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A page-turning biography of world-changing economist John Maynard Keynes and the big ideas that outlived him. In the spring of 1934, Virginia Woolf sketched an affectionate biographical portrait of her great friend John Maynard Keynes. Writing a full two years before Keynes would revolutionize the economics world with the publication of The General Theory, Woolf nevertheles A page-turning biography of world-changing economist John Maynard Keynes and the big ideas that outlived him. In the spring of 1934, Virginia Woolf sketched an affectionate biographical portrait of her great friend John Maynard Keynes. Writing a full two years before Keynes would revolutionize the economics world with the publication of The General Theory, Woolf nevertheless found herself unable to condense her friend's already-extraordinary life into anything less than twenty-five themes, which she jotted down at the opening of her homage: "Politics. Art. Dancing. Letters. Economics. Youth. The Future. Glands. Genealogies. Atlantis. Mortality. Religion. Cambridge. Eton. The Drama. Society. Truth. Pigs. Sussex. The History of England. America. Optimism. Stammer. Old Books. Hume." Keynes was not only an economist, as he is remembered today, but the preeminent anti-authoritarian thinker of the twentieth century, a man who devoted his life to the belief that art and ideas could conquer war and deprivation. A moral philosopher, political theorist, and statesman, Keynes immersed himself in a creative milieu filled with ballerinas and literary icons as he developed his own innovative and at times radical thought, reinventing Enlightenment liberalism for the harrowing crises of his day--which included two world wars and an economic collapse that challenged the legitimacy of democratic government itself. The Price of Peace follows Keynes from intimate turn-of-the-century parties in London's riotous Bloomsbury art scene to the fevered negotiations in Paris that shaped the Treaty of Versailles, through stock market crashes and currency crises to diplomatic breakthroughs in the mountains of New Hampshire and wartime ballet openings at Covent Garden. In this riveting biography, veteran journalist Zachary D. Carter unearths the lost legacy of one of history's most important minds. John Maynard Keynes's vibrant, deeply human vision of democracy, art, and the good life has been obscured by technical debates, but in The Price of Peace, Carter revives a forgotten set of ideas with the power to reinvent national government and reframe the principles of international diplomacy in our own time.


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A page-turning biography of world-changing economist John Maynard Keynes and the big ideas that outlived him. In the spring of 1934, Virginia Woolf sketched an affectionate biographical portrait of her great friend John Maynard Keynes. Writing a full two years before Keynes would revolutionize the economics world with the publication of The General Theory, Woolf nevertheles A page-turning biography of world-changing economist John Maynard Keynes and the big ideas that outlived him. In the spring of 1934, Virginia Woolf sketched an affectionate biographical portrait of her great friend John Maynard Keynes. Writing a full two years before Keynes would revolutionize the economics world with the publication of The General Theory, Woolf nevertheless found herself unable to condense her friend's already-extraordinary life into anything less than twenty-five themes, which she jotted down at the opening of her homage: "Politics. Art. Dancing. Letters. Economics. Youth. The Future. Glands. Genealogies. Atlantis. Mortality. Religion. Cambridge. Eton. The Drama. Society. Truth. Pigs. Sussex. The History of England. America. Optimism. Stammer. Old Books. Hume." Keynes was not only an economist, as he is remembered today, but the preeminent anti-authoritarian thinker of the twentieth century, a man who devoted his life to the belief that art and ideas could conquer war and deprivation. A moral philosopher, political theorist, and statesman, Keynes immersed himself in a creative milieu filled with ballerinas and literary icons as he developed his own innovative and at times radical thought, reinventing Enlightenment liberalism for the harrowing crises of his day--which included two world wars and an economic collapse that challenged the legitimacy of democratic government itself. The Price of Peace follows Keynes from intimate turn-of-the-century parties in London's riotous Bloomsbury art scene to the fevered negotiations in Paris that shaped the Treaty of Versailles, through stock market crashes and currency crises to diplomatic breakthroughs in the mountains of New Hampshire and wartime ballet openings at Covent Garden. In this riveting biography, veteran journalist Zachary D. Carter unearths the lost legacy of one of history's most important minds. John Maynard Keynes's vibrant, deeply human vision of democracy, art, and the good life has been obscured by technical debates, but in The Price of Peace, Carter revives a forgotten set of ideas with the power to reinvent national government and reframe the principles of international diplomacy in our own time.

30 review for The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    This book is not just about Keynes. It is, as the author notes, an exploration about whether you can make changes through policy or through revolution. It gets at one of the greatest fissures in modern thought right now across the world--do you need to burn the system to the ground and start over and can you make technical fixes that improve people's lives, avoid inter- and intra-societal conflicts, and equality. Keynes was an optimist and a technocrat even though his ideas were debunked when hi This book is not just about Keynes. It is, as the author notes, an exploration about whether you can make changes through policy or through revolution. It gets at one of the greatest fissures in modern thought right now across the world--do you need to burn the system to the ground and start over and can you make technical fixes that improve people's lives, avoid inter- and intra-societal conflicts, and equality. Keynes was an optimist and a technocrat even though his ideas were debunked when his name became a byword for "radical communist." This is ironic because the neoliberal movement that swept away Keynesian was much more radical than the Keynesians. Hayek, Friedman, and Goldwater conducted a revolution in the name of incrementalism, conservatism, and technical-ism (sic). Where Keynes was the incrementalist. Anyway, this is a must-read. So well-written.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bob H

