John Maynard Keynes (June 5, 1883 – April 21, 1946):
John Maynard Keynes (JMK) is probably one of the most famous economists. He was a British economist. His father was John Neville Keynes a Cambridge economist. JMK attended King’s College Cambridge and later became a fellow there. In 1911 he was made editor of the Economic Journal - Britain's foremost economics publication.
Keynes and the General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money:
Keynes is known for starting the field of what became known as Keynesian economics. He outlined many of these ideas in his famous book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. This book, published in 1936, was written in response to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Keynesian economics promotes a mixed economy.
Keynes and a Mixed Economy:
In this type of economy both the state and the private sector play an important role. For example, he advocated for interventionist government policy. He thought it would be beneficial for the government to use fiscal and monetary measures to mitigate the negative impact of economic recessions, depressions and booms.
Keynesian economics is often seen as the opposite of laissez-faire economics. Laissez-faire economic theory is based on the belief that markets and the private sector can operate well on their own, without state intervention. Obviously while JMK's ideas have had a great impact on economic and political though and action, not everyone agrees with his ideas. At the time of JMK's writing his ideas split the economics world. Even today Keynes's ideas are controversial.
In 1942, based on his economic and political work, Keynes became Baron Keynes, of Tilton in the County of Sussex. Keynes died of infarction, his heart problems being aggravated by the strain of working on post-war international financial problems.