Looking for Stability: Repercussions of the Russian Revolution in the Work of John Maynard Keynes

  • František Svoboda Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Public Economics, Brno, Czech Republic

Abstract

The paper analyses and proposes an answer to the question of how the Russian revolution is reflected in the work of John Maynard Keynes. The starting point of the analysis is an interesting yet not very well known episode of the economist’s life: a period when Keynes, then a British Treasury official, was entrusted with the task of creating a currency for Northern Russia. The ensuing design and architecture of the North Russian rouble virtually became an opportunity for Keynes to put into practice some of his general currency-related ideas, and the entire project influenced Keynes’s economic thought in two specific ways. First, the Russian experience can be traced in the economist’s reflections on two fundamentally different financial policies: the inflationary approach adopted by the Bolsheviks, and the anti-inflationary strategy of the British government. Keynes made use of his experience with the Russian hyperinflation in a multitude of his works, especially in the papers on inflation and its consequences. Second, certain elements of the project influenced the actual formation of Keynes’s view on the function and balancing of the international monetary markets. This part is based on monitoring the continuity of thoughts and actions, starting from India Currency and Finance and ending with the North Russian rouble and the design of the bancor.


Key words: John Maynard Keynes, Russian revolution, Inflation, International currency.
JEL: B31, E51, F33.


U radu se analizira i predlaže odgovor na pitanje kako se Ruska revolucija reflektuje u radu Džona Mejnarda Kejnsa. Polazna tačka analize je zanimljiva ali ne i dobro poznata epizoda života ekonomiste: period kada je Kejnsu, tada zvaničniku u britanskom trezoru, poveren zadatak stvaranja valute za Severnu Rusiju. Dizajn i arhitektura rublje Severne Rusije koja je usledila postala je prilika za Kejnsa da primeni u praksi neke od svojih opštih ideja u vezi valuta, a čitav projekat je uticao na Kejnsove ekonomske misli na dva specifična načina. Prvo, Rusko iskustvo se može pratiti u razmišljanjima ekonomiste o dve suštinski različite finansijske politike: inflatornog pristupa usvojenog od strane Bolshevik-a, i anti-inflatorne strategije britanske vlade. Kejns je iskoristio svoje iskustvo sa Ruskom hiperinflacijom u mnoštvu njegovih dela, posebno u radovima o inflaciji i njegovim posledicama. Drugo, određeni elementi projekta uticali su na formiranje Kejnsovog pogleda na funkciju i balansiranje međunarodnih monetarnih tržišta. Ovaj deo se zasniva na praćenju kontinuiteta misli i akcija, počevši od Valute i Finansija Indije i završava se sa severno-ruskom rubljom i dizajnom valute “bancor”.


Ključne reči: Džon Mejnard Kejns, Ruska revolucija, inflacija, međunarodna valuta.

How to Cite
Svoboda F. (2017). Looking for Stability: Repercussions of the Russian Revolution in the Work of John Maynard Keynes. Panoeconomicus, 64(4), 477-492. doi:10.2298/PAN150405015S
Section
Scientific review