    A magisterial and detailed (530 pp.) account of the work and legacy of John Maynard Keynes, the legendary economist whose writing and diplomacy -- public and private -- would influence economies and world policy in his time and beyond. Although it's a biography of sorts, it follows his adult life and career starting in the years before WWI and traces his influence beyond his death in 1946 -- indeed, the book's final pages concern the 2008 financial collapse and its aftermath. We learn of his pers A magisterial and detailed (530 pp.) account of the work and legacy of John Maynard Keynes, the legendary economist whose writing and diplomacy -- public and private -- would influence economies and world policy in his time and beyond. Although it's a biography of sorts, it follows his adult life and career starting in the years before WWI and traces his influence beyond his death in 1946 -- indeed, the book's final pages concern the 2008 financial collapse and its aftermath. We learn of his personal life, his time as a young man with the Bloomsbury Group, an almost communal group of intellectuals in pre-WWI London who traded soirées and love affairs as their varied careers and fame would grow (Keynes would shock his friends, after the war, by marrying a woman). Keynes' reputation as an economist in his early 30s would be enough for him to solve a currency crisis in London just as WWI was starting. He would remain in various important Treasury posts and serve an important role with the UK delegation at the 1919 Paris peace talks. Keynes witnessed considerable history and economic damage at war's end, and, out of government, would write of his disillusionment, and later his gathered theories on economics and government. Ignored at first, he would, we see, become more and more vindicated as Britain, and later the US, would see considerable economic calamity. Keynes would become an influence, both philosophical and personal, with FDR's administration after the Crash, and, through correspondence, with FDR himself. Keynes would be a key part of the economic response to the Depression and, later, in the Allied economic mobilization in WWII. His final act would be his crucial work at the Bretton Woods economic conference, an event that would be one of the decisive outcomes after the war. Much of the book traces his legacy. Keynes would inspire or influence generations of policy economists, particularly in the US, starting with John Kenneth Galbraith and ending up with the likes of Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz. In one way or another, Keynesian economics would affect policy in the administrations of JFK, LBJ and Richard Nixon. We also see a rival, conservative school of conservative economics originating with a contemporary of Keynes, Friedrich Hayek, whose later disciples, starting with Milton Friedman, would be antagonists, even nemeses, to the Keynesians. The book traces the decline of Keynesianism in the Clinton years, a second gilded age that would seemingly retire Keynes' notions as quaint and outdated. The book does argue that all that changed under the demands of the 2008 crash and the new economic problems. It's no spoiler to say the book pretty much concludes toward the end of the Obama years. However, given the covid-19 pandemic and the sudden new Depression it has caused, this book may explain at least some of the economic ideologies shaping official policy now -- whether or not the officials have even heard of Hayek or Keynes, the dynamics are still at hand, and this book is a timely background to this day. In the long run, Keynes famously said, we're all dead; he also wrote that in the short run, we're alive. Highest recommendation. Read in advance copy from Amazon Vine.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sherrie

    ***I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway*** So, for the first 350 pages or so this was going to be a strong 4 stars. A little bit biography, a little bit economics and philosophy history. Combined, this made for a very interesting read. John Maynard Keynes was not what we think of nowadays when we think of economists (sorry, friends, not an insult!) He was quirky and let his personal experiences and beliefs color his views on economic systems. And in many situations...he was right. I thoroughly ***I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway*** So, for the first 350 pages or so this was going to be a strong 4 stars. A little bit biography, a little bit economics and philosophy history. Combined, this made for a very interesting read. John Maynard Keynes was not what we think of nowadays when we think of economists (sorry, friends, not an insult!) He was quirky and let his personal experiences and beliefs color his views on economic systems. And in many situations...he was right. I thoroughly enjoyed how the author explained various financial systems and economic theories and how the different variables play against one another. I felt like I learned a lot. But then, Keynes died with like 150 pages left in the book...which is weird, but could have been OK. Instead, the book lost all semblance of direction. While the first 350 pages had dealt primarily with Great Britain and the issues that Keynes worked on directly, the latter 150 pages dealt entirely with America. Everything from the Cold War through Obama's presidency. It's too much, everything was disconnected and it just sort of fell apart. Instead of working through specific cases slowly and methodically, the author went through 50+ years in a blitz, only saying things that have been said in many other books/articles already, and only loosely connecting these back to Keynes (because, realistically, very little of American politics has been driven by Keynes ideas). The book would have been improved by cutting out that whole latter section to be replaced with something more consistent with the Keynes life and philosophy. I do recommend the first ~350 pages to readers who are curious about Keynes ideas. It was a fun and informative read. My only caveat is to keep the author's bias in mind...he's a senior reporter for HuffPost and is clearly a big fan of Keynes. He came across a little defensive at times.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin

    This book is divided in two parts the first is Keynes life starting at Bloomsbury and the Apostles and his work at the Paris peace conference in 1919 his career ascending to the corridors of power and in finance his General theory in 1936 the basis of the postwar economic order and his work at the Bretton Woods conference where this order was hammered out. The second half of the book is the afterlife (Keynes died in 1946) of his economics. It has widespread acceptance until the 1970s and the fa This book is divided in two parts the first is Keynes life starting at Bloomsbury and the Apostles and his work at the Paris peace conference in 1919 his career ascending to the corridors of power and in finance his General theory in 1936 the basis of the postwar economic order and his work at the Bretton Woods conference where this order was hammered out. The second half of the book is the afterlife (Keynes died in 1946) of his economics. It has widespread acceptance until the 1970s and the familiar story of stagflation and Reagan has been told elsewhere. It is a tragedy we are still grappling with. To the resuscitation of Keynes and post-Keynesianism in 2008 after the neoliberal order fell apart in 2008. I like Keynes the man and his theories but the economic policy is only enacted by elites if it serves their interest. Keynesian economics doesn't let the rich indulge in power and greed as Laissez-faire does and frankly and progressive policy is only ever enacted if labor and the public can find a way to light a fire under the asses of the elite and force their hand (to put it crudely) the post-war era was forged in the unrest of the thirties and with noncapitalist models (the Soviets) offering alternatives otherwise the anomalous Keynesian glory days of prosperity would have never happened. And once elites clawed their way back they dispatched the Keynesian order at the first sign of trouble in the 1970s. It is always about power and zero-sum games about splitting the pie. And here we are forced to relearn and refight the battles of our grandparents.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marks54

