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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > Oct-18 > Books in brief

Books in brief

Money and Government: A Challenge to Mainstream Economics

by Robert Skidelsky (Allen Lane, £25)

Robert Skidelsky offers a welcome contribution to the plethora of new books recognising that political economy stands at a crossroads. A distinguished biographer of Keynes, Skidelsky argues that his subject invented macroeconomics, a field he regards as all about money and government, twin determinants of effective demand across the economy as a whole, and changes in the overall price level across the range of markets.

Beyond the rise and fall of Keynesianism, the book covers a remarkable amount of ground from Adam Smith to Karl Marx, from the UK coming offthe gold standard in 1931 to the monetarism of the 1980s, from post-crash banking regulation to the theory behind modern austerity policies. His writing is equally accessible to keen readers, students and central bankers.

Skidelsky succinctly outlines important points of theory, from the flaws in precrisis orthodoxy to the stubborn global imbalances in trade and capital accounts— problematic, but not the main driver in the financial crash. He challenges economics to restore money and government to centre stage (easy to agree with). He also makes sound suggestions such as fiscal and monetary policy coordination.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s October issue: Rafael Behr argues that politics has been poisoned by Twitter—the platform often drives the political news agenda, encourages people to descend deeper and deeper into echo chambers and sees MPs and their families regularly abused. Meanwhile, former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger explains how Oxford picks its students and says that more needs to be done for the colleges to be more inclusive. Also, Jasmin Mujanovic outlines how Bosnia’s elections this month could tip the country back into conflict. Elsewhere in the issue: Alex Dean highlights the alarming decline in the number of students studying a foreign language at GCSE and beyond. Will Self reviews a series of new books about liberalism, arguing that “we need more than just social freedoms and the free market.” Aimee Cliff charts the story of the dying dream that London would be a 24-hour city.