by Unknown photographer, bromide print, 1933

After working for a year at the Revenue, Statistics and Commerce Department of the India Office:
I’m thoroughly sick of this place and would like to resign. Now the novelty has worn off I’m bored nine-tenths of the time and rather unreasonably irritated the other tenth whenever I can’t have my own way.

Letter sent to Duncan Grant:
You have not, I suppose, ever mixed with politicians at close quarters. They are awful… their stupidity is inhuman….”

In the first year of World War One:

I am absolutely and completely desolated. It is utterly unbearable to see day by day the youths going away, first to boredom and discomfort, and then to slaughter.”

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.”

On the Russian Revolution:
I was immensely cheered and excited by the Russian news. It’s the sole result of the war so far worth having… I see not the remotest chance, however, of any pro-Tsar counter-revolution…”

Letter sent to his mother:
Well the only course open to me is to be buoyantly Bolshevik; and as I lie in bed this morning I reflect with a good deal of satisfaction that, because our rulers are as incompetent as they are mad and wicked, one particular era of a particular kind of civilization is very nearly over.”

The Economic Consequences of the Peace:
Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security, but at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth.”

Essays in Persuasion:
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.

Essays in Persuasion:
Thus inflation is unjust and deflation is inexpedient. Of the two perhaps deflation is, if we rule out exaggerated inflations such as that of Germany, the worse; because it is worse, in an impoverished world, to provoke unemployment than to disappoint the renter. But it is necessary that we should weigh one evil against the other. It is easier to agree that both are evils to be shunned.”

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.

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.”

Letter to F. C. Scott:
As time goes on, I get more and more convinced that the right method in investment is to put fairly large sums into enterprises which one thinks one knows something about and in the management of which one thoroughly believes.”

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.”

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money:
Speculators may do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise. But the position is serious when enterprise becomes the bubble on a whirlpool of speculation. When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done… The introduction of a substantial government transfer tax on all transactions might prove the most serviceable reform available, with a view to mitigating the predominance of speculation over enterprise in the United States.”

Keynes’s standard reply to uninvited correspondence:
Dear X, thank you for sending me your article/paper/book. I shall lose no time in reading it, yours sincerely J.M.K.

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money:
The spectacle of modern investment markets has sometimes moved me towards the conclusion that to make the purchase of an investment permanent and indissoluble, like marriage, except by reason of death or other grave cause, might be a useful remedy for our contemporary evils. For this would force the investor to direct his mind to the long-term prospects and to those only.”

King’s College Estate Committee Report:
Investing is an activity of forecasting the yield over the life of the asset; speculation is the activity of forecasting the psychology of the market.”

Letter to The Times:
The intelligentsia of the Left were the loudest in demanding that the Nazi aggression should be resisted at all costs. When it comes to a showdown, scarce four weeks have passed before they remember that they are pacifists and write defeatist letters to your columns, leaving the defense of freedom and civilization to Colonel Blimp and the Old School Tie, for whom Three Cheers.”

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.”

John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes ,  (5 June 1883 – 21 April 1946), was an economist whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. He built on and greatly refined earlier work on the causes of business cycles, and is widely considered to be one of the most influential economists of the 20th century and the founder of modern macroeconomics.

 His ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynesian economics and its various offshoots.