynes’s great loves. Keynes was also involved with Lytton Strachey, though they were for the most part love rivals, not lovers. Keynes had won the affections of Arthur Hobhouse, and as with Grant, fell out with a jealous Strachey for it.
Strachey had previously found himself put off by Keynes, not least
because of his manner of “treat[ing] his love affairs statistically”.
Political opponents have used Keynes’s sexuality to attack his academic work. One line of attack held that he was uninterested in the long term ramifications of his theories because he had no children.
Keynes’s friends in the Bloomsbury Group were initially surprised
when, in his later years, he began pursuing affairs with women, demonstrating himself to be bisexual.Ray Costelloe (who would later marry Oliver Strachey) was an early heterosexual interest of Keynes.
In 1906, Keynes had written of this infatuation that, “I seem to have
fallen in love with Ray a little bit, but as she isn’t male I haven’t
able to think of any suitable steps to take.”
In 1921, Keynes wrote that he had fallen “very much in love” with Lydia Lopokova, a well-known Russian ballerina and one of the stars of Sergei Diaghilev‘s Ballets Russes. In the early years of his courtship, he maintained an affair with a younger man, Sebastian Sprott, in tandem with Lopokova, but eventually chose Lopokova exclusively. They were married in 1925, with Keynes’s former lover Duncan Grant as best man.
“What a marriage of beauty and brains, the fair Lopokova and John
Maynard Keynes” was said at the time. Keynes later commented to Strachey
that beauty and intelligence were rarely found in the same person, and
that only in Duncan Grant had he found the combination.
The union was happy, with biographer Peter Clarke writing that the
marriage gave Keynes “a new focus, a new emotional stability and a sheer
delight of which he never wearied”.
Lydia became pregnant in 1927 but miscarried.
Among Keynes’s Bloomsbury friends, Lopokova was, at least initially,
subjected to criticism for her manners, mode of conversation, and
supposedly humble social origins – the last of the ostensible causes
being particularly noted in the letters of Vanessa and Clive Bell, and Virginia Woolf. In her novel Mrs Dalloway (1925), Woolf bases the character of Rezia Warren Smith on Lopokova.E. M. Forster would later write in contrition about “Lydia Keynes, every whose word should be recorded”: “How we all used to underestimate her”.
46 Gordon Square, where Keynes would often stay while in London. Following his marriage, Keynes took out an extended lease on Tilton House, a farm in the countryside near Brighton, which became the couple’s main home when not in the capital.
Blue plaque, 46 Gordon Square
Support for the arts
thought that the pursuit of money for its own sake was a pathological
condition, and that the proper aim of work is to provide leisure. He
wanted shorter working hours and longer holidays for all.
Keynes was interested in literature in general and drama in particular and supported the Cambridge Arts Theatre financially, which allowed the institution to become one of the major British stages outside London.
Keynes’s interest in classical opera and dance led him to support the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden and the Ballet Company at Sadler’s Wells. During the war,
as a member of CEMA (Council for the Encouragement of Music and the
Arts), Keynes helped secure government funds to maintain both companies
while their venues were shut. Following the war, Keynes was instrumental
in establishing the Arts Council of Great Britain
and was its founding chairman in 1946. From the start, the two
organisations that received the largest grants from the new body were
the Royal Opera House and Sadler’s Wells.
Like several other notable British authors of his time, Keynes was a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Virginia Woolf‘s biographer tells an anecdote of how Virginia Woolf, Keynes, and T. S. Eliot discussed religion at a dinner party, in the context of their struggle against Victorian era morality.
Keynes may have been confirmed, but according to Cambridge University he was clearly an agnostic, which he remained until his death.
According to one biographer, “he was never able to take religion
seriously, regarding it as a strange aberration of the human mind.”
Keynes was ultimately a successful investor, building up a private fortune. His assets were nearly wiped out following the Wall Street Crash of 1929,
which he did not foresee, but he soon recouped. At Keynes’s death, in
1946, his net worth stood just short of £500,000 – equivalent to about
£20.5 million ($27.1 million) in 2018. The sum had been amassed despite
lavish support for various good causes and his ethic which made him
reluctant to sell on a falling market, in cases where he saw such
behaviour as likely to deepen a slump.
Keynes successfully managed the endowment of King’s College, Cambridge,
with the active component of his portfolio outperforming a British
equity index by an average of 8% a year over a quarter century, earning
him favourable mention by later investors such as Warren Buffett and George Soros.
Keynes was a lifelong member of the Liberal Party,
which until the 1920s had been one of the two main political parties in
the United Kingdom, and as late as 1916 had often been the dominant
power in government. Keynes had helped campaign for the Liberals at
elections from about 1906, yet he always refused to run for office
himself, despite being asked to do so on three separate occasions in
1920. From 1926, when Lloyd George became leader of the Liberals, Keynes
took a major role in defining the party’s economic policy, but by then
the Liberals had been displaced into third party status by the Labour Party.
In 1939 Keynes had the option to enter Parliament as an independent MP with the University of Cambridge seat. A by-election for the seat was to be held due to the illness of an elderly Tory, and the master of Magdalene College
had obtained agreement that none of the major parties would field a
candidate if Keynes chose to stand. Keynes declined the invitation as he
felt he would wield greater influence on events if he remained a free
Keynes was a proponent of eugenics. He served as director of the British Eugenics Society
from 1937 to 1944. As late as 1946, shortly before his death, Keynes
declared eugenics to be “the most important, significant and, I would
add, genuine branch of sociology which exists.”
