Friday , December 4 2020
Home / Robert Skidelsky

Robert Skidelsky

Why the West failed to contain COVID-19

The promise of a “final” end to lockdowns in the spring of 2021 is the kind of hyperbole we have come to expect about new products and policies. The Oxford University vaccine may work; it may even be delivered effectively. Meanwhile, Covid-19 is still around, the UK government is extending lockdown for large parts of the country and effective protections are still being ignored, at grave cost. From the start of the pandemic, the policy choice in Europe has been presented as a trade-off...

Read More »

Spending Review: Beyond Accountancy

The furlough and the business support schemes, started in March, would end in October to coincide with the reopening of the economy. This meant that the UK economy would be much the same -give and take some minor “scarring”- in 2021 as it was in 2019: a year’s growth lost, but that was the limit of the damage. The expectation of a fourth quarter bounce-back was always unrealistic: severely damaged economies never “bounce back” unaided. The Chancellor’s response to the “second wave” of...

Read More »

It’s the Economy with Joseph Stiglitz, Robert Skidelsky and Mary Kaldor

Robert Skidelsky, eminent biographer of British economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), whose ideas continue to reverberate and influence government policies across the world, and Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning American economist, debate what Keynes might propose in the current climate of international economic turmoil. Can they interpret for our times Keynes’s belief that the political problem of humankind is to combine three things: “economic efficiency, social justice...

Read More »

Job Creation is the New Game in Town

November 13 2020Even if a successful rollout of a new COVID-19 vaccine causes the current health crisis to recede by next spring, the unemployment crisis will remain. That is especially true in the United Kingdom, where fiscal stimulus is urgently needed to avert a lost decade – if not a lost generation – of growth. EDINBURGH/LONDON – In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, both the US and European economies are gearing up for large-scale job creation. US President-elect Joe Biden has...

Read More »

Robert Skidelsky Speech on Internal Withdrawal Bill

I will confine my remarks to Part 5 of this Bill. I find myself swayed by two completely opposite accusations of bad faith. The government accuses    EU negotiators of bad faith in seeking to erect  ‘unreasonable’ customs barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK . Opponents of the Bill  say the bad faith is our own government’s. The Withdrawal Agreement set up a  Joint Committee to  resolve trade disputes; the government have chosen not to use it So, as Ed Milliband...

Read More »

Policing Truth in the Trump Era

Social-media companies’ only incentive to tackle the problem of fake news is to minimize the bad press that disseminating it has generated for them. But unless and until telling the truth serves the bottom line, it is futile to expect them to change course. LONDON – On October 6, US President Donald Trump posted a tweet claiming that the common flu sometimes kills “over 100,000” Americans in a year. “Are we going to close down our Country?” he asked. “No, we have learned to live with...

Read More »

International Law and Political Necessity

The UK government’s proposed “breach” of its Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union is purely a negotiating ploy. Critics of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s tactics must argue their case on pragmatic rather than legal grounds. LONDON – Whenever the great and the good unite in approval or condemnation of something, my impulse is to break ranks. So, I find it hard to join the chorus of moral indignation at the UK government’s recent decision to “break international law” by amending...

Read More »

What Would Keynes Have Done

In the long-run, Covid-19 may well change the way we work and live. It may – and should – lead us towards a greener, less consumption-driven economy. The question for now is what to do about the economic devastation it will bring in its wake. Around 730,000 UK jobs were lost between March and July, the biggest quarterly decline since 2009, and unemployment is forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility to reach its highest level since 1984 (11.9 per cent).  The coming downturn is...

Read More »