Alan Beattie

International Economy Editor for the Financial Times
New York Times Bestselling Author

A refreshing, convention-defying perspective on the current economic scene.

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Alan Beattie is the International Economy Editor of the Financial Times. He leads the paper’s coverage of world trade policy and economic globalisation.

He is a nimble, accessible writer who brings to life even the most difficult-to-grasp goings on in today’s complex economic world. His expertise includes US and international economic issues, the Federal Reserve, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.

His current book is an eBook titled Who’s in Charge Here?: How Governments Are Failing The World Economy, a short, witty, and highly readable narrative of the global economic crisis together with the role of governments in causing it.

Alan has made a life-long study of the reasons why some country and regional economies and societies succeed and others fail, and he has written a highly-regarded book, False Economy, with fascinating insights into the choices nations make and how those choices shape their economic future. He challenges accepted wisdom, exposing ideas such as the currently fashionable explanation that certain countries and regions are "destined" to be poor — or rich.

"It would be fun to talk with Mr. Beattie at a dinner party. He’s witty. He’s well read and well traveled..."
The New York Times

Alan has spoken on and debated some of the most significant economic issues of our time, including trade policies, the future of economic development, and the integration of Asia into the global economy.

Influential forums at which he has appeared include:

  • The World Bank (Washington, DC)
  • Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation – APEC – CEO Summit (Hanoi, Vietnam)
  • Pacific Economic Co-operation Council (Sydney, Australia)
  • Overseas Development Institute (London, UK)

He has extensive television experience and has appeared on MSNBC, Bloomberg Television, and C-Span, among others.

Colorful, opinionated, enlightening, often unconventional — these are the hallmarks of Alan’s writing and speaking. Covering current economic events with a unique perspective that blends politics, global economics, and history, he provides insights you simply will not find anywhere else.


  • International Economy Editor, Financial Times
  • Former Economist, Bank of England
  • MPhil, Economics, Cambridge
  • BA with honours, History, Balliol College, Oxford


Who's in Charge Here?

How Governments Are Failing the World Economy
(an eSpecial from Riverhead Books)

Alan Beattie

From a bestselling economist and journalist, a short, witty, and highly readable narrative of the global economic crisis together with the role of governments in causing it—and their often hapless attempts to contain it.

As we watch wave after wave of volatility threaten the global economy, it is tempting to ask, who is in charge here? The answer, journalist and economist Alan Beattie explains, is all too often no one. 

The crisis that began with mortgages in American suburbia has now spread around the world from banks to businesses to governments, threatening to bring decades of economic progress to a juddering halt. Globalization’s strengths—its speed, breadth, and complexity—have also proved to be weaknesses as the crisis has traveled more rapidly and widely around the globe than the boom, and faster than governments have usually been able to react. 

The United States, which has led the global economy since the second World War, has been weakened by political division at home. Like ancient Rome, it has been challenged by an array of upstarts—emerging markets like China, India, and Brazil. But just like the tribes that brought down the Roman Empire, the rising powers are strong enough to block American leadership yet not united enough to provide direction of their own. 

In Europe, as country after country has slid toward trouble, it has become evident that the eurozone’s slow and unwieldy policy frameworks are woefully unfit for dealing with financial crises. As Beattie writes: “It [is] like watching a gang of irascible, quarrelsome architects trying to redesign a house in the middle of a raging fire.” 

With the penetrating wit for which he is known, Alan Beattie explains how international economic institutions like the IMF can work—and how they often don’t. He calls out the more spectacular failures of judgment and leadership, as well as the less frequent bright spots, in handling the crisis, showing how governments scrambled to respond as the ground started to give way.

Riverhead (1 Mar 2012)

False Economy

A Surprising Economic History of the World

Alan Beattie

An important book for turbulent times-an accessible and engaging economic history of the world, by a leading economic writer.

Alan Beattie has long been intrigued by the fates of different countries, economies, and societies-why some fail and some succeed. Here, he weaves together elements of economics, history, politics, and human stories, revealing that societies, economies, and countries usually make concrete choices that determine their destinies. He opens up larger questions about these choices, and why countries make them or are driven to make them, and what those decisions can mean for the future of our global economy.

Economic history involves forcing together disciplines that fall naturally in different directions. But Beattie has written a lively and lucid book that successfully marries the two subjects and illustrates their interdependence. In doing so, he addresses such illuminating queries as: Why are oil and diamonds more trouble than they are worth? Why did Argentina fail and the United States succeed? Why doesn't Africa grow cocaine?

False Economy explains how human beings have shaped their own fates, however unknowingly, and the conditions of the countries they call home. And though it is history, it does not end with the present day. Beattie shows how decisions that are being made now-which have either absorbed or failed to absorb the lessons from economic history-will determine what happens in the future. What does economic history teach us about the present economic unrest? Who will succeed and why? And who will fail? These are questions that we cannot afford to leave unasked . . . or unanswered.

Riverhead Hardcover (24 Jun 2010)


Alan tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

The Global Economy