Quotes about John Maynard Keynes - They Said It

Mathematics Teacher: "Does really brilliant work... soon tires and has not perseverance in the face of difficulty."

Teacher: "In his work there is absolutely nothing of the mercenary, mark-getting feeling... He takes a real interest in anything which it is worthwhile to be interested in."

Geoffrey Young, Teacher at Eton: "His reading had been immense, his selection was admirable, and wit and some well-calculated indiscretions illuminated an astonishingly mature performance. We were listening to something much beyond the range of the normal clever sixth-form boy."

Alfred Marshall, Cambridge Economist: "Your son is doing excellent work in Economics. I have told him that I should be greatly delighted if he should decide on the career of a professional economist."

Sir Otto Niemeyer and Sir Richard Hopkins: "His quick mind and inexhaustible capacity for work rapidly marked out a kingdom for itself, and, before long he was a leading authority on all questions of external, and particularly inter-allied finance."

Russell Leffingwell, American Treasury Official: Keynes is always perverse, Puckish. He attacks anything sound or established or generally accepted, partly for the fun of it, partly for the purpose of stimulating debate. In doing so he is utterly irresponsible."

Hubert Henderson, Economist: I regard Maynard's book, as I say in my paper, as a farrago of confused sophistication, and I find intensely exasperating the tacit assumption that prevails in certain circles that those who do not accept its general doctrine are to be regarded as intellectually inferior beings."

Emmanual Goldenweiser: "He shone in two respects - in the fact that he is, of course, one of the brightest lights of mankind ... and also by being the world's worst chairman."

Dean Acheson: "He knows this thing inside out so that when anybody says section 15-C he knows what it is. Nobody else in the room knows. So before you have an opportunity to turn to Section 15-C and see what he is talking about, he says, 'I hear no objection to that', and it is passed. Well, everybody is trying to find 15-C. He then says, we are talking about Section 26-D. Then they begin fiddling around with their papers, and before you find that, it is passed."

The Times, obituary: "To find an economist of comparable influence, one would have to go back to Adam Smith."

New York Times, obituary: "His genius as a prodigy of intellect expressed itself in many other spheres of activity. He was a Parliamentary orator of high order, a historian and devotee of music, the drama and the ballet."

Kingsley Martin, Obituary in the New Statesman and Nation: "Keynes was the most formidable of antagonists, ruthless and sometimes unscrupulous in argument, and always unsparing of all that seemed to him silly and insincere... His wit was shattering and his capacity for rudeness was unequalled."

Clement Attlee, British Prime Minister: "I have heard with very great regret of the sudden death of Lord Keynes. The country loses in him its most brilliant economist and a man of distinction in many and varied fields of activity. His services to the state as an adviser on economics and financial matters and as a negotiator were invaluable. I lose in him a personal friend of great charm."

Harold Nicolson, Diplomat: "Keynes was impatient, iconoclastic, rude. Yet although with incisive cruelty he would snub the eminent, he never snubbed the humble or the young."

Bernard Russell, Philosopher: "Keynes's intellect was the sharpest and clearest that I have ever known. When I argued with him, I felt that I took my life in my hands, and I seldom emerged without feeling something of a fool."

Beckett Standen, Shepherd on Keynses's farm: "You know that he was a good man; he'd sit on the edge of a stack and talk to me for a long time about things - very homely."

Friedrich Hayek, Economist: "I regard him as a real genius, but not as a great economist you know... not a very consistent or logical thinker; and he might have developed in almost any direction; the only thing I am sure is that he would have disapproved of what his pupils made of his doctrines."

Warren Buffett, Investor and Businessman: "John Maynard Keynes, whose brilliance as a practicing investor matched his brilliance in thought."