Saturday 10 December 2016

Compliments pass when big beast economists lock horns

Published 14/06/2015 | 02:30

Robert Skidelsky
Robert Skidelsky

It can be amusing to observe public figures engaging in public spats. If the matter in dispute is significant, it can be enlightening too.

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The recent clash between Niall Ferguson, a celebrity economic historian who holds a chair at Harvard University, and Robert Skidelsky, an ennobled biographer of John Maynard Keynes and professor of political economy at Warwick University, has been some spat.

These two public intellectuals have long taken diametrically opposing positions on what governments should do via their budgets to aid recovery and economic growth. Skidelsky is a darling of the left, whose three- volume biography on the life of Keynes - perhaps the most influential economist ever - has bolstered the latter's already high reputation.

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