Sociology Index


John Maynard Keynes

John Maynard Keynes was an English economist, whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. John Maynard Keynes was the most influential economists of the 20th century, and his ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynesian Economics.

John Maynard Keynes spearheaded a revolution in economic thinking, challenging the ideas of neoclassical economics that held that free markets would, in the short to medium term, automatically provide full employment, as long as workers were flexible in their wage demands. He argued that aggregate demand, or the total spending in the economy, determined the overall level of economic activity, and that inadequate aggregate demand could lead to prolonged periods of high unemployment. Keynes advocated the use of fiscal and monetary policies to mitigate the adverse effects of economic recessions and depressions. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, was published in 1936. John Maynard Keynes participated in the design of the international economic institutions established after the end of World War II.

The advent of the global financial crisis of 2007–2008 sparked a resurgence in Keynesian thought. Keynesian economics provided the theoretical underpinning for economic policies undertaken in response to the financial crisis by President Barack Obama of the United States, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom, and other heads of governments.

When Time magazine included Keynes among its Most Important People of the Century in 1999, it stated that "his radical idea that governments should spend money they don't have may have saved capitalism." The Economist has described Keynes as "Britain's most famous 20th-century economist." John Maynard Keynes was also a civil servant, a director of the Bank of England, and a part of the Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals.