By the early 1940s, the Keynesian Revolution in America was in full swing. Fast-moving events in Germany obliged Franklin D. Roosevelt to spend on the vast scale that John Maynard Keynes prescribed. Despite the president’s assurances during the 1940 presidential campaign -- “I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into foreign wars” -- he ordered a gargantuan rearmament program. In 1940, the annual defense expenditure was $2.2 billion; the following year it reached a sizzling $13.7 billion.
The U.K.’s visual-arts sector got off lightly in Chancellor George Osborne ’s spending review while the performing arts got hammered. That’s the headline assessment, and the figures seem to bear it out --superficially, at least.
Germany, with the help of the European Central Bank, has achieved a level of dominance in Europe it hasn’t enjoyed since World War II. It is to that period, and a bit earlier, that it might look for lessons on how to save a troubled European project.