JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES died on this date. Keynes was an English economist whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. He built on and greatly refined earlier work on the causes of business cycles, and is widely considered to be one of the most influential economists of the 20th century and the founder of modern macroeconomics. His ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynsian economics and its various offshoots.
Keynes’s early romantic and sexual relationships were exclusively with men. Keynes had been in relationships while at Eton and Cambridge; significant among these early partners were Dilly Knox and Daniel Macmillan. Keynes was open about his affairs, and from 1901 to 1915 kept separate diaries in which he tabulated his many sexual encounters. Keynes’s relationship and later close friendship with Macmillan was to be fortunate, as Macmillan’s company first published his tract Economic Consequences of the Peace
Attitudes in the Bloomsbury Group, in which Keynes was avidly involved, were relaxed about homosexuality. Keynes, together with writer Lytton Strachey, had reshaped the Victorian attitudes of the Cambridge Apostles: “since [their] time, homosexual relations among the members were for a time common”, wrote Bertrand Russell. The artist Duncan Grant, whom he met in 1908, was one of Keynes’s great loves. Keynes was also involved with Lytton Strachey, Though they were for the most part love rivals, not lovers. Keynes had won the affections of Arthur Hobhouse, and as with Grant, fell out with a jealous Strachey for it. Strachey had previously found himself put off by Keynes, not least because of his manner of “treat[ing] his love affairs statistically”.
Political opponents have used Keynes’s sexuality to attack his academic work. One line of attack held that he was uninterested in the long term ramifications of his theories because he had no children.
Keynes’s friends in the Bloomsbury Group were initially surprised when, in his later years, he began dating and pursuing affairs with women, demonstrating himself to be bisexual. Ray Costelloe (who would later marry Oliver Strachey) was an early heterosexual interest of Keynes. In 1906, Keynes had written of this infatuation that, “I seem to have fallen in love with Ray a little bit, but as she isn’t male I haven’t [been] able to think of any suitable steps to take.”