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.
Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Labour rallies behind Flint as deputy leader to offset a Corbyn win
- 2 Katie Hopkins reveals fear she will die during brain surgery to cure epilepsy
- 3 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 'Cool kids' can go on to become losers in later life, study finds
Top 20 films that make you feel good
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?
Cilla Black's 12 best songs, from 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' to 'You're My World'
Zoolander 2 trailer leaks online and it's really, really, ridiculously good looking
Game of Thrones season 6: Northern Ireland set photos leak online
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
Calais crisis: For desperate migrants it is 'England or death' as they brave dogs, riot police and speeding trains