KEYNES, John Maynard

(1883 - 1946)
 “If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would be splendid.”


John Maynard Keynes was born on 5 June 1883 in Cambridge into a prosperous academic family.  After Eton he went up to King’s College, where he met the economist Alfred Marshall, who persuaded him to turn from mathematics and the classics to politics and economics. Whilst at Kings he also became friends with members of the Bloomsbury group, particularly with Lytton Strachey who inducted Keynes into the exclusive private club known simply as “the Society” – this group were to maintain a strong influence on him throughout his life. After a stint at the India Office, Keynes returned to Cambridge to teach, and with the outbreak of WWI he joined the treasury.  In 1919 he published 'The Economic Consequences of the Peace' in which he argued for a much more generous peace for the sake of the economic well-being of all of Europe, but his prophetic warnings regarding the effects of punitive reparations against Germany in the Versailles Peace Treaty were ignored, with disastrous consequences.  The book, however, became a best-seller.  Keynes' best-known work, 'The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money', was published in 1936, and became a benchmark for future economic thought  - it also secured his position as Britain's most influential economist.  In a letter to playwright and socialist George Bernard Shaw, he wrote: “I believe myself to be writing a book on economic theory, which will largely revolutionise – not, I suppose, at once but in the course of the next few years – the way the world thinks about economic problems.”

The book formed the basis for Keynesian economics, which has been a hugely influential economic model in the UK since the Great Depression.  In 2017 it was voted the academic book that has most influenced modern Britain. 

See below for our current stock of first editions by John Maynard Keynes.

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 John Maynard KEYNES

Books by this author

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

KEYNES, John Maynard