How Much Is Enough?
When we experience a great shock - when our world, the world - goes off an unpleasant, unforeseen tangent - it is natural to try to interrogate our situation. Why did it happen? What were we doing wrong? Perhaps we were on the wrong track?
We also search for new wisdom from half-forgotten fragments of old wisdom. Our own book, the book my son Edward and I wrote called How Much is Enough? started from exactly such an interrogation.
We drew our inspiration from two thinkers who, separated widely by time, seemed to be on the same length: Aristotle and the economist John Maynard Keynes. With Edward it was more Aristotle, with me more Keynes.
I had after all written a three volume biography of Keynes. I felt IContinue reading...
Russia in the World
EBRD Business Forum
| Monday, May 21, 2007
Russia’s integration into the world economy has been based on energy. Energy is predominant both in its domestic economy and foreign trade. In 2006, oil and gas made up 40% of GDP, and 60% of Russia’s exports. Since 2000 rising oil export revenues have been the main driver of GDP growth, as the price of Urals oil rose from below $10 a barrel to over $60.
Who would have predicted such an outcome a hundred years ago? Russia started to industrialise at the end of the 19th century. Industrialisation was the core of the Soviet developmental strategy. Its aim was to catch up with the United States and then overtake it, showing the superiority of central planning to the market.
Central planning did succeed in making the Soviet Union a
All contributors to the NYRB have their Bob Silvers anecdote. For me Bob is indirectly responsible for a great piece of good fortune. Om 2000 I wrote a long review of a book on Karl Marx –all reviews in the NYRB are long. Much to my surprise I received a letter from an Americfriend telling me that a chief executive officer of a leading US financial company had seen my article, liked it, and would I be willing to meet him. Soon after this I had breakfast with the said financial tycoon in London, as a result of which he asked me to join the Board of his company. They are both here in Oxford today.
I couldn’t help thinking how ironic it was for me to be clambering into the citadel of American finance on Karl Marx’s shoulders. Marx
Rotary Club Speech
| Sunday, January 07, 2007
How solid is Russia’s economy? How solid is its political system? How reliable is it as a partner? .My remarks will be analytic, not imperative. That is, they will not consist of exhortation. We know what Russia should be doing (ie., what we want it to do). The Financial Times tell us almost every day. The point is to understand the structural tendencies of the Russian system.
Let’s start with the economy.
Headline figures of Russian economic growth under Putin tell a spectacular success story. Real GDP growth between 1999-2005 has averaged 6.7%. GDP at market exchange rates was $200bn. in 1999 and $800bn. now, making Russia the tenth largest economy in the world. GDP per capita in PPP is $12,500, or double that of 1999, about the