Friday Filosophy v.07.01.2022

Friday Filosophy v.07.01.2022

John Maynard Keynes was born at 7 Melville Road, Cambridge, England. His father was John Neville Keynes, an economics lecturer at Cambridge University. His mother was Florence Ada Brown, a successful author and a social reformer. His younger brother, Geoffrey Keynes (1887–1982) was a surgeon and bibliophile (book lover). His younger sister Margaret (1890–1974) married the Nobel Prize-winning physiologist Archibald Hill.

Keynes first went to King’s College, Cambridge, in 1902. At first, he studied mathematics. Later he studied economics under A.C. Pigou and Alfred Marshall. People think Professor Marshall prompted Keynes to change his studies from mathematics and classics to economics. Keynes received his B.A. in 1905 and his M.A. in 1908.

When Keynes was young, he had romantic and sexual relationships with men. One of his great loves was the artist Duncan Grant, whom he met in 1908. Keynes was also involved with the writer Lytton Strachey. Keynes appeared to turn away from homosexual relationships around the time of the first World War. In 1918, he met Lydia Lopokova, a well-known Russian ballerina. Keynes and Lopokova married in 1925. 

Keynes was a successful investor and he built up a big fortune. He nearly lost all of his money after the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Later he re-built his fortune. He enjoyed collecting books: for example, he collected and protected many of Isaac Newton‘s papers. Bertrand Russell said Keynes was the most intelligent person he had ever known. Lord Russell said: “Every time I argued with Keynes, I felt that I took my life in my hands, and I seldom emerged without feeling something of a fool“. 

Keynes accepted a lectureship at Cambridge in economics funded personally by Alfred Marshall. Soon he was appointed to the Royal Commission on Indian Currency and Finance, where he was able to put economic theory into practice.

During World War I he worked for the Adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and to the Treasury on Financial and Economic Questions.

Keynes also attended the Conference on the Versailles Treaty to end World War I. He wrote The Economic Consequences of the Peace in 1919, and A Revision of the Treaty in 1922. In his books he said that the reparations which Germany was being made to pay would ruin the German economy and would lead to further fighting in Europe. These predictions were shown to be true when the German economy suffered in the hyperinflation of 1923. Reparations were only completed in 2010.

Keynes’s magnum opus (Latin for “Great Work”, meaning his most famous book) was the General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. The General Theory was published in 1936. The ideas in that book were very different from classical economics.

Historians agree that Keynes influenced U.S. president Roosevelt’s New Deal, but disagree as to what extent. Spending more than the government earned in taxes (called deficit spending) was used in the New Deal from 1938. But the idea had been agreed to by President Herbert Hoover. Few senior economists in the U.S. agreed with Keynes in the 1930s. With time, however, his ideas became more widely accepted. 

In 1942, Keynes was raised to the House of Lords. He became Baron Keynes of Tilton in the County of Sussex. When he sat in the House of Lords, he was a Liberal member.

During World War II, Keynes wrote a book titled How to Pay for the War. He said the war effort should be paid for by higher taxes. He did not like deficit spending because he wanted to avoid inflation

Keynes died of a heart attack at his holiday home in Tilton, East Sussex. His heart problems were made worse by the strain of working on post-war international financial problems. He died soon after he arranged a guarantee of an Anglo-American loan to Great Britain. Keynes’ father, John Neville Keynes (1852–1949) outlived his son by three years. Keynes’s brother Sir Geoffrey Keynes (1887–1982) was a distinguished surgeonscholar and bibliophile. His nephews include Richard Keynes (born 1919) a physiologist; and Quentin Keynes (1921–2003) an adventurer and bibliophile. Keynes did not have children.

  • The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.
  • Capitalism is the astounding belief that the wickedest of men will do the wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone. 
  • By a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. 
  • The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that still carries any reward. 
  • For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. 
  • Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. 
  • Education: the inculcation of the incomprehensible into the indifferent by the incompetent. 
  • The decadent international but individualistic capitalism in the hands of which we found ourselves after the war is not a success. It is not intelligent. It is not beautiful. It is not just. It is not virtuous. And it doesn’t deliver the goods. 
  • The day is not far off when the economic problem will take the back seat where it belongs, and the arena of the heart and the head will be occupied or reoccupied, by our real problems – the problems of life and of human relations, of creation and behavior and religion. 
  • If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would be splendid. 
  • I do not know which makes a man more conservative – to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past. 
  • It is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil. 
  • Long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. 
  • There is no harm in being sometimes wrong – especially if one is promptly found out.

The Time is Now.

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