Robert Skidelsky
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Miscellaneous Speeches

International Relations after Iraq
Robert Skidelsky
World Political Forum, Turin | Monday, May 19, 2003

 
 
The system of international relations we have known since the second world war has broken down. The reasons given for the Anglo-American attack on Iraq were largely fraudulent. It is now reasonably clear that Saddam Hussein didn’t possess any weapons of mass destruction. It is straining at a gnat to argue that UNSCR 678, passed in 1990, made legal an invasion undertaken in 2003. However, it is also true that the people of Iraq will be much better off without Saddam Hussein; and there is at least a chance that the Middle East will be reshaped for the better.So the balance sheet of the war is not yet clear.
 
Nevertheless, the way the Iraqi war came about has disorganised the relations between the world's great powers and frightened the

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Exchange Rate Choices for ‘Mature’ Economies
Robert Skidelsky
International Monetary Convention | Sunday, May 11, 2003

 
 
The purpose of this paper is to question the near-unanimous view of economists that floating is the best policy for mature economies.
 
It is true that European Single Currency was established on the belief that fixing is best.
 
But the European fixers share one important premise with the Anglo-American floaters. That is that fixing has to be irrevocable if it is to be credible. Since irrevocable fixing on a world-scale is unfeasable, the conclusion is that the major currencies (including the European Single Currency) have to float against each other.
 
I have long felt there was something paradoxical in this sequence of reasoning. Most floaters admit stable exchange rates between the major currencies would be to the world advantage,

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The Consequences of 11 September: A Sceptical View
Robert Skidelsky
Centre for the Study of Global Governance | Thursday, November 29, 2001

 
 
It’s fashionable to say that the suicide bombing of New York’s World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on 11 September has profoundly changed the world. All the press comment has been based on this assumption, with appropriately ‘deep’ analyses of its effects on international relations, the world economy, globalization, and so on.
 
I don’t want to deny that great events have great consequences; but these must be distinguished from events which whose greatness is mainly dramatic. The 11 September bombings were tragic for the innocent who died, but they weren’t comparable in scale or import to, say, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 28 June 1914, or the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941. We should be willing to

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How Much Freedom do Governments have in a Global Economy
Robert Skidelsky
Warwick Lecture | Thursday, September 28, 2000

 
 
I.
It has become a cliché to say that governments have lost power to the global market. For the New Right this is a matter of some satisfaction: they like markets and they don’t like governments, or at least Big Government. To the Left, Old and New,who often talk as though global markets mean multinational corporations, it is a matter of regret. They don’t like markets, and they like Big Government. Although socialism is off the political agenda, the old Right-Left battle still rages. Both sides are increasingly defined by their attitude to globalisation.
 
Globalisation is doubly contested. People not only disagree about whether it is good or bad, but about what it means, or even whether it is all that new. It is clearly a process;

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Writing about Keynes
Robert Skidelsky
St John's College, Oxford | Sunday, January 23, 2000

 
Now that I've finished the last volume of my three volume biography of John Maynard Keynes, I'd like to reflect on the main problems I've encountered in writing this biography. Some of them are problems common to all biographers; some have to do with writing about this particular subject; some are peculiar to me writing about Keynes. So my remarks this evening will be to some extent autobiographical.
 
 
But I have slanted them towards an audience of historians, and I hope they will help shed light on such matters as the relationship between history and economics, the role of ideas in politics, the nature of biographical explanation, and the place of biography in history.
 
Let me start, by way of preview, with a word about the peculiar

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