Biography

Robert Skidelsky’s illuminating insights into politics, economics, and history have been educating audiences and readers for decades. His focus is economic systems, the crises they cause, and their effect on culture, values, and everyday life.

Robert is the author of several highly acclaimed books, and his highly-anticipated newest is written jointly with his son, Edward Skidelsky:

How Much is Enough? The Economics and Philosophy of the Good Life

In this intriguing new book, he confronts an issue prompted by the economic downturn and on everyone’s mind these days:

What is the real value or worth of wealth?

Greed, the quest for hyper growth, big profits, and obscene paydays (for some) have pushed us in the wrong direction, distorting our values, and destroying many of the things that make life worth living.

Robert argues that wealth should not be regarded as an end in itself but a means to the achievement and maintenance of a good and satisfying life. Our lives, our work, and our economy should be organized to reflect this fact.

Robert also recently published a collection of his writings and speeches, The Economic Crisis 2008-2011, on the Great Contraction, the biggest global economic collapse since the Great Depresson.

Other important books by Robert Skidelsky include a prize-winning three volume biography of the economist John Maynard Keynes, which Foreign Affairs called "The definitive study of the most important economist of his time."

Another more recent book addresses the financial crash of 2008 and the economic crisis that ensued:

**Keynes: The Return of the Master***

"[O]ffers nervous capitalists a positive answer to the question we now face: When unbridled capitalism falters, is there an alternative?"
— Amazon.com book description

"The book offers clear and cogent critiques of modern macroeconomic thought, along with a brief but useful summary of what went wrong in 2007-2009."
Foreign Affairs

Active in politics, Robert is a founding member of the Social Democratic Party and and remained in the party till its dissolution in 1992. In 1991, he became chairman of the Social Market Foundation, and the same year was made a life peer. He subsequently joined the Conservatives. He was made Chief Opposition Spokesman in the Lords, first for Culture, then for Treasury Affairs (1997-9), but he was sacked by the then Conservative party leader, William Hague, for publicly opposing NATO's bombing of Kosovo. In 2001, he left the Conservative Party for the cross benches. He has been actively engaged in the fiscal debate following the downturn of 2008.

He writes a monthly column for Project Syndicate, "Against the Current", which is syndicated in newspapers all over the world. He is a frequent contributor to the Financial Times, The New York Review of Books, The Guardian, The Sunday Telegraph, Moscow Times, and many other periodicals around the world.

Praise
His speeches and presentations at conferences are high anticipated and appreciated. His recent ones have drawn praise such as the following:

House of Lords debate on the Comprehensive Spending Review:
'Just received and read your brilliant speech for today’s debate.'
— Rt Hon Gordon Brown, 2010

State Street Conference on Global Markets:
'Thank you for presenting at our event last week. The feedback from attendees has been outstanding'
— Jeremy Armitage, Head of Strategy Research, State Street Global Markets, 2010

Irish Trade Union Congress:
'Such an erudite and common sense speaker. A lot of people afterwards said that on the night he explained very difficult concepts in a very clear fashion.'
— Macdara Doyle, Communications Office, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, 2010

Drobny Global Advisers:
'It was great meeting you on Thursday at the Mandarin. Our clients thoroughly enjoyed your talk so it was a great success.'
— Steve Drobny, 2010.

Thomson Reuters Interview:
'I thought you might like to know how well received your interview has been on Reuters Insider. On the day it went live, your interview ranked in the top 20 programmes. The following day, subscribers watching the vireo 'on-demand' took it up well inside the top 10 where it stayed for three successive days. It’s a rarity for something to rank so highly so consistently.'
— Nick Edwards, Economics Editor, Reuters TV.

Robert Skidelsky was made a life peer in 1991 by Queen Elizabeth and is now known as Lord Skidelsky.

Credentials

  • Professor and Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, University of Warwick, 1990 -
  • Fellow of the British Academy in both Economics and History Sections, 1994 -
  • Council of the Royal Economic Society, 2008 -
  • Chairman of the Governors of Brighton College, 2006 -
  • Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University, 2010 -
  • non-executive director, Rusnano Capital, 2010 -
  • non-executive director of Janus Capital, 2001-2011
  • non-executive director of Sistema JSC,2008-2010
  • Chairman of fund board of Wermuth Asset Management, 2005-2009
  • Director, Moscow School of Political Studies, 2003 -
  • Chairman, Centre for Global Studies, 2005 -
  • Member, Advisory Board of the Institute of New Economic Thinking, 2010 -

Topics

These are topics that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest the speakers range and interests.

Robert tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

The end of globalization

Is democracy the wave of the future?

