John Maynard Keynes was born on June 5, 1883 in Cambridge, England. His father was a teacher at the University of Cambridge, where he lectured on logic and the political economy. His mother was an author and worked towards social reforms. In this environment, John was given a strong background in academics that would allow him to become a great economist.
Early in school, John's performance was not exceptional, but he began to show more promise as he grew older. In 1894, he won a prize for his mathematical skill. At the recommendation of a number of his teachers, he took the entrance examination for Eton and scored tenth out of the twenty accepted applicants.
In Eton, John did very well and excelled particularly in mathematics. In 1899 and 1900, he won the senior mathematics prize. He also excelled in history and English language classes. In 1902, he graduated school and was accepted into the University of Cambridge.
At Cambridge, John excelled in mathematics once again and became a well known figure on campus. He became the president of the Cambridge Union and won a prize for an essay on politics. Upon graduation, he took the prestigious Tripos mathematics examinations and was ranked twelfth.
After graduating, he began intensively studying the science of economics. He took a vacation to Switzerland and returned to Cambridge in 1905 to attend lectures by Alfred Marshall on economics. In 1906, he took Civil Service examinations and was given a position in the treasury office of India, which was at the time a colony of England.
He did not like his work in the office, instead focusing on his private studies, now focusing more on the theory of probability. He formed a dissertation in 1908 on probability for a Fellowship at King's College, but was denied the position. Shortly after, he quit his position at the office to study at King's College with the financial support of his father. After perfecting his dissertation, he was eventually given a fellowship at the school in 1909.
John soon found himself in a teaching position at Cambridge University. Aside from lecturing on economics, he found time to publish papers on everything from statistics to Indian economics. In 1913, he published a book entitled "Indian Currency and Finance", which proved to be popular.
That same year, he was given the position of secretary on a commission formed to examine the finance practices in India. He published several more papers and continued lecturing at Cambridge before being given a position at the national treasury. After the first world war ended in 1919, he was chosen to represent the treasury at the Versailles Peace Conference, but he resigned soon after in protest. He published his criticism of the conference in "The Economic Consequences of the Peace", which was not regarded highly by the English government.
In 1921, he published a major work, "Treatise on Probability", which he had worked on for nearly a decade. He stated that probability was an objective field since it used logical relations. He also believed that probability was a core concept of mathematics and could not be split into smaller concepts.
During the depression of the 1930s, unemployment and poverty was widespread. John realized that conventional economics was not able to deal with these problems and he began thinking of new ideas that could. In 1930 he published "A Treatise on Money" and in 1935 he published "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money". These publications earned him a new position in the treasury during the second world war. He used this time to help organize the International Monetary Fund.
In 1942, John published an article entitled "Newton, the Man" in commemoration of the third century after Newton's birth. That same year, he was given a position in the House of Lords, taking a seat on the liberal side. He also became the chairman of the Committee for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts.
John Maynard Keynes died on April 21, 1946 in Firle, England. His theories had a huge impact on mathematics and modern economics.