Economics

10 Things You Might Not Know About John Maynard Keynes

1.John Maynard Keynes was born into a successful family. His father was John Neville Keynes, a formidable economist in his own right, and his mother was Florence Ada Keynes, who was among the first female graduates of King’s College, Cambridge.

2. In 1905, he earned an undergraduate degree from King’s College in mathematics. While he naturally took to math and the classics, the only economic experience he obtained as an undergraduate was an eight-week course in it. To add to this unusual fact, he scored higher in English history than in economics when he took his civil service examinations.

3. He was a member of “the Society,” a private club of intellectuals and writers alternatively called the Bloomsbury Group. It was here that he was introduced to one of his best friends, the modernist writer, Virginia Woolf.

4. Keynes was bisexual. Though he happily married his wife, Lydia Lopokova, at the age of 42, many of Keynes’ early years were spent having sexual encounters with other men.

5. Many of “the Society’s” fellow members discouraged Keynes from marrying Lydia. The writer Lytton Strachey called her a “half-witted canary,” and urged Keynes to keep her as his mistress instead. Keynes evidentially rejected his friend’s advice.

John Maynard Keynes

6. He was an ardent supporter of the arts. He served as the founding chairman of the Arts Council in 1945, reopened the Royal Opera House, and spent many years in between the World Wars advocating for more citizens to take up art as a pastime.

7. Keynes promulgated the idea that automation would become so advanced that future generations would only have to work for a mere three hours a day.

8. He was a pioneer for women’s rights. He frequently lectured on the use of contraception and served as the vice president of the Marie Stopes Society for Constructive Birth Control.

9. In 1942, Keynes was awarded a peerage for his service to Britain. He took his seat with the Liberal Party in the House of Lords and his name consequently changed to Baron Keynes of Tilton.

10. Keynes suffered from a heart attack in 1937. After a brief period of recovery, he valiantly pressed on in his career. He wrote three more influential articles on economics, resumed his teaching career at Cambridge, and served in Britain’s treasury until his death in 1946.

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