The Memoir Club (December 2010)
From the confrontational atmosphere of the Cold War to the era of globalization, international economic relations have changed dramatically over the last 50 years. In Economic Diplomat Sir Nicholas Bayne gives an insider’s account of it all. As a former British Foreign Service officer and a seasoned academic, he offers a rare unbroken perspective on the political forces shaping the world economic system.
The author’s direct involvement in economic diplomacy begins with the oil price surges of the 1970s and the first G7 summits; continues through the debt crises provoked by ‘Reaganomics’; and reaches a climax with the economic transformation at the end of the Cold War. He moves between the FCO, the Treasury, major capitals like Paris and Ottawa and key international institutions, with an interlude in the City of London. Having begun his academic activities as a serving diplomat, he has continued his research into economic diplomacy right up to the financial upheavals of the present day, tracing the G7/G8 summits until their eclipse by the G20.
This account of his professional career is leavened by personal material. He describes flagging down a moving aircraft in Berlin and tracking smugglers in the Philippines; encounters with gorillas in Rwanda, the infamous President Mobutu in the Congo and the world’s most northerly community in Canada. He tells of his working honeymoon at the United Nations and family tragedy in Africa. His early attachment to archaeology, formed at school and university, at times breaks through in later life.
Sir Nicholas Bayne is a guest teacher in the Department of International Relations at LSE.
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