7 March 2015
My last visit to the Festival was to hear a talk by an author of yet another biography. The author was Richard Davenport-Hines and the biography was of the economist John Maynard Keynes. The presentation was not about Keynes’s economic ideas but about the man himself and what motivated him. It seems he only received eight weeks formal training in economics the rest of his knowledge and ideas were gained from experience.
He was bisexual but succeeded in settling down to a stable married life to a woman who was once a ballerina. He knew many of the influential people of his day. The thriller writer John Buchan did not like him and even based one of his villains on him. But he could be very charming and was an incorrigible flirt.
He thought that money was for spending and that product supply and demand should be the only influences on economics. However, it is a different world now. Markets are more global. Banks and financial markets are difficult to regulate as they can simply move to another country.
The author seemed to imply that if you want to know more about economics then you should look elsewhere. However, if you would like to know more about one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century then this could be the book for you.
Editor, Peatmore Press
Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes by Richard Davenport-Hines
is published by William Collins and is available in hardcover, paperback, as an ebook and an audiobook