Professor Peter Sinclair
It is with great sadness that we have learn of the death of Peter Sinclair as a consequence of contracting Coronavirus. Peter was a friend and contributor to Politeia over many years as speaker and author. As an economist and academic at Oxford and Birmingham his special interests were in international, macro, monetary, and taxation economics – as well as in unemployment policy and climate change economics.
His solutions to apparently intractable problems were propelled by an enthusiasm and charm in pushing the boundaries of policy meant he could end up saying the unsayable. He illustrated countless ways in which economic policy and tax, spending and regulatory policy could be shaped to the benefit of all. One example of how to cut cost in novel ways has stuck in my mind: cutting the cost of prisons by relocating them in cheaper overseas territories or islands to be leased by HMG., though it was never clear how far the idea was tongue in cheek.
As an economist and teacher in Oxford and Birmingham and Director of the Bank of England’s Centre for Central Banking Studies, Peter brought kindness, learning, and curiosity to the many worlds he brought together. He also had charm and a smile that lit the room when he framed a point or put a question. I loved to watch how he unravelled the mindset bequeathed by one administration to the next. Standing up to make a point in a rather tentative way, looking round over at all of us, he would innocently raise a point in a manner that illustrated just how absurd were the assumptions on which the thinking was based.