Robert Skidelsky
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Conferences

Europe’s Debt Crisis and Implications for Policy
Robert Skidelsky
Keynote Speech at FT Conference in Amsterdam | Tuesday, September 14, 2010

 
In its latest briefing note the IMF warned that world growth would slow in the second half of 2010 and the first half of 2011. Meanwhile the cost of Greek government debt has shot up again, despite the ECB rescue-package, and the IMF will soon inject another 2.5bn euros into the Greek economy. Finally, European trade unions are planning a winter of protest against cuts. These are just the latest glimpses of what is happening in the world economy.
 
The Causes of the Crisis
 
The turmoil in the Eurozone was caused by the global crisis that broke out in 2007.The deepest cause of the global crisis was the increasing dominance of the financial system in developed economies, as a result of its liberation from national regulatory controls. As

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Global Capitalism and Post Democracy
Robert Skidelsky
Seminar of the Moscow School of Political Science, Golitsyno | Saturday, July 24, 2010

 
Here are five commonly accepted propositions about Russia:
 
1. The roots of Russian authoritarianism lie in the country’s climate, geography, years of serfdom and need for a strong government. This legacy is binding.
 
2. Russia’s relations with its neighbours are bound to be imperial.
 
3. Russia is not really a ‘European’ country.
 
4. Russia’s peculiar features are a big obstacle to its modernization.
 
5. Because of its history, Russia can never be an ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’ country.
 
The last proposition subsumes all the others. But they all rest on two suppositions, first, that Russia’s past will determine its future; second, that there is an agreed standard of ‘normality’ to which Russia should conform were it able to.
 
The first

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Interpreting the Great Depression: Hayek versus Keynes
Robert Skidelsky
INET Conference, Cambridge University. | Thursday, April 08, 2010

 
i.
 
This is not intended to be a purely historical paper. I am interested in the light the Keynesian and Hayekian interpretations of the Great Depression throw on the causes of the Great Recession of 2007-9 and in the policy relevance of the two positions to the management of today’s globalizing economy. In my recent book, Keynes-The Return of the Master, I committed myself to the view that the present crisis was at root not a failure of character or competence but a failure of ideas, and quoted Keynes to the effect that ‘the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly supposed.
 
Indeed, the world is ruled by little else’. So any enquiry into policy

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The British Tradition of Administration
Robert Skidelsky
Moscow Conference | Wednesday, October 17, 2007

 
 
The British tradition of public administration is aristocratic, the French is republican. This difference persists today beneath the practice of meritocratic selection common to both countries. It is reflected in the greater importance of social class in recruitment to the higher ranks of the British civil service. Educational reforms designed to increase access have run up against the persistence of the British class structure, giving a strong social bias to ‘selection by ability’. This is true in both schools and universities. The best efforts of reformers to remove parental advantage from the recruitment of top civil servants has been undermined by social attitudes with deep historic roots.
 
Absent from today’s discussion is the

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Education for an Effective Public Service
Robert Skidelsky
Moscow Conference | Tuesday, July 17, 2007

 
1.Most countries have devoted considerable attention to the education of their rulers. These were traditionally drawn from the aristocracy, but since the 19th century, selection for the public service has generally been based on merit. Candidates for the higher civil service had to pass examinations for which they were prepared at elite institutions.
 
 
2.A country in transition, seeking to build up an administrative structure of high ability and integrity, can draw some instructive lessons from the experience of successful administrative systems elsewhere. The key question is: what structure of education, secondary and higher, best conduces to a high level of performance and honesty in government? I believe that the way Britain and

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