My biographical details of interest and trivia:
(1) In 1908, Keynes was offered one of two lectureships in economics (the other went to Walter Layton), with a salary of £100 a year (Skidelsky 1983: 185). He began lecturing at Cambridge on “money, credit and prices” on 19 January 1909 (Skidelsky 1983: 211). At first, this was mainly a way of returning to Cambridge and escaping from the drudgery of his India Office job, but Keynes was eager to “display his professional competence” in economics (Skidelsky 1983: 207). Keynes’s workload had reached 100 hours of lecturing in his third year at Cambridge, or 4 hours a week over the 3 terms (Skidelsky 1983: 211).LINKS
(2) After Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947) (who was also the doctoral supervisor of Bertrand Russell) was favourable to the revised version of his dissertation on probability, on 16 March 1909, Keynes was elected to a prize fellowship at King’s College, Cambridge, which he held for the rest of his life (Skidelsky 1983: 204; Moggridge 1992: 185).
(3) Keynes founded an economic society at Cambridge called the Political Economy Club, which included dons, postgraduates and undergraduates, whose first meeting was on 22 October 1909 (Moggridge 1992: 189; Skidelsky 1983: 212). Some of the students who were admitted to this club were to become important economists, and included the following:Dennis Robertson(4) Keynes showed an interest in monetary economics from 1909, being influenced by the oral tradition of Marshall at Cambridge (Moggridge 1992: 198). He had read Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk’s Recent Literature on Interest (trans. W. A. Scott and S. Feilbogen; New York and London, 1903) around 1905–1906, so was not unaware of Austrian economics (Moggridge 1992: 198).
Hubert Henderson (who came up to Cambridge in 1909)
(5) When Indian students were the subject of a racist slur at Cambridge, Keynes condemned this and defended them and their abilities in May 1909 (Skidelsky 1983: 213–214). I can’t help but contrast Keynes’s liberalism with Hayek’s slur against his Indian students at the LSE.
(6) From 1910 Keynes was already showing an interest in the psychology of investors and the question of expectations under conditions of uncertainty (Skidelsky 1983: 208) – a very important theme for his later work.
(7) In October 1911, Keynes was appointed as editor of the Economic Journal, probably the most respected economics periodical in Britain. He began the task of editing it in late December 1911, and was editor until 1945 (Moggridge 1992: 208). Keynes was 28. In those days, refereeing of articles was not so common a practice, and Keynes appears to have made many decisions on acceptance and rejection of articles himself (Moggridge 1992: 209).
(8) Around 1911 Keynes seems to have had some contact with the Fabian socialists at Cambridge, and his father wrote a curious sentence in his diary entry for 6 September 1911:“Maynard avows himself a Socialist and is in favour of confiscation of wealth” (quoted in Moggridge 1992: 190).Despite this, Keynes’s other political activities and loyalties appear to be quite Liberal in these years: he joined the Eighty Club (a progressive liberal society), was the secretary of the Cambridge University Free Trade Committee, and supported the Liberal party in elections (Moggridge 1992: 190).
I suspect one shouldn’t read too much into Neville Keynes’s diary entry. Progressive taxation may be all that Neville Keynes had in mind when he said that Maynard was “in favour of confiscation of wealth” (for some evidence confirming this, see Skidelsky 1983: 241) – for the simple truth is that many 19th century Liberals found progressive taxation unacceptably radical, even a form of “socialism.” Whatever other policy positions were entailed by Keynes declaring “himself a Socialist,” I wonder whether Maynard’s support for Fabianism was much more than a flirtation or phase. The evidence is overwhelming that Keynes identified himself as a Liberal for most of his life by actions as well as words. His Fabian flirtation is also strangely at variance with his political beliefs before 1914 as sketched by Skidelsky (1983: 209).
(9) John Maynard Keynes entered the Bloomsbury Group (which existed from c. 1904 until around the 1940s) from about 1909 (Skidelsky 1983: 242–243) or around 1911 (Moggridge 1992: 217–218). Skidelsky (1983: 243) dates the beginning of the Bloomsbury Group to March 1905.
Leonard Woolf remembered the “Old Bloomsbury” as composed of the following people:Vanessa and Clive BellThis group provided Keynes with the focus for his social and intellectual life while in London (Moggridge 1992: 218). Keynes was to become a financial patron of Bloomsbury from the First World War onwards (Skidelsky 1983: 250). From 1911, Keynes tended to spend the middle of each week in London, a practice he continued until 1937 (Skidelsky 1983: 250), which increased his contact with the Bloomsbury group.
