Harold James: Biography highlights

Professor of History and International Affairs at Princeton University and a senior fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation, Harold is a specialist on German economic history and on globalisation.

Known for:


Full biography of Harold James

Harold James’ Background

He is a co-author of the new book The Euro and The Battle of Ideas and the author of The Creation and Destruction of Value: The Globalization Cycle, Krupp: A History of the Legendary German Firm and Making the European Monetary Union.

Harold attended Cambridge University and was a Fellow of Peterhouse for eight years before joining Princeton University in 1986. He is director of the Center for European Politics and Society at Princeton. He is also Marie Curie Visiting Professor at the European University Institute and writes a monthly column for Project Syndicate.

Harold James has written extensively on the economic implications of globalisation, drawing comparisons with historical attempts at globalisation which ended with the Great Depression in 1929. He argues the Great Depression must not be considered as only an American phenomenon, but instead as a global economic crisis. He examines the contemporary issues associated with globalisation in the context of larger economic trends, which were disrupted by the World Wars and the Great Depression.

His most recent book: The Euro and the Battle of Ideas was published in September 2016 and has received fantastic reviews from Larry Summers and Ben Bernanke the-euro-and-the-battle-of-ideas Why is Europe’s great monetary endeavor, the Euro, in trouble? A string of economic difficulties in Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy and other Eurozone nations has left observers wondering whether the currency union can survive. In this book, Markus Brunnermeier, Harold James and Jean-Pierre Landau argue that the core problem with the Euro lies in the philosophical differences between the founding countries of the Eurozone, particularly Germany and France. But the authors also show how these seemingly incompatible differences can be reconciled to ensure Europe’s survival.

As the authors demonstrate, Germany, a federal state with strong regional governments, saw the Maastricht Treaty, the framework for the Euro, as a set of rules. France, on the other hand, with a more centralized system of government, saw the framework as flexible, to be overseen by governments. The authors discuss how the troubles faced by the Euro have led its member states to focus on national, as opposed to collective, responses, a reaction explained by the resurgence of the battle of economic ideas: rules vs. discretion, liability vs. solidarity, solvency vs. liquidity, austerity vs. stimulus.

Weaving together economic analysis and historical reflection, The Euro and the Battle of Ideas provides a forensic investigation and a road map for Europe’s future.


Show more

Available for:

After Dinner Engagement

Watch Harold in action

1/4 videos
2008 Financial Crisis: A Ten-Year Review conference. Speaker: Harold James
2008 Financial Crisis: A Ten-Year Review conference. Speaker: Harold James
GERMANY: SAFE OR SORRY? Ft. Harold James, Professor of History and International Affairs
GERMANY: SAFE OR SORRY? Ft. Harold James, Professor of History and International Affairs
Harold James - "Lessons for the Euro from History"
Harold James - "Lessons for the Euro from History"
Europe and the  Future of the Euro
Europe and the Future of the Euro
Central Banking Journal

“A book of depth and subtlety that is helpful in understanding matters well outside the questions it seems to address. . . . This is a fascinating and informative book.”

Geoffrey Wood

“The advent of the Euro is a singular event in monetary history. This is the best and most important book so far on an experiment with profound economic and geopolitical implications.”

Lawrence H. Summers
Former Secretary
U.S. Federal Reserve

“International divergences in economic policy are as much the result of differences in intellectual frameworks as of variation in economic circumstances. This valuable book explains the critical differences in national economic philosophies and how they have conditioned policy choices over the past decade.”

Ben S. Bernanke
Former Chairman
Economic Principals

“[The authors] have the advantage of being deeply involved. . . . If Europe is high on your list of concerns, you should read this book; European leaders will.”

David Warsh

“I very much appreciate this book’s efforts to explain the highly diverse approaches to economic and fiscal policy in Europe and to shape them into a common strategy. If this could succeed in reality in today’s Europe, much would be gained indeed.”

Wolfgang Schäuble
Finance Minister of Germany

Harold's speaking topics

Check Harold James's availability

To enquire about booking Harold James, email info@speakersassociates.com or complete this form.

Check Availability


Your event

Your budget

Other speakers and topics


Would you like to receive our free monthly speaker bulletin?