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凯恩斯的历史地位 摘录 英文原文

Keynes’s place in history, though often bitterly contested, is such that he deserves a seat next to Churchill, Einstein, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Both Churchill and Roosevelt listened to his advice, although they didn’t always take it. Not only did Keynes help fnance World War II for Britain, but he laid out the solid architecture of Keynesian economics, which posits that government can make a huge difference in creating demand during economic downturns. While the historical Keynes rarely evokes a weak response—he’s seen as either a devil or a saint—the infuence he has had in terms of creating prosperity and averting war over economic issues is undeniable. The Bretton Woods Accords, which set up the World Bank and the International

Monetary Fund, were Keynes’s children. There is no Western government that hasn’t employed Keynesian remedies over the past 60 years. Some are still doing so; others refuse to do so. As Krugman notes in a splendid introduction to Keynes’s General

Theory of Employment, Interest and Money: A businessman who warns that confdence poses risks for the economy is a Keynesian, whether he knows it or not. A politician who promises that his tax cuts will create jobs by putting spending money in people’s pockets is a Keynesian, even if he comes to abhor the doctrine. Even self-proclaimed supply-side economists, who claim to have refuted Keynes, fall back on unmistakably Keynesian stories to explain why the economy turned down in a given year.

 

How does Keynesian economics inform us today? It may be an antidote to lasting recessions, although his approach has been so politicized and bowdlerized that it’s hard to see it in practice.

While this book won’t be examining that question in any depth, I will endeavor to show how it can be a lens for modern investors.

As the late investor Barton Biggs observed in his charming book Hedgehogging, “Every serious investor needs to understand the Keynesian model, for it is an integral part of the way the world works.”

Keynes the Investor

Whatever position you take on Keynesian economics, a little known part of his life is that he was a stunningly active and successful investor. Sometime around the start of World War I, he started speculating in stocks, currencies, and commodities.

Although he had been investing money received from awards and birthday gifts since he was a youth, King’s College began to enlist him in the management of its fnancial affairs in the frst decade of the twentieth century, a role that he continued to play until his death in 1946. He later managed money for his friends, his family, and insurance companies at a time when there was so such thing as formal training for institutional money managers. In keeping with his jazzy persona and penetrating intellect, he invented management techniques along the way. He was undoubtedly the god father of the behavioral school of economics, and he has had profound infuence upon the value school. Despite those who accuse Keynes of being a doting protector of government and socialist values, when you look at how he invested, it’s clear that he was a die-hard capitalist. During the time when he was an adjunct advisor to the British government, he bought and sold stocks, bonds, currencies, and commodities. His spectacular success showed not only his passion for making money, but his growing aversion to losing it. As someone who had gained two fortunes through his trading prowess and lost them through his hubris, Keynes is a stellar example of how an investor can learn, fall on his face more than once, and still come out ahead.  

What I’ll share with you is how Keynes achieved his remarkable fortune during a time in which fear, panic, infation, defation, mass unemployment, and war took turns devastating the world’s largest economies. Not only did Keynes prosper, but he developed some essential ideas that will help you achieve fnancial well-being. Yet please don’t mistake this for a detailed analysis of his theories. I am not an economist, and I don’t pretend to understand all the nuances of his ideas. I’ll show you what he learned, what worked, what failed, and how modern investors have embraced his ideas.

Perhaps emboldened by his erudite bad boy success and his access to power, Keynes’s passions took an interesting turn after World War I. Profts from his books and his teaching income allowed him to live the life of an aristocrat. He invested in art, traveled to the Continent, and picked up Impressionist masterpieces for a song after 1919. With considerable disposable income, he adopted a new hobby: speculation. This led him to place bets on currencies and commodities in the postwar environment. As Europe meandered from the Versailles Treaty to rebuilding, the continent’s economy was shaky, but Keynes had a front-row seat to fgure out when to go long and when to short. He did so with abandon.

First, however, let’s go back to before World War I, when Keynes was getting his feet wet as a fellow at Cambridge, lecturing students on the basics of economics and fnance and grasping how the world worked.