John Maynard Keynes

 John Maynard Keynes (1883—1946) is perhaps the most influential economist of the 20th century.  His The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, which appeared in 1936, revolutionized economics and changed the whole face of post-war economic policy.  Its main contribution was in putting together a coherent critique of the existing classical economic theory that dominated policy-making circles.  From shortly after the publication of the book in 1936 to at least the 1960s, the majority of professional economists, and certainly the most prominent, termed themselves "Keynesians."

Yet even if the General Theory had never been written, Keynes’ contributions to economics would have still been vast.  Among his great works are Tract on Monetary Reform (1923) and later his Treatise on Money.

From 1919 to World War II, Keynes’ connection with British government was primarily as an influential advisor.  However, he was later the chief British representative at Bretton Woods in 1944, where he was a major architect of the plans for the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for Reconstruction and Development.  He died shortly thereafter, on April 21, 1946 .

Source: Abridged version of a biography of Keynes written by Milton Friedman