10 DECEMBER 1937, Page 42


Miss Curtis and Mr. Townshend have made a determined and, on the whole, successful effort (Harrap. 7s. 6d.) to bridge the gap between the existing elementary' textbooks of monetary theory, designed to lead up to a more advanced treatment on orthodox lines, and the diffi- cult and rarefied monetary doctrines asso- ciated with the name of Mr. Keynes and hitherto hardly accessible to the general reader. "The outstanding characteris- tics of this school," to quote the author's preface, "are its insistence on spending as the sole source of business activity and its treatment of interest on money as a purely monetary phenomenon." Miss Curtis and Mr. Townshend do not themselves entirely accept Mr. Keynes' doctrines ; they differ, in fact, on the all-important practical point of the necessary quantitative identity of savings and investment. But they use and ex- plain the new terminology, discuss and clarify the newly-emphasised relation- ships, and so afford a possible jumping- off ground for readers who may subse- quently read Mr. Keynes for themselves and make up their own minds whether or not to agree with him without reserva- tion. To the present reviewer the dis- agreement appears to rest rather on a failure to grasp a step in the Keynesian argument than on any weakness in the argument itself. The authors- are, how- ever, laudably careful to indicate the controversial points as such, and to men- tion in their appropriate places the theories held by other schools of thought at various stages in the development of economic theory. On the practical side, dealing with monetary and financial insti- tutions, with the amount and distribution of the national income, with public finance and with foreign trade and inter- national monetary devices, they are ad- mirably clear and comprehensive. It would be too much to claim that Modern Money supersedes all existing textbooks of monetary theory ; but it fills an un- doubted gap and takes its place as a use- ful contribution to the clarification of an all-important and difficult subject. As Tacitus's description is vague, Mr - Spence may be right. The book is illustrated.