Keynes Competition

Marshall Society Economic Consequences of the Peace
Centenary Essay Competition

2019 is the 100th anniversary of the publication of John Maynard Keynes’ The Economic Consequences of the Peace. To mark the occasion, the Cambridge Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) is organising a conference on the 1919 book. The book is celebrated as a brilliant piece of advocacy and is also an accurate prophecy of the con- sequences of a “Carthaginian peace”. It is a plea for the type of global economic cooperation that later informed key aspects of reconstruction after World War II – including the Bretton Woods institutions (which Keynes helped to design) and the Marshall Plan.

The conference will take place on the 9th and 10th of September and will explore the book through an academic discussion and a public event. The Scientific and Organising Committees include great thinkers like Giancarlo Corsetti (Cambridge University), Maurice Obstfeld (Berkeley University), and Michael Kumhof (Bank of England), so the conference is set to be an interesting and thought-provoking event.

The Marshall Society is getting involved by launching an essay competition designed to encourage Cambridge students to engage with Keynes’ book. Entries must be no longer than 1250 words and must answer one of the following four questions:

  • Can a case be made that Keynes’ suggested alterations to the Treaty of Versailles’ contents on reparations, iron and coal are still too harsh on Germany and its economy?
  • Adhering to President Wilson’s Fourteen Points and using Keynes’ suggestions, outline what you believe the Treaty of Versailles should have contained.
  • Would the League of Nations have been capable of applying Keynes’ suggested remedies in retrospect? Explain your position fully.
  • British Prime Minister Lloyd George was compelled by the nature of his re-election in 1919 to be harsh on Germany at the Paris Peace Conference. Had he not called that snap election, would the Treaty of Versailles have still turned out to be the Carthaginian Peace Keynes so criticises?

Please submit your entry using this Google form:

The competition is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students alike and is not just for economists. The study of the creation and consequences of the Treaty of Versailles spans many disciplines, we would love to receive your entry irrespective of what you study.

You do not need to be a member of the Marshall Society to enter.

The deadline for essay submissions is 11:59pm 20th August 2019.                 

The essays will be judged individually and the shortlist, runner up, and winner will be announced in early September. The writer of the winning and second placed essay will each receive a pair of tickets for the conference.

In addition to this, the winning and second placed essay will be published in the 2019-2020 edition of the Marshall Society’s magazine, The Dismal Scientist. If you have any queries regarding the competition, please contact the magazine editor at

Please also observe that by entering you agree to the terms and conditions listed below:

  1. Your submitted essay must be your work alone and any assistance given to you whilst writing your essay must be declared in your email.
  2. You cannot make any revisions to your essay once it has been submitted.
  3. Any personal data relating to entrants will be used solely for the purpose of this competition and will not be disclosed to any third parties for any purpose without prior consent.
  4. The essay that is entered may not be entered into any other competition.
  5. The winner, runners up and those with shortlisted essays will be contacted via the email used to submit the essay. Unfortunately, any other feedback will not be possible to any of the entrants.
  6. The Marshall Society reserves the final right, where necessary, to make amendments to the above terms and conditions and to select the winners of the competition.