Monday, 6 April 2015

An eighth thing you may not know about Lord Keynes

Early last month, The Guardian ran a article entitled 'Seven things you may not know about John Maynard Keynes', which included such intriguing tidbits as that Keynes was a bisexual, and that he never even sat an examination in the subject of economics (he actually read Classics and mathematics at Cambridge). One notable omission from the article, arguably more interesting than the triviality that he "believed in second thoughts", is that Keynes was a eugenicist.

He served as Director of the British Eugenics Society between 1937 and 1944. And indeed, when presenting the society's first Galton Gold Medal to Sir Alexander Carr-Saunders in 1946, he remarked:
Galton's eccentric, sceptical, observing, flashing, cavalry-leader type of mind led him eventually to become the founder of the most important, significant and, I would add, genuine branch of sociology which exists, namely eugenics.
Of course, Keynes was not the only progressive eugenicist of his day. Other such luminaries include Sidney and Beatrice Webb, George Bernard Shaw, William Beveridge, Marie Stopes, and Harold Laski.

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