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Fighting Through Britain. The “Gift Dimension” of Keynes's Quest for a New Global Order


  • Mario A. Cedrini


Dissatisfied with both Skidelsky's “Fighting for Britain” approach to Keynes's quest for a new global order and its specular competitor, the “Figthing despite Britain” view, we explore the possibility of a “Fighting through Britain” approach to the issue. We claim that though Keynes was fighting for the whole world rather than for Britain only, his (unsuccessful) fighting for Britain was a major component of his overall reform project and the true telltale sign of his defeat. As a consequence, the paper focuses in particular on the American Gift asked for by Keynes in 1945. The Gift is regarded as the last and a relevant episode of the economist's lifelong search for a global system efficiently coping with the dilemmas it necessarily gives life to. With the help of the anthropological and sociological literature on gift-giving, we move beyond the strategic dimension of Keynes's diplomacy to show that the request for an American Gift to revive multilateralism at the end of WWII embodies in full - and helps to understand - Keynes's attempt to construct a new system happily combining international discipline and national freedom to choose, the former being the instrument to promote the latter.

Suggested Citation

  • Mario A. Cedrini, 2008. "Fighting Through Britain. The “Gift Dimension” of Keynes's Quest for a New Global Order," Working Papers 119, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
  • Handle: RePEc:upo:upopwp:119

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    Cited by:

    1. Anna M. Carabelli & Mario A. Cedrini, 2010. ">i>Indian Currency>/i> and beyond: the legacy of the early economics of Keynes in the times of Bretton Woods II," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 255-280, January.
    2. Anna Carabelli & Mario Cedrini, 2011. "The Economic Problem of Happiness: Keynes on Happiness and Economics," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 40(3), pages 335-359, October.

    More about this item


    Keynes; International economic relations; Gift-giving;

    JEL classification:

    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • F5 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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