Martin Wolf is a powerful and authoritative British writer on economics, he is a famous journalist who is currently associate editor and chief economics commentator at the Financial Times. He has a unique perspective and he offers economic opinion on the state of Europe, the US and the rest of the world. For the Financial Times, Wolf writes a weekly column on the world economy and a fortnightly column on the UK.
Martin Wolf was born in London in 1946 to Jewish parents who had escaped Europe to avoid the Holocaust. Wolf claims his family roots were the reason he decided to pursue economics as a career as he believed the (second) World War was caused mainly due to socio-economic reasons. He attended Oxford, where he received his undergraduate degree from Corpus Christi College. He later attended Nuffield College (also at Oxford) where he received his MPhil in economics. Here he mainly studied the importance of international trade in developing economies. Wolf was always a fan of practical economics and supposedly did not pursue a PhD because he did not want to turn into just an academic.
After university, Wolf started his professional career at the World Bank where he joined as an analyst in 1971 and soon rose to the rank of senior analyst. During his later career at the World Bank he became disenchanted with the policies the bank used especially in developing countries. The World Bank tried to increase growth by offering developing economies loans, this led to them facing debt crises soon after. Wolf was against this intervention and believed the World Bank had become a “fatally flawed” institution and was against most of the policies devised under the then President of the World Bank Robert McNamara. Wolf soon after become a strong proponent of the free market and globalization, and worked towards reducing intervention in market forces. Wolf left the World Bank in 1981 to become Director of Studies at the Trade Policy Research Centre in London. Here Wolf describes he learned “invaluable lesson not only in the hypocrisy with which the world’s richest countries have responded to the comparative advantage of the poor, but also in the mixture of complexity with irrationality of some trade policy regimes”. He joined the Financial Times in 1987, where he has been associate editor since 1990 and chief economics commentator since 1996.
Wolf has been an active participant in various international forums and seeks to change public opinion regarding globalization and the regulation of markets. He wrote his famous book, “Why Globalization Works” in 2004. This book is also a more persuasive work than an academic work, seeking to challenge generally accepted economic notions. Later on, Wolf’s views changed from totally pro-free market to Keynesian. He was one of the important workers in the “Keynesian Resurgence” of 2008-2009.
Martin Wolf is the author of several books and articles. His writings are special in the way that he brings his practical experience into them and does not rely on theory alone. His recent book; “The Shifts and The Shocks: What We’ve Learned, and Have Still to Learn from the Financial Crisis” is an interesting and thought provoking read. Wolf was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) and has been included in many global lists of influential thinkers and intellects during his life. Wolf is well connected and claims to know all the world’s significant bankers.