Robert Skidelsky
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New Statesman

When confidence is shattered
Robert Skidelsky
New Statesman | Tuesday, October 26, 2010

 
I. 
 
In economics, you cannot convict your opponents of error, but only convince them. Economics isn’t like physics; you can’t conduct controlled experiments to prove or disprove your theories. History provides a very partial way of overcoming this weakness. No events repeat themselves exactly, but past events offer some kind of test of current theories about the economy. The main question of current interest is the effect of fiscal consolidation.
 
The programme of fiscal consolidation has just been unveiled by George Osborne. The claim behind it is that slashing the deficit – removing £123bn from the economy over the next five years, partly by raising taxes, mostly by cutting spending – will make the economy recover faster and more

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For a New World, New Economics
Robert Skidelsky
New Statesman | Monday, August 30, 2010

 
The 2008 financial crash and the shift of power from west to east raise questions about the future of capitalism. Robert Skidelsky appraises the latest thinking, from Ha-Joon Chang, Anatole Kaletsky and Ian Bremmer.
 
23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism
Ha-Joon Chang
Allen Lane, 304pp, £20
 
Capitalism 4.0: the Birth of a New Economy
Anatole Kaletsky
Bloomsbury, 416pp, £20
 
The End of the Free Market
Ian Bremmer
Viking, 240pp, £20
 
These three books are about the future of capitalism. Their inquiry is stimulated not just by the financial collapse in 2008-2009, but by the shift of power from west to east. These events have robbed free-market capitalism of much of its sheen. Anatole Kaletsky says it will be replaced by

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Deficit Disorder: the Keynes Solution
Robert Skidelsky
New Statesman | Monday, May 17, 2010

 
The new chancellor will find himself in the worst starting position of anyone new in that job since the Second World War. According to the Treasury, we are just starting to limp out of the "most severe and synchronised downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930s". Recovery is not secure. With the Greek crisis as the trigger, the world monetary system is starting to disintegrate. The historically minded will recall that the international financial crisis of 1931, two years after the start of the Depression, aborted an incipient recovery and forced Britain off the gold standard. A double-dip recession is a distinct possibility today.
 
Once a new government is in place, the chancellor will have to face the situation as it is, not as

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Deficit Disorder: The Keynes Solution
Robert Skidelsky
New Statesman | Monday, May 17, 2010

 
The new chancellor will find himself in the worst starting position of anyone new in that job since the Second World War. According to the Treasury, we are just starting to limp out of the "most severe and synchronised downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930s". Recovery is not secure. With the Greek crisis as the trigger, the world monetary system is starting to disintegrate. The historically minded will recall that the international financial crisis of 1931, two years after the start of the Depression, aborted an incipient recovery and forced Britain off the gold standard. A double-dip recession is a distinct possibility today.
 
 
Once a new government is in place, the chancellor will have to face the situation as it is, not as

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Book Review: The big squeeze
Robert Skidelsky
New Statesman | Thursday, December 03, 2009

 
The Trouble With Markets: Saving Capitalism From Itself
by Roger Bootle
Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 282pp, £18
 
The Trouble With Markets, by the economist and financial analyst Roger Bootle, is the latest in a spate of books unleashed by the Great Contraction of 2007-2009. It offers a short, reliable analysis of the crisis in language that the intelligent general reader can understand. Bootle has skilfully assembled all the elements of the crisis: its causes in financial deregulation and global imbalances, the pros and cons of a monetary versus fiscal stimulus, and how to design a system that can avoid repeating such disasters.
 
The financial meltdown, Bootle writes, resulted from the interaction between four factors: the bubble

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