John Maynard Keynes

(John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes)

John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes
  • Born: June 5, 1883
  • Died: April 21, 1946
  • Nationality: British
  • Profession: Economist









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John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes CB FBA, was a British economist whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. He built on and greatly refined earlier work on the causes of business cycles, and was one of the most influential economists of the 20th century. Widely considered the founder of modern macroeconomics, his ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynesian economics, and its various offshoots.

Quote Topics Cited
…working not for the small pleasures of today but for the future security and improvement of the race. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
A study of the history of opinion is a necessary preliminary to the emancipation of the mind. History
All the political parties alike have their origins in past ideas and not in new ideas — and none more conspicuously so than the Marxists. Political Parties & Machines
As for Marx, his economic value, apart from occasional … flashes of insight, is nil. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes ;Social Sciences
Burke ever held, and held rightly, that it can seldom be right . . . to sacrifice a present benefit for a doubtful advantage in the future. . . . It is therefore the happiness of our own contemporaries that is our main concern Policy & Policy Making
By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
Can we prevent an almost complete collapse of the financial structure of modern capitalism? With no financial leadership left in the world and profound intellectual error as to causes and cures prevailing in the responsible seats of power, one begins to wonder and to doubt.... The financial and political authorities of the world have lacked the courage or the conviction at each stage of the decline to apply the available remedies in sufficiently drastic doses; and by now they have allowed the collapse to reach a point where the whole system may have lost its resiliency and its capacity for a rebound. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Capitalism
Capitalism, wisely managed, can probably be made more efficient for attaining economic ends than any alternative system yet in sight, but that in itself it is in many ways extremely objectionable Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Social Sciences ;Capitalism
Clemenceau had one illusion—France; and one disillusion—mankind, including Frenchmen Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Economics is a very dangerous science Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
government may secretly and unobserved, confiscate the wealth of the people, and not one man in a million will detect the theft. Money, Coins & Minting
I can be influenced by what seems to me to be justice and good sense; but the class war will find me on the side of the educated bourgeoisie. Equality & Equal Opportunity
If individuals have no sufficient reason to believe that a good situation today will have adverse long-term consequences, it must always be rational for them to aim to maximize their short-term good. Human Nature
If the facts change, I’ll change my opinion. What do you do, Sir? Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
It is generally agreed that casinos should, in the public interest, be inaccessible and expensive. And perhaps the same is true of Stock Exchanges. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
It is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil. Policy & Policy Making
It is not sufficient that the state of affairs which we seek to promote should be better than the state of affairs which preceded it; it must be sufficiently better to make up for the evils of the transition. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
It would be foolish, in forming our expectations, to attach great weight to matters which are very uncertain. Policy & Policy Making
Marxian Socialism must always remain a portent to the historians of Opinion — how a doctrine so illogical and so dull can have exercised so powerful and enduring an influence over the minds of men, and, through them, the events of history. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Once doubt begins it spreads rapidly. Human Nature
Perhaps a day might come when there would be at last be enough to go round Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
Public works even of doubtful utility may pay for themselves over and over again at a time of severe unemployment, if only from the diminished cost of relief expenditure Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
The absolutists of contract are the real parents of revolution. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
The glory of the nation you love is a desirable end,-but generally to be obtained at your neighbor's expense. Nationalism & Treason ;Citizenship & Patriotism
The importance of money essentially flows from its being a link between the present and the future. Money, Coins & Minting
The introduction of a substantial Government transfer tax on all transactions might prove the most serviceable reform available, with a view to mitigating the predominance of speculation in the United States. Taxes
The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Policy & Policy Making
The moral problem of our day is concerned with the love of money, with the habitual appeal to the money motive in nine-tenths of the activities of life… Money, Coins & Minting
The outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live are its failure to provide for full employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Capitalism
The outstanding ground for cheerfulness lies, I think, in this -- that the system has shown already its capacity to stand an almost inconceivable strain.... This remarkable capacity of the system to take punishment is the best reason for hoping that we still have time to rally the constructive forces of the world. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Capitalism
The study of economics does not seem to require any specialized gifts of an unusually high order. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
The Treaty includes no provision for the economic rehabilitation of Europe -- nothing to make the defeated Central Powers into good neighbors, nothing to stabilize the new States of Europe, nothing to reclaim Russia; nor does it promote in any way a compact of economic solidarity amongst the Allies themselves; no arrangement was reached at Paris for restoring the disordered finances of France and Italy, or to adjust the systems of the Old World and the New. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose Money, Coins & Minting
We are suffering just now from a bad attack of economic pessimism …. The economic problem may be solved, or at least be in sight of a solution, within a hundred years. Poverty
We should be very chary of sacrificing large numbers of people for the sake of a contingent end, however advantageous that may appear… We never know enough to make the chance worth taking. Policy & Policy Making
When he is alone in a room, there is nobody there. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
When the facts change, one ought to change one’s opinion. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally then to succeed unconventionally. Management & Managing Government
Americans are apt to be unduly interested in discovering what average opinion believes average opinion to be.
By a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. Government
Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.
Education: the inculcation of the incomprehensible into the indifferent by the incompetent. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to every one 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.
I do not know which makes a man more conservative - to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past.
I work for a Government I despise for ends I think criminal. Government ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Ideas shape the course of history. History ;Inspiration
If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would be splendid.
In the long run we are all dead. Death
It would not be foolish to contemplate the possibility of a far greater progress still.
Like Odysseus, the President looked wiser when he was seated.
Long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.
Most men love money and security more, and creation and construction less, as they get older. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Money, Coins & Minting
Nothing mattered except states of mind, chiefly our own.
Successful investing is anticipating the anticipations of others.
The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that still carries any reward. Business, Commerce & Finance
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. Life ;Religion & God
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. Success ;War & Peace
The disruptive powers of excessive national fecundity may have played a greater part in bursting the bonds of convention than either the power of ideas or the errors of autocracy. Power
The importance of money flows from it being a link between the present and the future. Future ;Money, Coins & Minting
The social object of skilled investment should be to defeat the dark forces of time and ignorance which envelope our future. Time ;Future
There is no harm in being sometimes wrong - especially if one is promptly found out.
Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking.