Keynes Lecture 2010, by Robert Skidelsky

University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge
2 Feb 2010 10 a.m. – noon


Lord Robert Skidelsky delivered a public lecture on Keynes: The Return of the Master on 2 February 2010 in the Lady Mitchell Hall, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge.

Download mp3 here.

Robert Skidelsky is Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick. He has written the prize-winning and probably definitive biography of Keynes in three volumes, Hopes Betrayed, 1883-1920(1983), The Economist as Saviour, 1920-1937 (1992) and Fighting for Britain, 1937-1946 (2000). An abridged version John Maynard Keynes 1883-1946: Economist, Philosopher, Statesman was published in 2004. He was made a life peer in 1991 and elected Fellow of the British Academy in 1994.

He read history at Jesus College, Oxford, and from 1961 to 1969, was successively research student, senior student, and research fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford. During a two year research fellowship at the British Academy, he began work on his biography of Oswald Mosley (1975). In 1970, he became an Associate Professor at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. But the controversy surrounding the publication of his biography of Sir Oswald Mosley - in which he was felt to have let Mosley off too lightly - led Johns Hopkins University to refuse him tenure. Oxford University also proved unwilling to give him a permanent post. In 1978, he was appointed Professor of International Studies at the University of Warwick, where he has since remained, though joining the Economics Department as Professor of Political Economy in 1990.

In the 1980s, he began to take a more active interest in politics. He was a founder member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) 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. Initially, he took the SDP whip but 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 writes a monthly column for Project Syndicate, "Against the Current", which is syndicated in newspapers all over the world. His account of the current economic crisis, Keynes: The Return of the Master, was published by Penguin Allen Lane in September 2009.