Keynes: His Political Ideas and Their Influence

  • M. Cranston
Part of the Keynes Seminars book series (KESE)


In many ways Keynes was like Locke. Perhaps he was not quite so important as an economist as Locke was important as a philosopher; but he had the same wide range of interests and the same power of innovative thinking. He was also, like Locke, a liberal; a liberal intellectual who intervened in politics by the same two methods that Locke used — pamphleteering and occasional administrative activity of a high-level and mainly advisory kind. Neither ventured far into politics proper; but both sought to bring about a fusion of the theoretical and the practical forms of reasoning, and both exercised an enormous influence in the backrooms of Westminster by what they said, and throughout the world by what they published. But there is at least one great difference between Locke and Keynes. Locke wrote a systematic treatise of political theory as well as his various political pamphlets, and Locke’s liberalism, albeit the subject of some controversy among scholars, has on the whole been fairly well understood. This is not so in the case of Keynes. His liberal political ideas are set forth in different places, scattered throughout his writings. He wrote no single work of political theory as such.


Mixed Economy Political Idea Peace Settlement Social Freedom Liberal Intellectual 
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  1. 1.
    See D. E. Moggridge, Keynes (1976), p. 16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 5.
    In D. E. Moggridge (ed.) Keynes: Aspects of the Man and His Work (London: 1974), p. 74.Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    Quoted by Seymour Harris, Keynes (New York: 1955), p. 76.Google Scholar

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© Keynes College 1978

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  • M. Cranston

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