In his time, John Maynard Keynes was revered as a genius for his belief that humans shouldn’t “think of themselves as victims of impersonal economic laws,” writes Nick Fraser of the Independent. Later, conservatives mocked him and tarnished his name, attaching the word “Keynesian” to “many less-than-pleasant things.” It’s taken a new banking crisis to dust off Keynes and give him his rightful due.
Keynes was enamored of neither communism nor capitalism. He regarded laissez-faire as absurd and abhorrent, believing instead that the government should actively steer the economy. “In the long run, we are all dead,” he said, but “in the short run, we are still alive. Life and history are made up of short runs.” Later, his name came to be associated with an orthodox set of principles, but Keynes was nothing if not adaptable. “When the facts change,” he once said, “I change my mind.”