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The Biography of John Maynard Keynes

John Maynard Keynes was born June 5, 1883 in 6 Harvey Road, Cambridge, England. He was a son to John Neville Keynes, who at the time was an economist lecturer at Cambridge University. John’s mother was among the first female graduates from the University, and participated in give back activities towards helping the needy in the society. Keynes started school in 1890 at Peres School Kindergarten. Later, he joined St. Faith’s Preparatory where teachers noted that he was good at arithmetic and algebra. After his education at the preparatory, he joined King’s College and later Cambridge University as an undergraduate.

While at King’s college, he participated in various intellectual and social activities, which contributed largely towards shaping his development. An example of these societies was the Union, a renowned debating club at Cambridge. In addition, Keynes competed for and won awards, and prizes mostly in Mathematics and English. The high number of awards in Mathematics was a clear indication of the path that Keynes intended to take in life. Consequently, he graduated with a first class in Mathematics in 1904. Keynes returned to Cambridge University in 1905 to study economics under a lecturer called Marshall, the famous writer of Marshall’s Principles of Economics. According to the lecturer, he was a hardworking student and a quick learner.

Keynes joined the job market in 1906, when he started a job in the Indian Office of London’s Civil Service. He worked in the Revenue, Statistics and Commerce Department. (Klein, 443-451) However, after three years in the department, he resigned to focus on a probability theory he was working on in Cambridge. He also became a lecturer of Money, Credit and Prices. After two years, Keynes ventured into journalism, and in 1911, he became an editor for the Economies Journal. As a writer, he finished his first major work on Economics in India Currency and Finance, which MacMillan published in 1913.

After the First World War, Keynes returned to lecture in Cambridge on a lecture called The Economic Aspects of the Peace Treaty. Later, he wrote another book entitled The Economic Consequences of Peace, which focused on Germany’s allies, which claimed that the country owed a lot of money to the countries it was in war with. This destroyed Keynes’ reputation in London rendering him jobless. In addition, it largely affected his financial status that he almost became bankrupt. However, with the aim of getting back on his feet financially, Keynes ventured into journalism, for example, he wrote for the Manchester Guardian and was the editor of the Economies Journal.

The Year 1921 came with good things for Keynes. It is in this year that he published his dissertation on Probability. He named the dissertation Treatise on Probability, and it marked the first and last of major works in Mathematics. According to this dissertation, Keynes argued against the validity of probabilities based on past occurrences’ frequency. He further argued that probability is objective and its events relate logically. In the following year, he published a revision of the Treaty. In addition, through various platforms, for example, magazines, newspapers, and lectures, he commented on the economic status of the country mainly the valuation of the sterling pound. Keynes such lecture was the one he lectured at Cambridge called The End of Laissez-Faire.

Keynes focus on the quantity value of money became more evident when he wrote Tract on Monetary Reform and Treatise on Money. Both of this publications tackled monetary policy. According to his theory, the government would only stabilize the economy by focusing on the price level of commodities. That is, the central bank would increase the interest rates when the prices lowered, and lower the rates when the prices rose (Skidelsky & Roberts, 256). However, despite his policy, the unemployment level continued to rise, and was at its worst. Consequently, Keynes went ahead to investigate on other elements affecting the economy, which led to his book The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money.

According to this book, Keynes referred to total consumption as demand. Further to this, he introduced government spending and investment. He claimed that only government spending would maintain employment. In addition, he advocated for high but stabilized wages that would ensure controlled spending and demand. In turn, there would be a constant flow of products into the market at regulated prices; consequently, ensuring people remained employed. However, critiques thought he was the main cause of high unemployment levels after the war. Keynes further advocated free markets, where all investors would trade their products without fear of monopoly. He believed that through fiscal policies, the country would achieve full employment. This would then lead to market mechanism working freely.

However, having spent most of his time focusing on economics and writing loads of books and articles, little of his original theory features in the modern economic theory. Despite this, the Keynesian economics is the base for which many scholars’ work stem (Blinder, 27). This is a clear indication that his ideas were of great influence to modern economic theory.

 

 

Work Cited

“John Maynard Keynes.” 2015. The Famous People website. Jul 15 2015, 01:43 //www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/john-maynard-keynes-191.php.

“John Maynard Keynes.” Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 15 July 2015.

Blinder, Alan S. “Keynesian economics.” The concise encyclopedia of economics 2.008 (2008).

Klein, Lawrence R. “The Life of John Maynard Keynes.” The Journal of Political Economy (1951): 443-451.

Skidelsky, Robert, and Robert Skidelsky. John Maynard Keynes, 1883-1946: Economist, Philosopher, Statesman. New York: Penguin Books, 2005. Print.