Robert Skidelsky
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Financial Times

Urgently needed: a plan C to save Britain’s economy
Robert Skidelsky and Felix Martin
Financial Times | Thursday, November 24, 2011

 
The Office for Budget Responsibility forecast in March that the UK economy would grow by 1.7 per cent in 2011, and that the government could meet its target of eliminating the structural deficit by 2014-15. But the economy has underperformed these forecasts by so much that it now seems growth will be little more than 1 per cent, and the target not achieved until 2016-17. A recent speech by David Cameron showed he was preparing to announce what a report from Barclays Capital neatly called “two years’ slippage in eight months”.
 
So we have embarked on Plan B – printing money, though only to a modest extent, a £75bn programme of “quantitative easing” announced by the Bank of England on 6th October. For those who never believed in Plan A –

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A Way out of Britain’s Growth Dilemma
Robert Skidelsky and Felix Martin
Financial Times | Monday, March 21, 2011

 
As he prepares for Wednesday’s Budget, George Osborne, chancellor, faces a dilemma. On the one hand the recovery has stalled even before his cuts have started. On the other the simple solution of relaxing austerity plans to stave off a double-dip recession is financially and politically unrealistic. Fortunately, there is a way to square this circle – and it requires no U-turn at all.
 
Mr Osborne dare not renege on plans to liquidate the deficit, fearing (perhaps with good reason) that any change would unsettle the bond markets. But he must also see that, without support, private demand will not suffice to return Britain to full employment. Here the data are clear. In January, the Office for National Statistics revealed that Britain’s

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A golden opportunity for monetary reform
Robert Skidelsky
Financial Times | Tuesday, November 09, 2010

 
Three cheers for Robert Zoellick. Writing in the FT this week, the World Bank president set out an ambitious agenda for the Group of 20 leading economies to “rebalance demand” and “spur growth”. He recognises that the reduction of current account imbalances is a necessary condition for a non-protectionist trading system.
 
Global imbalances lie at the heart of the current recession; failure to address them will abort recovery and lead to currency wars. Gold can play a minor part in the necessary rebalancing, as Mr Zoellick suggests – although history shows that a gold standard would be too deflationary.
 
Put briefly, the underlying cause of the present crisis was an increase in reserve “hoarding”, chiefly by China. This was made possible

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Britain’s Austerity Apostles Duck the Debate
Robert Skidelsky
Financial Times | Thursday, October 14, 2010

 
Next week the parliamentary battle over cuts will start up again. The chancellor, George Osborne, will say the government’s programme of fiscal retrenchment is necessary to “restore confidence”. Alan Johnson, his shadow, will say it threatens the “fragile recovery”. The government plans to cut public spending by 10 per cent over four years as part of its deficit reduction plan. This will extract 5 per cent out of a shrunken economy. It is the most audacious axe-cutting exercise in almost a century, double the size of the cuts in the 1930s, equalled only by the 1921 Geddes Axe, which cut government spending by 11 per cent in two years. Labour says it is too much, too fast.
 
The two positions are clear enough, the arguments underlying them

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Future generations will curse us for cutting in a slump
Robert Skidelsky and Michael Kennedy
Financial Times | Wednesday, July 28, 2010

 
In 1937 Keynes wrote: “The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity at the Treasury.” Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, disagrees. Stripped of its jargon, his argument last Friday in the Financial Times is that fiscal retrenchment is needed to “consolidate recovery”. This has become the standard European – though not American – line. “Failure to address the deficit is the greatest danger we face,” said UK Treasury minister Lord Sassoon in the House of Lords on Monday, faithfully echoing the words of his master, chancellor George Osborne. But beyond vaguely referring to the need to restore “confidence”, none of the cutters can explain how reducing public spending when private spending is already

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