Why Spain's Prime Minister Was Handed a Copy of a John Maynard Keynes Book in Congress Today

An important lesson for Europe today.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy got an unexpected gift in Spain's congress today: a copy of "The Economic Consequences of the Peace" by John Maynard Keynes.

Maria Tadeo

Rajoy was in congress to explain the accord reached between the European Union and Greece on Monday, in which Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras capitulated to creditors' demands in a u-turn move. Rajoy said the deal showed Europe is committed to helping Greece and blasted the Syriza government led by Tsipras for creating uncertainty and hurting the country's economy.


Alberto Garzon, member of left-wing party United Left (IU), saw things differently and handed the Prime Minister a copy of Keynes' book written after the Great War, where he served as a U.K. Treasury representative to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. In The Economic Consequences of the Peace, the celebrated British economist argued Treaty of Versailles reparations imposed on Germany would cripple the country's economy further, and lead to serious political and economic consequences for Europe as a whole.

Keynes wrote: "If we aim at the impoverishment of Central Europe, vengeance, I dare say, will not limp. Nothing can then delay for very long the forces of Reaction and the despairing convulsions of Revolution, before which the horrors of the later German war will fade into nothing, and which will destroy, whoever is victor, the civilisation and the progress of our generation.”

Today, Spain's Garzon said he hoped the book would help Rajoy understand that "social justice" must prevail over what he described as market fundamentalism. In his speech to congress, Garzon argued "European bureaucrats aren't seeking the best outcome for the Greek people", they just want to punish them for rebelling against Brussels' control. 

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