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Economic Interventionism, Armament Industries and the Keynesian Theory


  • Fanny Coulomb

    () (CESICE - Centre d'études sur la sécurité internationale et les coopérations européennes - IEPG - Sciences Po Grenoble - Institut d'études politiques de Grenoble - UGA [2016-2019] - Université Grenoble Alpes [2016-2019], PACTE - Pacte, Laboratoire de sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UGA [2016-2019] - Université Grenoble Alpes [2016-2019] - IEPG - Sciences Po Grenoble - Institut d'études politiques de Grenoble)

  • Alain Alcouffe

    () (LIRHE - Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de recherche sur les Ressources Humaines et l'Emploi - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


The crisis of the 1930s led to the establishment of public interventionist policies, in the United States and Great Britain in particular. These measures significantly changed the economic environment of the companies: thus, in 1931 the American president Hoover pleaded, among other measures, for a more vigorous enforcement of antitrust laws to end destructive industrial competition, as well as for work-sharing programs that would supposedly reduce unemployment. With the New Deal, Roosevelt's administration made significant investments and allowed access to financial resources through various government agencies. What were the effects of these policies on businesses? What were the economic analyzes of this public intervention in the sphere of the private economy? During the interwar period, international relations were marked by debates on interallied debts and German reparations. Keynes' thought was deeply nourished by his participation in international negotiations, in particular as adviser at the British Treasury. If he could perceive war as a laboratory of experimentation to test the validity of his theory of the effect of public stimulus spending, he can in no way be considered as a supporter of "military Keynesianism", i.e. the use of military spending as a privileged instrument of economic policy (justified notably by the expected technological spin-offs from military investments). Keynes was openly hostile to militarism and war, convinced that they were contrary to human nature. After the Second World War, Keynes wrote an open letter to President Roosevelt, but despite the seemingly Keynesian character of New Deal economic measures, there was deep dissension between the two men. If Roosevelt favoured social measures, he remained hostile to the organization of a state interventionism financed by borrowing, a solution nevertheless advocated by Keynes, to revive purchasing power. Our article aims to understand the birth of policies to support business investment

Suggested Citation

  • Fanny Coulomb & Alain Alcouffe, 2018. "Economic Interventionism, Armament Industries and the Keynesian Theory," Post-Print hal-02051360, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-02051360
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Millward,Robert & Singleton,John (ed.), 1995. "The Political Economy of Nationalisation in Britain, 1920–1950," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521450966.
    2. Harald Hagemann, 2014. "The German Edition of Keynes’s General Theory: Controversies on the Preface," Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, in: Luca Fiorito (ed.), A Research Annual, volume 32, pages 159-166, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
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    Interventionism; Keynesian theory; Arm industries; Interwar period;
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