Keynes, John Maynard, 1883-1946

Alternative names
Birth 1883-06-05
Death 1946-04-21

Biographical notes:

English economist.

From the description of Typewritten letters signed (2) : [n.p.], to Sir Percy Bates, 1935 Sept. 25 and Oct. 9. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270497268

British economist.

From the description of The economic transition in England : typescript, 1925. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122645189

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), Baron Keynes, economist, was born in Cambridge on 5 June 1883, and educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge. He was lecturer in economics at Cambridge, 1908-1915, and editor of the Economic journal, 1912-1945. He joined the Treasury in 1915, and was its principal representative at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, but resigned after objecting to the terms of the peace treaty. Keynes wrote regularly for Nation and Athenaeum between 1923 and 1931. He returned to the Treasury in 1940, and played a key role in the Bretton Woods Conference of 1944, which led to the establishment of the International Monetary Fund and International Bank. He was created baron in 1942, and died at his home in Tilton on 21 April 1946.

From the guide to the John Maynard Keynes: Papers, 1919-1972, (Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives)

Epithet: economist

Title: Baron Keynes

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000205.0x000048

Biographical/Historical Note

British economist.

From the guide to the John Maynard Keynes typescript : The economic transition in England, 1925, (Hoover Institution Archives)

John Maynard Keynes was born in Cambridge on 5 June 1883, the son of Florence and Dr. John Neville Keynes, fellow of Pembroke College and later University Registrar. He was educated at Eton, and came up to King's College, Cambridge as a scholar in 1902. After he was awarded his undergraduate degree, he entered the Home Civil Service and served for two years at the India Office. He left the civil service in 1908, however, when he became a fellow of King's College and remained so until his death. He was lecturer in Economics from 1911 to 1937 and in 1919 he also took on the post of Second Bursar of the college. In 1924 he began his memorable tenure as first bursar, changing completely the philosophy by which the college managed its assets, and in 1925, he married Lydia Lopokova.

Despite his retirement from the India Office, Keynes was to be found in London almost as often as in Cambridge, placing his services at the disposal of his government, particularly when called upon by the Treasury. He served on a number of government committees in the 1920s and 30s, but - as with everyone else - it was during the two world wars that most was demanded of Keynes. During World War I he became a civil servant in the Treasury and by 1917 had gained a position of some responsibility. He was the Treaury's representative at the peace conference that ended the war. At the invitation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Keynes placed his services at the disposal of his country again in 1940, after war had broken out a second time. As an advisor to the treasury, he was much involved in both the problems of war finance and plans for the later transistion from war to peace. Among other things, Keynes acted as one of the negotiatiors of Lend-Lease, and played a leading part at the Bretton Woods conference. He was rewarded for his serviced during the first war with a C.B., and during the second by elevation to the peerage, becoming Baron Keynes of Tilton.

It was not as a servant of college or country, however, that Keynes has made his name, but as a brilliant and original economist. Keynes was a prolific writer who preferred short, immediately relevant works to exhaustive theoretical tomes. He did not write his works with the intention that they should last forever, but wished only to ensure that the fiscal problems of the day were addressed as quickly and competently as possible. In the process he did, nevertheless, create something lasting - what we know call Keynesian economics - the cornerstone of which were his theories on saving and investment, and their relation to rising and falling prices. These were elaborated in his 'Treatise on money' (1930) and his later 'General theory of employment, interest and money' (1936). Through his leadership in a number of societies and his editorship of the 'Economic Journal' he had great influence on the next generation of economists, and through his editorship of the 'Nation and Athenaeum' and 'New Statesman and Nation' he influenced his contemporaries more widely.

He died on Easter Sunday, 21 April 1946, after several years of ill-health.

From the guide to the The Papers of John Maynard Keynes, 1868-1951, (King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge)


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  • Economics
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  • Cambridge (England) (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Tilton (England) (as recorded)
  • Great Britain Economic conditions 1918-1945. (as recorded)