The Economy: We Are All Keynesians Now

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year ahead. He was also editor of the erudite British Economic Journal, chairman of the New Statesman and Nation and a director of the Bank of England.

Keynes began each day propped up in bed, poring for half an hour over reports of the world's gyrating currency and commodity markets; by speculating in them, he earned a fortune of more than $2,000,000. Money, he said, should be valued not as a possession but "as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life." He took pleasure in assembling the world's finest collection of Newton's manuscripts and in organizing London's Camargo Ballet and Cambridge's Arts Theater. Later, the government tapped him to head Britain's Arts Council, and in 1942 King George VI made him a lord.

Part dilettante and part Renaissance man, Keynes moved easily in Britain's eclectic world of arts and letters. Though he remarked that economists should be humble, like dentists, he enjoyed trouncing countesses at bridge and Prime Ministers at lunch-table debates. He became a leader of the Bloomsbury set of avant-garde writers and painters, including Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Lytton Strachey and E. M. Forster. At a party at the Sitwells, he met Lydia Lopokova, a ballerina of the Diaghilev Russian ballet. She was blonde and buxom; he was frail and stoop-shouldered, with watery blue eyes. She chucked her career to marry him. His only regret in life, said Keynes shortly before his death of a heart attack, was that he had not drunk more champagne.

The Whole Economy. The thrust of Keynes's personality, however strong, was vastly less important than the force of his ideas. Those ideas were so original and persuasive that Keynes now ranks with Adam Smith and Karl Marx as one of history's most significant economists. Today his theses are the basis of economic policies in Britain, Canada, Australia and part of Continental Europe, as well as in the U.S.

Economics is a young science, a mere 200 years old. Addressing its problems in the second half of its second century, Keynes was more successful than his predecessors in seeing it whole. Great theorists before him had tried to take a wide view of economic forces, but they lacked the 20th century statistical tools to do the job, and they tended to concentrate on certain specialties. Adam Smith focused on the marketplace, Malthus on population, Ricardo on rent and land, Marx on labor and wages. Modern economists call those specializations "microeconomics"; Keynes was the precursor of what is now known as "macroeconomics"—from the Greek makros, for large or extended. He decided that the way to look at the economy was to measure all the myriad forces tugging and pulling at it—production, prices, profits, incomes, interest rates, government policies.

For most of his life, Keynes wrote, wrote, wrote. He was so prolific that a compendium of his books, tracts and essays fills 22 pages. In succession he wrote books about mathematical probability (1921), the gold standard and monetary reform (1923), and the causes of business cycles (1930); each of his works further developed his economic thinking. Then he bundled his major theories into his magnum opus, The General Theory, published in 1936. It is an uneven and ill-organized book, as difficult as Deuteronomy and open to almost as many interpretations. Yet for all its faults,

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