    The most fascinating aspects of a critical biography, at least to me, show how the person influenced the world around him/her and continues to do so. For an intellectual biography, you have the added requirement of guiding the reader through what the subject has written and explaining how it fits into the broader story. When all of this fits together, and the author of the biography is himself a superb writer, the result is magic. I just finished Zachary Carter’s book on Keynes and it is nothing The most fascinating aspects of a critical biography, at least to me, show how the person influenced the world around him/her and continues to do so. For an intellectual biography, you have the added requirement of guiding the reader through what the subject has written and explaining how it fits into the broader story. When all of this fits together, and the author of the biography is himself a superb writer, the result is magic. I just finished Zachary Carter’s book on Keynes and it is nothing short of amazing. I have encountered Keynes in one form or another since my sophomore year in college and I never expected to find him exciting. Keynes lived an amazing life. He was influential apparently from the day he entered government service to the end of his life. He was raised in a well connected family and hung around with perhaps the toughest intellectual crowd imaginable - seriously. ...and then there is the economics and politics. As a very young man he was a critical advisor to the Paris Peace Conference and wrote “The Economic Consequences of the Peace”, one of the most influential books of the times that defined the reparations problem that would plague Europe in the next twenty years and lead to WW2. He lost a bit of official influence in the process but lived to fight again. Read the book now and see what you think. It is still gripping. Then there is the economics - leading to the Great Depression and the General Theory. This story is well told by Carter who weaves Keynes’ writings into the flow along with the dynamics of his colleagues and opponents, such as Hayek. This story is well known but the details of people like Joan Robinson are well done. His work on the Bretton Woods accord was also hugely important but just added to an already amazing career. The continuation of Keynes’ influence after his death shows the continuing importance of his ideas both in terms of their own influence and in terms of the vitriol of his opponents as the Cold War and its various morality plays developed. The story of academic politics and general nastiness regarding Keynesian devotees in the postwar period is well known but still sad. Recent histories of the “Austrian” economists tell the same story from a different perspective. One of Mr. Carter’s major punchlines appears to be that Keynes remains viable as a source of policy insights today - not surprising for someone whose work arguably stimulated the invention of the entire area of “macroeconomics”. More important than that is the position that Keynesian ideas are neither good nor bad in themselves but tools that can be used for a variety of policy objectives. In today’s terms, Keynes is the source of policy options for putting a progressive social and economic policy agenda into practice. Given issues of widespread inequality as well as the bankruptcy of the neoliberal policy consensus for handling crises since 2007-2008, this is a reassuring takeaway from the book as makes Carter’s biography of crucial importance today - and well worth reading.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    A great read. This book came out at the perfect time. It highlights many transformative moments throughout the 20th century that Keynes was part of. It is especially telling today as we go into a new transformative moment for what the world will look like after the coronavirus. Keynes was a marvelous intellect and Carter tells a gripping tale of his life. He was there for it all, the Treaty of Versailles, the abandonment of the gold standard, the formation of the New Deal, and many other signifi A great read. This book came out at the perfect time. It highlights many transformative moments throughout the 20th century that Keynes was part of. It is especially telling today as we go into a new transformative moment for what the world will look like after the coronavirus. Keynes was a marvelous intellect and Carter tells a gripping tale of his life. He was there for it all, the Treaty of Versailles, the abandonment of the gold standard, the formation of the New Deal, and many other significant events. Interestingly, Keynes dies half way through this book. From there on, Carter does a fascinating take of how Keynesian thinking persisted and evolved from Keynes's death to the present. John Kenneth Galbraith becomes a "main character" and his evolution of Keynesian into an American version is especially interesting. All in all, this is a most wonderful history that goes beyond the life of one man. Keynes was a persistent optimist, and my favorite quote of his was "Down with those who declare we are dumped and damned!" (533), referring to pessimists. He is spot on!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    I had no idea that John Maynard Keynes was such an amazing guy. I vaguely knew him as an economist whose theories influenced FDR during the Depression. I had no idea that he was a journalist, philosopher, member of the Bloomsbury group of authors and artists among other things. And his economic ideas stemmed from a desire to halt war and help the little guys. Unfortunately, he wasn't always listened to. This isn't a traditional biography in two ways. First, we don't get the cradle-to-grave treatm I had no idea that John Maynard Keynes was such an amazing guy. I vaguely knew him as an economist whose theories influenced FDR during the Depression. I had no idea that he was a journalist, philosopher, member of the Bloomsbury group of authors and artists among other things. And his economic ideas stemmed from a desire to halt war and help the little guys. Unfortunately, he wasn't always listened to. This isn't a traditional biography in two ways. First, we don't get the cradle-to-grave treatment. Carter begins the bio in 1914 at the start of The Great War, when Keynes is called from his post at university to advise the British government on how to finance the war effort. That begins his lifelong goal to develop economic principles that would help make war less likely and fueled his frustration with the Versailles Treaty that he was convinced would lead to another war with Germany. Unfortunately he was right. The other way that this is not a typical biography is that roughly the last third of the book follows events after Keynes's death. Carter follows economists like Paul Samuelson, John Kenneth Galbraith and others who took Keynes's work and built on it - or evolved it into something quite different from what Keynes intended. Between the first half of the century when Keynes was alive and the second half, we get an economic history of the 20th century (and the opening years of the 21st - including economic decisions that led to the Great Recession). And Carter manages to make some of the complex theories downright readable. NOTE - I received an Advanced copy of this book from the publisher through a Goodreads giveaway.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    In spite of his one-time prominence, John Maynard Keynes ("Cains") isn't a household name today. So Zachary Carter's The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes (2020) is a timely effort to fill that gap. Keynes's Personal Life: A Thumbnail Sketch It's well known that Keynes was homosexual. This was not unusual in his generation on Britain among prep school and university students. For Carter it is an up-front issue in Keynes's life, and Carter marvels at Keynes's su In spite of his one-time prominence, John Maynard Keynes ("Cains") isn't a household name today. So Zachary Carter's The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes (2020) is a timely effort to fill that gap. Keynes's Personal Life: A Thumbnail Sketch It's well known that Keynes was homosexual. This was not unusual in his generation on Britain among prep school and university students. For Carter it is an up-front issue in Keynes's life, and Carter marvels at Keynes's successful marriage to an internationally-acclaimed Russian ballerina named Lydia Lopokova. Carter does write well, as in this beautifully phrased snapshot capturing the complexity of his subject: Keynes was a tangle of paradoxes: a bureaucrat who marries a dancer; a gay man whose greatest love was a woman; a loyal servant of the British Empire who railed against imperialism; a pacifist who helped finance two world wars; an internationalist who assembled the intellectual architecture for the modern nation-state; an economist who challenged the foundation of economics. But embedded in all of these seeming contradictions is a coherent vision of human freedom and political salvation. Keynes Before WWI John Maynard Keynes ("Maynard") was born in 1883, the son of Ada Keynes, a social reformer, and