John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) is often considered the most influential and most important economist of the twentieth century ... and his work is still regularly referred to today when analyzing the current financial, economic and political perspective, indeed his way of thinking has its own name - Keynesianism.
Keynes was far from a bookworm. Pragmatic and engaged in political and economic life, he participated in the establishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in 1944, under Bretton Woods. As a stock speculator, he also greatly inspired the New Deal policy.
In 1930 Keynes published Treatise on Money, a book in two volumes reviewing the history of currency, its origins, its role and its vision of the "credit cycle", which allows one to go a long way towards understanding monetary policy, the causes of large scale unemployment and how to stabilize the economy (through price stability).
What are his most famous ideas? They are numerous, but include among them the refutation in his book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936), the law of Jean-Baptiste Say who says the market is naturally balanced between supply and demand. Keynes went further and also highlighted the uncertainty of the economy, mistakes in the choice of those who take part, and that money is not always used as it should be, when it is stored by individuals. A revolutionary theory Keynes put forward is that unemployment, the imbalance of production and economic crises can occur regularly, and that governments must tackle it to regulate everything.
This brings us to his vision of government: government should not intervene in all circumstances (contrary to widespread readings of Keynes), but according to events, states must respond to restore the balance, without jeopardizing various private companies.
Left out in the 1980s, Keynes made a comeback since the last global economic crisis that hit the economy in 2008. It regularly refers to his work on political interventionism, economic issues, policy of full employment and regulating (or not) of the markets.