Wynne Godley

Wynne Godley, who died in 2010, worked at the Treasury between 1956 and 1970 before becoming a fellow of King’s College, Cambridge and director of the university’s Department of Applied Economics. He was the author, with Marc Lavoie, of Monetary Economics: An Integrated Approach to Credit, Money, Income, Production and Wealth. He is often credited with anticipating the mass employment of the early 1980s, the problems with monetary union in Europe (in ‘Maastricht and All That’, published in the LRB in 1992) and the 2008 financial crash. Briefly a professional oboist in his youth, he was later a director of the Royal Opera House. He described his ‘disastrous encounter with psychoanalysis’ in a much praised piece in the LRB.

Memories of Frank Kermode

Stefan Collini, Karl Miller, Adam Phillips, Jacqueline Rose, James Wood, Michael Wood and Wynne Godley, 23 September 2010

Stefan Collini writes: ‘Yes, I’d like that very much. That really would be something to look forward to.’ Frank was already weakened and wasted by throat cancer, but my suggestion that we go to watch some cricket at Fenner’s did seem genuinely to appeal to him. There wasn’t much to look forward to by this point. On the appointed day the weather was kind, and...

Saving Masud Khan

Wynne Godley, 22 February 2001

This is the story of a disastrous encounter with psychoanalysis which severely blemished my middle years.

I was about thirty years old when I found myself to be in a state of terrible distress. It was the paralysis of my will, rather than the pain itself, which enabled me to infer, using my head, that I needed help different in kind from the support of friends. A knowledgeable acquaintance...

The United States is widely believed to have acquired a New Economy, having achieved the longest economic expansion in its history and the lowest unemployment rate for thirty years. Untold wealth has been created, productivity growth has accelerated and inflation has been dormant.

Derailed

Wynne Godley, 19 August 1993

I am in favour of Britain having much closer ties with other European countries, provided that appropriate institutions are created and the whole thing is brought under effective political control. But I have never been able to understand what it is that those who support the Maastricht Treaty think they are going to get out of it. Maastricht supporters are keen on ‘not being left out’. But left out of what exactly? How can people be so sure that a united Europe is something they want to be part of – particularly with the expensive, destructive and corrupt monstrosity called the Common Agricultural Policy sitting there as the single most important achievement of the EC so far? Matters were not helped by the frantic procedural manoeuvring in Parliament over ratification, and by the rather uncritical support which Maastricht has received from the opposition parties. The substantial questions have not yet been debated or criticised with any penetration, although the British people are deeply suspicious and would almost certainly have voted against ratification if there had been a referendum. Platitudes are not good enough. John Major thinks it means something to say that he wants us to be ‘at the heart of Europe’ but he must do far better than that to convince me. I suspect that his purpose is destructive, that all he really wants is to be inside the tent, pissing all over the shop.’

I have heard people say that the Budget was a bore. This may be true for those who had to listen to it or for those who are interested in minutiae. But as one interested primarily in economic strategy, I cannot remember a more intriguing situation. How can it possibly be right to propose a huge tax increase for next year, and an even larger one for the year after that, when by general consent unemployment is going to be in the region of three million and rising? I am going to argue that this Budget only makes sense on very special assumptions about the performance of the economy; and that if, a year from now, the situation is broadly unchanged – if, that is, output has not changed much, with unemployment still around three million and the balance of payments not in serious deficit – it will be every bit as wrong to raise taxes then as it would now.

For thirty years after the war Britain had full employment, stable (if slow) growth, low inflation, and a welfare state that was widely admired. And it was common ground that governments could...

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Keynesianism in One Country

Lester Thurow, 1 September 1983

Godley and Cripps devote their first seven seven pages to acknowledging the storms that are raging around the subject of macroeconomics. Deteriorating economic performances, and monetarists,...

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