Thursday , December 1 2022
Home / Robert Skidelsky

Robert Skidelsky

Too Poor for War

Nov 8, 2022 ROBERT SKIDELSKY and PHILIP PILKINGTON Decades of deindustrialization have hollowed out the UK economy and made it woefully ill-prepared for wartime disruptions. As the financial speculators who funded its current-account deficits turn against the pound, policymakers should consider Keynesian taxes and increasing public investment. LONDON – A wartime economy is inherently a shortage economy: because the government needs to direct resources toward manufacturing guns, less...

Read More »

Reinstating fiscal policy for normal times: Public investment and Public Jobs Programmes

ROBERT SKIDELSKY and SIMONE GASPERIN (2021) Abstract: This paper upholds the classical Keynesian position that a laissez-faire market economy lacks a spontaneous tendency to full employment. Focusing on the UK case, it argues that monetary policy could not prevent the economic collapse of 2008-9 or achieve full recovery from the Great Recession that followed. The paper then outlines the case for fiscal policy to regain a permanent status of primacy in modern macroeconomic...

Read More »

House of Lords Speech on the Public Order Bill

My Lords, it is very cold in this House; I wonder what has happened to the heating. It certainly has a chilling effect on debate. I am not a lawyer like the noble Lord, Lord Sandhurst, nor a policeman like the noble Lord, Lord Paddick. I am driven to take part in the debate because I have become increasingly concerned at the wide powers of surveillance and control being claimed by Governments in the name of public order and national security—powers that, in their structure though not...

Read More »

Gorbachev’s Tragic Legacy

Oct 19, 2022ROBERT SKIDELSKY Admired in the West but loathed by his countrymen as a harbinger of Russia’s post-Cold War misfortune, Mikhail Gorbachev fully grasped the immense challenges of reforming the ailing Soviet Union. Today’s Russia largely reflects the anti-Western grievances stemming from his failure. LONDON – Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union’s last leader, was buried last month at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow next to his wife Raisa and near fellow Soviet leader...

Read More »

Economy: The Growth Plan 2022

House of Lords Speech: 10 October 2022 My Lords, the twin problems to which the mini-Budget was addressed were near-zero growth and a relentless rise in prices. I doubt whether it will do very much for the first—certainly not in time to offset the second. In the short run, what we face is not a growth crisis but an inflationary crisis and that, of course, also means a currency crisis. What was the growth strategy? I think it was based on Reaganomics—the idea that unfunded tax cuts,...

Read More »

Requiem for an Empire

Sep 12, 2022 ROBERT SKIDELSKY Since World War II, Britain’s influence in the world has relied on its “special relationship” with the United States, its position as head of the Commonwealth (the British Empire’s successor), and its position in Europe. The Americans are still there, but Europe isn’t, and now the head of the Commonwealth isn’t, either. LONDON – Amid the many, and deserved, tributes to Queen Elizabeth II, one aspect of her 70-year reign remained in the background: her...

Read More »

Mind the Policy Gaps

Aug 22, 2022 ROBERT SKIDELSKY The widening gaps in policy formation nowadays reflect the division of labor and increasing specialization that has taken us from the sixteenth-century ideal of the Renaissance man. And today’s biggest policymaking gap has grown so large that it threatens global catastrophe. LONDON – Just as the insistent demand for more “transparency” is a sure sign of increasing opacity, the current clamor for “joined-up thinking” indicates that the need for it far...

Read More »

Boris Johnson’s Fall – and Ours

Jul 19, 2022 ROBERT SKIDELSKY Although words like “unprincipled,” “amoral,” and “serial liar” seem to describe the outgoing British prime minister accurately, they accurately describe more successful political leaders as well. To explain Johnson’s fall, we need to consider two factors specific to our times. LONDON – Nearly all political careers end in failure, but Boris Johnson is the first British prime minister to be toppled for scandalous behavior. That should worry us. The...

Read More »

Russia’s Path to Premodernity

Jun 14, 2022 ROBERT SKIDELSKY The Stalinist retreat from science and logic persisted following the Soviet Union’s collapse and is now the main tendency of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rule. With his faith-based mythology, warping of history, and denial of facts, Putin’s withdrawal from contemporary Europe could not be starker. LONDON – The Russian writer Pyotr Chaadayev said of his country that “we have never advanced along with other people; we are not related to any of the...

Read More »

The Guardian view on a four-day week: policies needed to make it a reality

After the first world war, workers wanted a peace dividend for their sacrifices. Within three years they got it. Almost every industrialised nation – with the exception of Japan – accepted the newly established International Labour Organization’s call to limit working hours to eight a day and 48 a week. While most developed countries enacted legislation to achieve these aims, Britain, along with the United States and Italy, did so through collective agreements. Today, the triple crises...

Read More »