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I don't know if Keynes ever spoke so bluntly to a British audience in favour of the greatest possible degree of economic self sufficiency but the central argument of the 'General Theory', published only three years later, has little to say on international trade or the balance of payments, a criticism made at the time by Hubert Henderson. The book however does end with chapters on the 'Trade Cycle' and on 'Mercantilism, the Usury Laws, Stamped Money and Under-consumption'. These are presented as 'notes' rather than fully worked out ideas but the notes on mercantilism in particular are relevant to the ideas Keynes developed for the organisation of post-war trade. 

They are a defence of the mercantilist view that the balance of payments was a problem that required to be regulated by government action against the classical laissez faire view that, given the gold standard, balance of payments problems would sort themselves out of their own accord. According to this view, a country that exported 'too much' would receive an influx of gold from the importing country which would have the effect of pushing prices up. The loss of gold from the importing country would have the effect of pushing prices down. Thus the importing country with its lower prices would gain an advantage over the exporting country with its higher prices and the balance of trade would flow in the other direction. Keynes comments in relation to this apparently absurd proposition: 'The extraordinary achievement of the classical theory was to overcome the beliefs of the "natural man" and, at the same time, to be wrong ... One recurs to the analogy between the sway of the classical school of economic theory and that of certain religions. For it is a far greater exercise of the potency of an idea to exorcise the obvious than to introduce into men's common notions the recondite and the remote.' Keynes's wartime proposal for an International Clearing union was, precisely, aimed at curtailing free trade in order to prevent the emergence of balance of payments problems.

Skidelsky insists that Keynes was an 'internationalist' but I think we can already see quite clearly the difference between Keynes and White. White saw international trade as an ideal to be worked for and developed to the highest possible degree. Keynes saw it as a problem that had to be addressed and dealt with. He complained that:

'in an economy subject to money contracts and customs more or less fixed over an appreciable period of time, where the quantity of the domestic circulation and the domestic rate of interest are primarily determined by the balance of payments, as they were in Great Britain before the war, there is no orthodox means open to the authorities for countering unemployment at home except by struggling for an export surplus and an import of the monetary metal at the expense of their neighbours. (10) Never in history was there a method devised of such efficacy for setting each country's advantage at variance with its neighbours’ as the international gold (or, formerly, silver) standard. For it made domestic prosperity directly dependent on a competitive pursuit of markets and a competitive appetite for the precious metals. When by happy accident the new supplies of gold and silver were comparatively abundant, the struggle might be somewhat abated. But with the growth of wealth and the diminishing marginal propensity to consume, it has tended to become increasingly internecine.' (11)

(10) The policy pursued so successfully by Roosevelt and Morgenthau.

(11)  J.M.Keynes: The General theory of employment interest and money, London, Macmillan, 1936, pp.348-9.