J.M. Keynes - Yesterday's Man?

Peter Clarke looks at the memory of the influential economist

The centenary of his birth in 1983 caught his reputation at an awkward moment. The fiftieth anniversary of the publication of his book, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936), was hardly better. The 1980s have not been kind to the memory of John Maynard Keynes. The rise of 'Thatcherism' in Britain and of 'Reaganomics' in the United States of America saw the explicit rejection of a Keynesian approach to economic problems – now denounced as 'the policies that failed before'. Margaret Thatcher has claimed from time to time that she is actually the true follower of Keynes, a backhanded tribute to the continuing hold of his name. It took Ronald Reagan to put him down with the one-liner that 'this man Keynes didn't even have a degree in economics'.

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