John Neville Keynes ("Neville"), an economist at King's College, Cambridge University. He attended Eton College and graduated from King's college in 1908 with a first in mathematics—Bertrand Russell extolled his brilliance. In the same year he took a civil service position at the India Office, where he worked on financial matters in India. Though his education was in mathematics, Maynard's primary interests were in political philosophy and economics. He was a liberal of his day, believing that that government could be the solution for many social and economic problems. He was also a problem-solving optimist, an outlook that shaped his career and his work. His impact on economics began in 1909 when he was given a minor academic position as a lecturer at King's College, where his father was a noted economist. In 1911 he published Indian Currency and Finance, a result of a brief attachment to the India Office. In that treatise he argued that India should have a different monetary system for international and domestic transactions: the British pound—a gold standard currency—for international finance; a paper standard, the rupiah for domestic finance. This idea would eventually inform hos proposals for a new international monetary system after WWII. In 1911 Keynes was appointed editor of The Economic Journal, a position from which he could help shape the field by selecting papers worthy of publication. His particular expertise was in finance and monetary theory, and he would soon be tested. At the outbreak of the war in August 1914 Keynes was called to assist in managing the financial crisis facing Britain: speculative runs against the pound, both internal and external, were draining Britain's coffers of gold and of currencies convertible into gold. The result was "tight money" with high interest rates and a declining domestic money supply. A recession was in the headlights when in 1915 Keynes was appointed to an official position in the Treasury to manage the problem. This began a lifelong career with one foot in the academy and one foot in government, a career that continued until his death in 1946. The standard prescription for resolution of a financial crisis under the gold standard was to either devalue the pound (raise the price of gold in terms of pounds) or to suspend convertibility entirely (simply end the requirement that the Treasury buy or sell gold), thus letting the pound "float." In the absence of those steps, the only solution was price deflation to reduce the domestic price level relative to price levels for trading partners. Bankers, the Treasury, and the Bank of England objected to devaluation or suspension of convertibility because London's position as a financial center would be compromised. Instead they proposed a plan to end the sale of gold to foreigners—a suspension of external convertibility but a continuation of internal convertibility: British citizens could trade pounds for dollars, but foreigners could not. This would reserve the British gold stock for internal use. Keynes opposed that idea and made a counter-proposal based on his work in India: end sales of gold to the public (suspend internal convertibility) but maintain external convertibility. This turned the proposal by the bankers and their fellow travelers on its head: the gold specie (coins) used in domestic transactions would be replaced by new Treasury notes not convertible into gold. The risk was that the public would reject the new and inconvertible currency, in which case they’d want to get rid of the bad currency and inflation would emerge, exacerbating a foreign run on gold. To almost everyone's surprise, Keynes's proposal was adopted, and it worked: the new paper currency was accepted and the external drain of gold stopped because foreigners now believed there was sufficient gold at the British Treasury to maintain convertibility. Keynes Between the Wars In 1919 Keynes attended the Paris Peace Conference that hashed out the Versailles Treaty finalizing WWI. From this vantage point he wrote The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919), a book assessing the Treaty and predicting that the massive reparations in gold and resources (like German rolling stock, Ruhr coal production) levied by the Triple Entente (France, Britain, the U. S. and Russia) to reimburse them for the costs of the war would impoverish the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) and set the foundations for another European war. He was, of course, correct: WWII would pop up twenty years later. The next serious crisis occurred in 1925 when Winston Churchill, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, decided to return Britain to the international gold standard. Once again, this was driven by a desire to enhance London's position as a financial center. The return to gold at prewar parity ($4.86) was a disaster—during the war the British price level had risen sharply relative to U. S. prices. At the pre-war parity the pound was greatly overvalued—the price to foreigners of British goods was much higher than before the war and, as a corollary, the prices of foreign goods were much lower. The return to pre-war parity created a sharp decline British exports and a correspondingly sharp increase in imports to Britain. The result was sizable net imports of goods, an imbalance that was financed by an outflow of Britain's scarce post-war gold supply to other countries. The only way to stem the gold outflow was to deflate the economy via high interest rates. The result was severe unemployment that lasted until external gold convertibility was suspended in 1931. The domestic economy's troubles from this self-inflicted wound left the British with over a decade of social unrest and unemployment, and left it ill-equipped for the arrival of WWII. In addition, U. S. attempts to help by maintaining low interest rates helped to create an economic boom that would end with the 1929 stock market crash. The Great Depression The Great Depression that took the world by storm in 1930 changed the direction of Keynes's thinking. He set out to explain why the world stayed in such a prolonged economic slump when the received economic doctrine—now called “neoclassical economics”—held that business cycles were self-correcting: a slump (or a boom) would initiate adjustments of relative prices, of the national price level, and of interest rates that would return the economy to a stable position of full employment. This would take time, but the common assumption was that any intervention by government would only slow the adjustment process. So, for example, during a recession the neoclassical course for economic policy was government spending austerity and tax increases to balance the budget. True, these steps might make things worse in the short-run but they would hasten the return to full employment. This idea shaped FDR's unfortunate tax increases in 1936, and it is still in vogue—consider the austerity adopted by the British government after the 2008 financial collapse, or the European Economic Community 's reaction to the financial collapse of weak Euro-region countries ("the southern tier"), particularly Greece! For a variety of reasons, Keynes thought that reliance on self-correction was dangerous. He argued that the process of natural adjustment could be very long, famously quipping that “in the long run we're all dead." And he had the Great Depression as an immediate example. His analysis of the basis of the Great Depression was published in two books—A Treatise on Money (1930) and The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936). The second was by far the most influential: it would kick-start the field of Macroeconomics and upend our understanding of the role of government in responding to a business cycle. Regrettably, The General Theory was anything but general, and the book was almost unreadable, even among economists, so it has taken many decades to flesh out its finer points. But they can be reduced to a few observations. 1. Capitalist economies suffer from high unemployment when aggregate demand is insufficient. 2. Capitalist economies are is not homeostatic: there is no automatic adjustment mechanism that returns an economy to full employment within a reasonable time. Thus, an economy can get stuck at an "underemployment equilibrium." 3. Economies stuck at an underemployment equilibrium require active government policies to promote spending and get on the path to full employment. 4. In an underemployment equilibrium, monetary policies are likely to be ineffective.Monetary policies rely on an increase in money supply or, equivalently, a decrease in interest rates. But when interest rates are very low, as is common in depressions, monetary policy is toothless because of a "liquidity trap" in which additional money is willingly held and not spent or loaned. 