Robert Skidelsky
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Magazines

New Statesman

Book Review: Arrested Development
Robert Skidelsky
New Statesman | Monday, May 16, 2005

 
The End of Poverty: economic possibilities for our time
by Jeffrey Sachs; with a foreword by Bono
Allen Lane, the Penguin Press, 397pp, £20
 
 
Jeffrey Sachs has the mind of an economist but the temperament of a missionary. His thought and striving are in the service of his passion to make humans materially better off. Like most economists, he is an unconscious Marxist. He believes in the materialist interpretation of history, with institutions and culture as products of material conditions. Thus he writes: "Africa's government is poor because Africa is poor."
 
This book (with a foreword by his fellow evangelist Bono, the rock star) is about how to end poverty. According to World Bank estimates, there are 1.1 billion extremely poor

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Book Review: Engine of Growth
Robert Skidelsky
New Statesman | Monday, July 12, 2004

 
In Defence of Globalisation
by Jagdish Bhagwati
Oxford University Press, 324pp, £17.99
 
Why Globalisation Works
by Martin Wolf
Yale University Press, 398pp, £19.99
 
These two books offer a defence of globalisation against its critics. Both cover much the same ground, though with differing emphases. Martin Wolf, a noted economics columnist at the Financial Times, has written the more comprehensive, better organised and (despite its greater length) more concise book. It is a necessary and compelling read for all who want to understand the logic of unfolding events. Jagdish Bhagwati is one of the world's leading trade theorists. His book has its moments, but he is not at his best. It is intellectually self-indulgent, and his style - with

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Book Review: The Global Guru
Robert Skidelsky
New Statesman | Thursday, April 15, 2004

 
The Bubble of American Supremacy
by George Soros
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 224pp, £12.99
 
Having made a fortune as a financier and then given much of it away in philanthropy, George Soros has embarked on a new career as a guru. He urgently wants to put his mouth where his money is. He looks at our arrangements for managing the planet and finds them sadly wanting. "The combination of financial markets and national politics," he writes, "has created a lopsided system designed primarily for the production and exchange of private goods. Collective needs and social justice receive short shrift because the development of international institutions . . . has not kept pace with the development of markets."
 
To the task of plugging the

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Essay: The Killing Fields
Robert Skidelsky
New Statesman | Monday, January 26, 2004

 
Changes in the character of war partially account for the mass murders of the past century. But the rise of democracy also plays a role
 
Why did the 20th century produce so much mass killing of civilians - a phenomenon so terrible and unexpected that it caused a new word, "genocide", to be coined to describe it? Mass slaughter is nothing new. What was new was its return to the centres of civilisation after two centuries of progress. From Europe, it spread to Asia and Africa. In Rwanda on 7 April 1994, the Hutus started killing the Tutsis, or "cockroaches" as they were called. They shot and hacked a million to death in three months. The killings were as coldly deliberate as those organised by Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. The great powers

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Book Review: A Janus-faced World
Robert Skidelsky
New Statesman | Monday, November 17, 2003

 
The Breaking of Nations: order and chaos in the 21st century
by Robert Cooper
Atlantic Books, 180pp, £14.99
 
International relations may or may not be in a mess; the theory of international relations certainly is. The old theory was that the world consists of "states" which exist in an "international anarchy". It was an "anarchy" because there was no world government. But there was, nevertheless, a principle of order, or rather two: empire and the balance of power. These coexisted in uneasy juxtaposition. By the end of the 19th century, the balance of power in Europe had become a world balance as the United States and Japan took their place as "great powers" alongside the empires of the main European states. After 1945, there was a

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