The debate on macroeconomic policy: Keynes, Hayek, Freedman

The future of global reserves and exchange rates

Future of the Eurozone

Prospects for recovery

Investment priorities post-recession

Political risks

Prospects and problems of financial regulation

Issues in macroeconomic policy post-recession

Contours of the post-recession capitalist system

American economic policy after the election

Austerity versus prosperity

  • The Essential Keynes


    Robert Skidelsky, Editor


    'Many of the greatest economic evils of our time are the fruits of risk, uncertainty, and ignorance'


    John Maynard Keynes was the most influential economist, and one of the most influential thinkers, of the twentieth century. He overturned the orthodoxy that markets were optimally self-regulating, and instead argued for state intervention to ensure full employment and economic stability. This new selection is the first comprehensive single-volume edition of Keynes's writings on economics, philosophy, social theory and policy, including several pieces never before published. Full of irony and wit, they offer a dazzling introduction to a figure whose ideas still have urgent relevance today.

    Penguin Classics (30 April 2015)


  • Britain Since 1900

    A Success Story?


    How successful has Britain been in the twentieth century?


    This is the question Robert Skidelsky poses in this fascinating analysis of a century in which Britain lost an empire, fought two world wars, founded the welfare state and weathered economic turbulence and technological upheaval.

    We are accustomed to judging nations by their success in increasing or maintaining power - by these measures Britain has failed to thrive, but what of quality of life, prosperity, political, cultural and moral values?

    The British people are richer and healthier than in 1900. Despite cataclysmic events and some fraying at the edges, our society is more democratic and tolerant, and our constitution of liberty has been preserved, at a cost. Bu inequality of wealth income is much as it was before 1914, finance is scarcely less proud or industry more content, and history continues to be made by the elite.

    Starting with an assessment of the material, political, cultural and moral resources Britain brought to the twentieth century, Skidelsky turns to how events and the actions of Lloyd George, Churchill, Thatcher and Blair had an impact upon them, debating the nature of success, and what the future might hold for the country.

    Vintage (30 Oct. 2014)


  • The Economic Crisis 2008-2011




    A selection of Robert Skidelsky’s writing and speeches on the Great Contractions, which started in 2008 and is set to continue. It has been the biggest global economic collapse since the Great Depression of 1929-1932.

    Centre for Global Studies (March 2012)


  • Keynes

    The Return of the Master



    In the debris of the financial crash of 2008, the principles of John Maynard Keynes — that economic storms are a normal part of the market system, that governments need to step in and use fiscal ammunition to prevent these storms from becoming depressions, and that societies that value the pursuit of money should reprioritize — are more pertinent and applicable than ever. In Keynes: The Return of the Master, Robert Skidelsky brilliantly synthesizes Keynes career and life, and offers nervous capitalists a positive answer to the question we now face: When unbridled capitalism falters, is there an alternative?

    Penguin (30 Sep 2010)


  • John Maynard Keynes 1883-1946




    Robert Skidelsky's three-volume biography of John Maynard Keynes has been acclaimed as the authoritative account of the great economist-statesman's life. Here, Skidelsky has revised and abridged his magnum opus into one definitive book, which examines in its entirety the intellectual and ideological journey that led an extraordinarily gifted young man to concern himself with the practical problems of an age overshadowed by war. John Maynard Keynes offers a sympathetic account of the life of a passionate visionary and an invaluable insight into the economic philosophy that still remains at the centre of political and economic thought.

    Penguin (08 Aug 2013) Macmillan (21 Nov 2003)


  • John Maynard Keynes

    Fighting for Britain, 1937-1946 v.3: Fighting for Britain, 1937-1946 Vol 3



    This is the final volume of the biography of John Maynard Keynes. It is an essay which looks at Keynes' personal and public life and what influence he has had on today's society.

    Macmillan (10 Nov 2000)


  • John Maynard Keynes

    The Economist as Saviour, 1920-37 v.2: The Economist as Saviour, 1920-37 Vol 2



    'A path-breaking contribution to the intellectual history of our time, and a kind of hymn to the role of creative imagination in social thought.' — D.Marquand
    'Anyone who wants to understand modern Britain has to read Skidelsky's biography.' — T.Congdon

    Papermac; New edition edition (12 Aug 1994)


  • How Much Is Enough

    Money and the Good Life



    What constitutes the good life? What is the true value of money? Why do we work such long hours merely to acquire greater wealth? These are some of the questions that many asked themselves when the financial system crashed in 2008. This book tackles such questions head-on.

    The authors begin with the great economist John Maynard Keynes. In 1930 Keynes predicted that, within a century, per capita income would steadily rise, people’s basic needs would be met, and no one would have to work more than fifteen hours a week. Clearly, he was wrong: though income has increased as he envisioned, our wants have seemingly gone unsatisfied, and we continue to work long hours.