5. The only effective action is a depression is fiscal policy in the form of direct government spending or tax cuts designed to increase private spending. The Bretton Woods Conference, 1944 Keynes's last major appearance was at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference in New Hampshire 1944. The international financial system was in a shambles: all countries were off of the gold standard and foreign exchange rates “floated” according to demand and supply. The notion of a world of floating exchange rates was abhorrent at the time, and some way of getting the advantage of fixed exchange rates without the burden of a gold link was sought. The Bretton Woods Conference was devoted to redesigning the international monetary system. Prior to the war that system had been a “gold standard” in which each participating nation fixed the price of gold in terms of its own currency. This, of course, established a fixed price of one currency in terms of another. For example, in 1925 the U. S. Mint bought and sold gold at $20.64 per ounce and the British Treasury bought and sold gold at £4.25 per ounce, resulting in $4.86 as the dollar price of a British pound sterling. That system had always been problematic because at any time the world’s stock of gold was both (largely) fixed in amount and unequally distributed among nations: after WWI the bulk of the world’s gold supply was in American and French hands; after WWII it was almost all in American vaults. This left the deficit-ridden European nations with little ability to buy the goods needed to restore their economies. Furthermore, the fixity of the world’s gold stock meant that an increasing volume of international trade would induce a general deflation in prices. Using his work on Indian finance and the ideas expressed in his Treatise on Money, Keynes shaped the British Treasury’s proposal for a post-war international monetary system. An international organization, to be called the International Clearing Union, would be created to make loans to deficit countries in the form of a new international currency called the Bancor; surplus countries would accumulate the Bancors used by deficit countries to finance their international trade. Thus, the surplus countries would effectively finance the net imports of the deficit countries. Bancors would become what we now call “international reserve assets,” displacing gold and avoiding the deflationary tendency of the gold standard that had plagued international finance and trade. In addition, each nation would fix the value of its national currency in terms of the Bancor, just as it had once been fixed relative to gold. The result would be a fixed exchange rate system like the gold standard, but with a flexible monetary base (Bancors) that could grow with the “needs of trade.” Keynes’s design became the foundation of the new international monetary system, though other countries (particularly the U. S.) put their stamp on the final product: the name of the new international financial institution became the International Monetary Fund (a benign change) and, because the American delegation was loath to give the power of the printing press to an international organization, and wanted to maintain its financial hegemony, the U. S. dollar was specified as the new international reserve asset. In effect, Keynes’s proposal was adopted but the British lost the battle of nomenclature and had to accept a national currency as the international reserve asset. Even so, Keynes and the British delegation had won the war of monetary redesign. Was Keynes "right"? Well, he was certainly right enough! The last few years have been a laboratory test for Keynes's macroeconomic ideas, and they have been generally supported. Keynes is as relevant now as he was then—his interpretation of the 1930s fits the 2010s well. The U.S. economy is now in the midst of its closest approach to the features defining the Great Depression that we've seen in eighty years—very low interest rates, toothless monetary policy, and U.S. government budget deficits that are out-of-sight as the government attempts to maintain full employment. Keynes died in 1946 at the very-young age of 63. If I had ten votes to select the Nobel Prize in Economics for best 20th century economist, all ten would go to Keynes. A pox on the naysaying troglodytes that lumber through the internet.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    Perhaps you’ve heard the term “Keynesian Economics” used before by politicians or economic talking heads, particularly during times of economic upheaval, and have always wondered what it exactly means or where it came from? The Price of Peace follows the life of the man who the term was derived, John Maynard Keynes. Keynes is perhaps the most distinguished and influential economist of the 20th Century and his ideas on modern economics is still utilized today. Keynesianism can be described as a de Perhaps you’ve heard the term “Keynesian Economics” used before by politicians or economic talking heads, particularly during times of economic upheaval, and have always wondered what it exactly means or where it came from? The Price of Peace follows the life of the man who the term was derived, John Maynard Keynes. Keynes is perhaps the most distinguished and influential economist of the 20th Century and his ideas on modern economics is still utilized today. Keynesianism can be described as a demand driven economic philosophy of public deficit spending on employment generators such as public works, usually during times of economic recession. The thinking is that when the private sector is in a recessionary period and unemployment is high, the government should fill the void with spending to spur economic activity. The increase in economic activity creates a multiplier effect rippling throughout the economy as more goods and services are required from the creation of public works. Keynes’s ideas were summarized in his 1936 opus “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money”. While not a full-fledged cradle to the grave biography of the renowned economist, the book begins during Keynes’s formative years at Cambridge as part of the eclectic Bloomsbury Group, a group of artists, intellectuals, and writers. Keynes went to work for the British Treasury during WWI, playing an indispensable role in designing the terms of credit to pay for the War. After the War was over and the Treaty of Versailles signed between the Allies defining the terms of the peace, Keynes was aghast at the Treaty’s outcome, believing the terms would cripple the Germany economy so brutally, that the outcome would only lead to more war. He was right. The Price of Peace is much more than a biography of Keynes but an examination of how his radical ideas changed economic thought and were essential to tackling the challenges after a ravaging world war. Keynes challenged the gold standard and its strict control of the money supply as an outdated vestige to 19th century laisse fair economic theory, and its inability to handle the new world’s challenges. After the death of Franklin Roosevelt, whose New Deal programs espoused and adopted the Keynes’s ideas through government spending on public works and jobs programs, and the death of Keynes in 1948, a massive whole in the force of his ideas were created. The ascendancy of McCarthyism in the 1950s began to portray this economic philosophy as socialist or even communist, which continue to resonate with conservative ideologies today. While Keynesian economics would be the reigning economic policy and throughout JFK’s New Frontier, LBJ’s Great Society, and the Nixon administration, where he famously stated “we are all Keynesians now”, Keynesian economics began to fall out of esteem, with the ascendancy of Reaganism. The monetarist policies (control of the money supply and interest rates, as opposed to the fiscal approach of Keynes) of economists like Milton Friedman (an acolyte of Keynes’s chief rival Friedrich von Hayek) began to take hold reaching its nadir in the Clinton Administration. While American administrations continued to utilized a form of Keynesianism through deficit inducing tax cuts and military spending, Keynes would have a resurgence during the Obama administration’s stimulus program to combat the financial systems collapse in 2008. The Price of Peace is a phenomenal work, not only of Keynes the man, but how his ideas shaped economic thought and the modern world. While the death of Keynes occurs about ¾’s of the way through, the remaining section of the book portrays how his ideas began to wane and recently re-surge. Readers looking for a biography only of Keynes may begin to lose interest from there. However, couple this reading with Binyamin Appelbaum’s recently released “The Economists' Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society”, and you will have a very commanding understanding of the economic ideas and philosophies of the 20th Century though today.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    A tremendous book which takes the reader on a journey from Keynes' role in managing the British imperial economy in the First World War all the way through to the revival of his macroeconomic ideas in the Great Financial Crisis of 2008. Highly recommended for its relevance to the modern global economic crisis; history of Keynes and Keynesian responses to crises of the twentieth century; and flowing prose. This may be my favourite book of 2020.

