Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sir Alan Walters Dies

I have just heard that Sir Alan Walters, Margaret Thatcher's economic guru, has died.
He was one of the first economists in Britain to advocate monetary solutions to the inflation of the 1970s. He was a professor at the LSE from 1967 to 1976, before joining the World Bank and becoming a Professor at John Hopkins University. He was appointed to be Margaret Thatcher's economic adviser in 1981, a position he held formally for three years. He returned in July 1988 but almost immediately fell out with Thatcher's chancellor, Nigel Lawson, over his policy of shadowing the Deutsche Mark as a precursor to joining the ERM. Lawson resigned over an interview Sir Alan had given to the FT prior to his taking up his Downing Street job. Sir Alan felt his position was untenable and he resigned too.

Since then he has held various academic and business posts but in recent years has suffered from Parkinsons Disease. He was taken to hospital a week before Christmas but returned home on Boxing Day, where the next day he celebrated his 33rd wedding anniversary with his beloved wife. He was 82.

Many of us will remember the huge contribution he made to the success of the Thatcher project. He was a truly great man.


Not a sheep said...

How vile will the BBC coverage of Sir Alan Walters death be? Somehow I envisage lots of references to massive unemployment and falling out of the ERM, possibly with a reference to David Cameron's "vital" role.

Chris O'D said...

A very sad day - condolences to all who knew him personally

Tory Boy said...

A massive role in Thatcher's government, both the beginning and the end. I will always remember the day (for other, non-political reasons) when Lawson quit because of Walters - the BBC headline stated quite simply that Lawson had resigned because of Walters, end of headline, over.

Alexander Hilton said...

3 million unemployed a success?

This is why tories are strange, incomprehensible creatures.

Rest in peace notwithstanding that of course.

Alex Hilton

Michael Heaver said...

Coming from a family who are hardline anti-Thatcher, but myself being more of a libertarian type, this gentleman certainly strikes me as a very interesting figure. RIP.

Anonymous said...

A great shame. Our thoughts are with his family.

rob's uncle said...

At 82, he'd had a good innings, which is more than those whom he put out of work never to work again can say.

John Pickworth said...

In the sometimes madness of 1980's politics, I was often caught by the sane words of Walters. An old fashioned dose of common-sense and unsentimental logic.

Alan Walters made a huge impression upon this, a then wet behind the ears, nobody trying to make sense of the world. He'll be greatly missed.

Not a sheep said...

As of 10:15 this morning I can't find a mention on the BBC website. It's amazing the journalism you can buy with the odd £ billion.

Tim Worstall said...

An interesting thing to note. Sir Alan was the first person to advocate congestion charges. Back at the beginning of his career. The London Congestion Charge comes directly from his original paper.

"Walters, Alan, The Economics of Road User Charges, World Bank Staff Occasional Paper, No. 5,
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1968, pp. 15-21"

Si said...

Never like to see people die but I have little sympathy

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

Over at the Telegraph I see he was "Thatcher's economic adviser" as opposed to "Mrs Thatcher's economic adviser"

What has Mandy got on the Barclay Twins?

Hamish said...

rob's uncle.
"He'd had a good innings".
One of those lapidary expressions, which can mean:
He was past his best
He was useless anyway
I couldn't stand him
Most charitable interpretation:
He was old

BTW if you are going to use such convoluted sentences, it would be helpful if you could learn when to use the form 'whom'. Read Raymond Chandler or Fowler.

David Lindsay said...

And everything for which he stood has died or is dying.

As someone once said, "Rejoice".

not an economist said...

The IEA book Walter's wrote on the ERM and the consequences of Lawson shadowing the Deutschmark in the mid to late eighties is excellent. Well worth a read.

To Not a Sheep:

Labour supporters are in denial. Looking at discussion forums, even in death Walters has scorn poured over him because of his support for the Thatcher Govts of the 80's. Yet they are blind to the failings of Brown and his former economic adviser Balls who, between them, played a significant role over the last 10 years in causing the current crisis, a crisis that is likley to go much deeper than that of the 80's simply because teven now the Labour Govt is travelling in the wrong direction. At least Thatch' was correcting the problems caused by previous Keynesian inspired govts. In contrast Brown, Darling and Mandy are perpetuating them.

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