Robert Skidelsky
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Recent Articles

Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes review – more than the sum of its parts
Monday, March 09, 2015

 
 Splitting a biography of the influential economist into parts pays dividends
 
I admit I came to Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes with a certain prejudice. I knew Richard Davenport-Hines as an accomplished writer and biographer. But he has no background in economics. How could he write a successful life of the most fascinating and influential economist of the 20th century, the economist who gave governments the tools to fight slumps? (Not that they always use them!)
 
Can one write an effective study of a supreme achiever in any sphere – whether it is mathematics, philosophy, literature, or tennis – without having some feel for the beauty of the idea for which they are trying to find the perfect expression?
 
True

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Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes review – more than the sum of its parts
Monday, March 09, 2015

 
Splitting a biography of the influential economist into parts pays dividends
 
I admit I came to Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes with a certain prejudice. I knew Richard Davenport-Hines as an accomplished writer and biographer. But he has no background in economics. How could he write a successful life of the most fascinating and influential economist of the 20th century, the economist who gave governments the tools to fight slumps? (Not that they always use them!)
 
Can one write an effective study of a supreme achiever in any sphere – whether it is mathematics, philosophy, literature, or tennis – without having some feel for the beauty of the idea for which they are trying to find the perfect expression?
 
True

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The Fall of the House of Samuelson
Robert Skidelsky
Project Syndicate | Thursday, January 22, 2015

 
To read The Samuelson Sampler in the shadow of the Great Recession is to gain a glimpse into the mindset of a bygone era. The sample is of the late Paul Samuelson’s weekly columns for the magazine Newsweek from 1966-1973.
 
Samuelson, a Nobel laureate, was the doyen of American economists: his famous textbook, Economics went through 14 editions in its author’s lifetime, introducing future economists worldwide to the rudiments of their craft. If not the sole originator, he was the great popularizer of the “neoclassical synthesis” – the mix of neoclassical and Keynesian economics that defined the mainstream of the field for 50 years.
 
Samuelson was a convinced Keynesian, though in a limited sense. He dismissed most of Keynes’s attack on

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Speech to the Boston Meeting of the Economists for Peace and Security (EPS), 4 January 2015
Robert Skidelsky
Thursday, January 08, 2015

 
 
Historians and economists see the world in a different way. Economists tend to see progress in terms of the linear ascent of reason. Historians tend to see progress as an ascent through disaster.
 
This year's theme of EPS is the avoidance of a second cold war. It's a very urgent and necessary topic, for on its achievement rest our hopes for peace and security in the post-communist era.
 
And by peace -to bring in an economic consideration -I mean a peace dividend -the end of the insane expenditure on armaments, which is the only exception our rulers allow to fiscal austerity.
 
It is wicked to be appropriating hundreds of billions of dollars to guard against largely imaginary dangers while starving our healthcare, education and welfare

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Panel Discussion at the Boston Meeting of Economists for Peace and Security (EPS), 4 January 2015
Robert Skidelsky
Thursday, January 08, 2015

 
 
A couple of months ago, at Sochi on the Black Sea, I put the following question to Vladimir Putin:
 
Would you not accept that your biggest failure since you became President in 2000 has been your failure to diversify the Russian economy? Russia has dismantled the old Soviet industrial system without finding a hard currency replacement. Its economy is dependent on oil exports and is dangerously vulnerable to any fall in the oil price. What do you propose to do to make Russia an attractive place for Russians to invest in and not buy up real estate in London, sending house prices to insane levels?
 
Putin gave a long reply, in which he reeled off a lot of positive statistics but evaded the question. I faced no sinister visitations

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