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G. D. H. Cole (George Douglas Howard Cole) Biography

(1889–1959), (George Douglas Howard Cole), The World of Labour, Self Government in Industry, General Theory

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Cockfield Suffolk to Frances Cornford (née Darwin) Biography

British socialist and dissenting economist, born in Cambridge, educated at St Paul's School and at Balliol College, Oxford; he became Reader in Economics in that university after the First World War and Professor of Social and Political Theory after the Second. Cole's contribution to the socialist movement in the first half of the twentieth century is rivalled only by that of the Webbs (his adversaries within the Fabian Society). He reaffirmed the guild socialist platform in The World of Labour (1913) and Self Government in Industry (1917). In the inter-war years he was influential in promoting Keynesian ideas in British labour circles. Already an opponent of unregulated capitalism, Cole regarded J. M. Keynes's General Theory (1936) not only as a theoretical tour de force, but also as a legitimation of some of his own economic opinions. Surpassing Keynesianism, however, Cole advocated economic planning in a non-bureaucratic socialist democracy. He published more than 100 books, wrote numerous articles, biographical sketches, comments, and reviews. Other notable works are his Life of Robert Owen (1925), A History of Socialist Thought (19538), and The Common People (1938, with Raymond Postgate). He also wrote detective fiction in collaboration with his wife, Margaret (sister of Raymond Postgate), who wrote a biography of Cole.

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