Virginia and Leonard Woolf
Adrian and Karin Stephen
E. M. Forster
Desmond and Molly MacCarthy
Julian, Quentin and Angelica Bell
(10) In March 1910, Keynes read about half of Adam Smith, early in his holiday with Duncan Grant through Greece and Asia Minor, praising it as a “wonderful book” (Skidelsky 1983: 254). He visited Troy on his trip and returned via Berlin, arriving in Britain on 8 May 1910.
(11) In the summer of 1910 Keynes worked on logic and the justification of induction (Skidelsky 1983: 254–255).
(12) Keynes began publishing technical articles on economics in 1908. The following is a list of his publications from 1908–1914:J. M. Keynes, 1908. “Rents, Prices, and Wages,” Economic Journal 18.71 (Sep.): 472–473.Keynes wrote a number of book reviews, but these stand out as of interest:
J. M. Keynes, 1909. “Recent Economic Events in India,” Economic Journal 19.73 (Mar.): 51-67.
J. M. Keynes, 1914. “Currency in 1912,” Economic Journal 24.93 (Mar.): 152–157.
J. M. Keynes, 1914. “War and the Financial System, August, 1914,” Economic Journal 24.95 (Sep.): 460–486.
J. M. Keynes, 1914. “The Trade of India in 1913–14,” Economic Journal 24.96 (Dec.): 639–642.
J. M. Keynes, 1914. “The Prospects of Money, November, 1914,” Economic Journal 24.96 (Dec.): 610–634.J. M. Keynes, 1911. “The Purchasing Power of Money: Its Determination and Relation to Credit, Interest, and Crisis. by Irving Fisher, Harry G. Brown” (review), Economic Journal 21.83 (Sep.): 393–398.(13) Keynes’s reputation as a monetary reformer was almost entirely the result of his book Indian Currency and Finance (Macmillan and Co, London, 1913), a work which defended India’s gold exchange standard, in which there was a partial domestic paper currency in India convertible into gold for capital account transactions. Keynes defended this system as allowing a greater elasticity of money supply (Skidelsky 1983: 275).
J. M. Keynes, 1912. “Theory of Political Economy. by W. Stanley Jevons” (review), Economic Journal 22.85 (Mar.): 78–80.
J. M. Keynes, 1912. “The Economic Principles of Confucius and his School. by Chen Huan-Chang” (review), Economic Journal 22.88 (Dec.): 584–588.
J. M. Keynes, 1913. “Gold, Prices, and Wages. by J. A. Hobson,” Economic Journal 23.91 (Sep.): 393–398.
J. M. Keynes, 1913. “The Standard of Value. by David Barbour” (review), Economic Journal 23.91 (Sep.): 390–393.
J. M. Keynes, 1914. “What is Money? by A. Mitchell Innes” (review), Economic Journal 24.95 (Sep.): 419–421.
(this is in fact a positive review of Innes 1913, and Keynes [p. 421] actually says that Innes’s “historical conclusions ... have, I think, much foundation.” For more on Keynes’s endorsement of Innes’s credit theory of money and Chartalism, see here).
J. M. Keynes, 1914. “Theorie des Geldes und der Umlaufsmittel. by Ludwig von Mises; Geld und Kapital. by Friedrich Bendixen” (review), Economic Journal 24.95 (Sep.): 417–419.
[for more analysis of this article, see my post here.]
But an additional point which, I think, escapes Keynes’s biographers is that Keynes appears to have endorsed Mitchell Innes’s credit theory of money and Georg Friedrich Knapp’s Chartalism, as I have pointed out in another post. That puts Keynes into the world of heterodox monetary thinkers well before the 1920s.
(14) Keynes was appointed to the Girdler’s Lectureship in Economics at Cambridge in December 1910 (Skidelsky 1983: 264).
(15) Keynes met Ludwig Wittgenstein in October 1912 at Cambridge and helped to have him elected to the Apostles (Skidelsky 1983: 266).
(16) Keynes served on the Royal Commission on Indian Finance and Currency in 1913 (Skidelsky 1983: 277). He contributed to the discussion on whether India should have its own central bank, and helped write a proposal for such a bank.
(17) Keynes started to purchase stocks and shares in a significant way from 1910, including speculative activity. In July 1914, Keynes had an overdraft of 1,000 pounds for speculative purposes (more detail in Skidelsky 1983: 286–288).
John Maynard Keynes – Timeline.
John Maynard Keynes, Wikipedia.
Mitchell Innes, A. 1913. “What is Money?,” Banking Law Journal 30.5 (May): 377–408.
Keynes, W. Milo (ed.). 1975. Essays on John Maynard Keynes, Cambridge University Press, London.
Moggridge, D. E. 1992. Maynard Keynes: An Economist’s Biography, Routledge, London.
Skidelsky, R. J. A. 1983. John Maynard Keynes: Hopes Betrayed 1883–1920 (vol. 1), Macmillan, London.