John Maynard Keynes
Quotations


The decadent international but individualistic capitalism in the hands of which we found ourselves after the war is not a success. It is not intelligent. It is not beautiful. It is not just. It is not virtuous. And it doesn’t deliver the goods.

I do not know which makes a man more conservative -- to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past.

If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would be splendid.

The day is not far off when the economic problem will take the back seat where it belongs, and the arena of the heart and the head will be occupied or reoccupied, by our real problems -- the problems of life and of human relations, of creation and behaviour and religion.

The disruptive powers of excessive national fecundity may have played a greater part in bursting the bonds of convention than either the power of ideas or the errors of autocracy.

For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to every one that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still.

It is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.

The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.

The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.

The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds.

Nothing mattered except states of mind, chiefly our own.

The social object of skilled investment should be to defeat the dark forces of time and ignorance which envelope our future.

Most men love money and security more, and creation and construction less, as they get older.

It is better that a man should tyrannise over his bank balance than over his fellow-citizens and whilst the former is sometimes denounced as being but a means to the latter, sometimes at least it is an alternative.

A study of the history of opinion is a necessary preliminary to the emancipation of the mind.



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