Keynes once remarked that “the youth had no religion save communism and this was worse than nothing.”Marxism “was founded upon nothing better than a misunderstanding of Ricardo“,
and, given time, he (Keynes) “would deal thoroughly with the Marxists”
and other economists to solve the economic problems their theories
“threaten to cause”.
In 1931 Keynes had the following to say on Marxism:
How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook
which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without
interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed
which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia,
who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the
seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we
find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an
educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals
here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of
conversion which has changed all his values.
Throughout his life, Keynes worked energetically for the benefit both
of the public and his friends; even when his health was poor, he
laboured to sort out the finances of his old college. Helping to set up the Bretton Woods system, he worked to institute an international monetary system that would be beneficial for the world economy. In 1946, Keynes suffered a series of heart attacks, which ultimately proved fatal. They began during negotiations for the Anglo-American loan in Savannah, Georgia,
where he was trying to secure favourable terms for the United Kingdom
from the United States, a process he described as “absolute hell”. A few weeks after returning from the United States, Keynes died of a heart attack at Tilton, his farmhouse home near Firle, East Sussex, England, on 21 April 1946, at the age of 62.
Against his wishes (he wanted for his ashes to be deposited in the
crypt at King’s), his ashes were scattered on the Downs above Tilton.
O’Connor, J.J.; Robertson, E.F. (October 2003). “John Maynard Keynes”. School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews, Scotland: MacTutor History of Mathematics. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
Strachey 1994, p. 129.
Moggridge, Donald Edward (1995). Maynard Keynes: an economist’s biography. Routledge. p. 104.
D. E. Moggridge (1992). Maynard Keynes: an economist’s biography. Routledge. p. 395. I again fell very much in love with her. She seemed to me perfect in every way.
The unlikely Lydia LopokovaThe Telegraph, 25 April 2008, Rupert Christiansen
“The firebird of Gordon Square” Kathryn Hughes, The Guardian, 19 April 2008
Justin Wintle (2002). “Keynes, John Maynard”. Makers of Modern Culture. 1. Psychology Press. p. 270. ISBN978-0-415-26583-6.
“Keynes, John Maynard (1883–1946)”. glbtq. Archived from the original on 2 October 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2008.
Lady Talky, Alison Light, London Review of Books, Vol. 30 No. 24, 18 December 2008
Keynes and the Celestial Dancer”, by Anand Chandavarkar, Reviewed
work(s): Lydia and Maynard: Letters between Lydia Lopokova and Maynard
Keynes by Polly Hill; Richard Keynes, Economic and Political Weekly,
Vol. 25, No. 34 (25 August 1990), p. 1896
Polly Hill; Richard Keynes, eds. (1989). Lydia and Maynard: letters between Lydia Lopokova and John Maynard Keynes. André Deutsch. p. 97.
E.M. Forster (1987). Commonplace Book. p. 195. Lydia
Keynes, every whose word should be recorded, said to me as I was
leaving her flat the other night: “You know I once tumbled from the
stairs and believe me I paid the price.” I took the sentence down before
I forgot it.
“Tilton House homepage”. Tiltonhouse.co.uk. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
Quentin Bell. Virginia Wolf, A Biography. 2 (revised Edition 1996 ed.). The Hogarth Press. 1972. p. 177.
Skidelsky, Robert (1 January 1994). John Maynard Keynes: Volume 1: Hopes Betrayed 1883–1920. Penguin Books. p. 86. ISBN014023554X.
Lubenow, William C (1998). The Cambridge Apostles, 1820–1914. Cambridge University Press. ISBN0-521-57213-4.
See John Maynard Keynes
by Skidelsky (2003), pp. 520–21, p. 563 and especially p. 565 where
Keynes is quoted as “It is the duty of a serious investor to accept the
depreciation of his holding with equanimity … any other policy is
anti-social, destructive of confidence and incompatible with the working
of the economic system.”
Keynes, John Maynard (1956). James R. Newman (ed.). The World of Mathematics (2000 ed.). Dover. p. 277. ISBN0-486-41153-2.
Chambers, David; Dimson, Elroy (Summer 2013). “Retrospectives: John Maynard Keynes, Investment Innovator”. Journal of Economic Perspectives. American Economic Association. 27 (3): 213–228. doi:10.1257/jep.27.3.213.
Keynes, John Maynard (1946). “The Galton lecture, 1946: Presentation of the society’s gold medal”. Eugenics Review. 38 (1): 39–40. PMC2986310. PMID21260495. On
February I4th, I946, before a large gathering of Fellows, Members and
guests at Manson house, London, Lord Keynes, On behalf of the Eugenics
Society, presented the first Galton Medal… Opening the proceedings,
Lord Keynes said: It is a satisfaction to take part in the presentation
of the first Galton Gold Medal, both in piety to the memory of the great
Galton and in recognition of a worthy and appropriate recipient of a
medal established in his name.
Keynes, John Maynard (1931). Essays in Persuasion. New York, W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN0-393-00190-3.
Fraser, Nick (8 November 2008). “John Maynard Keynes: Can the great economist save the world?”. The Independent. United Kingdom. Retrieved 20 November 2008.
Marr, Andrew (2007). A history of modern Britain. London: Macmillan. p. 12. ISBN978-1-4050-0538-8.
“Lord Keynes Dies of Heart Attack. Noted Economist Exhausted by Strain of Recent Savannah Monetary Conference”. The New York Times. 22 April 1946. Retrieved 10 February 2010. John
Maynard Lord Keynes, distinguished economist, whose work for restoring
the economic structure of a world twice shattered by war brought him
world-wide influence, died of a heart attack today at his home in Firle,
Sussex. His age was 63.
Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Location 25430). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.