Roll, Eric 1907–2005

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ROLL, Eric 1907–2005

(Lord Roll of Ipsden)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born December 1, 1907, in Nova Sulita, Austria-Hungary (now Ukraine); died March 30, 2005. Economist, civil servant, banker, and author. Roll was a former economics professor and government undersecretary who played a key roll in the post-war Marshall Plan and advocated that Britain join the European Economic Union. Born in a town on the foothills of the Carpathian mountains, he immigrated to England, where he earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Birmingham in 1928 and a Ph.D. there two years later. Not long afterward he joined the University of Hull faculty as a professor of economics and commerce. He remained there until 1946, though during World War II he also part of a British Food Mission responsible for distributing food from America to Europe. Entering government service in 1946 as an assistant secretary for the Ministry of Food, he was involved in the landmark Marshall Plan that helped save post-war Europe from starvation and economic collapse. A series of other government posts followed, including undersecretary for economic planning in the treasury department in 1948; head of the United Kingdom's delegation to NATO meetings in Paris in 1952; undersecretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food from 1953 to 1957; deputy leader for negotiations for the European Economic Community from 1961 to 1963; economics minister and head of his country's treasury delegation to Washington, D.C., from 1963 to 1964; and undersecretary of state to Britain's newly formed Department of Economic Affairs from 1964 to 1966. In this last position, Roll attempted to move Britain out of its economic inertia, away from the "Old Labor" mindset, and into a more international frame of mind. He felt that the country should join with the rest of Europe to form a stronger economic unit with a shared currency. Retiring from the civil service in 1966, Roll applied his economics knowledge to banking, serving as director of the Bank of England from 1968 to 1977 and as deputy chair, chair, and eventually president of S. G. Warburg & Co. from 1967 to 1995. For his service to his country, Roll—who was also chancellor of the University of Southampton from 1974 to 1984—was made a companion of the Order of the Bath in 1956, a knight commander of St. Michael and St. George in 1962, and a life peer in 1977. He was the author of several books on economics and the history of economics, including A History of Economic Thought (1938; fifth edition, 1992), The Uses and Abuses of Economics, and Other Essays (1978), and Where Are We Going? The Next Twenty Years (2000).



Guardian (Manchester, England), April 2, 2005, p. 21.

Times (London, England), April 1, 2005, p. 63.


New Economist Online, (April 3, 2005).

Telegraph Online, (April 1, 2005).