chapter  24
20 Pages

John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946): a centenary lecture

The centenary of the birth of Keynes on 5 June 1883 has drawn a remarkable number of celebrations, articles, symposia and lectures. These indicate that even though Keynesian economics has been pronounced dead on numerous occasions (some even hopefully adding ‘and buried’), interest in the man and his economics has clearly not passed away. It is interesting here to draw some parallels with Adam Smith, since apart from the fact that the two share the same birthdate of 5 June, the impact of their work on future generations of economists has been frequently compared because of its enormous importance in the development of the science. It can also be said that not since the Smith bicentenary of 1976 has there been such an outpouring on an economist whose works have now largely been consigned to the history of economic thought as classics. Here it should be remembered, however, that the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the General Theory in February 1986 (only two and a half economists’ conferences away) promises further celebrations and interpretations of Keynes’ major work.