  11. 5 out of 5

    James

    In The Price of Peace, Zach Carter writes about Keynes' life, work, and the impact of that work through today. Keynes was "not only an economist but the preeminent anti-authoritarian thinker of the twentieth century ... a moral philosopher, political theorist, and statesman". Keynes is best known for The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. This book created macroeconomics (p. 257). It "proved that the condition and organization of society were not the inevitable, dispassionate requi In The Price of Peace, Zach Carter writes about Keynes' life, work, and the impact of that work through today. Keynes was "not only an economist but the preeminent anti-authoritarian thinker of the twentieth century ... a moral philosopher, political theorist, and statesman". Keynes is best known for The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. This book created macroeconomics (p. 257). It "proved that the condition and organization of society were not the inevitable, dispassionate requirements of tragically insufficient resources. They were, instead, political choices that societies could not avoid." (273) The General Theory was written partly in response to societies' inability to escape the worldwide economic depression of the 1930s due to a reliance on old ideas that assumed that economies would fix themselves. This wasn't dry ivory tower economics: one reason the book is so important is that, as experience has shown, high levels of unemployment can lead pretty quickly to radicalization, militarism, and war. Economists who repeat old doctrines simply because familiar ideas are comfortable can be dangerous, and Keynes devoted a lot of effort attempting to convert "the priesthood of academic economists to his new doctrine." (245) Keynes admired the classical economists, including Ricardo, James and John Stuart Mill, Alfred Marshall, and AC Pigou, and believed that their picture of the economy "had once been an accurate understanding of how social needs could best be met." But things change: the productive capitalist economy of the 20th century was different from the 18th and 19th century world the classical economists were describing. The General Theory was the culmination of Keynes' attempts to help the economics profession remain relevant. The United States was the country that implemented Keynesian ideas on the biggest scale. To escape the Great Depression, FDR established more than two dozen federal agencies including the Public Works Administration, which built dams, bridges, and power plants; the Works Progress Administration, which built schools, theaters, and hospitals, and the SEC, which policed Wall Street. These policies worked: unemployment dropped from over 20 to below 10 percent, and between 1934 and 1936, the US economy grew by more than 10 percent per year. To administer the new policies, the government needed economists: public intellectuals such as John Kenneth Galbraith got their start in New Deal DC. Galbraith explained that in 1933, things were so bad that the financial community was grateful to Roosevelt for putting things on surer footing. But there was always resistance to the implementation of Keynes' ideas, despite (and because of) their success."By 1934, things were enough better so that his efforts on behalf of farmers and the unemployed ... could be disliked and even feared. Roosevelt had become 'that man in the White House' and 'the traitor to his class.'" (287-8) This resistance extended to economics education as well. When Lorie Tarshis published The Elements of Economics in 1947, a textbook introducing students to Keynesian economics, conservatives pushed back, effectively banning book sales. Their campaign helped Paul Samuelson's Economics to become a bestseller. The difference between the books was significant. Tarshis presented markets for money and debt as "creatures of the state, an expression of democratic politics that citizens could manage and adjust." Samuelson, on the other hand, highlighted the "power of the market to order social preferences, with the help of just a little fiscal adjustment." (379) The acceptance of Samuelson's ideas had widespread implications for the development of "Keynesian" economics in the US, including for the policy response to the 1970s inflation, which was seen as discrediting Keynesian ideas. What struck me most about this book was just how damaging American Keynesians were to the project that Keynes and his Cambridge group initiated. Establishment Republicans and Democrats uniformly embraced the neoliberal project by the late 20th century. The Republicans were explicit about "starving the beast", and the Democrats to a large extent followed along. Milton Friedman said that Ronald Reagan was unsuccessful in cutting down the size of the government-- "It would take a Democrat to finish the job." (483) As the coronavirus pandemic and financial crisis made clear, we have built a system that is largely unprepared for external shocks and occasionally creates existential crises itself. In 2008, after two decades as the world's most powerful economic policymaker, Alan Greenspan admitted to being mistaken in the view that a free market could always regulate itself. He said "I found a flaw in the model that I perceived as the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works." Keynes' work is a reminder of the danger of clinging to orthodox models that fail to provide a useful guide to circumstances. We need to adapt our economics to the world as it is, constantly changing.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Richard Marney

    All economics students know of Keynes and his work in economics, probability and public policy. A smaller number have actually read him in the original, whether the General Theory, Economic Consequences of the Peace or A Treatise on Probability. Even fewer (including yours truly) have read much about the man. Of the many books, perhaps Robert Skidelsky’ is the most renown. Mr. Carter’s book is a worthy addition to the body of work. This well-researched and written book provides many insights into All economics students know of Keynes and his work in economics, probability and public policy. A smaller number have actually read him in the original, whether the General Theory, Economic Consequences of the Peace or A Treatise on Probability. Even fewer (including yours truly) have read much about the man. Of the many books, perhaps Robert Skidelsky’ is the most renown. Mr. Carter’s book is a worthy addition to the body of work. This well-researched and written book provides many insights into how Keynes’ family, education, friends (most notably the Bloomsbury Group), and health shaped the development of his views of society, politics, and markets which underlay his seminal work, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. Other significant milestones in this storied career equally benefit from the author’s deep knowelege of the man behind the genius. Given today’s highly polarized and ideologically rigid world, the reader will appreciate the author’s description of the drama surrounding the place of Keynesian economics in American universities’ curriculums in the 1950s. The theory’s message that the failure of economies to reach full employment equilibrium requires government intervention via counter-cyclical policies was seen representing a threat to democracy, liberty and free markets as potentially serious as the KGB and Soviet central planning. Universities were politicized, careers ruined, and students short changed. Happily Minsky and company have redeemed Keynes, after the desert of Monetarism, the Austrian School, and New Classical Theory.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    I have to say, I know nothing about economics, never studied it. So there were things about this book that I didn't really understand, no matter how nicely Carter explained them. There were some important things I learned. It seems that most of what happened in the US under the name of Keynesian economics wasn't. It was made up of attempts by various people to modify Keynes' ideas to fit a country that worships markets above all else, with predictable results. When Keynes died about halfway throu I have to say, I know nothing about economics, never studied it. So there were things about this book that I didn't really understand, no matter how nicely Carter explained them. There were some important things I learned. It seems that most of what happened in the US under the name of Keynesian economics wasn't. It was made up of attempts by various people to modify Keynes' ideas to fit a country that worships markets above all else, with predictable results. When Keynes died about halfway through the book I was puzzled, but the rest of the book is about the afterlife of his ideas in the US, right up to the financial crisis of 2008. I also learned how much of Keynes' thought was focused on reducing economic inequality, improving people's lives so that they would not succumb to the lure of revolution and totalitarianism. The aftermath of WWI and the rise of Hitler vindicated his criticisms of the Treaty of Versailles. It's not hard to imagine what he would make of today's America. Carter doesn't have much good to say about any modern US president. Only FDR and Eisenhower tried anything really Keynesian, as well, surprisingly, as Nixon, but none of them were sufficiently thorough. I guess I am a Keynesian by nature because I always think that if people have no money to spend then how can businesses succeed? And that if you don't give people a stake in the system they will lose nothing by tearing it down. I think I need to read this again.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Oliver Kim

