John Maynard Keynes by Robert Skidelsky

This biography is readable and detailed. If I was writing a book review, I would call it ‘magisterial’, since that seems to be the word generally used to describe such works. Keynes was a fascinating figure and one of the greatest economists ever. But the aspect of the book I found most interesting was historical. Keynes was closely involved in world affairs during both world wars. It was particularly interesting to read of his role in negotiating financial settlements after the Second World War. He headed the British delegation to Washington and it is timely for us to be reminded that many in the US were very distrustful of Britain, which they saw as an imperialist power trying to cling on to its trading rights. The idea that the UK and the US have been close friends forever is simply false.

Keynes invented a new kind of economic thinking and was right in his judgements of Stalin and Soviet communism. He devised the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He was, really, a policy genius. We could do with someone like him today.


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