During his lifetime, John Maynard Keynes achieved fame as the world’s foremost economist.
His remarkable achievements as an investor, however, went unpublicised.
John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes lived through a turbulent period of British history. He was born in 1883, a subject of Queen Victoria. He died in 1946, having lived through the Boer War, both World Wars, and a worldwide economic depression. His career timeline makes fascinating reading.
Keynes and Investing
In an eighteen-year period encompassing the Great Depression and World War 2, Keynes’s Chest Fund grew fivefold – a remarkable performance given that the UK stock market fell fifteen percent in the same period.
Keynes the Speculator
Keynes made and lost fortunes speculating. He liked to warn novices about the dangers of pitching their intellects against the vagaries of financial markets, declaring: “markets can remain irrational far longer than you or I can remain solvent.”
Keynes, the economist, is best known for his proposal that when national economies suffer a downturn, governments should borrow and spend money to boost economic activity. Part of the proceeds of the resulting economic growth should then be used to repay the debt.
One of Keynes’s major contributions to investment methodology was his championing of concentrated investment portfolios. These, he proposed, should consist exclusively of investments about which the investor had become highly knowledgeable.
Keynes played a vital role in the economic settlements implemented after World Wars 1 and 2. He fervently opposed the severe reparations imposed on Germany after WW 1. History vindicated his position when Germany’s economic collapse bred extremist groups, leading, ultimately, to WW 2.