on April 15, 2021
Published on March 26, 2021 Updated on February 24, 2022

e-Guest Lecture: Guilherme Sampaio


Finding new audiences: John Maynard Keynes and the French reception of his ideas from The Treatise on Money to The General Theory (1930–1945)

Guilherme Sampaio, European University Institute - Italy, is fellow-in-residence at CY AS, invited by laboratory AGORA

Historical consensus on the French reception of John Maynard Keynes’s writings posits that the Cambridge economist was ignored during the 1930s, only for his ideas to become dominant after World War Two. This paper problematises that paradoxical narrative by analysing the intellectual and political history of how Keynes’s texts were published and received across French society. Rather than reproducing extant dichotomic oppositions (influential/uninfluential), my goal is to demonstrate how by throughout the 1930s, generational changes in the economics profession and the fiery political context surrounding the Popular Front complexified French readings of Keynes beyond simple rejection or ignorance.

I will begin by showing that although rebutted by economists, Keynes’s policy proposals to stave off the Great Depression, hailing mostly from the 1930 Treatise on Money, were widely debated even amongst political circles. Afterwards, and focusing on the General Theory, I will scrutinise how a new generation of economists more academically mobile was willing to engage in-depth with Keynes’s macroeconomic theory, both to deny its validity and vice-versa. Accounting for how this openness of younger economists to Keynes’s ideas continued throughout Vichy enables a more nuanced understanding not only of why Keynes became more widely read after 1945 but why even then he remained a controversial figure.

Date: April 15, 2021 from 12:30 to 14:00

The video is online on the CY AS YouTube channel