    Takes an expansive reading of Keynes as more than just a theorist of depressions, but a visionary for peace and the good life for all -- a reformist "third way" that avoids the bloodletting of revolutions and the callousness of neoliberalism. In general I'm sympathetic to broader readings of Keynes that try to pull him out of the narrow box of "sticky prices + deficit spending" which academic economists have stuck him in, but I wonder if Carter overreaches in trying to recast this unabashed elit Takes an expansive reading of Keynes as more than just a theorist of depressions, but a visionary for peace and the good life for all -- a reformist "third way" that avoids the bloodletting of revolutions and the callousness of neoliberalism. In general I'm sympathetic to broader readings of Keynes that try to pull him out of the narrow box of "sticky prices + deficit spending" which academic economists have stuck him in, but I wonder if Carter overreaches in trying to recast this unabashed elitist and defender of the British Empire as a champion of egalitarianism. And this is coming from someone who considers himself a Keynesian! While the first two thirds -- ironically, the parts concerned with Keynes's life -- are fine, where the book really shines is in tracing the afterlife of Keynes's ideas, showing how Keynesians came to win then lose control of American policymaking, and how the path of Academic Keynesianism gradually diverged away from Keynes's Keynesianism. John Kenneth Galbraith (all but forgotten by academic economists) emerges as a central figure, who like Simon Peter tries to carry on the Gospel before being professionally martyred for the trouble. For Carter, the culmination of this gradual drift away from Keynes is Barack Obama, a liberal icon who fretted about deficit reduction while the economy teetered on the edge of a double dip recession. Again, while I share Carter's sympathy for Keynes's Keynesianism over the academic kind, I also worry about falling into a sort of Keynesian Originalism, where if He didn't say it, it doesn't count -- Keynes himself would have hated that sort of blinkered dogmatism. Though, now that I stop and think about it, it's hard for me to think of a headline economic issue where he wasn't basically right.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    This is an excellent intellectual history of Keynesianism for the non-economist. Zachary Carter is clearly much more interested in the IDEAS of Keynes than he is in Keynes the person, and that's perfectly fine with me. (1) Keynes' vision for economics was much broader than was mentioned in our American textbooks when I took an economics class in college. In "Economic Possibilities for our grandchildren"(1930) Keynes imagines a future in which production has far outstripped consumption and the majo This is an excellent intellectual history of Keynesianism for the non-economist. Zachary Carter is clearly much more interested in the IDEAS of Keynes than he is in Keynes the person, and that's perfectly fine with me. (1) Keynes' vision for economics was much broader than was mentioned in our American textbooks when I took an economics class in college. In "Economic Possibilities for our grandchildren"(1930) Keynes imagines a future in which production has far outstripped consumption and the majority of people only work 15 hours a week to meet their needs, devoting the rest of their time to leisure. This was not an idle passing thought but a core part of his optimistic vision of what a properly managed society should be able to do. Needless to say, as of 2020 in the US, this vision seems infinitely far away, not only in practice, but also philosophically. It seems we went terribly wrong somewhere. (This essay is available online: http://www.econ.yale.edu/smith/econ11... (as of June 14, 2020)) (2) Keynes might have prevented the great depression and World War 2! It is quite plausible that if the governments of the US, France and the UK had listened to Keynes and made a better peace treaty to Germany in 1919 and swiftly applied a Keynesian fiscal stimulus when the market crashed in 1929, the great depression, Hitler and the holocaust might never have happened! You can't say for sure obviously, but it doesn't seem far-fetched at all. A sobering thought on the importance of making the right policy decisions! (3) The fierceness of the American resistance to Keynesian ideas It was rather disconcerting to read of how ferocious were the attacks on Keynesians in the US, especially during the McCarthy era in the 1950s. And those attacks have not stopped to this day. It is really interesting to me that Americans seem to find the idea of government involvement much scarier than do most other countries. Here in the US, neoliberal economic ideas are often presented as "the only reasonable alternative" and anything else is just "socialism". Reading this book reminded me that there is a lot more richness to economic thought, and that there are in fact other options than the ones that are usually presented to us. It also made me ponder more deeply the fact that despite steady technological innovation and productivity increases, the average American has not become more economically secure. Very few of us can contemplate a life of leisure, or even afford a medical emergency or to be out of work for an extended period without a great deal of stress. And there is not even any real discussion of that changing at any point in the future. Something's not right.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Steve Harvey

    Scholarly and well done. I wanted to know more about economics since it's clear we're heading into a serious downturn. I learned a couple of important things. First, Keynes had a broader view of economics than most of his successors. Today, "the economy" means money, particularly GNP, interest rates, taxes, the federal budget, and the federal debt. Keynes was interested in much more: quality of life. He was appalled by economic inequality and how that affects everything else: health, education, Scholarly and well done. I wanted to know more about economics since it's clear we're heading into a serious downturn. I learned a couple of important things. First, Keynes had a broader view of economics than most of his successors. Today, "the economy" means money, particularly GNP, interest rates, taxes, the federal budget, and the federal debt. Keynes was interested in much more: quality of life. He was appalled by economic inequality and how that affects everything else: health, education, the arts and sciences. He believed governments should promote their citizens' quality of life. He strongly disagreed with those who believed that "war is good for the economy". While defense spending does produce jobs and can lead to higher wages and an increase in GNP, the products of that economy denigrate life at the least, and destroy it and the worst. Second, Keynes indicted those whose actions lead to increased maldistribution of wealth. Zachary Carter, the author, rakes Reagan, both Bushes and the Republican Party over the coals, as might be expected. But, to my surprise, he also shows how Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress were just as guilty of perverting "Keynesian economics" to further enrich the rich and impoverish the poor. If you read nothing else, read the last chapter, which is short and explains the indictments I mention above.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    The Price of Peace is quite good and surpassed my expectations. The first half is a biography of Keynes' life, and covers both his personal life and the development of his economic thought. The book does a very good job of describing the core economic theories of Keynes and how he came about them. More importantly, it links his economics to his political thoughts about peace, democracy, and the good life. The second half of the book covers the trajectory of Keynesian economics after Keynes' death The Price of Peace is quite good and surpassed my expectations. The first half is a biography of Keynes' life, and covers both his personal life and the development of his economic thought. The book does a very good job of describing the core economic theories of Keynes and how he came about them. More importantly, it links his economics to his political thoughts about peace, democracy, and the good life. The second half of the book covers the trajectory of Keynesian economics after Keynes' death, with Galbraith as a central figure. It details the legacy of Keynsianism and it's slow decline and replacement with neoliberalism. While Carter is clearly a left Keynesian himself, he provides a fair and honest read of the economic and political beliefs of those who disagreed with Keynes. Overall, this is an excellent read and provides a good overview of the history of the governing economic ideas of the 20th century.

