This Friday the economic students learnt about the importance of economics in the construction of peace. The journey began in 1919, near Queen’s College. There, facing the end of the First World War, they reflected upon the determinants of war, if it is just, and how winners and losers are defined. In order to move the brain, their feet began to follow the Cam river; at each step a thought, and at each thought a comment. Walking across Cambridge fields, they encountered cows, sheep, swans, ducks, and even a frog which was eager to model for the cameras. The colors and sounds of nature helped their imagination, as well as their awareness (especially of bugs!).
After half an hour, they discovered that war is more than a battlefront, that it needs to follow rules, and that peace is the most difficult thing to find after a conflict begins. At this level, they realized that Keynes also had these thoughts, and probably found his ideas walking that same path along the river. As the students were reaching the same conclusions that Mr. Keynes wrote in “The Economic Consequences of Peace”, they arrived at Grantchester. This is a small village where people in Cambridge, especially Keynes and his friends, love to go for picnics and friendly conversations.
Once there, the sadness of war disappeared as they realize that, even though is difficult, it is possible to thrive after war, and that economists can play a major role in this process. At this point they moved in time ten years to the Great Depression. By understanding several economic concepts and using the same models that the Cambridge Circus used, they realized that there are ways in which the active participation of the government can help the markets to endure after crisis. They understood that even if the environment seems gloomy, there is always hope, and that one of the most important tasks of an economist is to be able to understand these problems in order to be the light of optimism that people need.
Well, after all these deep thoughts, the best way to end the day was following Keynes steps… and having a picnic on one of the paths where ideas sprout out of creative minds.