Robert Skidelsky
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Articles from The Guardian

Osborne needs a Plan C
Robert Skidelsky
The Guardian | Friday, June 24, 2011

 
George Osborne expected to inherit a booming economy. In September 2007-the month Northern Rock collapsed – he promised to match Labour’s spending plans for his first three years as Chancellor. He said that because the economy was set to grow faster than projected government spending, this would leave the Conservatives room for tax cuts. It is worth recalling this pledge in the light of the later Conservative charge that Gordon Brown ruined the economy. In 2007 both parties shared the same rosy growth expectations, and differed only on the question of how to divide the medium term spoils between tax cuts and public spending.
 
In fact, George Osborne unexpectedly inherited an economy ruined by the great global contraction which started

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Beyond Keynes and Hayek
Robert Skidelsky and Meghnad Desai
The Guardian | Friday, October 29, 2010

 
We must be in a jittery state for a slowdown in the rate of growth to be hailed as a triumph of recovery. The fact is no firm momentum of recovery exists. Take your pick of the forecasts. We might manage 1.8% this year at best, 1.6% next year. The comprehensive spending review has laid down a path for real-terms cuts in public spending over the four years to 2014-15 and the elimination of deficit over the same period. The capital budget is projected to decline by 46% in real terms. The government is hoping that deficit reduction will by itself "crowd in" private investment that is not there right now. In the meantime we expect the Bank of England to do some more quantitative easing, keeping short run interest rates low.
 
Many are urging

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Review: Them and Us: Politics, Greed and Inequality – Why We Need a Fair Society by Will Hutton
Robert Skidelsky
The Guardian | Saturday, September 25, 2010

 
Them and Us: Politics, Greed and Inequality - Why We Need a Fair Society by Will Hutton.
 
In 1996 Will Hutton wrote The State We're In, setting out his vision of Britain's future as the then ascendant Tony Blair prepared to take power. The new dawn didn't break. With Them and Us, he turns his persuasive efforts on the coalition, from whom he has accepted a job to review public sector pay. Here he argues that fairness should not be sacrificed to austerity, and tries to reconcile radical principle with political pragmatism. The result is a tract for our times, passionate, erudite, with much common sense. Hutton is not a socialist, but a progressive liberal. By "fair" he means simply that "good things should happen to good people, and bad

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Advice for a New Government: a reading list
Robert Skidelsky
Guardian | Friday, May 07, 2010

 
The new government is facing daunting economic challenges. The historically minded will recall that the international financial crisis hit in 1931, two years after the start of the great depression, aborting the recovery and forcing Britain off the gold standard. A double-dip recession is a distinct possibility today; and the government's finances are in a mess. Ministers will have to think hard, and thinking is usually helped by reading. Since they have little time to read long books having taken office, here are four short reads to help them learn some lessons from this great recession. They will be particularly helpful to George Osborne.
 
The most politically challenging is Tony Judt's Ill Fares the Land. Judt invites us to rethink

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A dangerous free-for-all
Robert Skidelsky and Vijay Joshi
The Guardian | Tuesday, November 11, 2008

 
Next Saturday world leaders meet in Washington to discuss new rules for the global financial system (though little will be achieved with President-elect Obama absent). So far, thinking about this matter has scarcely got beyond calls for better banking regulation: a microeconomic issue that is doubtless important but misses the main economic plot. The Bretton Woods system of 1944 was set up to "promote a stable system of exchange rates". This system has gone. But any new agreement, will need to be equally ambitious in addressing the problem of exchange rates, because the prevailing "non-system" has played a major role in the wild credit boom that has led to the financial crisis.
 
The old system broke down because creditor countries such

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