FIRST EDITION OF AMERICA’S ROLE IN THE WORLD ECONOMY, 1945, INSCRIBED BY “THE AMERICAN KEYNES” ALVIN H. HANSEN
HANSEN, Alvin H. America’s Role in the World Economy. New York: W.W. Norton, (1945). Octavo, original red cloth, original dust jacket. $850.
First edition, inscribed: “To William Kruger with kindest regards, Alvin H. Hansen.”
Though sometimes regarded merely as a popularizer of Keynes, economist Alvin Hansen is more correctly (and more often) regarded as the “American Keynes.” Splitting his education between the state universities of the Midwest and the Ivy League, Hansen became involved with the idea of applying economic theory to social problems. While he did not support the New Deal, he hoped to ease the depression using other means. “Even after a decade of depression, Hansen remained optimistic, no longer about the natural dynamism of the market economy of the past but rather about the dynamic potential of the ‘dual economy’ of the future, an economy part private and part public. He was excited about the possibilities of an economy in which the government would play the new role of ‘investment banker.’ What Hansen had in mind was not just countercyclical public spending to stabilize employment but rather major projects such as rural electrification, slum clearance, and natural resource development and conservation, all with a view to opening up new investment opportunities for the private sector and so restoring economic dynamism to the system as a whole. The interruption of World War II meant that all such plans were put on hold and were presented ultimately as part of an even larger plan for postwar reconstruction and development. For Hansen, the importance of the Bretton Woods agreement of 1944 and the Employment Act of 1946 was that they put into place the international and domestic machinery that would enable government to play the new role history demanded. His America’s Role in the World Economy (1945)… made this case to a wider public… He ultimately concluded that John Maynard Keynes’s General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936) was the right book at the right time, and he took the lead as an interpreter and advocate of the Keynesian message” (ANB).
Book fine, price-clipped dust jacket with only light wear to extremities and mild toning to spine. A near-fine copy, scarce inscribed by Hansen.