(Book Review) Keynes the Man by Murray Rothbard

Considering that economics for the way it is taught within institutions of education is largely and homogeneously based on Keynesian theory and principles, it is important to understand John Maynard Keynes’s inspirations for his works in economics. One may inquire “‘For what reasons are understanding Keynes’s inspirations behind his works important to the field?.” Understanding Keynes, his theory, and his inspiration behind his theory is salient because endorsement of his theory is not limited to just academia and admiring scholars, but it has also affected the policies and actions politicians choose to adopt. Keynesian theory is not only the foundational basis on which economics is instructed in academia, but it is also the adumbration that policy-makers of both fiscal and monetary policy all around the world have referenced for nearly each and every decision they have birthed into existence since the mid 20th century..

Furthermore, since the world economy has been largely constructed around Keynesian theory, it is not only important to understand Keynesian theory, its principles, effects, and implications, but it is important to understand the man who wrote the book (The General Theory) that politicians, policy-writers, and economists have cosigned and made into their economic bible. For every economic issue or concern that arises, the intelligentsia endorse Keynesianism as the panacea. Any non-Keynesian theory or approach to economics gets the unfortunate label of “heterodox economics.”

Given the fact that Keynes and his theories are beloved and lionized by most politicians and economic scholars, it is not easy to come by verified information about his Keynes’s personal life that paints an unprepossessing image or highlights his many gaffes, despite there being no scarcity. For this reason, Murray Rothbard’s mini-biography Keynes the Man is a refreshing, honest, and verified account of John Maynard Keynes’s life, inspirations, and many bizarre practices and beliefs. Rothbard has written extensively on the flaws of Keynesian theory in many of his works, but here, as the title suggests, Rothbard focus on Keynes: the man himself.

The information provided about John Maynard Keynes’s life here are likely to be shocking for many readers given its gawky nature. Moreover, this book will provide the reader with a much needed reality-check on the true nature of John Maynard Keynes.

My Final Ratings

Difficulty for economically illiterate to understand: slightly difficult.

Explanation: This book doesn’t introduce particularly abstract concepts. Furthermore, in the passages in which Rothbard criticizes the assertions made by Keynes’s in his works, he uses arguments based on economic logic and following the logical train of his arguments would likely prove difficult for those not familiar with the rudimentary axioms of economics. The passages, however, in which Rothbard showcases Keynes’s strange proclivities can be understood by anyone with basic literacy and understanding of social etiquette.

Keeping the reader interested: keeps the reader fully engaged.

Explanation: Rothbard is known for being unrelenting, scathing, and merciless in his criticisms. Since Keynes the Man is a mini-bibliography (not extensively long and prolix) sprinkled with Rothbard’s unyielding commentary, it would be difficult to become bored with this book.

Verifiable claims: Rothbard verifies his claims.

Explanation: Rothbard provides sources for all the included quotes made by Keynes, in addition to providing sources when discussing Keynes’s proclivities.

Subfield of economics: this a book about Keynesian theory/economics, the history of economic thought, and heterodox economics.

Explanation: John Maynard Keynes’s works have contributed monumentally to the history of economic thought. Rothbard discusses and criticizes Keynesian economics throughout this book as the perspective of an Austrian economist who conspicuously follows the Austrian School of Economic Thought (which is considered a subfield of heterodox economics.)

Do I recommend this book, and for who? This is recommend to students of economics, economists of all schools of thought, and those who have careers in, or have prospective careers in institutions that write fiscal or monetary policy.

Explanation: Since the incontrovertible fact that Keynes’s work has had (and continues to have) influence in the entire field of economics, and fiscal and monetary policy, it is important for everyone to understand not only Keynesian theory and its implications, but the inspirations behind the man who wrote it.

Favorite Quote:

The General Theory was not truly revolutionary at all but merely old and oft-refuted mercantilist and inflationist fallacies dressed up in shiny new garb, replete with newly constructed and largely incomprehensible jargon.

Rothbard, Murray. Keynes the Man.

Buy the Book:


Apple Books

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Mises Bookstore

Published by Daniel Ballesteros

An aspiring labor economist.

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