I came to writing by a roundabout route.
I started off in the British civil service, went on to work as a Middle East analyst and researcher,
then as an economic adviser to development agencies in Ethiopia, Albania and the Palestinian Territories. I had an early go at writing when a journalist in Cairo in the late 1990s, covering everything from Egypt’s ancient deserts to its shiny new banks.
I delved deeper into economics as a graduate student but gradually the hire-wire mathematics,
and models so complex you need several degrees to understand them, started to feel rather removed from the economic situations that people actually find themselves in. When the 2007 financial crisis struck, like many people I started to question whether pure economics had all the answers. I wondered how we’d got to where we were, and was drawn towards the links between history, economics and ideas about society more broadly.
I believe that the history of economic thinking and of real economic struggles can tell us a lot about our current situation and, for me, it’s in vivid writing that anyone can respond to where all this really comes to life. Most of all, I’m interested in the stories we tell ourselves about our economic world, and why they matter. I wish I knew how to answer all the questions people ask me about why some economies get into such a mess, and why many of us seem to have lost faith in even the best of them – but in my writing I'm constantly searching for stories that speak to these kinds of anxieties.
Another part of my work is as a teacher. I’ve given courses in economics and economic history at the London School of Economics and the University of Warwick.