  18. 4 out of 5

    David Dayen

    Took me entirely too long to get through this but well worth the wait. A dazzling portrait of Keynes, his importance, and by the end his erasure, with his ideas sort of enduring but his spirit extinguished. The story of Keynes is the story of a century of economics, and by the end we see a profession adrift. But along the way we get a portrait of Keynes, who comes out of the Bloomsbury art and literature collective in London and really kept that perspective. The good life was Keynes' lifelong go Took me entirely too long to get through this but well worth the wait. A dazzling portrait of Keynes, his importance, and by the end his erasure, with his ideas sort of enduring but his spirit extinguished. The story of Keynes is the story of a century of economics, and by the end we see a profession adrift. But along the way we get a portrait of Keynes, who comes out of the Bloomsbury art and literature collective in London and really kept that perspective. The good life was Keynes' lifelong goal, not for him but for all citizens. He brimmed with optimism and possibility, perhaps to the detriment of realism. But in the end Carter lays out how we need people like Keynes, confident that he can solve problems, rather than a world of cynics.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tahani

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I like this book

  20. 4 out of 5

    Estare K. Weiser

    One of the best intellectual biographies I have ever read. Economic policies, Keynesian thought, politics were all brought to life and beautifully explained. I feel enlightened on recent economic events that I think I understood. I nominate this book for a Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    EVERYONE READ THIS!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth Barber

    "The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy and the Life of John Maynard Keynes" by Zachary D. Carter is an interesting biography of one of the most influential economists in the 20th Century, John Maynard Keynes. Keynes had a first hand seat to some of the most chaotic financial periods in the world's history. His economic theories have influenced liberal financial and economic leaders starting with FDR through today. Keynes was initially drawn into influential circles at the dawn of World War One. E "The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy and the Life of John Maynard Keynes" by Zachary D. Carter is an interesting biography of one of the most influential economists in the 20th Century, John Maynard Keynes. Keynes had a first hand seat to some of the most chaotic financial periods in the world's history. His economic theories have influenced liberal financial and economic leaders starting with FDR through today. Keynes was initially drawn into influential circles at the dawn of World War One. England was the most influential financial center of the world. It's world wide empire allowed an almost unlimited access to natural resources. However, the financial systems of the world economies were so tied together that the beginning of armed conflict caused massive runs on the prevailing gold standard. Governments were unable to pay their bills to other countries. This initial experience was a major influence on the later theories of Keynes. After World War One, Keynes was a key representative to the Versailles Treaty which imposed extremely high penalties against Germany. Penalties which could never be paid and which were intentionally developed to punish Germany. Keynes wrote extensively that he believed that the penalties would lead to a second war. Sadly, he would be proven correct in less than a generation. Adolf Hitler would rise largely by protesting the economic restrictions imposed under the Versailles Treaty. Keynes saw his influence rise, not in England, but in the United States. The Depression created arguments over the role of government during a crisis. Should a government allow the market to correct itself as laissez faire economics demanded? Or does the government have a role in providing stability to the economy? Keynes drew from his experience during World War One to develop policies emphasizing the key role that governments had toward maintaining a stable economy. His legacy continued with succeeding generations of economists who have continued to refine his theories. Whether a reader is interested in economic theory or is interested in a well written biography of one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, I highly recommend this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bob Luxenberg

    Incredible. More than a bio - and it’s a great one - but a history of economics from 1900...present. Superbly written. Makes quite complex concepts understandable. A bit surprising editorializing in the final chapter.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dan O'Meara

    A masterful review of Keynes, his idea and his times. This beautifully written book show why John Maynard Keynes was a towering 20th Century intellectual, how his ideas were modified - and largely deformed - by adapting them to the military industrial complex, and why his strategies remain relavent today. It is impossible to read this book's sustained analysis of how the dogmas of global finance lead directly to the Great Depression and to WWII without immediately grasping its relevance for the A masterful review of Keynes, his idea and his times. This beautifully written book show why John Maynard Keynes was a towering 20th Century intellectual, how his ideas were modified - and largely deformed - by adapting them to the military industrial complex, and why his strategies remain relavent today. It is impossible to read this book's sustained analysis of how the dogmas of global finance lead directly to the Great Depression and to WWII without immediately grasping its relevance for the immensely difficult and dangerous times we are living through. You don't have to have any training in economics to understand this masterful analysis.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    This book should have five stars simply because Mr. Carter made a biography about an economist readable but beyond that he does an astounding job of play Keynes in his context not only in his lifetime but spends several chapters analyzing the man’s impact on the US economy. (This is actual both frustrating and depressing to read because Keynes’ work has been half-implemented for about 50 years tarnishing his reputation unfairly and expanding conservative economic principles which continue to exp This book should have five stars simply because Mr. Carter made a biography about an economist readable but beyond that he does an astounding job of play Keynes in his context not only in his lifetime but spends several chapters analyzing the man’s impact on the US economy. (This is actual both frustrating and depressing to read because Keynes’ work has been half-implemented for about 50 years tarnishing his reputation unfairly and expanding conservative economic principles which continue to expand inequality.)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ian Headon

    Most enjoyable - and subtly tells the political history of the US in the last 100 years - recommended

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brian Moore

    Fascinating life, revolutionary theories and compelling history. Highly recommend.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Miguel

    This was so much better than a by-the-numbers biography. It really surpassed a generic boiler plate profile by framing Keynes development against the backdrop of the Western economic thought and major world developments of the twentieth century. Keynes was such an interesting and integral figure both in his intellectual and his social life and that was vividly captured here. The author also didn’t shy away from discussing many of his weaknesses and also how his intellectual development contained This was so much better than a by-the-numbers biography. It really surpassed a generic boiler plate profile by framing Keynes development against the backdrop of the Western economic thought and major world developments of the twentieth century. Keynes was such an interesting and integral figure both in his intellectual and his social life and that was vividly captured here. The author also didn’t shy away from discussing many of his weaknesses and also how his intellectual development contained some fairly famous contradictions in his ideas over the course of his lifetime. In the latter part of the book the author does a great job in detailing the aftermath of economic thought left in Keynes wake, showing the rise and dominance of the Chicago school (led by Friedman) and the overall impact that has had for the world economy. He also gives one of the best descriptions of the 70’s crisis: the rise in inflation and Nixon de-pegging the dollar to gold. The background on Galbraith and Samuelson are rich and there’s a lot of detail on how they continued and expanded on Keynes theories. After reading this I would definitely like to try to tackle Skidelsky’s biography; although not sure about trying to make a go of The General Theory as it seems that second hand sources are likely adequate to understand the main points.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paulo Adalberto Reimann

    Tremendous Tremendous book. Would be rather easy to write about someone so amazing. Zachary D. Carter does it with special talent. For the historical background, life per se and the aftermath of Keynes life time, heritage of a thinking the planet misses dearly.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Engle

    Masterful economic history of the twentieth century through the lens of John Maynard Keynes’ life and economic writings ... beginning in 1914 with Keynes’ involvement with British financial aspects during the First World War thru FDR’s New Deal to close with the American Recession of 2008/2009, this book analyzes the impact of Keynes’ economic thought on chiefly American political culture ... clear and concise ...

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