Keynes, By Peter Clarke
Sunday 14 March 2010
Shares in John Maynard Keynes are rising, and Peter Clarke's elegant, succinct biography could not be more timely. The first half is a chronological account of Keynes's life, reminding us what a polymath the man was. As well as the most influential economist of the 20th century, he was a mathematician and philosopher whose first published work was a treatise on probability, an essayist and journalist, an adviser to governments, and friend of most of the leading intellectuals of his day. (Bertrand Russell described him as the cleverest man he ever knew, and said that every time he argued with Keynes he felt as though he was taking his life in his hands.)
The second part of Keynes is an explanation and analysis of his theories and their influence. It is dry, technical and bristling with distinctions (between saving and investment, between ex ante and ex post outcomes, between the spending behaviour of individuals and aggregate spending), but Clarke has done a decent job of making the ideas accessible. He argues that Keynes was right to maintain that public works ultimately pay for themselves, and his conclusion, that a form of updated Keynesianism is needed now, is well-earned.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 3 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
- 4 John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time
- 5 Kanye West stops concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
Cilla, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith embodies the young singer perfectly
Tyler, The Creator says having new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was 'like waking up with herpes'
Kanye West stops concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly