John Maynard Keynes was a British born economist whose thoughts and ideas fundamentally changed macro-economical thinking and practice. Keynes' theories relate to total spending in the economy and its effects on output and inflation. For example, during the Great Depression he argued that government policy could be used to influence aggregate demand and prevent or lessen the impact of recessions. His theories are referred to as Keynesian economics, and are also known to many as demand-side economics.

Seventy-one years after his death, Keynes' theories are still prominent and are taught at numerous schools and universities around the world. Below are some of his best known quotes. (See also: Giants Of Finance: John Maynard Keynes.)

The End of Laissez-Faire:

“The important thing for Government is not to do things which individuals are doing already, and to do them a little better or a little worse; but to do those things which at present are not done at all.”

Essays in Persuasion (relating to inflation):

This progressive deterioration in the value of money through history is not an accident, and has had behind it two great driving forces – the impecuniosity of Governments and the superior political influence of the debtor class.

Letter to George Bernard Shaw:

“I believe myself to be writing a book on economic theory which will largely revolutionize – not, I suppose, at once but in the course of the next ten years – the way the world thinks about economic problems.”

Letter sent to Duncan Grant:

“You have not, I suppose, ever mixed with politicians at close quarters. They are awful… their stupidity is inhuman….”

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money:

“It is astonishing what foolish things one can temporarily believe if one thinks too long alone, particularly in economics.”

Keynes to Britain’s Finance Minister, David Lloyd George:

“With the utmost respect, I must, if asked for my opinion, tell you that I regard your account as rubbish.”

To Henry Clay:

“I find myself more and more relying for a solution of our problems on the invisible hand which I tried to eject from economic thinking twenty years ago.”


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