Keynes, John Maynard (1883–1946) By Davis, Michael T.
John Maynard Keynes, CB, FBA, first baron Keynes of Tilton, was an economist, moral philosopher, and patron of the arts. The tension between ethical and scientific approaches to economics remained a creative force in Keynes’ economic writings and work as a government economist. During Keynes’ education at Cambridge, he was elected a member of the secret society known as the Apostles. Like other Apostles of the time, Keynes read G. E. Moore’s Principia Ethica (1903), which could be said to have formed his personal moral philosophy for the rest of his life. Keynes also became deeply involved in the Bloomsbury Group, especially with Vanessa Bell. Though Keynes had little in the way of formal education in economics and was largely self-taught, his lectures in economics at Cambridge quickly demonstrated his ability in the field. At the end of World War I, Keynes represented the Treasury at the Versailles Peace Conference in Paris, but resigned, convinced that the reparations required of Germany inevitably would lead to dangerous political and economic results. Keynes’ most influential work is The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936), which established the foundations of Keynesian economics. In 1944 Keynes participated in the Bretton Woods Conference. Two of its main accomplishments were the establishment of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.