Robert Skidelsky was born on 25 April 1939 in Harbin, Manchuria. He read history at Jesus College, Oxford, and was successively research student, senior student, and research fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford.
In 1978, he was appointed Professor of International Studies at the University of Warwick, and then joined the Economics Department as Professor of Political Economy in 1990. He is currently Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University. Since 2002, he has been chairman of the Centre for Global Studies. In 2010, he joined the Advisory Board of the Institute for New Economic Thinking.
In 1991, he was made a life peer. He joined the Conservatives and was made Chief Opposition Spokesman in the Lords, first for Culture, then for Treasury Affairs (1997-9). In 2001, he left the Conservative Party for the cross benches. He is currently a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition.
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. A short history of twentieth-century Britain was published by Random House in the volume A World by Itself: A History of the British Isles edited by Jonathan Clark in January 2010. He is now in the process of writing How Much is Enough? The Economics of the Good Life jointly with his son Edward Skidelsky