Robert Skidelsky
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Conferences

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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World Governance
Robert Skidelsky
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

 
Our starting point is the breakdown of the theory and to some extent the practice of state sovereignty under the impact of globalization. The doctrine of state sovereignty has been increasingly qualified. Sovereignty, it is said, is being undermined from above by the emergence of institutions of global governance, and from below by transnational movements and NGOs. The right to intervene coercively in what had hitherto been regarded as the domestic affairs of states is now being asserted for various contingencies, the most notable being when states sponsor terrorist groups or perpetuate or allow mass murder. The doctrine of state sovereignty is being modified in practice. The development of the hybrid European Union is one example;

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