    The Skidelskys explain why Keynes was mistaken. Then, arguing from the premise that economics is a moral science, they trace the concept of the good life from Aristotle to the present and show how our lives over the last half century have strayed from that ideal. Finally, they issue a call to think anew about what really matters in our lives and how to attain it. How Much Is Enough? is that rarity, a work of deep intelligence and ethical commitment accessible to all readers. It will be lauded, debated, cited, and criticized. It will not be ignored.

    Other Press (NY) (May 2012)


    Excerpt

    How Much Is Enough?The New Yorker

    Reviews

    ReviewLondon Evening Standard
    ReviewThe Guardian

  • Europe in Crisis: Will the Brexit Lead to Breakup of EU? | Bloomberg
  • How Much is Enough?

Articles

Resurrecting Creaditor Adjustment
- Project Syndicate

Germany's Hour
- Project Syndicate

A Trip Through Putin Country
- Project Syndicate

The Protocols of Donald J. Trump
- Project Syndicate

Britains' Deepening Confusion
- Project Syndicate

Economists in Denial
- Project Syndicate

Another Reset with Russia?
- Project Syndicate

Economists versus the Economy
- Project Syndicate

Brexit, the backstory: how Great Britons would have voted in the referendum
- Prospect

Slouching Toward Trump
- Project Syndicate

The Case for UK Import Substitution
- Project Syndicate

Helicopter Money Is in the Air
- Project Syndicate

The Scarecrow of National Debt
- Project Syndicate

The Failure of Free Migration
- Project Syndicate

Basic Income Revisited
- Project Syndicate

A basic income could be the best way to tackle inequality
- The Guardian

The False Promise of Negative Interest Rates
- Project Syndicate

A British Bridge for a Divided Europe
- Project Syndicate

The Economist's Concubine
- Project Syndicate

Keynes's General Theory at 80
- Project Syndicate

How Much Debt Is Too Much?
- Project Syndicate

The optimism error
- NewStatesman

European Politics With an Islamic Face?
- Project Syndicate

The Decline of the West Revisited
- Project Syndicate

From Memory to Denial in Russia
- Project Syndicate

The Agony and the Exodus
- Project Syndicate

Taking Corbynomics Seriously
- Project Syndicate

Minimum Wage or Living Income?
- Project Syndicate

Will the 13th Century Pax Mongolica Return With China's New Silk Road?
- The Huffington Post

The Sino-Russian Marriage
- Project Syndicate

A Final Word with Ferguson
- Project Syndicate

Niall Ferguson's Wishful Thinking
- Project Syndicate

No Pain, No Gain for Britain?
- Project Syndicate

Debating the Confidence Fairy
- Project Syndicate

Messed-Up Macro
- Project Syndicate

The Price Paradox
- Project Syndicate

 

I agree with Syriza: the way back to prosperity is not austerity but debt relief
- New Statesman

The Fall of the House of Samuelson
- Project Syndicate

Britain's Closet Keynesian
- Project Syndicate

The UK Government Is Failing On The Only Economic Measure That Matters
- Business Insider

The welfare state did not cause the crash. So why is Osborne cutting it?
- New Statesman

Putin is not Russia: the Kremlin's view on events in Ukraine
- New Statesman

Cameron is right to warn of another recession, but wrong to blame the world
- The Guardian

Philosopher Kings Versus Philosopher Presidents
- Project Syndicate

The moral economy of debt
- The Guardian

EU states must tackle fears over inequality and unemployment
- The Irish Times

Labour must expose the fallacy of George Osborne's 'recovery'
- The Guardian

Vanguard Scotland?
- Project Syndicate

Endgame for Putin in Ukraine?
- Project Syndicate

Europe's Surplus of Stagnation
- Project Syndicate

Post-Crash Economics
- Project Syndicate

The Road to Full Investment
- Project Syndicate

Kennan's Revenge
- Project Syndicate

The Wolves of Wall Street
- Project Syndicate

Death to Machines?
- Project Syndicate

Free Trade and Costly Love
- Project Syndicate

The economics of love: Following the heart, not the head
- New Statesman

Shale Gas to the Rescue?
- Project Syndicate

Can tracking shatter stagnation?
- The Guardian

Four Fallacies of the Second Great Depression
- Project Syndicate

Misconceiving British Austerity
- Project Syndicate

Underreported Underemployment
- Project Syndicate

The Russian Janus
- Project Syndicate

Why don't more people aspire to living a good life?
- The Guardian

John Kerry's Tricky Bid
- Project Syndicate

Real wages and Employment
- Project Syndicate

The new monetary ideology
- The Economist

Economic Rebalancing Acts
- Project Syndicate

Unrepentant Economist
- Project Syndicate

We Must Create A Moral Economy
- International Business Times

The Chávez Way
- Project Syndicate

Sweden - a false icon for Thatcherites
- Project Syndicate

High-speed rail could set Britain — and Europe — on the path of recovery
- The Guardian


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