John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes, CB (pronounced /ˈkeɪnz/) (5 June 1883 – 21 April 1946) was a British economist whose ideas have been a central influence on modern macroeconomics, both in theory and practice. He advocated interventionist government policy, by which governments would use fiscal and monetary measures to mitigate the adverse effects of business cycles, economic recessions, and depressions. His ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynesian economics, and its various offshoots.
In the 1930s, Keynes spearheaded a revolution in economic thinking, overturning the older ideas of neoclassical economics that held that free markets would automatically provide full employment as long as workers were flexible in their wage demands. Following the outbreak of World War II Keynes's ideas concerning economic policy were adopted by leading Western economies. During the 1950s and 1960s, the success of Keynesian economics was so resounding that almost all capitalist governments adopted its policy recommendations.
Keynes's influence waned in the 1970s, partly as a result of problems that began to afflict the Anglo-American economies from the start of the decade, and partly due to critiques from Milton Friedman and other economists who were pessimistic about the ability of governments to regulate the business cycle with fiscal policy. However, the advent of the global financial crisis in 2007 has caused a resurgence in Keynesian thought. Keynesian economics has provided the theoretical underpinning for the plans of President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other global leaders to ease the recession.